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

Published: 5/31/2010 | Author: HappyCavy | Updated: 4/22/2015

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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 each day. 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 (240 mL) 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 (240 mL) of vegetables per day, which, if you are feeding snacks, should include some dark greens and preferably no fruit.

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.
Basil 4.5 38.0 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 6.5 6.5
Elderberries 36.00 38.00 Feed in small amounts.
Endive (escarole) 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 12.00 215.00  
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
Raspberry leaves (from raspberry plant) 25.00 22.00
Spearmint 13.3 199.00 Feed in very small amounts
**Spinach 28.10 99.00 May cause gas or bloating. Contains high levels of oxalic acid.
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 Avoid leaves and stems (poisonous) – See Dangerous Food List
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 oxalic 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 806 ratings
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  • http://www.happycavy.com/blog HappyCavy

    Such cuties! :)

  • Robbie Middaugh

    Why was carrots mentioned twice and once it was red… ?

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

    Stick to hay, pellets, and water. Stop feeding so many vegetables and “snack” foods. Any human food is not OK — rice cakes, nuts, pasta, etc.

    Guinea pigs do not have the ability to properly handle the the ingredients of foods like rice, nuts, etc. Continue to feed a guinea pig these foods will cause an issue much sooner than later. Something is bound to happen.

    Whether they beg or not, it’s up to you to be the cavy “parent”.

    Don’t eat when they are near you. Or keep the food away so they can’t get to it easily.

    Cheers :)

  • Esther Gray

    I’m hoping someone can give me an answer. I got my son a guinea pig just before Christmas. The family who had him said he was about four years old. He’d been listed on Craig’s List for 6 months but the father of the family was very picky about who he would allow to take this guinea pig home. He wasn’t confident anyone else would take good enough care of him until I came to see him. My son renamed him Dr. Whoves. He is the sweetest, gentlest creature I’ve ever known. A month later I found out I should be feeding him Timothy hay in addition to pellets and fresh food.

    A few months ago he started having runny stools and wasn’t eating much fresh food. I asked at the pet store what would cause this and was told I was feeding too much Timothy hay. The employee said they love it to the point that they won’t eat other food and I should only give a small amount a day. I cut the amount down to very little and he did start eating more. On and off he would have diarrhea or constipation and his eating would fluctuate. A little over a month ago he started eating very little again. He has a very fluffy coat so I didn’t realize that he’s nothing but bones underneath. Then after we pulled him out of his cage and got him to eat something by hand feeding he started having puss running from his face every time we got him to eat a little bit. I found the only pet in the valley to handle small animals and Monday I took him to see her. She examined him, She examined him. She checked for mites and some other issues to rule those out. She said he had an occluded tooth and it had become infected. (When she pushed on the area the pus ran.) She told me that he hasn’t been eating because it’s so painful and he smells so bad because his body has started to break down. She said we could put him on antibiotics and put him under anesthesia to pull the tooth but that would be very expensive and painful and small animals don’t handle pain well. She recommended we put him to sleep. I took him home so that we could have time to say good by. I had planned to take him back in the morning but I forgot to make the appointment (probably because I don’t want to). Since I brought him home we’ve been feeding him mushy foods like over ripe banana and he’s been eating. Tonight he started squealing at me until I gave him some kale. I haven’t seen any puss for days and I think he may have started putting on a little weight…or is that me hoping.

    Can anyone tell me what kind of chance he might have of surviving a dental procedure like that and then having his teeth filed?

    Thank you.

  • Adam Blum

    Can Guinea Pigs eat Mulberry leaves?

  • Critter Gamer

    Hi. I have a guinea pig and another guinea pig that’s a mother to 2 babies. They eat clover, crabgrass, Cheez-its, and potato chips as snacks. (But mostly the plants) Is this okay?

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

    No Cheez-Its or potato chips. No human foods — especially any processed foods — should be fed to guinea pigs. Doing so can lead to health issues in the future. As for clover, “white clover” is OK, but can cause gas and I would assume it has high amounts of calcium. So feed very sparingly, just a few small pieces once a week.

  • Tweetcoco

    I just got 2 piggies Squeaker and Shadow they love veggies and was wondering if they could eat veggie crisps

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

    No veggies crisps, please! :)

  • Mia

    Hi I just got two New Guinea Pigs and I am looking for advice! On anything!

  • Mia

    Hi I’m a new cavy owner any tips or advice??

  • Yanna Lee

    My Guinea Pig (Vendetta) Favorite is Carrots . She will just go in the bag & eat almost all. She haves to eat about 10 times a day along with her eating her hay & pellits or she sqeaks like no tomorrow. She’s not a fan of the pellets but she loves hay ! & occasionally some fresh air when it’s nice & weather is beautiful. She gets her nails done regularly like she is suppose to, she really dislikes it though she always bites the person who does it. I feed her while they clip her nails now. Keeps her distracted a little. Also she loves to sleep she’s sooo lazy but she’s a character. She’s always doing things on purpose. She even likes to lick my little sister tears when she cries. But really only did it once

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

    Awww, that is so cute!! Just be careful with the carrots. Although the chart says “almost daily”, guinea pigs should be getting only one baby-carrot sized carrot a day at most.

  • Yanna Lee

    Okay thanks.

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About This Guinea Pig Website

HappyCavy has been online since June 2009 with Hammy and Piglet. In October of 2009, a sweet, fuzzy cavy named Bitsy joined the webcam broadcasts.

Feebee and Buttercup were welcomed to the HappyCavy Forever Home as friends and co-conspirators in January 2011. Dot joined us on July 2012, and Winnie and Rosie were the most recent addition on February 8, 2015 and June 6, 2015, respectively. Learn more about the guinea pigs here.

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