Food Bowls and Dishes
Along with a water bottle, a food bowl is one of the must-have items for your guinea pigs' home. Most pet stores tend to sell a range of guinea pig bowls, but don't just grab the first one you see or the cheapest one available. Often these are inferior to ones costing just a little bit more, and some can even put your cavies at risk.
If you intend to feed your pets their dry food and fresh food at the same time, it is a good idea to get two bowls, otherwise the water from the fresh food can make the pellets wet. Alternatively, you can use one bowl, and feed one type of food in the morning and one in the evening. If you do this, be sure to clean the bowl out thoroughly when changing food.
Different Bowl Types
Guinea pig food bowls come in many different shapes and sizes. The best ones are those which are wide and shallow, as they provide the easiest access for your pets. Guinea pigs have very short legs and may struggle to reach their food if the sides of the bowl are too high.
Make sure your guinea pigs' food bowl is sturdy and not too tall.
Look for a dish with vertical sides. Cavies like to put their feet on the rim of the bowl, and if the walls are angled their weight make the bowl wobble around or even tip over. An upturned dish will send your animals' food flying everywhere, and it can also be a risk to babies as they can become trapped underneath.
Plastic bowls are no good because your cavies will soon chew them to pieces, meaning you'll have to buy another. Ceramic dishes are much better, and usually last forever unless they become damaged. They are also heavier than plastic ones, making them much more stable and harder to overturn.
Because guinea pigs are quite large in size, you need to make sure their bowl is big enough for them to all fit around. Some pet shops stock bowls which are designed for any rodent, but these are often too small.
Instead, a bowl for a cat or small dog can often be a better choice. However, be sure that it doesn't take up too much space in your pets' cage, as they still need plenty of room to run around.
You should put your guinea pigs' bowl away from their toilet and sleeping areas, and near to their water bottle or bowl, so that they can do all their dining in one place. Be careful not to put it too near their water though, or any leaks will make their food soggy and inedible.
If your pets will be spending long periods of time outside their cage (such as in a playpen or run), you should move their food bowl with them so. Guinea pigs like to nibble almost constantly so be sure to give them something to eat wherever they are.
Cleaning and Refilling
You will need to change your pets' food every day. Even if there's some left and it looks ok, it will have gone stale and lost much of its nutritional value, so still needs to be replaced.
Before refilling their bowl, clean it out thoroughly to remove any droppings or stuck-on food. This will help to keep the dish free from germs, and your pigs free from diseases.
Choosing a suitable bowl for your guinea pigs isn't difficult, but it does require a bit of thought to make sure you get one that will meet all their needs and last many years.