Lizzieejoyce

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Hello everyone! Newbie here who could really do with some advice.

4 days ago I rescued two female guinea pigs (sisters approx 4 years old) and noticed their urine has a strong white colour, which has stained our patio, and a couple of their poos have white elements. Research says excess calcium is the issue so I am figuring out a low calcium diet, below. If anyone can point me in the right direction please let me know! The internet has been so conflicting.

At the moment I’m feeding the below:

Timothy Hay (unlimited amount)
Multi grain muesli - thinking about only providing it at night as I think it’s quite high in calcium?
Water (unlimited amount)

1 mug of vegetables per guinea pig a day:
• Cucumbers five times a week (they don’t drink much)
• Celery three times a week
• Pepper three times a week
• Cauliflower three times a week
• Dandelion twice a week (kale if we run out)
• Lettuce twice a week (Little Gem, want to get red/green leaf lettuce ASAP)
• Watercress twice a week
• Two small bits of fruit a week
• Two days a week on the grass

I have a ’meal plan’ so every day they are getting 4 of the above veggies per portion and the foods are rotated as much as possible so they aren’t having too much of the same each day.

Does this sound okay? & how long until I start seeing an improvement? I’d greatly appreciate any advice. I just want the best for the ladies xx
 
D

DMS260820

I've only read this pretty fast, cause I'm about to go sleep. But if you have hard tap water, filter it with a jug filter, brita are fine or wilko own if you live in uk

And I'd change to a low calcium, pellet feed, limiting the amount daily aswell, don't top up the bowl and let the guinea pig eat them until they can't eat no more.

Try a grain free pellet like science select grain free or something similar. If you do change over from meusli though, do it gradually by mixing both together until gradually you are 100% pellet.
 

Siikibam

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I wouldn’t do dandelion or kale twice a week. Kale in particular (and spinach) are both high in calcium. Fruit I’d also keep to max once a week - maybe even less - but it’s up to you. Pepper (And coriander/cilantro) can be fed daily as it’s a good source of vitamin c. So is hay and grass. Have a read of the thread below.
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
 

Piggies&buns

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Hello everyone! Newbie here who could really do with some advice.

4 days ago I rescued two female guinea pigs (sisters approx 4 years old) and noticed their urine has a strong white colour, which has stained our patio, and a couple of their poos have white elements. Research says excess calcium is the issue so I am figuring out a low calcium diet, below. If anyone can point me in the right direction please let me know! The internet has been so conflicting.

At the moment I’m feeding the below:

Timothy Hay (unlimited amount)
Multi grain muesli - thinking about only providing it at night as I think it’s quite high in calcium?
Water (unlimited amount)

1 mug of vegetables per guinea pig a day:
• Cucumbers five times a week (they don’t drink much)
• Celery three times a week
• Pepper three times a week
• Cauliflower three times a week
• Dandelion twice a week (kale if we run out)
• Lettuce twice a week (Little Gem, want to get red/green leaf lettuce ASAP)
• Watercress twice a week
• Two small bits of fruit a week
• Two days a week on the grass

I have a ’meal plan’ so every day they are getting 4 of the above veggies per portion and the foods are rotated as much as possible so they aren’t having too much of the same each day.

Does this sound okay? & how long until I start seeing an improvement? I’d greatly appreciate any advice. I just want the best for the ladies xx

I wouldn’t feed muesli at all. There is simply no need for it, it’s not good for them at all. For a dry food, you would look to a plain grass/hay based pellet and preferably grain free and one that doesn’t contain alfalfa. Keeping it strictly limited to one tablespoon per pig per day. (Whether you choose to feed their portion in the morning or evening is up to you). I feed science selective grain free. I weighed my one tabelspoon out and it came to just 6g.

Filter your water

Kale and dandelion are high in calcium. Feed once per week and no more.
You are perfectly fine to feed peppers, coriander, cucumber and lettuce daily. The wetter the diet the more the bladder is flushed through.

I avoid fruit altogether with my two piggies.

