how to feed critical care to your guinea pig

Oxbow Critical Care for Guinea Pigs – What is it & How to Feed it

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Hey there, fellow guinea pig lovers! If you’re serious about taking care of your furry little buddy, you have got to be ready for any health issues that might pop up. And that’s where Oxbow Critical Care comes in clutch! 

This awesome food supplement should be in every pet owner’s DIY first aid kit and it is specially made to give your guinea pig all the nutrition and support they need when they’re sick or recovering. 

In this blog post, we’re gonna talk about what exactly it is, when and how to use Oxbow Critical Care and give you some tips to make sure your pet gets back to their happy, healthy self in no time. Let’s get started 🙂

What is critical care for Guinea pigs? 

Critical care is a powdered formula that contains fibre and all the essential nutrition for recovery for herbivores with poor health, whether it’s from surgery, illness or more. 

Many vets will prescribe or recommend this for your pet as needed. However, It’s an essential item to have in your home and Guinea pig first aid kit. Therefore you can purchase critical care at your local pet store or Amazon. 

Types of critical care for Guinea pigs

There are 3 types of critical care available for Guinea pigs, and all of them are natural:

What’s the difference between regular critical care and fine grind? 

Both regular and fine-grind critical care have the same ingredients. Having said that, fine grind critical care is in a smaller particle size made to flow easily through nasogastric feeding tubes as small as 5 Fr. Because of its smaller particle size, it is ideal for use with smaller and younger patients.

I like the fine-grind one slightly more because it’s a little easier to mix and can fit into smaller syringes with ease. 

Nevertheless, all types of critical care are just as useful to your pet’s recovery process. Your vet will most likely choose the best one for you. 

What are the ingredients in critical care? 

There are lots of ingredients in just one scoop of critical care, and each of them plays a part in the powerful formula, whether it’s for recovery, ease of mixing, or taste. 

Here is the list of ingredients in the papaya-flavored herbivore critical care: 

“Timothy Grass Meal, Soybean Hulls, Soybean Meal, Wheat Germ, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Soybean Oil, Flaxseed, Magnesium Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Papaya, Pineapple, Cane Molasses, Natural Flavor, DL-Methionine, L-Glutamine, Oat Groats, Wheat Middlings, Sodium Bentonite, Yeast Culture (dehydrated), Fat Product, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Inulin, Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, ZincSulfate, Zine Proteinate, Niacin, Copper Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, SodiumSelenite, Manganese Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Rosemary Extract.”

Oxbow Animal Health

What is critical care good for?

Critical care can be used for a variety of reasons. Some situations where your vet will recommend you to feed it to your guinea pig are:

  • Post-surgery (for example, after a bladder stone removal operation)
  • When they are not eating 
  • During and after sickness 
  • to gain weight
  • if they have a lack of appetite
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • Put inside your guinea pig first aid kit for emergencies

Remember, always consult your vet before feeding critical care to your guinea pig, because every guinea pig is different. 

oxbow critical care for guinea pigs

How much critical care should I give to my Guinea pigs? 

The amount of critical care and how often you should feed it varies on your guinea pig’s age and weight. 

When my vet prescribed the supplement to me, she calculated my guinea pig’s weight and wrote down the amount I should give my piggy. 

However, according to the package, it is said that the guideline for Guinea pigs and rabbits is 3 tablespoons of powder per kg of weight in total a day. 

How often should I give my guinea pig critical care? 

It is recommended to divide the total amount of critical care you need to feed in a day to 4-6 times a day or as indicated by your veterinarian.

How to give my Guinea pig critical care? 

  1. Mix around one part of critical care powder with 3 parts of clean warm water, adjusting the amount of liquid for the best consistency. 
  2. Divide the mixture into several smaller servings, about 4-6 or as your vet indicates. 
  3. Rinse your feeding tube or syringe with water. Push the air out from the tub by pushing the plunger to the bottom of the tub
  4. Insert the mouth of the syringe into the mixture and pull the plunger slowly to suck in the critical care. If it’s too, hard, you can always just remove the plunger and spoon the critical care into the syringe
  5. Hold your Guinea pig gently but firmly and feed the tub to your Guinea pig. Feeding from the side of its mouth will make it easier to get your piggie to open its mouth
  6. Once done, transfer the remaining mixture either to a large feeding tub or a small airtight container and store it in the fridge until the next feeding time.

Method 2 – Bowl, plate or spoon

So that was the traditional and most used method. However, I prefer using other ways and putting force-feeding as the last option. 

oxbow critical care for guinea pigs

Now that doesn’t mean you should not force feed your Guinea pig if that’s the only way to get its nutrition in, but here is my “luring approach” method. 

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 from above before starting, but make the consistency of the mixture thicker, like a food purée 
  2. Place the mixture on a guinea pig-safe plate
  3. let the guinea pigs lick the critical care by themselves!

Since critical care is made for sick animals, the taste of it should be great to attract the pets to consume it. Therefore your piggies may be willing to voluntarily lick it, or maybe even rush to steal a taste of the mixture too.

Top Tip

Remember your guinea pig should always have lots of clean, fresh water available. Here’s how to encourage your piggie to drink more water.

Other methods

Besides feeding via syringe or tube feed and offering it wet on a plate, there are some other ways to feed critical care to your guinea pigs. These methods include sprinkling the powder dry as a top dressing on your piggie’s food, or even combining the mixed powder wet with your furry friend’s food.

Of course, the best method will depend on your pet, and how willing it is to consume the supplement. Either way, don’t give up – you got this!

Q & A

How long does Oxbow Critical Care last?

Since this is a powder, the critical care itself can be stored for up to 2 years. Once opened, the shelf life will be limited to 6 months. On the other hand, the mixed critical care can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Can you overfeed critical care?

Although the amount needed to overfeed your guinea pig is quite a lot, Yes, it is possible to overfeed critical care to your pet. Too much critical care can lead to too much weight gain, obesity, and most importantly, fewer bowel moments or poop.


It’s very likely that at some point of your guinea pig parenthood, you will have to feed your potato critical care. Remember to always consult a vet for any uncertainties, the amount of critical care, and more. But I hope you found this article helpful, and if it did, please consider subscribing to the I C Cinnamon guinea pig newsletter. There, you’ll get guinea pig news, articles, videos, tips, facts and so much more.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks so much for the ingredient breakdown, that way I don’t have to search up each ingredient 😊

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