What Do Guinea Pigs Eat? – 2022 Guide

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Guinea pigs are not fussy eaters but that does not mean that you can feed them anything. They need a balanced diet to grow, stay healthy, and fight diseases. Like Ann Wigmore says: ‘the food one eats can either be the safest form of medicine or the slowest form of poison’. This is especially true for our guinea pigs.

Providing the right type of diet and food is crucial for your guinea pig’s well-being. A well-balanced diet can go a long way in elongating your pet’s longevity. However, most guinea pig owners fail to provide balanced nutrition to their little pets. Often, they wonder about the following:

  • What is the best basic guinea pig diet plan?
  • What vegetables can guinea pigs eat and not eat?
  • Which fruits can guinea pigs eat and which are unsafe?
  • What foods are toxic to these pets?

Worry not! We have all the answers for you. In this guide, we have a well-balanced diet plan for your buddy along with a list of vegetables and fruits that they can and should not eat. You and your family members can easily follow this comprehensive guide to provide your guinea pig a well-balanced diet plan.

Basics – What is the Best Guinea Pig Diet Plan?

Every guinea pig needs four crucial components in its diet:

  • Hay/grass
  • Water
  • Cereal
  • Green and root vegetables and fruits.

Hay

Hay is what your guinea pigs eat in the wild. Without this component, your pet cannot digest its food. After all, they are grazing animals and hay is the best food to graze upon for them. So provide your buddy with some high-quality Timothy hay.

Water

Always keep a bowl of fresh drinking water available for your pet. Make sure to wash the bowls regularly and make frequent water changes. Bacterial and mold can accumulate on the dishes making your pet very sick. So follow the basic rules of hygiene.

Cereals

Your guinea needs a bowl of cereals every day. Cereal mixes for guinea pigs are readily available in the pet shops. These usually contain crushed oats, pellets, barley, corn, etc.

Vegetables and fruits

Your small pet needs plenty of fruits and vegetables to meet its vitamin C needs. Without fruits and veggies, your little guy or girl could develop scurvy which is very painful and can even kill your guinea pig.

Thankfully, scurvy is completely preventable through a diet filled with fruits and vegetables.

In the next section, we will specifically cover the specifics – different foods, fruits, and vegetables that are edible and safe for guinea pigs. We will also cover the ones your pet isn’t supposed to eat.

Which Foods Are and Aren’t Safe for Guinea Pigs? Complete List of Safe and Toxic Foods for Guinea Pigs

Grapes – red, dried, and green grapes

If you are wondering ‘can guinea pigs eat grapes, red grapes, and green grapes, then the answer is yes. However, they are very high in sugar and that is why you must feed them in moderation and as an occasional treat.

Remember: guinea pigs should not eat dried grapes as they are toxic to them.

Celery

Can guinea pigs eat celery? Yes, celery leaves and sticks are a good source of vitamin C for your buddy. However, this vegetable is stringy and can pose a choking hazard to your pet. So please monitor your guinea pig when it is eating celery. Also, moderation is the key and in excess, celery can cause gastric trouble in your Guinea.

Cucumbers

If you are wondering ‘can guinea pigs eat cucumbers’, the answer is yes but only a few times a week. In excess, cucumbers could cause digestive troubles in your little pet.

Blueberries

Can guinea pigs eat blueberries? Yes, but just 1-2 berries per day. In excess, this sugary berry can lead to obesity in this small pet.

Kale

Yes, guinea pigs love to eat kale which is an excellent source of vitamin C for scurvy prevention.

Cantaloupe

Guinea pigs can safely eat cantaloupe rind, seeds, and leaves and they instinctively know which parts of the melon to leave aside if it is hard and chewy. If you choose to feed the rind, please make sure that it is free from pesticides and chemicals.

Cauliflower

Can guinea pigs eat cauliflower is a commonly asked question by guinea owners. The answer is yes. This vegetable provides many vital nutrients to your little pet.

Grass

Can guinea pigs eat grass from outside? Yes, pesticide-free grass clippings and hay (fresh and dried) are important for your guinea and form a major part of its balanced diet.

Mango

Can guinea pigs eat mango pulp, peel, and leaves? Mango, being high in sugar should only be used as an occasional treat for your guinea. You can also feed the leaves and peel but make sure they are organic.

