N is for Vitamin – Guinea Pig Journal


BY EXPERT Katharine Frayling RHA, FBAR, & BAR Coach

Vitamin is the important breakdown of nutritional vitamins and minerals that your guinea pig requires…

A s guinea pig lovers we’re at all times striving to supply the most effective weight loss program for our furry associates in order that they’ll stay a protracted and wholesome life. A assorted, balanced weight loss program can present all the best vitamins to spice up immunity whereas preventing off infections and ailments. Guinea pigs possess particular dietary necessities, so care must be taken to guarantee that they’re getting a well-balanced weight loss program which incorporates all of the nutritional vitamins and minerals their physique requires. A nutritionally balanced weight loss program for a guinea pig consists of round 80% hay, 15% greens (one cup) and 5% prime quality dry pellets (round 1/eighth cup per 1kg guinea pig) together with contemporary water each day. An elevated quantity of pellet combine is required when guinea pigs are underweight, sick, nursing or pregnant. Entry to contemporary hay is required always. Not overfeeding with pellets and greens will encourage your guinea pig to graze on extra hay, leading to a well-balanced nutritious diet.

A scarcity of various nutritional vitamins can have an effect on the well being of your guinea pig, particularly a scarcity of vitamin C, as like people they can not manufacture it on their very own so require a relentless provide of their weight loss program. Vitamin C and Vitamin B complicated are teams of nutritional vitamins that can’t be saved in a guinea pig’s physique, in order that they should have entry to each every day. Advanced B nutritional vitamins are absorbed by means of the method of coprophagy, the consuming of caecal pellets. A scarcity of different nutritional vitamins and minerals can have an effect on dental progress and alignment, vitality, pores and skin and hair well being, reproductive means, effectivity of organ perform, and general progress of youthful guinea pigs. Delicate balances are required to maintain a guinea pig’s intestine flora wholesome. This will simply grow to be compromised ought to their weight loss program include excessive doses of fat, carbohydrates and sugars. Malnutrition might also happen in sure housing conditions when bigger, extra dominant guinea pigs might bully smaller ones, maintaining them away from meals and water provides. Weighing your guinea pigs weekly will provide you with a warning to any disruptions to their consuming patterns and presumably the beginning of an sickness.

Guinea pig meals pellets, & contemporary fruit and greens

Selecting a top quality, nutritionally-balanced dry meals pellet which is manufactured particularly for guinea pigs, similar to Oxbow Necessities, will present most of the nutritional vitamins and minerals wanted. Learn the label to guarantee that the meals you’re buying is made primarily from Timothy hay as typically alfalfa (Lucerne) is used – which is increased in protein, calcium and carbohydrates.

 Additionally, being Timothy grass-based implies that the pellets have the right calcium to phosphorous ratio. That is particularly vital ought to your guinea pig have a bladder stone or sludge drawback. 

Artificial colourants, particularly sundown yellow, are added to many meals gadgets and treats for guinea pigs, making it look interesting to us however which may trigger irritations in guineas, particularly to the digestive and urinary methods, and may also proffer a false optimistic studying on a urine take a look at for diabetes. This specific difficulty will be harmful, as remedy for diabetes, if not required, will be deadly. 

Fastidiously learn the label for expiry or use by dates to verify for freshness. Dried meals for guinea pigs must be low in protein and excessive in fibre. When studying the substances, see that the fibre content material of the meals is increased than the protein. A superb degree is round 15-16% crude protein with the fibre content material exceeding 20%; the upper the higher. A weight loss program excessive in carbohydrates and sugar may cause adjustments to the micro organism tradition throughout the hind intestine, inflicting the intestine to decelerate. This imbalance can result in gastrointestinal stasis and/or bloat. Maintain your guinea pig’s weight loss program low in fat, ideally round 1-2%. Ought to the share be a lot increased, then the fats converts to starch and glucose, which may trigger upset within the gastrointestinal tract resulting in a slowing down of the intestine processes. Excessive calcium within the urine of guinea pigs can result in bladder issues. Checking that their weight loss program has the right ratio of calcium to phosphorous will help in fending off potential issues. Bladder stones usually tend to kind ought to the weight loss program have an inverse ratio, which means the phosphorous is increased than the calcium. A superb ratio within the general weight loss program is 1.5 calcium to 1 phosphorous.