If you can be then grass every day then that would be great for them. It is their most natural diet, contains Vit c and wears their teeth down. There Is reason to limit their grass as if truly is the best thing for them to be eating. However, do need introduce their tummies to it slowly if they aren’t used to eating it. Do mins 15 a day for a week, then increase it to 30 mins a day for the next week and then an hour etc until they can spend long times on it without causing poop issues.

The calcium absorption process is a complex one (it’s about the calcium phosphorous ratio) but any diet changes will take time to work, it certainly won’t be a matter of days before you see any effects. You also have to remember that even on low calcium diet, you cannot and must not completely remove calcium. You will likely always see some white calcium pees as that is how they excrete the excess but it’s only if it the white areas are gritty that you really need to be concerned.
 

Lizzieejoyce

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I've only read this pretty fast, cause I'm about to go sleep. But if you have hard tap water, filter it with a jug filter, brita are fine or wilko own if you live in uk

And I'd change to a low calcium, pellet feed, limiting the amount daily aswell, don't top up the bowl and let the guinea pig eat them until they can't eat no more.

Try a grain free pellet like science select grain free or something similar. If you do change over from meusli though, do it gradually by mixing both together until gradually you are 100% pellet.

Thank you! I am looking at a better pellet, hopefully can get it soon - being in lockdown and all! Where could I get science select grain?
 

Lizzieejoyce

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I wouldn’t do dandelion or kale twice a week. Kale in particular (and spinach) are both high in calcium. Fruit I’d also keep to max once a week - maybe even less - but it’s up to you. Pepper (And coriander/cilantro) can be fed daily as it’s a good source of vitamin c. So is hay and grass. Have a read of the thread below.
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
Yes I read that dandelion/kale etc are high but also read that greenery is key to their diet. I don’t want to remove calcium altogether but will definitely reduce it more then. Thank you!
 

Lizzieejoyce

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I wouldn’t feed muesli at all. There is simply no need for it, it’s not good for them at all. For a dry food, you would look to a plain grass/hay based pellet and preferably grain free and one that doesn’t contain alfalfa. Keeping it strictly limited to one tablespoon per pig per day. (Whether you choose to feed their portion in the morning or evening is up to you). I feed science selective grain free. I weighed my one tabelspoon out and it came to just 6g.

Filter your water

Kale and dandelion are high in calcium. Feed once per week and no more.
You are perfectly fine to feed peppers, coriander, cucumber and lettuce daily. The wetter the diet the more the bladder is flushed through.

I avoid fruit altogether with my two piggies.

If you can be then grass every day then that would be great for them. It is their most natural diet, contains Vit c and wears their teeth down. There Is reason to limit their grass as if truly is the best thing for them to be eating. However, do need introduce their tummies to it slowly if they aren’t used to eating it. Do mins 15 a day for a week, then increase it to 30 mins a day for the next week and then an hour etc until they can spend long times on it without causing poop issues.

The calcium absorption process is a complex one (it’s about the calcium phosphorous ratio) but any diet changes will take time to work, it certainly won’t be a matter of days before you see any effects. You also have to remember that even on low calcium diet, you cannot and must not completely remove calcium. You will likely always see some white calcium pees as that is how they excrete the excess but it’s only if it the white areas are gritty that you really need to be concerned.
I wouldn’t feed muesli at all. There is simply no need for it, it’s not good for them at all. For a dry food, you would look to a plain grass/hay based pellet and preferably grain free and one that doesn’t contain alfalfa. Keeping it strictly limited to one tablespoon per pig per day. (Whether you choose to feed their portion in the morning or evening is up to you). I feed science selective grain free. I weighed my one tabelspoon out and it came to just 6g.

Filter your water

Kale and dandelion are high in calcium. Feed once per week and no more.
You are perfectly fine to feed peppers, coriander, cucumber and lettuce daily. The wetter the diet the more the bladder is flushed through.

I avoid fruit altogether with my two piggies.

If you can be then grass every day then that would be great for them. It is their most natural diet, contains Vit c and wears their teeth down. There Is reason to limit their grass as if truly is the best thing for them to be eating. However, do need introduce their tummies to it slowly if they aren’t used to eating it. Do mins 15 a day for a week, then increase it to 30 mins a day for the next week and then an hour etc until they can spend long times on it without causing poop issues.

