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What Can Guinea Pigs Eat? – The Guinea Pig Safe Food List

Published: 5/31/2010 | Author: Hammy | Updated: 4/17/2014

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Guinea pig safe food list
Photo courtesy of HappyCavy fan pyza*

Guinea pigs are always eating. Whether it’s pellets, grass hay, daily greens, or the occasional fruit snack, it may often seem like your guinea pig is born to eat (and create magic beans).

With an insatiable diet comes the responsibility to learn what constitues a proper guinea pig diet. Choosing guinea pig safe foods can be a bit of a challenge. There are so many types of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that guinea pigs can eat.

So what should you be feeding your guinea pig?

What fruits and ?  What fruits can guinea pigs eat?? And herbs? What about those?

  • What can guinea pigs eat?
  • Which vegetables, fruits, and herbs are safe to feed your guinea pig?
  • Are the foods you have been giving your cavy “guinea pig safe“?
  • Besides water, hay, and pellets, what else can your guinea pig eat?

→ Jump to the Guinea Pig Safe Food List

First, let’s take a look at the basics of a guinea pig diet or jump to What The Happy Cavy Herd Eats for a general guide on the daily dietary requirements of guinea pigs.

A guinea pig’s diet should consist of the following:

#1. Water

Glass Water Bottle

A constant fresh source of fresh (preferably filtered but NOT distilled) clean, room-temperature water is an absolute must.

Water bottles should be emptied, rinsed, and re-filled each day.

#2. Grass Hay

Free Guinea Pig Ring at SmallPetSelect.com

High-quality grass hay (such as timothy hay) should be available at all times for your guinea pig. Hay delivers the fiber that that is essential for your guinea pig to be able to properly digest and proces food and nutrients. Without a constant intake of fresh hay, guinea pigs’ digestive tracks can shut down. Plus, hay helps guinea pigs keep their teeth clean prevents their teeth from growing too long.

How do you know if hay is high-quality? High-quality hay should be green with pliable stalks, free of mold and foreign particulates, and fragrant (not dusty or void of smell). Cheap, store-bought hay is no substitute for fresh, high-quality yummy goodness.

Most hay purchased at “big box” stores (PetCo, etc.) is NOT high-quality hay. Farm-to-cage is ideal and special caution should be taken when providing the most important food of your guinea pig’s diet: high-quality, pesticide(?) free hay.

Shopping for Hay?

Use coupon code ‘HappyCavy‘ to get FREE SHIPPING for the best hay available at Small Pet Select!

NOTE: An alfalfa hay mix (1/2 timothy, 1/2 alfalfa) should be primarily fed to young guinea pigs under the age of 4 months and pregnant or nursing cavies. Because alfalfa hay is high in calcium, it should NOT be fed to healthy, adult cavies. Healthy, adult guinea pigs should be fed lower-calcium hays such as timothy hay or orchard grass hay.

#3. Pellets

Guinea Pig Pellets

Provide your guinea pig with about 1/4 – 1/8 cup of plain, corn- and seed-free guinea pig pellets for eating. Pellets are less important than a constant supply of fresh grass hay, though pellets can provide additional vitamins and nutrients that your guinea pig isn’t getting from hay alone, especially if the pellets are fortified in Vitamin C.

Guinea pig pellets should consist of only high-quality hay and should be served in a ceramic bowl, which is large enough to not tip over.

NOTE: Pellets alone are NOT a substitute for hay! High-quality grass hay is a must for proper guinea pig health.


Vitamin C

Like Humans, guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. To prevent survy and other health issues, each guinea pig should get 10 to 30 milligrams of Vitamin C each day; young, ill, nursing and/or pregnant animals require extra Vitamin C. While many guinea pigs will get an adequate serving of Vitamin C from vegetables and pellets, you may wish to supplement your cavy’s diet with a small amount of Vitamin C, either in power or tablet form.

NOTE: It is NOT recommended that you use water-soluable drops for supplementing Vitamin C. Watch How to Give Vitamin C to Your Guinea Pig (video) to see how HappyCavies get their Vitamin C.

Vegetables, Herbs, & Other Foods

Vegetables at Grocery Store

Guinea pig may be fed up to 1 cup each (adults) of a number of vegetables and herbs. Some fruits may be fed as well. Please remember that your guinea pig’s food supply should NOT be mainly fresh vegetables and herbs.

