How to Syringe Feed

It may be necessary to syringe feed your guinea pig when they are unwell or recovering from surgery to avoid gut stasis, maintain weight, etc. This guide is designed to help you know how!

Step 1. Mix 1 tablespoon of powder with water until it becomes a wet paste.

You can decide how much water you would like depending on the consistency you wish to have. The waterier it is, the easier it is to swallow for the guinea pig. A watery consistency may suit guinea pigs with dental disease, while a thicker consistency may be better for pregnant guinea pigs or ones recovering from surgery.

Step 2. Fill syringe with mixture.

You can use most kinds of syringes when feeding although, 1ml or catheter tip syringes tend to be the easiest to use. If the syringe has air bubbles in it after drawing up the food, tap the syringe plunger on a hard surface to bring the bubbles to the top. If your mixture is too thick to draw into the syringe, try taking the plunger out and packing the mixture in with a spoon.

Step 3. Begin Feeding.

Sit your guinea pig on a table or your lap with a towel underneath. Then, place the syringe into their mouth and slowly begin to feed. Keep going until your guinea pig is full. We do not recommend feeding more than 16ml via syringe in one sitting. If your guinea pig is still hungry after the 16ml, you can place the remaining mixture into a bowl for them to eat.

Step 4. Repeat every 4-6 hours.

Repeat feeds every 4-6 hours whilst your guinea pig is unwell/unable to eat by themselves.

Is your guinea pig reluctant to be syringe fed? Here are some tips:

  • Dip the tip of the syringe into some baby food or mix baby food into the mixture if they don’t seem to like the taste.
  • Wrap your guinea pig in a hand towel if they are trying to squirm away from the syringe.
  • Make sure the food is of a lukewarm temperature, this will be more comfortable for them.
  • Try different kinds of powdered food as they may have preferences. The most commonly available options are:
    • Vetafarm CrittaCare
    • Oxbow Critical Care
    • Oxbow Critical Care – Fine Grind
    • Emeraid – Sustain
    • Emeraid – Intensive Care