Guinea pigs cannot synthesise vitamin C or ascorbic acid in their bodies, so we have to add it to their diet. Usually, an adult Guinea Pig needs around 10 mg/kg ascorbic acid, and 30 mg/kg in female Guinea Pigs that are pregnant.
The majority of diseases that Guinea Pigs suffer are caused by an inadequate diet. A part from the complete feed for Guinea Pigs you can buy, you must give them fresh fruits and vegetables. Among those, the ones that contain vitamin C, because the lack of it can cause some problems like tooth decay, severe colds, skin crusts, weakness, diarrhea, etc. Therefore, we must give them fresh fruits and vegetables that contain it on a daily basis.
Sources of vitamin C
Red and green peppers are a good source of this vitamin. They contain it in large amounts but also vitamin C can be found in green leafy vegetables like chards, lettuce, endives, lamb’s lettuce or rocket. Strawberries are also vitamin C rich, so we can supplement the diet with this fruit.
Sunbathing is also an extraordinary way of raising the levels of vitamin C in guinea pigs bodies. The sun helps in the development of teeth and bones and also favors the absorption of calcium and vitamin C. Avoiding noon and hot temperatures, we can put the cage where there is sunlight. We can also leave a corner of the cage in the shadow, just in case our pet wants to refresh himself from time to time.
We outlined the importance of vitamin C because the body cannot produce it, so the only sources are external, and the easiest and healthiest is through vegetables and fruits. However, vegs are also welcome for your guinea pig health. Apart from the fruits and vegetables we mentioned, you can give your guinea pig spinach, carrots, zucchini, corn, apple, mandarin, pear, grapes, pineapple or even dry bread. They can eat as much as 50% of his body weight, so don’t worry about giving them too much. Better safe than sorry.