Guinea should get only 1 cup of vegetables per day, which should include some dark greens.

To help you find which vegetables, herbs, and fruits are safe to feed your guinea pig, please refer to the Guinea Pig Food List below.

NOTE: Always introduce new foods to your guinea pig slowly and patiently. Begin introducing new foods by providing a small piece or two during the “first try”. Then, portions of a particular guinea pig safe food may be increased slightly with each subsequent serving. The way that you introduce nutrients is as important as a healthy diet. Guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system which is easily upset.

Help Us Maintain The Food List!

There are so many foods a guinea pig can eat. If you know of a food that is not included in this list which you think we should add, please let us know!

Share This Guinea Pig Nutrition & Diet Info

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Guinea Pig “Safe Food List”

Updated: April 14, 2014



Click a letter to view that vegetable and refer to the “Notes” for cautionary advice.

Information on this chart is derived from the USDA Nutrient Database, from SR22 to SR25 datasets. Information may have changed since the publication of this chart.

This chart takes into consideration several factors to arrive at our feeding frequency suggestions: sugar, calcium, phosphorous, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, oxalic acid content, and calcium to phosphorous (Ca:P) ratio. Not all fields are displayed due to space requirements. Chemical composition can be referenced at the USDA Nutrient Database.

DO NOT copy or distribute this list it without express permission from HappyCavy.com. Contact us if you wish to use this list on your website.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
VEGETABLE / FRUIT
(fresh & raw)
VITAMIN C
in mg (per 100g)
CALCIUM
in mg (per 100g)
Notes
Alfalfa – pellets 0 2200 Alfalfa pellets are suitable for young, growing and/or pregnant guinea pigs (under 1 year of age).
Ref. Pellets: Alfalfa vs Timothy.
Apple 4.60 6.00 Apple seeds are poisonous
Apricot 10.00 13.00  
Arugula lettuce 15.00 160.00
Asparagus 17.69 28.14 May cause gas or bloating.
Banana 9.10 6.00 Can cause constipation.
Beet greens/leaves
(beetroot greens/leaves)
30.00 117.00  
Beets (beetroot) 4.90 16.00  
Bell pepper     See Peppers (capscium)
Blackberries 21.00 32.00  
Blueberries 9.7 6.00 Feed in moderation.
Broccoli raab, rabe, rapini 93.00 48.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Broccolini 93.00 48.00 Stems are liked better than flowers
Brussels sprouts 85.00 42.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Cabbage, green 51.00 47.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Cabbage, red 57.00 51.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Cabbage, Chinese pak-choi 45.00 74.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Cabbage, Savoy 31.00 35.00 Feed in moderation. May cause gas or bloating.
Cantaloupe (rock melon) See Melon – Cantaloupe (rock melon)
Carrots 5.9 33.00 High Vitamin A. Feed in moderation.
Carrots, baby 2.60 32.00 High Vitamin A. Feed in moderation.
Carrots, top greens unknown unknown Unknown nutrient makeup. Feed sparingly.
Cauliflower / Broccoflower 46.40 22.00
Celery 7.00 40.00 Choking hazard. Remove the celery “veins” to prevent hazard.
Cherimoya 9.00 23.00 Very in very small amounts.
Cherries (without pits) – sour 10.00 16.00
Cherries (without pits) – sweet 7.00 13.00
Chicory, greens 24.00 100.00
Chicory, witloof 2.80 19.00
Cilantro (corriander) 27.00 67.00 Feed in moderation.
**Collards 35.30 145.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Corn on the cob (1 med ear) 6.10 2.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Cranberries 13.50 7.00 Feed in moderation.
Cress, garden 69.00 81.00
Cucumber with peel 5.30 14.00
Dandelion Greens 35.00 187.00
Dill 85.00 208.00
