Bloat is a severe distension within the gut through the process of fermentation. It is extremely painful and life threatening. A sign that your guinea pig may have bloat feels like their tummy is a tight as a drum. Typically they also feel extreme pain and stop wanting to eat. It is imperative that you act immediately and get them vet attention.
The best action is to avoid this to begin with. If guinea pigs eat foods that cause more disruption to their gut than expected then bloat is a potential threat. In the same way that some vegetables can cause us to be ‘windy’ it also affects your piggies. These foods include the cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts. It also includes foods that have a high amount of water in relation to their fibre content – such as the stem of celery, watermelon and melons in general which all piggies love to eat, but if they are not use to them in their diet and they over consume, then it can cause bloat. The most well known item – Iceberg – lettuce should be avoided. The potential for bloat is high and in addition it has a very low nutritional level.
With all of the foods mentioned, piggies love them all. The problem is if they were to only eat these, it would cause an imbalance. So the key is variety. In addition, if a piggie has not had a certain item before, then introduce it slowly and in small amounts.
Safe options that are likely not to cause bloat are:Carrots, tomatoe, cucumber, corn, corn husk and silk, capsicum, celery leaves, spinach, herbs like parsley and coriander, grasses. For a full list click here to obtain a chart which contains a load of other information including sugars. Click here Free PDF Guinea Pig Food Guide
This is a guide for you to use while you make other introductions. As with all vegetables they have a wide variety of nutrients and enzymes so introducing them slowly keeps food really interesting for your guinea pigs.
As you learn more about these vegetables/fruits you will also hear and see things about salicylate levels, calcium and so forth. The larger issue at hand is to understand how to keep them safe from bloat so that by providing a rounded regular nutrient dense meal, they will love it and feel safe while you slowly introduce other items.