Category Archives: Brands to Trust

Choosing a Healthy Pellet

Pellets are an important part of a well-rounded diet including unlimited grass hay, a cup of fresh vegetables, and fresh water. There are so many options for guinea pig pellets available in pet stores that it can be confusing to try to find one that is safe and healthy! However, I’m here today to help you select a pellet brand that will be nutritious for your piggies.

Guinea Lynx, a wonderful resource for guinea pig information, says that the following ingredients should be avoided:

  • Animal products (including but not limited to animal fat, meat, tallow, animal digest, sterols, bone meal, and eggs)
  • Beet pulp
  • Corn products (including corn bran, corn germ, corn gluten, ground corn, etc.)
  • Seeds, nuts, or oils
  • Rice Bran or Rice Flour
  • Vegetable fiber
  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Sucrose
  • Propylene glycol
  • Food colorings (include FD&C reds, blues, and yellows)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, or sodium metabisulfate
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)/Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

(To read the full page, please click here.)

You know what to avoid, but what should you look for? A nutritious pellet should be Timothy-based (or alfalfa-based, for lactating and pregnant mothers or guinea pigs under six months of age), and there should be no added treats, seeds, or colorful bits. There should be added vitamin C to help meet the daily vitamin C requirements of guinea pigs.

To store your pellets, keep them in a dark, air-tight container in a dry, cool area of your home. The vitamin C content will diminish if the pellets are not stored properly.

Let’s take a look at three common pellet brands. Two are healthy, and one is not. Can you spot the difference?

1. Kaytee Forti-Diet Guinea Pig Garden Blend 

Ingredients
Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Ground Corn, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Ground Oats, Ground Wheat, Sun-cured Timothy Hay, Whole Oats, Green Split Peas, Flaked Corn, Flaked Wheat, Rice Flour, Soybean Hulls, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Cane Molasses, Corn Oil, Dehydrated Carrot, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), DL-Methionine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin A Supplement, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Carbonate, Riboflavin Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Ethoxyquin (a preservative), Zinc Oxide, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of vitamin K activity), Copper Oxide, Cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Carbonate, Sodium Selenite, Artificial Color.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (min.) 18.0% Crude Fat (min.) 3.5% Crude Fiber (max.) 14.0% Moisture (max.) 12.0% Ascorbic Acid (min.) 100 mg/lb

2. KMS Hayloft Timothy Choice 

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein     (min)   14.00 %
Crude Fat   (min)   2.5 %
Crude Fiber   (min)   20.00 %
Crude Fiber   (max)   25.00 %
Vitamin A   (IU/KG)   30,000
Vitamin D-3   (ICU/KG)   1,000
Vitamin C   (mg/kg)   1,000
Calcium   (min)   0.7
Phosphorus   (min)   0.4   

Ingredients: 

Timothy grass hay, oats, wheat, barley, soybean hulls, soy meal, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A supplement,Vitamin E supplement, Manganese Oxide, Meniodine Bisulfate, dl-Methionine, Zinc Oxide, d-Calcium Pantothenate,Copper Sulfate, Niacin, d-Biotin supplement, Pyrideoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, Riboflavin supplement, Cobalt Sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, Calcium Iodate, Cane molasses

3. Oxbow Cavy Cuisine (Timothy-based)

Crude Protein min 14.00%
Crude Fat min 1.50%
Crude Fiber min 25.00%
Crude Fiber max 28.00%
Calcium min 0.35%
Calcium max 0.85%
Phosphorus min 0.25%
Salt min 0.50%
Salt max 1.00%
Vitamin A, IU/lb min 13,000
Vitamin C, mg/lb min 200

Ingredients:
Timothy Meal, Soybean Hulls, Wheat Middlings, Soybean Meal, Salt, Limestone, Molasses Products, Yeast Culture, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Monophosphate L-ascorbic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Riboflavin, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Thiamine, Pyrodoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Lysine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Carbonate, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex and Cobalt Glucoheptonate

The answer is…KMS Hayloft and Oxbow! Kaytee has added treats mixed in with the pellets (definitely should be avoided), and there are corn ingredients, artificial colorings, and rice flour as well. But KMS Hayloft and Oxbow are the most highly recommended because they have the best ingredients for your guinea pigs. If you are able to, please try to feed one of these to your guinea pigs as they are the most nutritious.

I hope this has helped you, and if you have any questions please feel free to comment!

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