Eggplant 1.70 7.00
Elderberries 36.00 38.00 Feed in small amounts.
Endive 6.50 52.00  
Fennel, fronds & leaves not recorded specially for fronds & leaves not recorded specially for fronds & leaves Feed rarely.
Grapefruit, white 37.00 15.00 Sour foods can cause mouth sores.
Grapes 4.00 14.00  
Grass (lawn) See Hay
Green beans, snap 12.20 37.00
Hay varies by type varies by type IMPORTANT: Read Selecting Hay.
Honeydew 120.00 135.00 See Melon – honeydew
Kale 120.00 135.00
Kiwifruit, fuzzy (kiwi or kiwi fruit) 92.70 34.00 Remove brown, fuzzy skin.
Kohlrabi 62.00 24.00 Feed in moderation.
Kumquat 37.40 44.00  
Lavender 215.00 12.00  
Leek 12.00 59.00  
Lettuce -
butterhead, boston, bibb
3.70 35.00
Lettuce -
romaine (cos lettuce)
4.00 33.00
Lettuce -
red leaf
3.70 33.00
Mammy-apple (mamey) 14.00 11.00  
Mandarin orange (or tangerine) 30.80 14.00 Feed in small amounts.
Mango 27.70 10.00  
Melon – Cantaloupe (rock melon) 36.70 9.00 Feed in small amounts.
Melon – casaba 16.00 5.00  
Melon – honeydew 24.80 6.00  
Melon – watermelon 9.60 8.00  
Mint (peppermint) 31.80 243.00  
Mustard greens 70.00 103.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Nectarine 5.40 5.00  
**Okra 21.10 81.00
Orange 53.20 40.00 Citrus can cause mouth sores.
Oregano 2.30 1597.00 Feed in very small amounts.
Papaya 61.80 24.00  
**Parsley (curly or flat) 133.00 138.00
Parsnip 17.00 36.00
Passionfruit, purple 30.00 12.00
Peach 6.60 5.00  
Peas, edible-podded 40.00 25.00
Pears – Asian 3.80 4.00  
Pears – European 6.60 18.15  
Peppermint 31.8 243.00  
Peppers (capscium), sweet green 80.40 10.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Peppers (capscium), sweet red 127.70 7.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Peppers (capscium), sweet yellow 183.50 11.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Persimmon 66.00 27.00 Feed in very small amounts.
Pineapple 15.40 7.00 Citrus can cause mouth sores.
Plum 9.50 4.00  
Pumpkin 11.00 39.00 High in Vitamin A.
Pumpkin Leaves 11.00 39.00 High in Vitamin A.
Quince 15.00 11.00
Radicchio 8.00 19.00  
Radishes 14.80 25.00  
Raspberries 26.00 25.00
Raspberries leaves 25.00 22.00
Spearmint 13.3 199.00 Feed in very small amounts
**Spinach 28.10 99.00 May cause gas or bloating.
Squash, summer 17.00 15.00  
Squash, winter 12.30 28.00  
Starfruit 34.40 3.00  
Strawberries 56.70 14.00 Feed in moderation.
Sweet potato 22.70 22.00
Sweet potato leaves 11.00 37.00
**Swiss Chard 30.00 51.00 Feed in moderation. May cause diarrhea.
Taro leaves 52.00 107.00
Thyme 160.01 405.00 Feed in moderation.
#Tomato, red, cherry tomatoes 19.10 5.00  
Turnip greens 60.00 190.00
Watercress 43.00 120.00
Watermelon See Melon – watermelon
Watermelon rind Vitamin & mineral content unknown. Watermelon rind is safe.
Wheatgrass ~4.00 ~28.00 Fresh grasses may cause gut upsets.
Zucchini (courgette) 28.00 1.00


# Vitamin C values for tomatoes differ depending on variety and season.

** Contains oxalate acid which may contribute to the formation of bladder stones.

Please email website[at]happycavy.com to make additions to this list.

What Can Guinea Pigs Eat? - The Guinea Pig Safe Food List, 4.4 out of 5 based on 291 ratings
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About Hammy

Hammy is the senior member of the HappyCavy Forever Home. Hammy loves blogging, Facebook, and running laps early in the morning!

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  • squigboy .

    Can guinea pigs eat jackfruit, prickly chayote, rambutan, babaco or durian?

  • equallychloe

    Say if you have a 2 year old and a 9 month old can the baby eat the adult hay. They share ok. Is something bad gonna happen to her. Ive had her for atleast 2 months. She’s been fine. I just want to know for the future cage Im gonna get. thanks.

  • Ashley

    My piggies are so happy I found your website! They tried watermelon today and loved it!