Radishes

Can guinea pigs eat radishes and radish leaves? No. The vegetable is high in oxalic acid and can form stones in your pet’s bladder. Radish leaves are also high in calcium that, in excess, could harm your pet.

Raspberries

Like blueberries, your pet can eat a couple of raspberries daily but avoid it in excess as its high-sugar content can cause obesity.

Avocado

Can guinea pigs eat avocado flesh, leaves, and pits? Please only feed the flesh of avocado in moderation since it is highly fattening. As far as possible, limit your guinea’s avocado consumption. Avoid feeding the pits of this fruit.

Brussels sprouts

Can guinea pigs eat Brussels sprouts? Yes, but only feed raw Brussels sprouts and not cooked. Cooking destroys the nutrients that your pet needs.

Corn

Can guinea pigs eat corn and corn husks? Corn, corn flakes, corn silk and corn husks are okay for your guinea pig. Avoid feeding sugar-coated corn flakes in excess. If you are wondering ‘can guinea pigs eat popcorn’ the answer is no as it is a choking hazard.

Pumpkin

Yes, guinea pigs eat pumpkin with relish and it is a healthy vegetable for your pet. You can give the rind, leaves, pulp, and seeds in moderation. Make sure it is organic.

Bell peppers and sweet peppers

Can guinea pigs eat sweet peppers, bell peppers, bell pepper seeds, daily? Avoid feeding the seeds of bell peppers to guinea pigs. You can safely feed sweet peppers like green, yellow, orange, and red bell peppers to your pet, but without their seeds and stems.

Blackberries

Yes, guinea pigs can eat blackberries in moderation like blue berries. Avoid too much as it could lead to obesity.

Cherries

Yes, guinea pigs can eat cherries in moderation, but remove the pits/seeds, and stems first.

Mushrooms

Can guinea pigs eat mushrooms? Yes, all varieties of edible mushrooms like bella or baby bella, portabella, white, and button mushrooms are safe for guinea pigs. Avoid feeding wild mushrooms as they could be toxic.

Peaches

Can guinea pigs eat peaches and nectarines? In moderation, yes. As an occasional treat only.

Bread

Can guinea pigs eat bread and breadsticks? No both these human foods are strictly forbidden!

Kiwi

Can guinea pigs eat kiwi and kiwi skin? Yes, like most fruits, kiwi is great as an occasional treat to your guinea pig. Remember, kiwi is high in sugar.

Onions

Avoid feeding onions, onion skin, onion peel, or even onion rings to your guinea pig. Can guinea pigs eat green onions? You can give the leafy green part of green onion but avoid the bulb as it is toxic to your pet.

Rabbit food, hamster food, and gerbil food

No! Guinea pigs should never eat rabbit food or rabbit pellets because they contain antibiotics and are not balanced nutrition for your buddy. The same is the case with hamster and gerbil foods and treats. Avoid these completely.

Squash: yellow squash, butternut squash, zucchini

Yellow squash, butternut squash, and zucchini are all great foods for guinea pigs owing to their high vitamin C content.

Banana and banana peels

Most guinea pigs won’t eat banana peels but will happily eat the banana.

Collard greens

Yes, you can let your guinea pigs eat collard greens and greens should ideally be fed daily to these pets.

Dandelions

You can let guinea pigs eat dandelions because they are a safe and healthy food for your pet. However, be mindful of its pesticide content since it is considered a weed.

Peanut butter and peanuts

Can guinea pigs eat peanuts and peanut butter? No, peanut butter is a choking hazard and also very sweet and fattening for this delicate pet. The same is the case with peanuts as they are fattening and could also cause choking.

Arugula?

Spinach and arugula are great to add to your pet’s diet once a week.

Bok choy

Bok choy stems, leaves, flowers, and stalks are all okay to feed in moderation. Too much can cause gas.

Lemons

Lemons and lime juice is a good addition to your pet’s salad in moderation and for flavor. Its vitamin C content can prevent scurvy.

Sunflower seeds

Avoid feeding sunflower seeds with their shells on as they can get stuck in your guinea’s teeth. They are also fattening not to mention a choking hazard too.

