You might have noticed that your guinea pig is always chewing something. So, you may be undoubtedly curious about the reason why guinea pigs are always hungry.
Here’s a quick answer –
Guinea pigs are always hungry because they are foragers by nature. This means they are always in search of healthy food.
Moreover, eating constantly or chewing on grass or hay maintains their gut health. It also keeps them away from other health-related issues.
As a responsible owner, you may come across many queries regarding the eating habit of your guinea pig.
So, let’s look at other possible reasons to answer why are guinea pigs always hungry?
Reason #1: They Are Herbivores
Guinea pigs are herbivores, so they usually spend most of their time awake eating. Their teeth, unlike carnivores, also keep growing throughout their lives.
This means that guinea pigs need to keep chewing on tough plants to wear down their teeth.
Hence, your guinea pigs chew and eat all the time to soothe their teeth.
Your guinea pig should be able to get as much clean, fresh grass hay as it wants. You should also give it guinea pig pellets to satisfy its hunger.
Reason #2: They Have Complex Digestive System
Their digestive system is also very complicated and needs a lot of fiber to stay healthy. All of this means that guinea pigs need to eat plant-based foods with a lot of fiber.
And the best way to give them this is by giving them a lot of hay.
Guinea pigs need to eat and poop a lot because their digestive system is set up to handle mostly low-nutrient foods.
Reason #3: Guinea Pigs Need Enough Calorie
Even though guinea pigs have small bodies, they need enough calories to keep their bodies running at a healthy rate.
Also, since guinea pigs are herbivores who eat leafy greens, they are more likely to burn more calories. So, to retain enough calories in their bodies, they always eat.
However, apart from these inner matters, have you ever noticed your guinea pig shedding? Well, that might be the cause behind its hunger.
Reason #4: They Are Shedding
Guinea pigs begin to shed their fur coats in the spring so that they may enjoy the warmer weather more comfortably.
Also, guinea pigs start to shed their fur in the fall, right before winter. This means they lose their fur twice a year.
Shedding takes a lot of energy from a guinea pig and makes them want to eat more. Since most of the energy goes into shedding, the guinea pig needs enough nutrition.
That is why they eat as much as they need to gain energy.
If your guinea pig is shedding alot, you need to give it enough food. Once the shedding season is over, they will get their energy back and eat normally again.
Reason #5: Their Breeding Habits
Have you ever noticed that your female guinea pig’s appetite gets bigger in the spring? This can change the time of year when they breed.
Notably, a pregnant female guinea pig needs to get enough food and energy to stay healthy. But not all guinea pigs are like this.
During this time, the female guinea pigs undergo hormonal changes. These changes may also lead to extreme hunger.
Usually, it only happens to guinea pigs that are taken outside often to play or live. However, this can be caused by the sun, light, and other things as well.
Also, guinea pigs that have been neutered or spayed won’t show any symptoms because they only release a small number of hormones at that time.
Reason #6: Your Guinea Pig May Have Diabetes
An increased appetite is a possible indicator of diabetes in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs may have weight loss as a result of this.
Altering the food of your guinea pig is important if you want to be successful in treating diabetes in the animal.
Because guinea pigs that are too fat always get diabetes, you need to change the way they eat. With a strict diet plan, a sick guinea pig might be able to get better.
It is better to avoid getting this disease than to treat it. Guinea pigs need a balanced diet with foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar.
However, do you know apart from diabetes, parasites can be a reason for their increased appetite? Let’s learn about it.
Reason #7: Your Cavy May Have Parasites
Guinea pigs’ appetites can suddenly get a lot bigger if they have parasites. The parasites in your guinea pig’s gut can take the food from its stomach.
So, your guinea pig needs to eat a lot of food to get the same amount of nutrients.
Your guinea pigs’ symptoms will depend on which parasites they have. But parasitic infections can always be treated by looking for other signs.
Those often include weakness, hunger, discharge, skin problems, etc.
If your guinea pig has parasites, it will cause weight loss as well. Hence, they eat so much to gain the necessary energy to fight back.
If this happens, you need to visit a veterinarian. The veterinary surgeon gives your guinea pig the medicine it needs to get rid of the parasite.
Also, they can give supplements to help boost the immune system. That will give your guinea pig a healthy appetite and get rid of parasites.
Things to Know About Guinea Pig’s Diet
Now, let’s look at 3 things to keep your guinea pig healthy in terms of its diet:
Avoid Sugary & Starchy Foods
Guinea pigs always want to eat. But your guinea pig shouldn’t have a problem with eating a lot unless it’s eating too much sugar and starch.
A diet rich in sugar is bad for your guinea pig as it lacks nutrients.
In addition, it can make your pet obese and lead to other health problems like gut issues.
Serve Enough Hay and Veggies
When guinea pigs go without food for several hours, the digestive process either slows down or completely stops. This may result in major difficulties for its health.
In this case, give them enough hay.
You need to ensure that your guinea pigs have access to as much hay as they desire. In addition, give them daily access to one cup of veggies and the occasional bite-sized treat.
If your guinea pig is breeding, give her as much food as it needs. During that time it goes through several hormonal changes.
Consult a Veterinarian
If your guinea pig is fat and eats so much, visit a veterinarian to check if it has diabetes.
Talking to a vet is the best way to find out what’s wrong if you notice anything strange. They will give you the most likely solution to the problems your guinea pigs are having.
So, knowing these facts will help you as a guinea pig owner to keep your pet in good health for its whole life.
But you should make sure that it doesn’t get all of its nutrients from one side.
Do Guinea Pigs Need To Eat Constantly?
Yes, guinea pigs need to eat constantly due to being herbivore creatures. It has a complex digestive system that requires constant eating.
Also, to retain enough calories in the body and for good dental health, guinea pigs need to eat almost all the time.
How Many Times A Day Should You Feed A Guinea Pig?
It’s good to feed your guinea pig twice or thrice a day in small amounts.
You need to serve a pellet containing approximately 1/8 cup, together with hay and fresh vegetables.
Also, give unlimited fresh timothy hay.
Hay should always be available to guinea pigs since it helps them digest food and prevents their teeth from becoming too long.
Can You Overfeed a Guinea Pig?
It can be possible to overfeed your guinea pig but you shouldn’t.
Overfeeding your cavy can disturb its sensitive digestive tract. It can also lead to health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
It is important to serve the right portioned meals to your pet to prevent overfeeding it. In addition, cut down on sugary meals.
The best diet is to serve them with the right combination of pellets, hay, and fresh vegetables.
Do Guinea Pigs Squeak When Hungry?
Yes, guinea pigs squeak when hungry.
The sound that a guinea pig makes when it is hungry is called squeak. Squeaking for food is a form of learned habit that develops over time.
If you can’t tell if it’s hungry or not, you should feed it some food or veggies if it makes a squeaking sound.
So, you shouldn’t be shocked if they squeak around the time that you typically feed them or if they notice you bringing some food into the room.
In this article, you have learned that it is in their nature to chew on things all the time.
Apart from that, there are seven common reasons for your guinea pigs to feel hungry, such as their herbivore tendencies, complex digestive system, shedding, breeding, and health conditions like diabetes.
Want to know more about harmful foods that you should not feed to your guinea pigs?
Read out the article about 21 Foods You Shouldn’t Give Your Guinea Pigs!