Feeding a weight loss program that’s well-balanced between phosphorous-high meals similar to root greens and fruit, with calcium-high meals similar to greens, can stability out the ratio. Leafy greens include most of the nutritional vitamins, minerals and hint components {that a} guinea pig requires. These ought to be fed alongside the right ratio of root greens in order that the guinea pig’s weight loss program is balanced so won’t result in bladder points. Ought to your guinea pig excrete a white substance once they urinate, then there could also be an extreme quantity of calcium of their urine. Test the dietary content material of their pellets and regulate the ratio within the contemporary meals that they’re consuming. There are web sites explaining the ratios of Ca:Ph in a guinea pigs’ weight loss program similar to http://www.guinealynx.info/diet_ratio.html

Hay & Grass

Guinea pigs are foraging animals so require a limiteless provide of hay, and entry to grass, to maintain their tooth on the right size and as a vital a part of their digestive well being. This high-fibre weight loss program comprises lingo-cellulose fibre which is required to help the motion of meals by means of the intestines. It additionally assists with maintaining the micro organism held throughout the caecum on the right stability, which is crucial for maintaining your guinea pig’s digestive tract wholesome. 

Hay and grass include extremely abrasive silica phytoliths which, when chewed, help in carrying down their frequently rising tooth. With out entry to hay the intestine might decelerate and may even cease, inflicting a situation known as gastrointestinal stasis, which will be deadly. Because the fibre passes by means of the digestive system, water is drawn into the intestines permitting important vitamins to be drawn from the meals and permitting the waste materials to proceed and move out of the physique as droppings. 

There are two sorts of hay: legume hay, and grass hay, that are each sorts of grass however nutritionally very totally different. 

Legume hay, often known as lucerne or alfalfa, is increased in protein, carbohydrates, calcium and phosphorous so due to this fact supplies extra energy for vitality. The upper vitality hay is helpful for younger pups, pregnant or nursing sows, sick and rehabilitating animals, and aged guinea pigs who’ve issue sustaining weight. Guinea pigs which have bladder stones or sludge points should be fed hay which is decrease in calcium. Any guinea pig fed a weight loss program excessive in protein and carbohydrates is unable to completely metabolise the surplus which isn’t required. 

Grass hay, similar to Timothy hay and Orchard Grass, is of decrease calorific and vitality content material however nonetheless supplies the robust fibrous content material wanted for his or her our bodies. 

Botanical and Oat Hay additionally make for a tasty deal with. When on the lookout for good high quality hay, verify to see whether it is inexperienced, has a aromatic candy odor, and has little mud, no mould and fibrous stalks which might be pliable. With out entry to hay the intestine might decelerate and may even cease!

Vitamin A

Guinea pigs normally obtain the right ranges of vitamin A of their business feed so hardly ever is an animal poor. Carotene is a precursor of vitamin A and is present in inexperienced greens and carrots. This manner is much less dangerous than synthetic vitamin A and is instantly transformed throughout the physique when it’s wanted. An extra of vitamin A may cause liver harm and is normally attributable to administering multivitamins.

B Nutritional vitamins

Guinea pigs re-ingest partially-digested meals which has been produced within the caecum of the animal. These caecal pellets are moist and normally eaten straight from the anus. The great micro organism throughout the intestine synthesises complicated B nutritional vitamins within the caecal pellets together with balancing the intestine flora. Ought to there be a medical or bodily purpose that the guinea pig can not eat the caecal pellets, then your vet might prescribe a complement of complicated B nutritional vitamins. A dose of vitamin C could be required similtaneously this assists with the uptake of the B nutritional vitamins into the physique. 

You might discover {that a} poorly guinea pig will pester a wholesome one ready for a caecal pellet to be produced. Instinctively they know when their very own pellets are missing, so they are going to wait and devour a contemporary one from their cage mate. If they’ve been separated from their pal, then contemporary pellets from one other guinea pig blended in with a bit of moist meals and fed to them can help with balancing the intestine flora and including helpful complicated B nutritional vitamins to their weight loss program. Guinea pigs affected by anorexia (not consuming), dental illness and impaction might not be getting the required dose of complicated B nutritional vitamins until being fed a important care feed. If affected by impaction, permit the guinea pig time to see in the event that they need to eat what’s expressed first earlier than disposing of it. 

