It is very important to give your guinea pig the correct diet. The most important food is large amounts of good quality hay to be available day and night.
Secondly good quality vegetables and fruit (a good size mugful of fruit and veg a day for two guinea pigs) and thirdly dried guinea pig food. Also it is important for your guinea pig to have fresh water daily, making sure the bottle and nozzle are kept clean.
Hay should be soft and as dust free as possible. There are a wide variety of hays to chose from and can be difficult to know what one to buy. I recommend the soft hay from http://www.dustfreehay.co.uk. Hay should smell sweet and fresh, it should not smell damp and mouldy.
There are also lots of different hays and grasses on the market i.e Timothy Hay, Alfalfa, Botanical, Oat Hay, Readigrass and Orchard Grass, these are all ideal for feeding but please bear in mind Alfalfa hay should only be used for baby guinea pigs. Meadow hay is ideal for feed and bedding.
When feeding vegetables and fruit, it should be good quality and fit for humans to eat. Do not feed vegetables that have yellow leaves, are mouldy or been hanging around too long and are soft and bendy. These will have very little goodness left in them. Guinea pigs need vitamin C from the fresh vegetables and fruit fed daily. Never feed fruit or veg that has been frozen.
Guinea pigs cannot eat all fruit and vegetables as some can be poisonous to them. Here is a list of suitable and unsuitable fruit and vegetables.
SAFE TO FEED
Apples (not too often as they can cause mouth soars)
Bananas (skin as well)
Cabbage (not too much at a time)
Carrots and Carrot Tops
Cauliflower (particularly the leaves - not alot of goodness in the centres)
Lettuce (not iceberg) (but only a small amount as a treat now and then)
Melon (with skin)
Peapods and tops
Peppers (not chilli)
Rocket (only limited amount)
Spinach (not too often or too much)
Sweetcorn (feed the leaves too)
Tomatoes (not too often as they can cause mouth soars)
Dandelion leaves and flowers
DO NOT FEED
Grass cuttings from lawn mower
Rhubarb or the leaves
There is a large choice of dried foods available on the market. When choosing please do not buy rabbit food instead as this will not be the correct diet and have the added vitamin C.
There are two types, one is all brown kibble and the other looks like a muesli mix. The kibble stops them being selective eaters as each piece will have all the goodness in it. With a Muesli mix some guinea pigs will pick out the bits they like and leave the rest, which means they have not had a balanced diet. If that is not the case with your guinea pigs then muesli is absolutely fine.
When choosing which one to buy make sure you read the ingredients on the back of the packet. Some will have nasty E numbers and colours added which are banned from our food so please don't feed it to you pets.
The dried foods we recommend are Wagg Guinea Pig Crunch, Harringtons Optimum, Excel, Cavy Cuisine, Pets at Home nuggets (not the muesli type). But please keep checking the ingredients list as sometimes manufacturers do change them.
You need to read on the pack how much to feed your guinea pig each day as this can be very fattening if overfed and also be careful not to substitute dried food for hay and fresh vegetables.