Vitamin C is the most important vitamin for guinea pigs!
The guinea pig, along with humans and lemurs, is a mammal whose body cannot produce vitamin C on its own, therefore, just like humans, pigs need a sufficient amount of this vitamin from the outside along with food. Lack of vitamin C can lead to various unpleasant health consequences. An extreme degree of vitamin C deficiency is scurvy.
The required amount of vitamin C for guinea pigs is 10-30 mg daily . Pregnant, lactating, young and sick guinea pigs need more.
The breeders’ opinions about vitamin C, as usual, differ: one half believes that a complete and high-quality diet provides the pig with sufficient vitamin C, the other half is convinced that it is necessary to supplement the vitamin additionally.
Almost all guinea pig food and pellets sold at pet stores are fortified with vitamin C, but unfortunately this vitamin is unstable and degrades over time. Keeping the pellets in a cool, dark place helps keep the vitamin longer. But you can never tell exactly how long and under what conditions the food was stored in the store.
How to give vitamin C to guinea pigs?
Many veterinarians strongly recommend giving their guinea pigs additional vitamin C and say that in the case of this vitamin there can be no overdose! But we still urge all breeders to take a sensible approach. You can not give vitamin C all the time: you need to observe the frequency (for example, give vitamin C a week, skip a week). And someone stretches the frequency into quarters and gives the vitamin only in winter, when there is little sunlight and fruits and vegetables.
How to give vitamin C to guinea pigs? The options are:
- liquid vitamin C
- vitamin C tablets
All dosage forms of the vitamin are sold in pharmacies.
Liquid Vitamin C
Liquid vitamin C is given to guinea pigs in two ways:
Method number 1: add a few drops (according to the indicated dosage) to the drinking bowl
Method number 2: collect the solution into a syringe (without a needle) and inject orally.
There are several varieties of liquid vitamin C.
1. Liquid vitamin C specially for rodents (or other animals), which can be bought at a vet pharmacy or pet store. For example, Vitakraft liquid vitamin C. A few drops of the solution, according to the dosage, are added to the drinker or diluted with water and given to the pig from the syringe. The only drawback of the drinking trough method is that vitamin C quickly decomposes in sunlight, so it is worth pouring an incomplete drinker so that the pig drinks the solution faster.
2. Ampoules with liquid ascorbic acid, sold in the pharmacy. Experts recommend giving a 5% solution of vitamin C from 1 ml ampoules daily for 10 days, then take a break. Pour the solution into a syringe and drink the mumps. Most of the pigs love this procedure very much, apparently, they like the taste of the solution. If the pig is alone, then it is convenient to buy 1 ml ampoules, since it is better not to store the opened ampoule (the vitamin is destroyed), if there are more pigs, then it is better to take 2 ml ampoules.
If you have difficulties with the syringe and the pig turns up its nose, you can try mixing the solution with 1 ml of 5% glucose (1 ml of vitamin C + 1 ml of 5% glucose, you can also 1 ml of water).
The syringe must be washed and dried well after each use!
Vitamin C tablets
Some breeders like vitamin C in tablets more, since there are no impurities in the tablet form (like in ampoules). By the way, in addition to tablets, powdered vitamin C is also sold in pharmacies, which simplifies the task – you do not need to crush and grind a tablet.
Vitamin C in tablets or powder is given to guinea pigs in the following ways:
Method number 1: It is convenient to add a crushed tablet or powder, as well as liquid vitamin C, to a drinking bowl. Dosage: 1 gr. per liter of water. A pharmacy bag of powdered vitamin C (2.5 g) goes for 2.5 liters of water.
Method number 2: Another way: pour the powder over the cucumbers. Pigs love these vegetables and gobble up the vitamin without even batting an eye.
Method number 3 (read on a foreign forum): buy vitamin C in chewable tablets (not multivitamins !!!!) of 100 mg. Give a quarter of a tablet (about 25 mg) to the pig daily. Then take a break. Many guinea pigs enjoy gummies and are happy to eat them.
Vitamin C-rich vegetables and fruits
Vitamin C as a supplement is great, but don’t forget about the natural way to get this vital vitamin – vegetables and fruits!
The servings below are approximate values for 10 mg of vitamin C. Note that fruits and vegetables vary in size, so their vitamin C content will vary depending on the size of the fruit.
Containing 10 mg
|Oranges||1/7 orange (fruit diameter 6.5 cm)|
|Bell pepper||1/14 pepper|
|Mustard greens||30 gr.|
|Dandelion greens||50 gr.|
|White cabbage||20 gr.|
|Tomatoes (medium fruits in the November to May season)||1 PC. (fruit diameter 6.5 cm)|
|Tomatoes (medium fruits in the season from June to October)||1/3 pcs. (fruit diameter 6.5 cm)|
|Lettuce (green leaves of regular lettuce)||4 sheets|
|Head lettuce||5 leaves|
|Broccoli inflorescences||20 gr.|
|Apples (with skin)||1 PC.|
Vitamin C content per 100 gr. VEGETABLES (sort by value):
|Vegetable||Vitamin C content
mg / 100 g.
|Red pepper||133 mg|
|White cabbage||93 mg|
|Green pepper||85 mg|
|Brussels sprouts||85 mg|
|Mustard greens||62 mg|
|Turnip tops||46 mg|
|Chinese cabbage||43 mg|
|Dandelion, greens||32 mg|
|Beets, greens||28 mg|
|Green salad, leaves||24 mg|
|Green head salad||16 mg|
|Green beans||14 mg|
|Cucumber (with skin)||5 mg|
Vitamin C content per 100 gr. FRUITS and BERRIES (sort by value):
|Fruit / berry||Vitamin C content
mg / 100 g.
|Black currant||16 mg|
|A pineapple||13 mg|
|Apples (with skin)||5 mg|