Hay is a vital food for guinea pigs. But how long can guinea pigs go without hay? Your guinea pig shouldn’t go without hay for more than 24 hours. Hay is the basic diet for cavies. It contains fiber that aids digestion and also helps to prevent the formation of bladder or kidney stones. Additionally, they are essential to keep your pet’s teeth in good shape.
All their lives, cavies keep growing their teeth so how do their teeth remain the appropriate length? It is the hay they chew that prevents their teeth from overgrowing. So, if you planned to exclude them from your pet’s diet for even a day, you need to think twice. But do guinea pigs need hay to survive? Can they survive on vegetables, grasses, or fruit? What can you do if you run out of hay for your guinea pig? This article will answer all the questions that cavy owners have concerning their pet’s diet. So, keep reading and find your answers.
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Can Guinea Pig Survive Without Hay?
Guinea pigs cannot survive without hay. Cavies need a high-fiber diet with a low amount of calcium and sugar. This diet will help to improve your pet’s digestive system, prevent obesity, and great to ease boredom. That is what hay provides. The VCA hospital explains that the primary diet for cavies is an abundant quantity of Timothy hay. Supplemented with this should be high fiber Timothy hay-based pellets for cavies. Timothy hay is the best for your pet because it has low calcium content. Cavies don’t need a high calcium diet because they could develop kidney or bladder stones when excess calcium combines with oxalic acid in their system. But another alternative to timothy hay is meadow hay or alfalfa hay.
Alfalfa hay is not recommended for adult cavies because it contains calcium that they don’t need. However, young and pregnant cavies need a considerable amount of calcium in their diet. So, Alfalfa hay is the best suit for them.
Guinea pigs cannot survive without hay. Cavies need a high-fiber diet with a low amount of calcium and sugar. This diet will help to improve your pet’s digestive system, prevent obesity, and great to ease boredom. That is what hay provides.
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What Happens If A Guinea Pig Doesn’t Eat Hay?
- Your pet could develop bladder stones.
Timothy hay is low in calcium. However, it provides cavies enough calories and the energy they need. Pellets, vegetables, and fruits have higher calcium content. Think about it, if your pet relies solely on a ‘hay-less’ diet, she will ingest more calcium, right? Hence, she could develop bladder stones that are detrimental to her health.
- Insufficient fiber in their diet
Cavies need enough fiber in their diet to aid digestion. Timothy hay is high in fiber that helps to improve your pet’s gut health. So, if your pet doesn’t eat enough of it, she may experience indigestion, bloating, or constipation.
- Hay helps to keep their teeth in great shape
Hay is essential for your pet’s dental health. Unlike humans, teeth growth for cavies spans through their lifestyle. So, they need to chew hay to file the teeth down and keep it in good shape.
- Risks of obesity and diabetes
And lastly, feeding more fruits and vegetables has nutritional benefits. However, it is not ideal because vegetables and fruits have higher sugar content. Excess sugar could lead to obesity and even diabetes in cavies. So, it is imperative to ensure that your pet eats a diet where the major food is hay, supplemented with minimal amounts of fruits and vegetables.
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What To Do If You Run Out Of Hay For Your Guinea Pig?
It’s possible that you run out of hay for your guinea pig. And maybe you are unable to buy more for your pet as soon as possible. So, what can you do if you run out of hay? Do you own a lawn? Perfect! You could give your pet some grass to eat instead. Cat grass, wheatgrass, timothy grass, bluegrass are safe and nutritious for cavies. But make sure the grass is untreated. The chemicals in pesticides can kill your pet. You can give your pet some cucumbers too. It has low sugar, high water content, and some fiber. But it is better to buy large amounts of hay at once. This dry matter can last up to a year without losing its nutrients.
You could give your pet some grass to eat instead. Cat grass, wheatgrass, timothy grass, bluegrass are safe and nutritious for cavies. But make sure the grass is untreated. The chemicals in pesticides can kill your pet. You can give your pet some cucumbers too. It has low sugar, high water content, and some fiber.
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How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Food?
Guinea pigs can go without food for up to two days. But after two days, your pet might die. However, never starve your pet for up to 24 hours. When cavies don’t eat for that long, they will have intestinal blockage. It is essential to consult a vet during this period because your pet will die if she starves for up to two days. You can introduce fruits like carrots or strawberries to sweet pets until they regain their appetite. Guinea pigs love their sweet taste and may be unable to resist them even while they are sick. It is essential to feed your pet at least twice daily.
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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass Instead Of Hay?
It is the convention to give hay to cavies instead of grass. But can guinea pigs eat grass instead of hay? Yes, Guinea pigs can eat grass instead. The hay we feed guinea pigs are usually grasses that have been dried. Both of them contain silica that helps to keep their teeth in good shape. But greens can cause GI problems for your pet. So, introduce grass slowly in their diet. Besides, grasses, just like hay also contain fiber. You can give your pet grasses such as cat grass, wheatgrass, orchard grass, timothy grass, or bluegrass. Make sure to feed them fresh and untreated grass.
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Can Guinea Pigs Live On Just Pellets?
No, guinea pigs cannot live on pellets. Pellets don’t contain enough nutrients to keep guinea pigs in good health. In fact, cavies that feed on pellets only are more likely to develop bladder stones. Guinea pigs need hay as the principal constituent of their food. Without hay, cavies will grow long painful teeth. Besides, cavies need vegetables and fruits to derive sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is also essential to provide water for your cavy. So, never rely on pellets only to provide the vital nutrients that your pets need.
Further Reading: “Can Guinea Pigs Eat Banana Peels?“
To sum up, always provide hay for your guinea pigs at all times. This is our responsibility as guinea pig’s owners, to supply our pets with their vital needs and hay is one of the most important ones. This dry matter helps to ease their boredom and is excellent for their guts. Never allow your guinea pig to without hay for more than a day, otherwise, she might begin to get sick. If you run out of hay for your pet, give your pet fresh and untreated grass for the time being. If you don’t have fresh grasses available, you could provide vegetables like cucumber, lettuce or kale, or cilantro for your pet.
Finally, your pets must derive all the nutrients they need from their diet. Cavies cannot survive on hay only. It is essential to supplement their diet with pellets, vegetables, and fruits. Never substitute any of these other options for the other in your pet’s diet. Cavies need to eat healthily to remain physically fit.
1 thought on “How Long Can Guinea Pigs Go Without Hay? [ What We Shouldn’t Do! ]”
Just wanted to say really well done. Superb job.