Pellet mixes generally consist of a mixture of grains, seeds, seed husks, pellets, nuts, corn, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and coloured pieces. These mixes should not be fed to guinea pigs in replacement of plain pellets, nor should they be fed at all, as they are unecessary, unhealthy and can pose risks.
Just because pellet mixes contain pellets, doesn't mean they are good for feeding guinea pigs. Pellet mixes contain all different bits and pieces of food, which promotes selective feeding. This means that if the piggy prefers certain bits of the mix over others, then they will become picky and choose to only eat the bits they like and ignore the bits they don't. If they only eat certain bits of the mix then they won't be eating much food at all, and they won't be getting the nutrients they need. Feeding your guinea pig only plain pellets will ensure they can't just pick out the bits they like best, and they'll be eating everything they need.
Grains & Seeds
The various grains and seeds included in these mixes are commonly known to get stuck between the tooth and the gum. This causes the tooth to become diseased and infected, which leads to a tooth abscess that grows on their jaw. Tooth abscesses always lead to death if they are left untreated. Even when they are treated your guinea pig may still suffer from a misaligned jaw, reoccurring malocclusion and the inability to eat solid foods. Grains and seeds, while edible, can actually throw the gut flora out of balance and contribute to GI stasis (a condition that is always deadly if left untreated). Grains and seeds are also very fattening, and can contribute to obesity and obesity related health problems such as arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Although very rare, seeds in husks are a choking hazard.
If the mix contains coloured pieces then it's a sign of low quality.
Other Bad Foods
- Avoid commercial treats marketed for guinea pigs (like yoghurt drops) which can even be detrimental to their health. Consuming these empty calories (many contain fat, sugars and even excess calcium) can result in decreased consumption of the basic foods they really need.
- Mineral wheels
- Rabbit pellets (they do not contain vitamin C and some may even include antibiotics toxic to guinea pigs).
- Dairy products