With everything out there its no surprise that people don't know what to buy for their Cavy. The next few paragraphs will allow you to make a more educated choice for your Cavy.
The number one rule when buying treats for your Cavy from a pet store is:
A Pet Store Treat as a whole are usually junk and not very good for guinea pigs. Oxbow has a GREAT line of treats that are safe to be given to your guinea pigs but should only be done so only a few times a week. The best treat for your pig is veggies or fruit that they don't normally get. A slice of apple or an extra peice of carrot. Make sure they are safe to eat before feeding them (read below for more information on safe foods).
There is only a few things about pellets that one should keep in mind when buying.
1. There should never be any seed. Seeds can cause your Cavy to choke, which cause lead to death.
2. There should be no unsafe additives like dyes for example.
3. There should never be any animal by products.
Guinea pigs under one year of age, pregnant or nursing should have Alfalfa pellets. Guinea pigs over one year should only get Timothy. Alfalfa is high in calcium which if given to them all the time can cause problems like kidney stones or bladder slug.
Now down to the what's best.Oxbow pellets are the best you can get in Canada. Many pet stores and pet supply stores carry this. There is two types, Cavy Cuisine which is Timothy based and Cavy Performance which is alfalfa based.
A good source for information on other brands GuineaLynx has a wonderful informational page that can be found at: http://www.guinealynx.info/pellets.html
Pellets are a small part of your Guinea Pig's daily diet. In adult pigs they should get about 1/8th a cup per day. Baby pigs should get unlimited amounts.
Hay is one of the most important parts of your cavies diet and should be feed in unlimited amounts daily.
Why this is important is:
When one of our guinea pigs had tear drop poop, we cut back on everything but the hay and after a few days she was better.
There are many types of hay. Grass hays include timothy, meadow, orchard, bermuda, bluegrass and others. Alfalfa hay can be used as a supplemental hay in addition to the grass hay if your cavies are under 6 months, are pregnant or are nursing. If you feed calcium enriched veggies an additional two-three times per week instead, alfalfa hay isn't really needed or if you are feeding an alfalfa based pellet, alfalfa hay isn't really needed
Timothy Hay is the number one hay to use for adult guinea pigs. There are many brands and like the pellets Oxbow is known for having a very good hay. My suggestion would be to shop around your city/town. There is usually hay being sold for good prices and are more fresh then anything you can buy from a store. Make sure there is not to many stems, as your cavies wont eat it as much as the leafy areas. I always ask the farmer if their hay is 1st, 2nd or third cut hay.
1st cut hay: This is the first time they cut the hay. It tends to have more stem and less leaf.
2nd cut hay: This is hay cut after the first cut. This hay is softer with less stem and more leaf.
3rd cut hay: This is usually the last cut of the season. This hay has little stem and is mostly leaf. The best for guinea pigs. Few Canadian farmers will be able to get this cut because of our seasons though it never hurts to ask them just in case.
A basic diet the I personally feed my pigs, you may use this or click on the guinealynx fresh food chart below to make your own.
I feed this once a day. As a treat I'll feed other foods such as a bit of apple when I have some in the house. In the summer I will get fresh grass to add to the list above.
Guinea pigs should have a minimum of 1 cup per pig per day. If your guinea pig does not like something just keep trying. Bell peppers can sometimes make pigs picky, never give up. Sometimes cutting things into smaller sizes helps as well.
For more in depth information on fruit and veggies go to:
*PLEASE TAKE NOTE: TO MUCH OF ANYTHING CAN BE A BAD THING. SO NEVER OVER FEED ANYTHING ON THESE LISTS, TO MUCH OF ANYTHING CAN CAUSE HEALTH ISSUES, SOME WILL HAPPEN WITH IN 24 HOURS AND OTHER CAN TAKE YEARS OF OVER FEEDING TO CAUSE.*
Lastly there is water, be it bowls or water bottles, guinea pigs need their water.
Make sure that your guinea pig has fresh water daily.
If you have more then one guinea pig, I would highly suggest have more than one water bottle. This will stop the possibility of fights.
Water bowls are another way to get water into your guinea pig besides those store bought water bottles. Please note, they will get dirty and will need replacing many times during the day.