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    That’s wonderful! Glad to have you around :) Happy munching! *wheek!*

  • Sarah Pittman

    This is Snickers, I just got her Friday. Shes very talkative, and loves to be photographed. Thanks for providing such a helpful chart! Her favorite treats are Spinach and Apples!

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Hi, Snickers! What a cute, little fuzzy face you have <3 Thanks for sharing, Snicker's Human! :D

  • Autumn Sheffey

    What food does a guinea pig need Daily? Just got 3 and don’t really know that much about them!?

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    You can check out What our guinea pigs eat for some helpful info :)

  • Eduardo Alonso López

    Wich is the reason why they shouldn´t eat spinach daily, cause the oxalates, but, for example, they can eat swiss chard, if here is the same problem??

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Swiss char has only 51mg cacium per 100g, while spinach has 99mg calcium per 100g.

  • Stormy Sea

    I agree with this list, however a warning that lettuce is a diuretic (makes your piggle wee more) good suggestion is vitamin drops from pet store to put in their water, if your cavy is licking your skin a lot, May need a salt mineral stone. Other tip, check calcium level in foods too, as shinny piggles (satin breeds) are more sensitive to too much calcium. My Satin cavy is sensitive to apple,, gets whiteness on his lips, this is from the acidity so only a quarter slice,golden delicious.per month I would recommend. All my cavies love curly parsley…Great tip,if your cavy stops eating…try curly parsley! Also Cparsley is the thing to use to teach tricks,like wave,up/beg,paw,and hoop jumping,should you feel inclined? My cavies get great exercise from it and popcorn like crazy,enjoying the interactions.A piggle will do anything for parsley!
    Owner of 3 males. experienced 20yrs+

  • Stormy Sea

    Raspy breathing, can be asthma, your vet has said fine,so, could be allergy, make sure your cavy is not in a draft, avoid any aerosols,polish,air freshener,inscence,strong smells,smokers.(if any apply) also, if you can’t find the source and the cavy still wheezes,then I nickname that ‘broken squeaker’ I have one like you.he had quick responses to drafts and cleaning products. Vet said he was fine,I treated him as if he’s asthmatic,and for3 years no more wheezing! He’s 4.5yrs old now. Hope this helps :)

  • Stormy Sea

    It’s nothing to worry about, just observe it. Every cavy if different! Some rarely drink,others are guzzlers! Can vary on how much wet food to dry they ate too. Best is just watch and learn pattern.Cavies tend to drink more water when they are poorly too,so a slight reduction is a good sign. Hope this helps :)

  • Maddie

    Thank you! This is so much help!

  • Maddie

    Could u talk to my guinea pig for me hammy. I think you guys would bond very well

  • Maddie

    Just say a few wheels of wisdom

  • Ashley

    Are there any warm foods guinea pigs can eat in the winter? I know I like a good warm meal when its a little chilly.

  • Mimi

    Thanks for the info! What about pea shoots or other sprouts? bean sprouts? alfalfa sprouts? Thanks!

  • Ashley Carlton Pletcher

    Hi. My guinea pig is suffering from kidney stones, after just being treated for a UTI. My vet will not be able to see him until Monday and he is in EXTREME pain. Is there ANYTHING I can give him, besides water, to help push the stone through quicker?

  • madelyn nicholson

    Okay I have a piggy who keeps choking and he seems like he is going to die I don’t know what to do and I don’t know why he is doing this plz help me I don’t want him to die he’s my baby I love him with all my heart and so does his girl friend Lola PLZ HELP ME .

  • madelyn nicholson

    It might be the veggies

  • madelyn nicholson

    My guinea pgs name is charity he’s a little under a year but he keeps loosening his hair fur what ever it’s called and its bad

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Stick with non-warmed, non-cooked foods. Guinea pigs’ guts are built perfectly to deal with grasses, so stick with them and forgo fancy cuisine :)

  • kelsey

    Hi I have 2 guinea pigs hershey and butterscotch. Butterscotch keeps chewing on everything in his cage to the point of I cannot sleep. I’m also wondering can you give them grass from your lawn, if so what does it have to look like? Thank you! This list helps me a whole bunch!

