We are a nation of pet keepers, and love nothing more than bringing joy to the lives of our animals. Unsurprisingly, with their stocky rounded bodies and cute faces, guinea pigs are no exception. The real question becomes what can you use as treats for guinea pigs?
Some General Rules
Before we talk about some specific treats for guinea pigs it’s important that we establish some basic rules. Guinea pigs tend to have quite sensitive stomachs, and there are many foods that are either unhealthy for them, or will make them ill. This is especially so for any new foods that they aren’t familiar with.
The first rule of treating your guinea pig is therefore to only feed very small amounts of treats. The second rule is to be absolutely certain that you know what your guinea pig is, and is not, allowed to eat.
In the past, for example, it was considered nice to offer guinea pigs a nice warm piece of wholemeal or granary toast. These days, however, the RSPCA recommends against this. It suggests that your guinea pig’s natural cousin – the cavy – very rarely has access to grains, root vegetables or fruit, so these should only be fed in tiny doses – if at all.
Lastly, remember that while guinea pigs naturally have quite a stocky appearance, they can be prone to weight gain. An obese guinea pig is not a healthy guinea pig. Once again, therefore, treats should only be used in moderation. Sugary treats are best avoided for this same reason.
Wild Plants as Treats
Treats, by their very nature, tend to be something a little bit “different” and special. As it turns out, there are several wild plants that guinea pigs seem to go wild for, and are only acceptable at certain times of the year.
Two of the best are chickweed and dandelion leaves – both of which are hoovered up at a speed you wouldn’t believe!
Vegetables as Treats
Guinea pigs love a huge range of different vegetables. Cut into small pieces they can make a perfect treat, or why not make your own fresh “guinea pig salad” for them to enjoy? Some examples of popular treats for guinea pigs include:
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
- Corn on the Cob
Fruit as Treats
Remembering that fruit should only be fed as a treat very occasionally, items such as raisins, seedless grapes or slices of apple and pear can make a very special treat for your pet.
Other Treats for Guinea Pigs
A number of commercial treats are available for guinea pigs, and can be bought from most good pet shops. Lastly, if you happen to have any fruit trees in your garden then providing a branch from an apple or pear tree can be a much-relished treat, as well as helping to keep your guinea pig’s teeth under control.