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Poor diets for guinea pigs have been associated with muscular dystrophy, metastatic calcification, difficulties with pregnancy, vitamin deficiencies, and teeth problems.Guinea pigs tend to be fickle eaters when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables after having learned early in life what is and is not appropriate to consume, and their eating habits may be difficult to change after maturity.They do not respond well to sudden changes in their diet and they may stop eating and starve rather than accept new food types. A constant supply of hay is generally recommended, as guinea pigs feed continuously and may develop bad habits if food is not present, such as chewing on their hair. Because their teeth grow constantly (as do their nails, like humans), they routinely gnaw on things, lest their teeth become too large for their jaw (a common problem in rodents). Guinea pigs chew on cloth, paper, plastic, and rubber, if they are available.
A number of plants are poisonous to guinea pigs, including bracken, bryony, buttercup, charlock, deadly nightshade, foxglove, hellebore, hemlock, lily of the valley, mayweed, monkshood, privet, ragwort, rhubarb, speedwell, toadflax (both Linaria vulgaris and Linaria dalmatica), and wild celery. In addition, any plant which grows from a bulb (e.g., tulip or onion) is normally considered poisonous, as well as ivy and oak tree leaves. A guinea pig may or may not eat poisonous material.