Our team of vets will provide your guinea pig with everything they need to live a healthy and happy life

Guinea pigs have a natural requirement for vitamin C – like humans, they cannot synthesize it themselves.

Most of the health problems we see in guinea pigs are related to an inappropriate diet. It is essential that your guinea pig receives enough vitamin C in their diet, as a deficiency will lead to a poor immune system function and susceptibility to infections and parasite infestation.

It will also lead to loosening of the teeth and dental problems. In severe cases, a disease called scurvy may develop which is fatal if not treated promptly.

Your guinea pig needs…

  • A daily vitamin C supplement in their water. The effervescent vitamin C tablets available from chemists are best. They need ¼ of a 500mg tablet made up in their water bottle fresh every day. Excess vitamin C is excreted in the urine so you cannot overdose them on this vitamin.
  • A tablespoon of a proprietary guinea pig food daily. Do not feed more dry food than this. The pelleted varieties e.g. Supa Guinea Excel from Burgess Petfoods are best as this will prevent your guinea pig from picking out an unbalanced diet. Buy only small quantities at a time and choose sealed bags rather than scoops from open bins to preserve the vitamin C content, which degrades quickly.
  • Good quality grass hay or dried grass every so often. It is best to purchase a bale from a stable for better quality at a cheaper price than the packaged hay from pet shops.
  • Occasional grass, either grazed from the lawn or handpicked, but never give mower clippings.
  • Leafy green vegetables e.g. cabbage, spinach, parsley, broccoli, carrot tops etc. Always introduce new foods slowly, in small quantities.
  • Occasional treats of small pieces of apple, pear or carrot 2-3 times weekly

If you have a rabbit and guinea pig housed together, which is not generally advised, you should feed both according to the guinea pig’s requirements so that there is adequate vitamin C in the diet.

We generally recommend that guinea pigs are housed in groups, or herds. These can consist of males and females, but if there is more than one male in a group, all males should be castrated to avoid fighting.

Equally, if males are housed with un-neutered females, then the male should be castrated as it is dangerous for a female over the age of one to become pregnant for the first time due to fusing of the pelvic bones.

It is not recommended to house guinea pigs and rabbits together. A rabbit can kill a guinea pig with one kick of their hind limbs, and guinea pigs carry bacteria in their nostrils which can cause fatal snuffles in rabbits.

For more information, or to speak to a member of our friendly team about your guinea pig, simply call Twickenham Veterinary Surgery on 020 8898 0528.