  • Meg

    I know lactose (generally in dairy) can cause eye problems and blindness. Sorry for your little guy :(

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    You probably could give them grass from your lawn, but our advice is to avoid it. Firstly, unless grass is cultivated with the express purpose of pet consumption, it’s difficult to know what could have gotten on it or in the soil or what the nutritional value (high in calcium?) of the grass is. Certain varieties can cause gut upset or other complications if not fed properly.

    That being said, while we’re outside in the summer we do nibble a bit on the lawn grass. We’re fortunate enough to have Humans who keep the lawn pesticide free (hand weeded! omg!) and grown explicitly for us, but this is probably the exception.

    If your lawn is healthy and a your confident of your guinea pigs’ intestinal fortitude, wash a few pieces off and see if your pigs like them. But muncher beware :)

  • crystal mueller

    I rescued a guinea pig out of the dumpster…. yes thats right someone put a guinea pig in a pet carrier and threw it in the dumpster. I went and bought it all the stuff it needs and could want lol. I am confused on how I should feed him these foods. Should I feed one at a time , should I mix together? And the ones that say almost daily …??? How often. I got him grapes , strawberrys, peppers, carrots , celery, lettuce… how would you suggest feeding him. Please help this confused new momma lol

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Hi, Crystal! Will you submit your question to Ask HappyCavy? It’s easier for my little cavy paws to answer from there :)

  • debbie

    I’m quite confused as to how much my piggys can have of veg and fruit! . They are 12 weeks old and very lively and love to munch all I’ve given them up to now. They get lots of hey and excel pellets too.

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    About 1 cup per adult pig per day will do you, this usually consists mostly of dark green lettuce and a few slices of a veggie or two listed here. For baby guinea pigs, I’d cut to 1/2 cup and see how that goes.

  • debbie

    Thanks Hammy! I’m so new to guinea pigs, and love them so so much. By the way, can they eat broccoli leaves??

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Broccoli leaves are OK, just feed sparingly as they are high in vitamin A. Happy munching! :D

  • gabby

    i dont feed mine much, but i usually feed him a 1/2 a carrot and he loves it! he really wont eat anything else and we have tried a lot of things, and i just feel like he’s on a bad diet :(. all he will eat is carrots and organic hay. i wish i could try more things. if any of you have any edvice out there it would be helpful!?!

  • Tammy

    I was told that Alfalfa Hay was bad for my guinea pigs and to only give them Timothy Hay.

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Hi, Tammy! Alfalfa hay can be given to young guinea pigs, pregnant, nursing or malnourished adults.

  • Louise Patterson

    Hi,
    Thank-you for your site. We’re finding it really helpful.
    Can you please tell me if it is okay to feed our guinea pigs, (Squeakle and Apple,) mushrooms, snowpeas and bok-choy. Thanks :-)

  • dianne r

    One of my pigs is about 5 years old and very healthy, but recently her feces is very soft and sticky and a lot of it at one time. Is she eating too much fiber.

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Hi, Louise! Guinea pigs can eat bok-choy, but it makes them really gassy. Some mushrooms are OK, but they have no nutritional value. So basically “no” to mushrooms, a “very small quantities very rarely” or “no” for bok-choy, but snowpeas are OK.

  • Zoe

    Hi there can I feed my guinea pigs lemons?

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Due to the high amount of citric acid, it’s not recommended :)

  • Zoe

    What about silverbeet?

  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog Hammy

    Silverbeet is chard (listed here as “Swiss chard”. It is advise to feed chard: “Rarely, 1-2 times per month”. In other words, chard isn’t a great idea for a snack :)

  • roger lee simmons

    what food has v.c in it

  • Serah

    Hi, I have two guinea pigs named Snowball and Gaia. They sometimes fight over space. Snowball’s fine. But Gaia just lays around, and when I give him those treats like lettuce and mangoes, he just bites off a piece and doesn’t eat it. Will he be okay?
    This is Gaia in the picture. Which type of guinea pig is it? Oh, the picture might be upside down.
    The next picture is Snowball. Do you know what guinea pig he is?

  • Serah

    Hi, I have two guinea pigs named Snowball and Gaia.
    Snowball is in the first picture. Can you tell me what type of guinea pig he is?
    This is Gaia in the second picture. Which type of guinea pig is it?

  • Emily

    I just got my guinea pig and she is 2months old and very skittish of everyone is there anything I can do to get her to warm up to me or just wait?

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