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Is it OK to switch your guinea pigs’ food?

With so many options out there for guinea pig food, it can be difficult to choose which small animal brand to use. If you have picky piggies at home, your normal guinea pig food has changed and now your guinea pigs are rejecting their food, or your current food is no longer available, you may need to switch things up. The good news is you can swap between food brands. However, it must be done with caution. Our in house vet here at Burgess Excel, Dr Suzanne Moyes, explains:

“Our guinea pigs have very delicate digestive systems which need to be treated with care. They need a really high fibre diet, so feeding them unlimited high quality feeding hay or fresh grass is vital. 

If you need to change your guinea pigs’ pellets or introduce any new fresh greens, this has to be done carefully. Any sudden changes can result in digestive issues which can become serious if not treated. 

With any pet food, always make sure you do your research before switching. Make sure the new food is still high in fibre with a balance of vitamins and nutrients, as well as protected vitamin C. Guinea pigs can’t create their own, so added vitamin C is essential in their diet.”

Find out more about how to transition your guinea pigs food with our handy guide below.


What should guinea pigs eat daily?

Let’s start with the essentials. Each day your guinea pigs should have a diet that is:

High quality feeding hay is a great way to get lots of essential fibre into your guinea pigs’ diet. Plus, it’s good for dental health and helping to wear down their ever growing teeth. They’ll happily munch all day, so place their feeding hay around their housing. Things like hay feeders and puzzle feeders are great for adding variety.

Shop Burgess Excel feeding hay, made for gorgeous guinea pigs >>>

Safe fresh greens for your guinea pigs include leafy greens such as kale, coriander and parsley. As well as vegetables like celery, cauliflower, asparagus and green beans. The PDSA has a great guide to feeding your guinea pigs their greens. Great greens will provide your guinea pigs with vitamin C, an essential vitamin guinea pigs can’t produce themselves (just like us!).

Guinea pig pellets, or nuggets, while not a huge proportion of their diet, can help to provide the right balance of vitamins and minerals in their daily diet. Good quality guinea pig nuggets will contain protected vitamin C and will be high in fibre, with antioxidants for their immune system and ingredients to support digestive health. 

Discover the Burgess Excel guinea pig range, including the world’s first food indoor guinea pig food >>


Can you change your guinea pigs’ food? 

Yes! You can change your guinea pigs food if you need to. If you do decide to change food make sure you look for things like:

  • For nuggets - high fibre content, with protected vitamin C
  • For hay - dust extracted for respiratory health and high quality
  • For fresh greens - suitable and safe for guinea pigs

How often should you switch your guinea pigs’ food?

Generally, if the food is high quality and works for your guinea pigs, stick with it. However, there may be circumstances in which you need to change over, including:

  • Your current food has been discontinued or is out of stock
  • The recipe or composition of their current food has changed and your guinea pigs are now rejecting their food
  • The price of their food has changed

If your guinea pigs are refusing to eat their food this could be a sign something is wrong. Not eating can be a symptom of illness, including gut stasis, a serious condition where the gut slows down and stops moving. If you notice this, seek advice from your vet immediately.


How do you transition your guinea pigs onto a new food?

The first step to transitioning your guinea pigs’ food is in the planning. If you can, have at least two weeks worth of their old food to hand. This is because the transition period will be a slow one! It is going to take time to get your piggies used to their new diet, so allow 14-28 days for a full and safe transition.

Our steps to swapping success are:

  1. Start by replacing a small amount of their normal portion with a small amount of the new food. For example, if your guinea pigs normally have 40g of nuggets each per day, measure out 30g of their old food and mix well with 10g of the new pellets.
  2. Continue to do this throughout days 1-7 of the transition. Keep an eye on how your guinea pigs are eating. Are they still eating as normal? Have you noticed any significant changes in their behaviour? These could be signs that a vet trip is needed.
  3. On days 8-14, start to do half and half. So 20g of old pellets and 20g of the new. Continue to monitor your piggies for any changes to their eating or drinking habits.
  4. Days 15-21 involve the majority of the new food. Try around a quarter old food, with three quarters new. 
  5. For the last week of the transition period your guinea pigs should be entirely on their new food. Keep a close eye on them during this week.

An example for an average sized, 950g guinea pig transitioning onto Burgess Excel guinea pig nuggets would be:

Days

Weight of old food

Weight of new food

Total weight

1-7

30g

10g

40g

8-14

20g

20g

40g

15-21

10g

30g

40g

22+

0g

40g

40g

 

So for two guinea pigs, just times by two!

On the back of every pack of guinea pig nuggets is a handy feeding guide based on the weight of your guinea pigs. If you have any questions about how much food to give your guinea pigs, get in touch with our friendly consumer care team.

How do you introduce new foods to guinea pigs?

If you are wanting to introduce a completely new food, like a new fresh green, it’s similar to switching guinea pig foods. Slowly introduce small amounts of the new green into your piggies daily allowance. Over the course of a couple of weeks introduce more, little by little. As with any change, keep an eye on your guinea pigs’ overall health. If you notice changes in behaviour, general eating habits or drinking habits, seek the advice of your vet.


Give your guinea pigs a great diet with Burgess Excel

Guinea pig nuggets

The best guinea pig food is made up of high quality feeding hay, nutritionally balanced guinea pig nuggets, fresh greens and fresh water. At Burgess Excel, we pride ourselves on our carefully formulated guinea pig food, designed to support your piggies’ needs. Our guinea pig nugget range includes:

Burgess Excel guinea pig nuggets with tasty mint

Burgess Excel guinea pig nuggets with blackcurrant and oregano

The world’s first indoor guinea pig nuggets

Feeding hay for guinea pigs

Our tasty and high quality feeding hay is high in fibre and dust extracted for your guinea pigs’ respiratory health. As an essential part of their diet, we know how important feeding hay is. That’s why we strive to get the best quality feeding hay from UK farmers that we know and trust.

Explore the Burgess Excel feeding hay range >>

Guinea pig treats

To support emotional health and help with enrichment and bonding, we’ve also created a range of healthy treats. The Burgess Excel Nature Snack range includes:

Burgess Excel hay bars: Tasty, flower topped hay bars in three flavours

Burgess Excel forage mixes: Perfect for sprinkling through your guinea pigs’ hay to encourage their natural foraging behaviour

Burgess Excel baked snacks: Tasty treats to hand feed your guinea pigs. Baked with love, they’re high in fibre and available in three tasty flavours.

Discover the Burgess Excel tasty and healthy guinea pig treat range >> 

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