Why Should All Guinea Pig Owners Invest in Timothy Hay?
Australians love their pets. However, for many of us, the stress and responsibility of a conventional companion such as a dog or cat is too much. Would you like to enjoy the company of an intelligent and cuddly animal who, in their unique way, can give you moments of happiness? In that case, you should buy a guinea pig. As one of the most popular pets for families with young children, guinea pigs possess a friendly and curious nature that allows them to form genuine connections with handlers.
Guinea pigs are low-maintenance animals that adapt well to living in small enclosures. Moreover, they are not aggressive, eat little, have straightforward nutritional needs, and can vocalise their requirements so you can tell when they want something. In addition, guinea pigs live relatively long lives compared to other rodents, such as hamsters and can be found sporting different coat colours for an affordable price. Nevertheless, there are also things to consider.
Although they are much easier to care for than cats or dogs, guinea pigs need companionship, fur grooming, and a diet containing mainly Timothy Hay. High-quality hay is essential for their nutritional needs, but luckily, hay is relatively cheap compared to other types of pet food. Guinea pigs are perfect companions to children, are playful and entertaining bundles of joy for elderly or single people and can be your best friend if you let them get close to your heart.
The Advantages of Timothy Hay
Guinea pigs are herbivorous animals that, in the wild, obtain most of their nutrients by chewing on the fibres of grasses. Timothy hay is rich in the vitamins and minerals necessary for the proper development of our fluffy friends, has a positive effect on their dental health, and the fibre intake brought into their feed has a beneficial impact on their digestive health. Hay should ideally make up about 80% of your small friend’s diet, and when properly managed, can be the best way to keep your guinea pig at an optimal weight.
Moreover, as chewing on grass is a natural behaviour that guinea pigs enjoy in their original environment, hay is perfect for mental stimulation and provides them with a monotony-free activity that many rodents need. Not least, guinea pigs use hay to borrow and get away from potential threats. Providing a constant flow of hay to your tiny friend will positively affect his behavioural traits, strengthen his muscles and ligaments, and make him feel safe around you.
Pellets or Hay? What to Choose?
Both hay and pellets play a decisive role in the daily nutritional intake required for the proper development of guinea pigs. However, high-quality hay must make up the majority of your fluffballs diet. Hay is an excellent source of fibre, has a positive effect on digestion, and, when eaten, constantly covers most of our companion’s dietary needs. However, being low in calories and boasting fewer nutrients than pellets, hay cannot be the only food source for your guinea pig and should be supplemented with pellets, fruits and legumes.
High-quality guinea pig pellets are nutrient- and calorie-dense, making them a convenient way to ensure your friend gets the dietary intake needed for healthy development. However, as they are much denser than premium-quality Timothy Hay, pellets can lead to weight problems and should only represent 20% of your fluffball’s feed. Other foods, such as fruit and vegetables, can also be offered to your pet, primarily those rich in vitamin C, as guinea pigs cannot process it independently. Nevertheless, vegetables and fruit should be no more than a snack for your fluffball, as guinea pigs can’t digest sugar properly.
What Are the Nutritional Needs of Guinea Pigs?
Like other small rodents, guinea pigs need fibre for healthy digestion alongside a steady flow of vitamins C and A. Vegetables such as broccoli and bell peppers can be offered occasionally to supplement their daily nutritional intake, while high-fibre quality hay should make up the majority of their diet. It is also imperative that your guinea pig is not deficient in vitamin D, as this can negatively affect their calcium absorption and lead to problems with the skeletal system. Like humans, they can produce vitamin D by sitting in the sun, so keeping them close to a window is essential.
A sensible idea could be looking at pellets with added vitamins E and K, which act as natural antioxidants that reduce cell damage. However, equally crucial will be that your little friend has unrestricted access to a water source. Small rodents, particularly hamsters and guinea pigs, are susceptible to kidney problems caused by improper hydration. This is because, in the wild, a good chunk of their water intake comes from chewing on grasses sprinkled with dew. The hay you purchase will be dry, so a water source nearby will be crucial, and you should always make sure that your fluffball uses it.
They Are Perfect Low-Maintenance Pets
Guinea pigs need a diet rich in Timothy Hay to flourish. Plus, they must always be bought in pairs to avoid becoming depressed. However, all things considered, they are some of the easiest to care for animals available in Australian pet shops. Having a gentle and shy disposition and being naturally non-aggressive, guinea pigs are perfect for families with young children, as they are funny, intelligent and affectionate creatures who do not hesitate to express their needs. Plus, they are active during the day, which is not a given in the animal kingdom, and their coat is one of the most magnificent in the Cavia genus.
Guinea pigs live relatively long lives, are playful and friendly with other pets, do not require special tools nor face unavoidable health problems, and are, compared to other rodents, clean animals suitable for apartment living. Yes, they need a cage, interactions with other members of the same species, ample amounts of hay, and a constant water source. However, when compared to cats or dogs, owning a guinea pig is a breeze, and the satisfaction you can obtain from being responsible for these cute little animals can be one of the greatest joys in your life.