The calcium absorption process is a complex one (it’s about the calcium phosphorous ratio) but any diet changes will take time to work, it certainly won’t be a matter of days before you see any effects. You also have to remember that even on low calcium diet, you cannot and must not completely remove calcium. You will likely always see some white calcium pees as that is how they excrete the excess but it’s only if it the white areas are gritty that you really need to be concerned.
Thank you so much! Can you get the science select at pets at home? & do you feed 1 tablespoon a day per guinea pig?

They haven’t been on grass for at least 4 months at the rescue centre and I don’t know their previous background so I am slowly introducing grass. Once they’re okay on it they will be out there as much as possible.

I definitely don’t want to remove calcium altogether so thought best to keep some intake through the dandelions. I’ve read that leafy greens are key so by not providing that am I not causing another issue?

& yes it’s so complicated! I have been googling for hours these past few days - going mad!
 

Siikibam

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Yes leafy greens should be part of the diet. But you also have to be careful about not feeding high calcium foods too much. I occasionally give the piggies a dandelion leaf each. I gave them one yesterday, and before that it was probably at the start of the month. If you want to give them a treat then herbs are a good one. Parsley is one of them but is also high in calcium. They can also have mint for example. And lettuce can be fed daily. My piggies get a leaf each of little gem, half a leaf of romaine (if it’s a big one) or I sometimes buy them a salad mix.

Yes to pellets being a tablespoon each. I'm
Not sure where the selective science ones are available, maybe try amazon?

You can’t completely cut out calcium. They get rid of any excess one through their pee. As long as it’s not grainy deposits then it is okay. But it’s good you’re keeping an eye on them.

PS you could also get them some forage for treats. There is a thread somewhere if you have a search. And:wel:
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you so much! Can you get the science select at pets at home? & do you feed 1 tablespoon a day per guinea pig?

They haven’t been on grass for at least 4 months at the rescue centre and I don’t know their previous background so I am slowly introducing grass. Once they’re okay on it they will be out there as much as possible.

I definitely don’t want to remove calcium altogether so thought best to keep some intake through the dandelions. I’ve read that leafy greens are key so by not providing that am I not causing another issue?

& yes it’s so complicated! I have been googling for hours these past few days - going mad!

I believe pets at home do sell the ss grain free. I actually only give mine about half a tablespoon of pellets each.

There is calcium in the pellets. They get far more calcium from pellets than they do veg, calcium is also in hay etc. There is no need to top up the calcium intake by giving dandelions solely for that purpose. It’s fine to give them the dandelions as a treat but they really do not need to be factored into their diet for calcium intake - they will be getting enough from elsewhere. My piggies have never been purposefully given a dandelion (they may get the odd tiny one out of the lawn but I don’t deliberately feed them)

Veg isn’t key in that respect. Hay is key. Their diet needs to be 80-85% hay, 10% veg (which equates to about one cup of veg per pig per day), and one tablespoon of pellets per pig (making up about 5% of their daily food intake)

Daily my piggies get their timothy hay topped up about four times a day; one cups worth of veg which is coriander, pepper, cucumber and lettuce in the evenings, and then half a tablespoon of pellets each in the mornings only
 
D

DMS260820

Pets at home sell science slecet grain free, they are roughly about 6 or £7 a bag, feeding 1 tbl spoon risky to 2 pigs will last quite long.

I've been careful with both my guinea pigs diets for a few years, and one of mine still has develepoed 2 calcium stones and needed to have her bladder flushed
 

Lizzieejoyce

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Yes leafy greens should be part of the diet. But you also have to be careful about not feeding high calcium foods too much. I occasionally give the piggies a dandelion leaf each. I gave them one yesterday, and before that it was probably at the start of the month. If you want to give them a treat then herbs are a good one. Parsley is one of them but is also high in calcium. They can also have mint for example. And lettuce can be fed daily. My piggies get a leaf each of little gem, half a leaf of romaine (if it’s a big one) or I sometimes buy them a salad mix.

