The guinea pig just arrived at your home? Excellent! These friendly animals quickly get used to their new owner, and their care does not cause many problems. However, you should remember about the daily cleaning of the cage and proper feeding of our pet. A proper guinea pig diet is a basic requirement for keeping your pet healthy and well-being. So let’s take a look at what to look for when feeding an animal, and what the consequences of improper feeding of a guinea pig may be.
The effects of improper feeding of guinea pigs – diseases caused by an inadequate diet
The effects of improper feeding of the guinea pig appear very quickly and result from the sensitivity of the digestive system of the rodent. Nutrition of guinea Pig is not particularly complicated and requires feeding dedicated herbivores. We wrote about it in this guinea pig diet article. In feeding guinea pigs, constant meal times, the selection of appropriate ingredients and absolute avoidance of harmful products are important. To avoid health problems such as diarrhea in guinea pigs constipation, a varied diet rich in vitamins, especially ascorbic acid, is necessary.
Diarrhea in guinea pigs – it must not be taken lightly
Improper diet often results in the appearance diarrhea in guinea pigs. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the given food is always fresh and of good quality. Eating rotten vegetables and fruits or eating too much juicy food such as fresh vegetables or greens can lead to diarrhea. Another cause of diarrhea in guinea pigs may be a sudden change in the menu (change of food, fresh vegetables or greens after a long winter break). Therefore, it is worth remembering that we introduce any new products very gradually, observing the faeces given by the guinea pig. If diarrhea occurs, stop administering the product. If, nevertheless, diarrhea does not go away, and other symptoms appear, such as depression or lack of appetite, be sure to consult a veterinarian. Diarrhea, like constipation in a guinea pig, is dangerous for the animal and can very quickly lead to dehydration, which may result in loss of health or life.
Constipation in a guinea pig – a painful ailment
Constipation in a guinea pig most often appear as a result of giving too much fresh spring grass. The intestines, unaccustomed to digesting large amounts of greens after a winter break, may become clogged. Then there is painful flatulence, shallow, rapid breathing. In such a situation, a visit to the doctor is necessary. Likewise, constipation can develop with little exercise or a low-varied diet without hay and vitamins. Problems with bowel movements are often accompanied by a lack of appetite. Constipation should not be taken lightly, so when we notice the first symptoms, we should consult a doctor. It is often enough to perform an enema and then force the pig to eat by feeding his favorite food to bring things back to normal.
Avitaminosis in guinea pigs – a dangerous problem
Avitaminosis in guinea pigs it is the complete absence or deficiency of a specific vitamin in the animal’s body. The cause of avitaminosis, as a rule, is an inadequate diet or disturbances in the absorption of food. Prevention of the formation of avitaminosis is based on feeding the guinea pig with foods saturated with appropriate vitamins. As a dietary variety, in spring and summer, we can provide the animal with fresh green fodder, while in winter – more vitamins and essential minerals should be given in the form of feed dedicated to guinea pigs.
a) type A avitaminosis
Type A avitaminosis is a serious condition that can stop life functions, stop breathing and cause seizures. In order to prevent avitaminosis, it is necessary to give products with vitamin A, which can be found in green plants such as lettuce. Carrots and tomatoes are also found in large amounts of this vitamin.
b) type B avitaminosis
Lack of vitamin B leads to hair loss, diarrhea, decreased limb efficiency, which can even lead to limb paresis. B vitamins are mainly found in green fodder (green parts of plants – edible herbs, leaves, shoots, grasses).
c) type C avitaminosis
The most common vitamin deficiency in guinea pigs (as in other animals) is vitamin C. This is because, unlike other vitamins, the body does not produce this vitamin itself. Symptoms of type C avitaminosis appear gradually. Initially, we can observe decreased immunity and increased susceptibility to stress. Over time, the mumps develops scurvy. Small, difficult to heal bleeding wounds appear around the mouth, gingivitis appears and the teeth slowly fall out. In this situation, vitamin C supplementation is necessary, ordered by a veterinarian, and the administration of products rich in vitamin C. It is worth reaching for parsley and dill, because they do not have a typically sour taste, which usually guinea pigs do not accept.
d) type D avitaminosis
Vitamin D is produced by the animal’s body by supplying sunlight. That is why we observe deficiencies of this vitamin, especially in those guinea pigs that do not go outside. These animals are mainly exposed to changes in rickets in the skeletal system or irregular bone growth. Type D avitaminosis also occurs in animals fed for extended periods with only one type of food. To prevent deficiencies, you need a varied diet, feeding grain, hay and fresh forage, and walking in the fresh air.
e) type E avitaminosis
Vitamin E deficiency in males can lead to growth problems and in females to infertility. Type E avitaminosis can manifest itself as nervousness or partial paralysis of the body. The unpleasant effects of vitamin E deficiency should disappear after regular administration of oil and wheat grains.
Overweight in a guinea pig – the result of overfeeding
It is quite common that a pig that we feel is properly fed – is actually overfed. This is not due to the animal’s metabolic rate, but to the habits of the household members. Frequent feeding our pigs with their favorite treats, as well as non-compliance with the dosing of the ready-made food, contribute to obesity. An obese animal becomes sluggish, lethargic, does not like to move and, unfortunately, begins to get sick more often. In case of problems with the figure, it is necessary to follow a proper diet and limit the delicacies served, including the vegetables and fruits. Only water and hay should be fed without any restrictions.
Health problems in guinea pigs? The most important healthy diet!
Most of the health problems of guinea pigs are caused by feeding them incorrectly. The digestive system of the guinea pig is extremely sensitive, therefore drastic changes in nutrition and a poorly diversified menu can quickly become the cause of our rodent’s poor health. The effects of improper feeding of the guinea pigWe will eliminate such as diarrhea, constipation, overweight or avitaminosis through a balanced and varied diet of our pet. We absolutely should avoid overfeeding, serving stale and rotten fruit or vegetables. Let us choose only the highest quality food, let us reach for fresh and unprocessed products, rich in vitamins and minerals, and our pet will enjoy good health and well-being for a long time.