Sometimes hand feeding a guinea pig is a way to save the life of our pet. So it’s important to know as much as possible on this topic so that when happens to us, we will be prepared.
If a guinea pig is ill or simply refuses to eat by himself, hand feeding is a method that can keep our guinea pig alive. Take either ready meals like Critical care or prepare your own mix. Don’t forget vitamin C, it’s important, especially in this case. Use a syringe for hand feeding. Never place your guinea pig on its back, vertical position is recommended.
What Food to use for Hand / Force Feeding?
Ox-Bow ”Critical care” is great a choice, because it has all the nutrients the guinea pig needs. It is very easy to prepare, take a bowl add critical care and slowly add water to make the mix, able to flow through the syringe easily.
Make sure the mix is not too watery because your pet will not get enough nutrients they need so if it is watery just add some more critical care. Fill out the syringe, it will have some air that you have to remove and fill that empty space with more food to make your syringe full.
In case you do not have Critical care at home, stores are closed and your guinea pig hasn’t eaten for several hours you can make your own mix for hand feeding.
Take some hay pellets, bananas, and sunflower seeds. Take all ingredients and put them in the blender, blend and mix with a small amount of hot water to make a mushy substance and you have a homemade, hand-feeding mix. Another option is pure pumpkin puree. It’s high in fiber and many guinea pigs love the taste.
Also, provide extra vitamin C because they need it, especially in these conditions.
How Often To Hand Feed a Guinea Pig?
Generally, hand feeding should last between 5-10min, its important to hand feed your pet slowly and to feed him/her 2-3 times a day. If you have guinea pigs’ babies or you are taking care of a pregnant guinea pig you might need to hand-feed your pet more often. The same goes if you have an ill guinea pig, it might be necessary to hand feed him/her more than 2-3 times a day but that is something you need to check with a vet.
How to Hand Feed a Guinea Pig?
To hand feed the guinea pig you should have a syringe (without needle) and pipettes at your home. This way you can react fast and start feeding early if there is any condition that requires force-feeding
A syringe that is used as a catheter for dogs is suggested by a vet because the front of the syringe is an ideal size. Also, a curved dental syringe will do the trick but you have to cut the tip off to shorten it half of inch in length and a whole wider so there is enough space for the food to go through.
I have read that it is also good to give your Cavy a few drops Simethicone for infants ”Little tummies” gas relief drops (half of the infant dose) to help with the gas that was building up due to lack of food but it is always best to check with the vet about any medication you give to your pet.
Most of the time it will not be hard to make your Cavy eat what you hand-feed it because in most cases food that has a mushy texture is easier for them to ingest (if all is ok with their digestion).
After you have prepared the syringe/food just take the towel and place your guinea pig on your lap and lock them in position by your elbow and gently open their mouth from above put the syringe in the mouth and squeeze out the food slowly allowing them to chew a bit and then to swallow.
In any case, it is always best to visit a vet and check the guinea pigs’ condition for your pet to get proper treatment because they get very sick very fast so every moment counts.
Here is the video about how to hand-feed guinea pigs by Saskia from LA Guinea pig rescue