A plain pellet should be formulated with Vitamin C and can be placed in a heavy ceramic bowl which cannot be easily tipped over for optimum access.

A used by date will provide an indication of the freshness and longevity of any pellets purchased.

The nutritional content must be examined closely to ensure the correct amount of calcium, phosphorus, fibre and protein is in the correct ratio.

Why is a ratio important?

A guinea pigs digestive system is kept in check via GastrointestinaI Flora or more commonly referred to as GI. This flora contains bacteria and protozoa which aid in breaking down food. If this delicate balance of intestinal flora is compromised due to an incorrect diet, or a diet to high in fats, carbohydrates and sugars it can cause severe digestive upset and can cause Gastrointestinal issues.

Always ensure that your protein content in your pellets never exceeds the fibre content.

A good protein level is 15-16% crude protein.

Fibre must always exceed 20%. You should always aim for the highest fibre content possible and avoid high carbohydrate, sugary foods as they can cause the bacteria within the hind gut to subsequently change. We do not want this! You want your critter's digestive system working efficiently to avoid Gastrointestinal ileus.

Want to learn more on why all these components are important? Read on for more!

Graphic explaining the important components found in guinea pig pellets.

What does Fibre, Protein, Fat etc. do for piggies?

The main components you need to look for in a pellet is Fibre content, Protein, Vitamin C, Calcium, Phosphorous and Fat levels.

A good indicator of quality pellets is comprehensive breakdown of the nutritional components on the packet. Cheaper mixes will often state 'includes vitamins and minerals, ascorbic acid etc' but do not specify amounts or percentages. This can often be due to variation of ingredients due to seasonal availability, which in turn does not guarantee you a consistent nutritional value or quality of ingredients each time.

Simply put: Always make sure that any pellet you purchase has the nutritional analysis clearly marked on the packaging!

Muesli based mix and points listing why these are bad for guinea pigs.

Why avoid museli?

Pellets must be free of artificial colours, flavours, mixed nuts, grains, corn, dried fruit, dairy, meat, seed husks, beet pulp, rice bran, rice flour, vegetable fibre, corn syrup, sucrose, Propylene glycol, Propyl gallate, Potassium sorbate, Sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, or sodium metabisulphite, Ethoxyquin, and Butylated hydroxyanisole.

Types of Pellets

Pellets are primarily lucerne based which is ideal for young, pregnant or nursing cavies. This is due to the higher calcium and protein content which provides a suitable supplement for growing guinea pigs. Once your guinea pig reaches approximately one year of age slowly introduce and mix in a Timothy based pellet.

Timothy pellets offer the adult guinea pig a lower intake or protein, calcium and carbohydrates which is suitable for their digestive system and will maintain the correct Protein:Fibre ratio.
Burgess Excel and Bunny Nature both offer premium pellets with ingredients which are Vet Recommended, to ensure optimal Vitamin C levels, taste and flavour composition.

Storage and Quantity

1/8 of a cup can be provided to your cavy daily in addition to fresh vegetables and Hay. Pellets should be stored in a cool dry place, not in direct sunlight. To prolong the freshness of your pellets seal in an airtight reusable bag after use.

Chart showing popular brands of guinea pig pellets and showing levels of fibre, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin C for each.

But Which Pellets are Best?

There are a lot of brands of piggy pellets and mixes out on the market, some much better than others (and some that should not be fed at all!).

It's important to remember that while pellets are a small part of a guinea pig's diet, they provide extra nutrients and vitamins they might miss out on with just hay and veggies.

So, let’s make sure they get the best!

Images of common types of guinea pig pellets and mixes found in pet shops and in supermarkets.

Piggy Pellets on the Market

Above are some of the range of pellets, both good and bad that you'll find in pet stores and supermarkets. Be wary - just because they're on a shelf with a guinea pig on the packaging does not always mean it's a suitable option for our piggies (see our chart above)!

Images of guinea pig pellet brands and mixes showing which ones are recommended and not recommended to feed guinea pigs.

The Best Options at a Glance

When it comes to piggy pellets, the winning brands are Burgess, Bunny Nature, Oxbow and Cavy Origins. While the other brands are cheaper, unfortunately they offer little to no nutritional value to your pets' diet.

Vet Approved Pellets

Burgess Excel, Bunny Nature and more!

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