Watermelon rind

In excess watermelon is bad for your pet but in moderation watermelon, its rind or skin, and seeds are OK to feed. So, no more than a couple of cubes per guinea!

Cardboard

Surprising as this may sound, guinea pigs can digest cardboard and wood easily but that does not mean you should let it!

Cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes

Since all tomatoes (cherry and grape) contain oxalic acid (which can cause Chelitis (inflammation of lips) in your pet), avoid feeding too many tomatoes. One small cherry or grape tomato per pet per day is OK to feed.

Eggplant/aubergines

Raw, fresh, and clean eggplants (also known as aubergines) are good to feed to your small pet.

Mint

It is a good thing to ask ‘which herbs are safe for guinea pigs to eat?’ Mint and parsley are both safe in moderation. Spearmint and peppermint varieties are both OK to feed your pet for fresh breath!

Peas and snap peas

On the good side, peas contain calcium and phosphorus. On the downside, they contain oxalates. Therefore, moderation is key when feeding peas to your guinea.

Pickles

Pickles, pickled beetroot, pickled cabbage are strictly not allowed as they contain a lot of salt.

Plums

Although plums are rich in vitamin C, you should only feed them in moderation otherwise they can cause diarrhea in guinea pigs.

Red cabbage

Like all cabbage varieties (green cabbage, boky choy, etc.) please feed red cabbage in moderation as these vegetables can make your pet gassy.

Almonds and almond butter

Almonds are known to be toxic to guinea pigs, so never feed almonds to them. You can feed a tiny or minuscule quantity of almond butter but note that it can be fattening.

Chocolate

Just like dogs and cats, guinea pigs are not supposed to eat chocolate as the theobromine content in it can even kill your tiny pet.

Beets: beetroot, beet pulp, beetroot leaves, beetroot stalk, beetroot salad

Beet, beet pulp, beetroot leaves, beetroot stalks, and salad greens are good treats for your guinea. They contain Vitamin C and are low in oxalates. However, they also contain calcium and phosphorus which you should feed in balanced amounts to your little guy!

Carrots and carrot tops

Yes, carrots and carrot tops in tiny quantities are good to feed daily. They are high in sugar, so moderation is a must.

Clover: clover leaves, clover sprouts, clover hay

Clover is a weed so you can feed it in small quantities. Make sure there is no chemicals/pesticides on it.

Cranberries

Three to four times a week, you can feed a couple of cranberries to your guinea pig. Remember, these berries are packed with sugar which is harmful to your pet.

Dill: dill stems, dill pickle, dill seeds

Dill seeds and dill pickle – Strictly NO! Dill leaves and stems are okay to feed in moderation.

Apples: red and green apples

All apple varieties are Ok to feed your guinea pig in moderation. They are high in sugar so use them as occasional treat only. Apple skin is also ok to feed your guinea pig as long as you wash it  free from pesticides.

Honeydew

Honeydew rind and pulp are a delicious hydrating treat for your guinea pig. Avoid feeding the seeds as they can cause choking.

Mandarin orange

Mandarin orange makes a sweet and sour treat for your pet. Occasionally feed mandarin and mandarin peels as they are calorific and sugary.

Melon

Honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon rinds and pulp are all safe to feed in moderation to your guinea. They make a great hydrating treat for your pet on hot summer afternoons.

Mustard greens

Yes, mustard greens are an excellent choice for guineas. You can easily add ¼ to ½ cup of mustard greens to your pet’s daily salads.

Eggs

No. eggs – boiled or scrambled – are not a good food choice for this herbivore.

Cheerios

In tiny amounts, cheerios are okay for your guinea pig. Please note that Cheerios often contain sugar, preservatives, etc.

Grapefruit

Yes, grapefruit and grapefruit peels are OK to feed in moderation to your guinea.

Nectarines

Do not feed more than one nectarine in small pieces per week to your guinea pig.

Oats

Oats and oatmeal are not safe foods for guinea pigs because of their high phosphorus content.

Paper

Paper in large quantities can cause intestinal blockage and constipation in guinea pigs. So avoid placing paper or paper plates in your pet’s cage. It can be harmful for your guinea pig and can make it very sick.

Rosemary

Rosemary leaves are okay for guinea pigs to consume in moderation – once or twice weekly.

