Are you a new piggy parent and you are wondering whether or not hay is safe for your new pet? Then this article is perfect for you. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about hay and if you can give it to your guinea pig.
Do Guinea Pigs Eat Hay?
The simple answer is yes they do. Raw hay is easier for guinea pigs to digest because they don’t require much processing before consuming it. In addition, their digestive system is similar to humans and they prefer to eat fresh foods rather than processed ones. On the other hand, processed hay provides them with additional nutrition and makes them healthier.
Guinea pigs need to munch their way through a whole lot of hay each day for them to stay happy and healthy. These furry animals are herbivores, therefore, they need to constantly feed on vegetation. In the wild, guinea pigs are known to graze on grasses, therefore, as domestic animals, it is important to replicate this diet for them to stay healthy all year round.
Hay and other plant-based foods are very beneficial to guinea pigs because their teeth and digestive system are adapted to vegetation, and an attempt to switch up their herbivorous-based diet can be very detrimental.
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Do Guinea Pigs Need Hay To Stay Healthy?
A high fiber-based diet is very essential for the growth of guinea pigs. Therefore, one way for guinea pigs to get high-content fiber-based food is through hay. Hay is not just nutritious for guinea pigs but it is also beneficial to their digestive system and teeth.
The guinea pig’s digestive system and teeth are very unique. Guinea pigs’ tooths are known to keep developing as they grow, therefore, it is important to keep feeding them tough vegetation that will help them develop their teeth. Also, the digestive system of guinea pigs is very complicated as well. As a result, feeding them a fiber-based diet regularly will help too.
What Types Of Hay Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Whatever hay you decide to serve your guinea pig, it is essential to ensure that the hay is fresh, green in color, and has a sweet smell. It is also important to ensure that you provide them to your guinea pigs as dustless as possible and avoid hay with additives.
Avoid going for the cheapest variant of hay, better still go for the best quality. Also, it is important to avoid chemically sprayed hay. Essentially there are two types of guinea pigs hay. They are legume hay and grass hay.
Grass hays are rich in fiber and low in calories, protein, and calcium, making them the best hay for guinea pigs. Legume hay can be fed to guinea pigs but in minimal portions. Excessive consumption of legume hay can lead to urinary stones and excessive weight gain. However, pups, sick guinea pigs, and pregnant sows are an exception and benefit from excessively eating legume hay.
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Does Hay Encourage Foraging In Guinea Pigs?
Aside from the fact that hay is beneficial to both the digestive system and teeth of guinea pigs, hay also encourages foraging, which is a way to keep your piggy happy. Foraging gives them the feel of being in the wild and this keeps them active.
One way to encourage foraging while feeding your guinea pigs hay is by spreading it around their home. You can do this by using hay racks, balls, and special toys. This makes eating a fun and interesting exercise for your piggy. Supreme Pet, an expert pet site says that by foraging you are not just keeping your guinea pig healthy but you are also keeping them active which is great for their health.
What About The Other Parts Of Their Diet?
Hay constitutes 80% of guinea pigs’ diets, however, it is also essential to look into the remaining 20% of their diet. A healthy diet for guinea pigs includes– fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, feeding them a healthy amount of their special guinea pigs diet is also essential for their growth.
Vitamin C is also an essential part of their needed nutrient.
Hay is an essential part of the guinea pig’s diet, however, the requirements to feed them to your piggy have been stated above. However, aside from hay, other foods like fresh fruits are essential as well.