You and your guinea pig may have more in common than you realize. Both you and your guinea pig must have vitamin C to survive. Unlike other mammals who manufacture vitamin C from glucose in the body, you and your guinea pig both lack a particular enzyme needed to perform this process. Thus, both human and guinea pig vitamin C requirements must be satisfied by external sources.

Your guinea pig must have a regular source of vitamin C or it will perish. Vitamin C is a water-soluble substance. Fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamins A, D, E and K) are dissolved by lipids – fat globules. Once these vitamins are absorbed by lipids, they are stored in your body’s tissues.  Vitamin C, on the other hand, is not stored in the body. It is dissolved by water and any excess vitamin C in your guinea pig’s body will be excreted in the urine. Because vitamin C passes so quickly through your cavy’s body, they must be given supplements on a daily basis.

A great way to supplement your pig’s diet with the C vitamin is to feed them a diet rich in dark leafy vegetables such as parsley, kale or romaine lettuce. Be sure to avoid iceberg lettuce as it is mostly water and empty calories. It is essentially devoid of any nutritional value. As a general rule of thumb – the darker and richer the color of a fruit or vegetable – the more vitamins it contains.

To insure that your pig is getting sufficient amounts of daily vitamin C, it is also recommended that you supplement its diet with vitamin C supplements in the form of tablets or liquid drops. Tablets can be crushed and sprinkled on food or dissolved in drinking water. Liquid supplements can be added to drinking water or sprinkled on your guinea pig’s food.

Be careful when adding vitamin C to your pig’s drinking water. Vitamin C can be destroyed by substances found in tap water in certain regions. Your safest bet is to use distilled or purified water.

Your cavy needs vitamin C to survive. While supplementation is recommended, it should not be the only source of vitamin C for your guinea pig. Your pig’s diet should also contain plenty of dark green vegetables. Since vitamin C is water-soluble, there is little danger of giving too much vitamin C to your cavy. All excess vitamin C will be safely eliminated from the body in the urine.

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