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Will Guinea Pigs Stop Eating When Full? The Interesting Answer


Guinea pigs eating

If you have pet guinea pigs, you know that these little critters are always nibbling on something. So, it may seem that when they’re not sleeping and playing, they’re eating all day long. This has led many people to believe that guinea pigs are never full and that they don’t have healthy boundaries when it comes to food. But is that true?

Read on to discover everything about the guinea pig eating patterns!


Do Guinea Pigs Stop Eating When Full?

A guinea pig will normally stop eating when full, as its stomach will send a signal to its brain, notifying it that there’s no more room for food. Guinea pigs typically fall asleep after eating, and once they wake up, they continue with their activities, including eating again.

However, some guinea pigs can experience problems that may lead to overeating and weight problems. If you’re not providing a proper diet to your guinea pig and not giving them enough mental stimulation and exercise, your guinea pig could quickly become obese.

Suddenly gaining a large amount of weight could also indicate medical problems. If you’re providing your guinea pig with appropriate amounts of high-quality food, but it’s gaining a great deal of weight, it might be best to speak with your vet.

guinea pig eating basil
Image Credit: TJ Images, Shutterstock

What Are the Most Common Foods That Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs are herbivores, meaning they mainly feed on plants; their favorite foods include:

  • Grasses
  • Hay
  • Seeds
  • Twigs
  • Bark
  • Pellets
  • Fresh veggies (leafy greens, broccoli, green pepper, carrots, zucchini)

Guinea pigs should consume hay and pellets daily, and these should be the main focus of their diet. Also, ensure that you provide your guinea pig with a fresh water supply every day.

It’s best to provide around ⅛ cup of pellets a day, preferably ones that contain vitamin C. This is an essential vitamin for guinea pigs because it promotes the maintenance and development of joints, mucosal surfaces, and skin, reduces dental problems, and helps heal wounds.

You can provide hay in unlimited amounts; in fact, it’s always good to leave a small amount of hay near your guinea pig in case it gets hungry. Hay helps prevent the overgrowth of teeth and aids with digestion.

himalayan guinea pig eating hay_Shutterstock_PHOTO FUN
Image Credit: PHOTO FUN, Shutterstock

Your guinea pigs should consume 1 cup of fresh veggies every day. It’s best to divide the vegetables into small portions and include them in multiple daily meals. Try to switch up the veggies every day, but mostly stick to products with high vitamin C levels, including:

  • Broccoli
  • Green pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Kale

You can offer other foods, such as fruit, as occasional treats, though preferably only a couple of times a week. Ingesting too much fruit could cause multiple problems in guinea pigs due to the high sugar levels, so never include fruit in your guinea pig’s regular diet.

How Often Should Guinea Pigs Eat?

There’s no particular time frame for how often guinea pigs should eat, but it’s best to provide them with a constant food supply in case they get hungry. Since guinea pigs love to eat and need food for their bodies to function, it’s best if they eat frequently.

The best way to deal with their diet and ensure that they always have enough food is to provide:

  • Unlimited hay per day
  • ⅛ cups of pellets per day
  • 1 cup of fresh veggies per day

Guinea pigs are constant grazers, so it may seem as if they eat all day long and don’t seem to get full.

Guinea pig eating lettuce
Image Credit: Olga Pedan, Shutterstock

Do Guinea Pigs Experience Appetite Loss? If so, Why?

Guinea pigs can experience appetite loss due to various reasons; if appetite loss happens, it’s essential to observe your guinea pig and find the reason for not eating.

Consuming enough food is crucial for the development of your guinea pig; if a guinea pig doesn’t eat for an extended period, it could quickly develop multiple problems, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Rough hair
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Depression
Albino guinea pig with red eyes
Image Credit: Irina Timoshenko, Shutterstock

There can be various reasons that your guinea pig is not eating, including:

  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Dietary changes
  • Insufficient water
  • Changes in the environment
  • Teeth problems
  • Ketosis

If you notice that your guinea pig is not eating as usual and is experiencing weight loss or other problems connected with a lack of appetite, it’s essential to contact your vet. They will be able to determine the cause of the problem and help prescribe a proper treatment.

To reduce the risks of appetite loss in your guinea pig, always provide it with a well-balanced, healthy diet, and ensure that its environment is clean and stress free.

How Long Can Guinea Pigs Be Without Food?

Guinea pigs are grazers, and an adequate food supply is essential for their digestive tract. These rodents can last up to 6–8 hours without food; if they don’t consume anything for a longer period, their bodies won’t be able to function properly.

Sleepy guinea pig
Image Credit: Shchus, Shutterstock

What Happens to Guinea Pigs That Don’t Eat for a Long Time?

If a guinea pig doesn’t eat for an extended period, it could develop various health problems due to the lack of healthy nutrients and vitamins. One of the most common problems that can occur in guinea pigs that don’t eat for a while is GI stasis.

This disease occurs when a guinea pig experiences a change in its diet or digestive process. This is a severe health problem because it can cause further issues for your guinea pig, such as:

  • Oral ulcerations
  • Infections
  • Abscess formation
  • Tongue entrapment
  • Anorexia
  • Excessive salivation
  • Swelling

Another common issue in guinea pigs that don’t eat for long periods is vitamin C deficiency. It’s a severe condition that can cause many further problems, from swollen joints to even death.

Since these problems could potentially be life threatening for your guinea pig, always provide it with an adequate food supply.

guinea pig side view
Image Credit: Katya36, Pixabay

divider-guineapigFinal Thoughts

Guinea pigs will stop eating when full as long as they are healthy and have a proper diet. Otherwise, a guinea pig may overeat or eat less than usual due to inadequate diet, stress, and similar factors.

Always provide plenty of hay, pellets, and fresh veggies to your guinea pig while monitoring its eating patterns. If you notice anything unusual, such as overeating or appetite loss, immediately contact your vet to investigate the issue.

Featured Image Credit: violetta, Pixabay


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