Yes to pellets being a tablespoon each. I'm
Not sure where the selective science ones are available, maybe try amazon?

You can’t completely cut out calcium. They get rid of any excess one through their pee. As long as it’s not grainy deposits then it is okay. But it’s good you’re keeping an eye on them.

PS you could also get them some forage for treats. There is a thread somewhere if you have a search. And:wel:

Thank you so much! Very helpful, I'll remove dandelion servings for lettuce and feed dandelion/kale/spinach as a treat and when/if their urine and poo returns to normal. I've just picked up some selective science so will give that a go. Thank you!
 

Lizzieejoyce

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Pets at home sell science slecet grain free, they are roughly about 6 or £7 a bag, feeding 1 tbl spoon risky to 2 pigs will last quite long.

I've been careful with both my guinea pigs diets for a few years, and one of mine still has develepoed 2 calcium stones and needed to have her bladder flushed
Yep I have just picked some up, luckily cheaper than the other stuff I was going to use! I'm very sorry to hear that, hope they are okay. What was their diet typically like?
 

Lizzieejoyce

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I believe pets at home do sell the ss grain free. I actually only give mine about half a tablespoon of pellets each.

There is calcium in the pellets. They get far more calcium from pellets than they do veg, calcium is also in hay etc. There is no need to top up the calcium intake by giving dandelions solely for that purpose. It’s fine to give them the dandelions as a treat but they really do not need to be factored into their diet for calcium intake - they will be getting enough from elsewhere. My piggies have never been purposefully given a dandelion (they may get the odd tiny one out of the lawn but I don’t deliberately feed them)

Veg isn’t key in that respect. Hay is key. Their diet needs to be 80-85% hay, 10% veg (which equates to about one cup of veg per pig per day), and one tablespoon of pellets per pig (making up about 5% of their daily food intake)

Daily my piggies get their timothy hay topped up about four times a day; one cups worth of veg which is coriander, pepper, cucumber and lettuce in the evenings, and then half a tablespoon of pellets each in the mornings only
I've run to the shops to get the feed, will give it a go. Thank you! & that is a useful diet to follow, will try that too. Thank you again.
 

Siikibam

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White urine is normal. You can’t completely cut out calcium, but if it doesn’t feel gritty then that’s considered okay.
 
D

DMS260820

Pets at home sell science slecet grain free, they are roughly about 6 or £7 a bag, feeding 1 tbl spoon risky to 2 pigs will last quite long.

I've been careful with both my guinea pigs diets for a few years, and one of mine still has develepoed 2 calcium stones and needed to have her bladder flushed
Ignore the word risky in my post I'm replying to. Predictive text done it.. Sorry
 

Lizzieejoyce

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Hello again! Just a quick update. It’s been nearly a month on now and I’m still seeing white urine and a few white deposits in their poos. Is this common or should the issue have sorted itself out by now?

They have the science select pellets (1 tablespoon each per day) timothy hay, cucumber/pepper daily and grass. When not on the grass they have romaine lettuce. They hardly drink their filtered water and they don’t like celery anymore.

On a separate note, I’ve noticed that one is losing weight so I’d like to include some more leafy greens into her diet to see if that helps. Finding it odd that only one is looking thinner though x
 

Siikibam

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They will always get rid of excess calcium in their pee, so I don’t know that the urine can ever be completely clear. As long as it’s not grainy/gritty then it should be fine. Loss of weight can sometimes be due to not eating enough hay. How much has she lost and over what time period?
 

Lizzieejoyce

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Okay thank you. I’ve noticed weight lose over the last week and a half. She looks generally thinner. I have never weighed them, as I still can’t pet them yet, let alone pick them up/hold. They have constant hay in front and she’s often buried in it and eating a lot
 

Siikibam

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It’s hard to judge how much hay they’re eating by eye. Hence weighing weekly. Weight loss can be a sign of something not being right. Heft is also a good indicator of body condition. You’ll just have to brave it and weigh them weekly. If you have a tunnel or snuggle sack then use that to pick them up. Have a look at the thread below.
Weight - Monitoring and Management
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig Safely
 
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