There are various several types of B nutritional vitamins required within the physique they usually all have vital features. Vitamin B complicated (or complicated B nutritional vitamins) refers to eight B nutritional vitamins which assist convert meals into usable gas. Many of those nutritional vitamins work collectively however every has a particular position. A number of the features of the B nutritional vitamins are to work as an antioxidant, pink cell manufacturing, maintaining the pores and skin, eyes and nervous system wholesome, together with aiding the physique with vitality launch from the meals eaten. Antioxidants assist battle broken cells within the physique (free radicals) whereas the pink blood cell manufacturing is required for the transportation of oxygen all through the guinea pig’s physique. 

Vitamin C

Guinea pigs, like people, are unable to fabricate their very own vitamin C on account of the truth that they lack an enzyme known as L-gulonolactone oxidase. This enzyme is concerned with the synthesis of ascorbic acid from glucose.

Day by day quantities are wanted from their weight loss program to produce sufficient, round 20mg; increased doses of 20-40mg per kg of body weight are wanted relying on whether or not they’re pregnant, poorly or nursing.

To offer this supply, a weight loss program wealthy in quite a lot of inexperienced leafy and colored greens, grass, and herbage will present the quantity of every day vitamin C wanted. Fruits will be added just a few occasions per week. Dry meals alone shouldn’t be relied upon for all of the vitamin C necessities as it’s current in various quantities throughout the feed, and degrades inside 3 months as soon as the bag is opened. Solely purchase a dimension of bag that you should use in that point, and switch it over ceaselessly to maintain up the vitamin C ranges. Be sure the bag is sealed every day or meals is saved in a bin with a good becoming lid. When including extra contemporary meals, empty out the stays, clear out the bin and place the rest on high of the newer meals in order that all the previous is used up first. Meals bought as bulk-buy from a pet store with open bins won’t have an excellent provide of vitamin C as you’ll not understand how previous the inventory is. Search for a label that states “stabilised vitamin C” which suggests it ought to maintain for longer. 

Vitamin C is required to help the physique in forming a standard protein known as collagen which is created from amino acids, and is important for the formation of all of your guinea pig’s connective tissues. This tissue is probably the most ample sort within the physique which helps, anchors and connects numerous elements and consists of muscular tissues, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, pores and skin, hair, blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract and bones. Ought to a guinea pig not have a weight loss program wealthy in vitamin C, then they’ll begin to endure from a situation known as hypovitaminosis C (lack of vitamin C) or, as it’s extra generally identified, scurvy. Some guinea pigs might endure from scurvy regardless that they’re consuming sufficient vitamin C. This can be taking place on account of an underlying sickness or a bodily drawback, similar to a systemic fungal difficulty, which is interfering with the absorption of vitamin C into the physique.

There are various greens which might be excessive in vitamin C, similar to bell peppers, coriander, kale, romaine lettuce and dandelion greens, so it’s normally not an issue for a guinea pig to obtain their every day quota if given a blended number of contemporary meals every day.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is required to raise the calcium and phosphorous within the blood plasma so that it’ll help mineralization of bones together with different physique features. There are two sorts of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 is synthesised throughout the physique when they’re uncovered to ultraviolet rays from daylight, and D2 is present in sun-dried forages and hay which have been uncovered to daylight. Most guinea pigs obtain sufficient vitamin D from entry to sunshine, the consuming of hay and with nutritional vitamins of their dry meals pellets. Animals saved in darkish sheds or in poor mild might endure from vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is particularly vital for a wholesome coronary heart and good bodily situation of pregnant guinea pigs. When breeding, sows can have vitamin E oil; it may be added to the weight loss program ought to the business guinea pig meals be lower than 50mg of vitamin E per kilogram of meals.


Minerals that guinea pigs require are normally discovered within the right dosages within the business meals supplied. A weight loss program which will have an imbalance of calcium, phosphate and magnesium together with a deficiency in vitamin D can result in a situation known as metastatic calcification. Mineral deposits can sub-clinically present up as irregular gray patches on tissue surfaces. Signs might present as muscle stiffness, bone deformities and poor progress, however internally these mineral deposits can happen all through the physique.

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