Tangerines

Yes, guinea pigs can eat tangerines – good source of vitamin C for your pet.

Turnip greens

Feed turnip greens occasionally to your guinea pig. It contains vitamin C which is good for your pet but they also contain calcium and phosphorus, so do feed it in small quantities only.

Bean sprouts

Yes, bean sprouts, mung bean sprouts, Brussels sprouts are all allowed for guinea pigs.

Butter lettuce

Romaine lettuce is a better choice than butter lettuce for guinea pigs since the latter has no nutrients and also is more calcium-rich than romaine lettuce.

Coconut

Not a good choice because it is fattening.

Dragon fruit

Yes, it is allowed as dragon fruit and seeds are low in calcium and sugar too.

Fennel

Fennel bulb and whole fennel is OK for guinea pigs to eat in moderation.

Jicama

Freshly peeled Jicama is safe to feed guinea pigs but avoid the outer cover, leaves, and jicama beans as they could be toxic.

Rice

No. Cooked rice or rice cakes are not an acceptable part of guinea pigs’ diet.

Snow peas

Snow peas, snap peas, and sugar peas are high in sugar. So feed it in moderation when the vegetable is not too ripe. You can also feed snow pea leaves.

Strawberry, strawberry leaves, and strawberry tops

Strawberry with the leaves and tops are good as occasional treats. Remember – all berries are high in sugar.

Thyme

Yes, thyme is a safe herb to feed your pet.

Wheatgrass

Yes, guinea pigs can eat wheatgrass every day as it has many important nutrients to keep them healthy.

Baby spinach

Baby spinach and spinach are good choices as long as you feed in moderation and choose the fresh, organic varieties.

Chard

Swiss chard is a safe vegetable for your guinea pig. You can safely feed it to your pet once or twice a week.

Chives

Chives are part of the onion and garlic family so they are not a safe vegetable for your guinea pig.

Okra

Okra and okra seeds are a good vegetable choice for your guinea pig.

Olives

Olives are highly processed and some come in brine. Do not feed such olives to your guinea pig.

Parsnips

Yes, parsnips are a good food treat for your guinea pig. You can feed it once or twice a week, no more as they contain calcium and phosphorus but are low in oxalates.

Pistachios

Pistachios with shells can be a choking hazard and can also get stuck in your pet’s chompers. Some guinea pigs are also allergic to them. Nuts are also fattening.

Pretzels

No, human foods like pretzels are harmful to delicate guinea pigs as they have a lot of salt or sodium.

Radicchio

Yes, you can feed radicchio to guinea pigs but please limit to feeding it just once a week.

Raw potatoes

All forms of potatoes: raw, boiled, baked, chips, as well as potato skins contain alkaloids that are toxic to guinea pigs. So please AVOID feeding potatoes in any form.

Rose petals

Rose petals are safe to feed but they won’t give your guinea pig any real nutrients, vitamins, or minerals.

Walnuts

Avoid feeding any nuts, including walnuts, to your Guinea pig. Walnut shelves can injure your tiny guy’s mouth. Walnut tree leaves, nuts, and shells are all harmful as they could lead to allergies in guinea pigs as well.

Broccoli and broccoli stems

Yes, the entire broccoli vegetable can be fed to your Guinea. Broccoli rabe, leaves, and stalk or stem are all great for your Guinea pigs.

Cashews

No nuts are very fattening and could also cause choking. So avoid feeding cashew nuts to guinea pigs.

Cat food

Not at all! Cat food isn’t nutritionally balanced and can cause gas or digestive upset in your little pet.

Jalapenos

Never feed spicy foods like jalapenos as guinea pigs react very badly to them.

Leaves

Most leaves from outside like apple, mango, herbs like cilantro, etc. are good to feed in moderation to your pet.

Oregano

In tiny amounts, oregano is one of the herbs that you can feed your guinea pigs.

Weeds

Weeds like dandelion and clover leaves are good occasionally but remember they could contain pesticides and chemicals.

Yogurt

No! Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant so do not feed yogurt and yogurt drops to your pet.

Conclusion

Now that you know the complete guinea pig diet plan, we hope you can feed your pet nutritious and healthy food choices so it can live a long, happy life!

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