Nowadays, most companies add many additives, colouring, and unhealthy ingredients to pellets for guinea pigs. So instead of doing hours of research like I did, you can lay back and relax, because I have already done it for you!
Pellets are one of those foods that can be tasty and healthy, or addictive but incredibly unhealthy. I like to compare it to protein bars – I’m sure you’ve come across snacks that are advertised as healthy protein bars until you see the ingredients. The same goes for pellets and treats for our cute guinea pigs (here’s an easy homemade hay cookie recipe for your guinea pigs. Don’t worry, it’s good for them).
Don’t get me wrong, the right pellets can be a great addition to their diet, especially in the winter when they need more energy to keep themselves warm. So after printing out the ingredient lists and researching for weeks on different kinds of pellets from various brands, here are the 5 best healthy pellets for adult guinea pigs.
Are pellets necessary for guinea pigs?
The short answer is, no. That is because guinea pigs can be perfectly healthy without pellets as long as they consume enough nutrients and vitamins, especially vitamin C every day from their hay and vegetables.
However, pellets are a good supplement for guinea pigs to make sure they get the right amount of vitamins and minerals.
How do I know if these pellets for guinea pigs are healthy?
How do you know what is healthy or not in guinea pig pellets? Here are some factors that I considered when researching a good pellet brand and type for adult guinea pigs.
- Is the first ingredient Timothy Hay?
- Does it have at least 25mg of vitamin C?
- Little or no added sugars, or molasses to prevent unhealthy weight gain and health complications
- 25 ingredients or less – all added vitamins count as one ingredient
- protein should be 14% or more of the daily intake
- High in Fibre – very important!
- Little or no alfalfa hay
- No nuts, seeds or fruits
- Filler with vitamins and antioxidants
- fat content of no more than 5%
- low in calcium (to avoid bladder stones)
How do I choose guinea pig pellets?
When you’re choosing the right pellets for your guinea pigs, look for ones that are Timothy hay-based, have 14% or more protein, contains at least 25mg of vitamin C and have little to no added sugars, nuts or seeds.
Are grain-free pellets better for guinea pigs?
Yes, because grains have lots of calories for guinea pigs but contain little to no nutritional value. Grains can also be harder to digest for some guinea pigs too. That’s why grain-free pellets are generally better for guinea pigs, especially for adults.
Disclaimer: These pellet brands are not sponsored. These are all my opinions. These guinea pig food recommendations are for adult guinea pigs
Are pellets for adult guinea pigs and young Guinea pigs different?
Yes, just like humans, growing guinea pigs and fully grown guinea pigs require different amounts of nutrition. For example, most pellets for young guinea pigs are alfalfa hay-based because of the higher calcium content. On the other hand, adult guinea pigs should limit alfalfa hay as they can cause obesity and calcium stones.
When calcium build-ups don’t get treated quickly, it can lead to bladder stones, which are incredibly painful and unfortunately, quite common in guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs live on just pellets?
No, the majority of a guinea pig’s diet should be Timothy Hay. Pellets don’t have enough fibre and are an optional but recommended addition to their diet for extra nutrition.
Are too much pellets bad for guinea pigs?
Yes, too many pellets for Guinea pigs are harmful to them because they can cause obesity as well as damage their digestive tract. Depending on what kind of pellets your guinea pig is given, they may have diabetes from the amount of sugar there is in the pellets.
The pellets from Supreme PetFoods is a healthy grain-free natural guinea pig food that suits well for all guinea pigs, especially those with calcium stones as well as piggies’ sensitive digestion problems like bloat and gas.
Number of ingredients: 11
Protein: 16% Fibre: 20%
Pros: no wheat, corn, added sugars, high in fibre, natural ingredients, rich in omega 3 & 6 (which is good for their skin and coat), supports digestion and dental health, good calcium and phosphorus ratio
Cons: contains soya bean oil (8th ingredient)
This guinea pig food is made with clean ingredients, containing extra vitamin C and antioxidants
Number of ingredients: Exact amount is unknown as the website didn’t clearly state it, but around 11
Protein: 14% Fiber: 20% Vitamin C: 1000mg
Pros: Timothy-based, elderberry boosts the immune system, rich in omega 3 & 6, prevents selective eating behaviour, herbs for digestion, antioxidants, high in vitamin c
Cons: colourants, did not state the exact ingredients in the description
This guinea pig food is timothy hay flavour and is also great for weight management, nutrition and digestion
Number of Ingredients: 15 (total 39)
Protein: 14% Fibre: 25% Vitamin C: 300 mg/kg
Pros: Timothy hay-based, rich in omega 3 and 6, lots of vitamins and minerals, high in vitamin C, good for digestion
Cons: contains alfalfa meal (3rd ingredient) as well as dried molasses (7th ingredient)
These timothy hay-based guinea pig pellets have both probiotics and prebiotics. In addition, this food also supports chewing activity.
Number of ingredients: 17 (41 in total)
Protein: 14% Fibre: 23% Vitamin C: 200 mg/kg
Pros: high in protein and fibre, lots of minerals, supports dental and digestive health, no artificial preservatives, contains probiotics and prebiotics
Cons: contains sun-cured alfalfa meal (6th ingredient), cane molasses (7th ingredient) as well as soybean oil (10th ingredient)
Oxbow animal health has been around for more than 5 generations. Of all the pellets for guinea pigs from Oxbow Animal Health, I like this one the most.
Number of Ingredients: 16 (36 ingredients in total)
Protein:12% (minimum) Fibre (max):26% Vitamin C: 250mg/kg
Pros: hand-selected timothy hay, prebiotics supports digestive health, high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and zinc.
Cons: Contains oat hulls (4th ingredient), canola meal and whole barley (5th and 6th ingredient), as well as canola oil (13th ingredient)
What is the best brand of guinea pig pellets?
Oxbow Animal Health pellets for guinea pigs are the most popular among guinea pig owners and for good reason. The reputable company produces high-quality products that are often made of organic, clean ingredients with lots of nutrition. Adding to that, they also have different pellets for guinea pigs of various ages and needs.
There is no best kind of pellets for guinea pigs, as each piggy has different needs in terms of nutrition needs, age and preferences. That being said, please remember to look at the ingredients and guaranteed nutrition analysis before buying. Don’t buy based on the looks of the package or the headlines!
What are the healthiest pellets for guinea pigs?
The Versele-Laga Complete Cavia Guinea Pig Food, as well as Supreme PetFoods Selective Naturals Grain Free Guinea Pig Food, are the healthiest, as they have lots of nutrients with little or fewer unnecessary ingredients.
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