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Vitamin C Can Play a Critical Role in the Health of a Guinea Pig

Have you ever wondered why people tend to talk a lot about vitamin C in orange juice? Humans can’t produce Vitamin C, so we have to ingest it. The same goes for guinea pigs. Your guinea pig needs vitamin C for its nutritional needs and to prevent other health problems. This vitamin is, in fact, crucial for the health of your guinea pig.

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How Vitamin C Can Play a Critical Role in the Health of a Guinea Pig

Your guinea pig can only get their daily dose of Vitamin C through their food or an additional supplement. Why do they need it, though?

The Importance of Vitamin C

Your guinea pig needs Vitamin C for things that you might not even think about, like wound healing, but it will also help in the development of skin, bones, and blood vessels. Not to mention that having enough of this vitamin will prevent diseases or conditions like scurvy.
All of this is part of the normal development of your guinea pig, but since they cannot produce it themselves, you have to help them out. This is especially true if they are pregnant, nursing or for young guinea pigs.

How to Give Your Guinea Pig Vitamin C

For the most part, you might be able to fulfill their need for Vitamin C through their regular diet, although it depends on what you feed them. If you feed them a selection of vegetables high in Vitamin C plus some fresh pellets, you should be fine. Keep in mind that even though many commercially available pellets include vitamin C, it tends to break down over time. You want to keep your food in a cool, dark place then, or buy pellets that are stabilized with vitamin C.
You can also purchase Vitamin C tablets made specifically for guinea pigs.

Vitamin C Dosage

Speaking of dosage, guinea pig supplements will usually be around 50mg. This is normal, since Vitamin C is water-soluble and will break down. Of course, it also depends on body weight. Some guinea pigs will only need as little as 5mg, while others might need 30 to 50mg.
Ultimately, it’s crucial to talk to your vet about your guinea pig’s dosage, because it will depend on their weight and relative health.

Foods with Vitamin C

If you want to avoid the dosage issue, you might want to try and meet their vitamin C needs through their diet. Of course, make sure to add any new foods gradually.
In this case, consider providing them with options like bell peppers, mustard greens, green carrot leaves, and fruits such as strawberries or kiwis. You might also give them options like oranges and tangerines, but be careful with these since they might cause inflammation. Only give these out in small doses, usually as treats.

Does My Guinea Pig Need More Vitamin C?

If your guinea pig has a Vitamin C deficiency, you should notice signs like a lackluster coat, swelling around their mouth, delayed healing, poor appetite, swollen joints, lethargy, or diarrhea.
Many illnesses tend to display similar symptoms, so see your vet for a thorough assessment regardless of whether you suspect a Vitamin C deficiency or not.


Vitamin C is a vital part of your guinea pig’s health. They need Vitamin C to heal, have a good coat, and prevent diseases and other pains. Since they can’t produce it themselves—you need to ensure they get enough on their own. It might be as simple as adjusting their diet, but if you have any questions, be sure to ask your vet.

Author: Santiago Diaz
As a veterinarian focused exclusively on avians, exotics, and wildlife, Dr. Díaz has lectured widely, including at a National Veterinary Conference, the Merck Merial Conference, the Morris Animal Foundation Conference, and at various veterinary technician schools throughout Florida. ​