What Can Guinea Pigs Eat? – The Guinea Pig Safe Food List
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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:
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
|VEGETABLE / FRUIT
(fresh & raw)
in mg (per 100g)
in mg (per 100g)
|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|
|Asparagus||17.69||28.14||May cause gas or bloating.|
|Banana||9.10||6.00||Can cause constipation.|
|Bell pepper||See Peppers (capscium)|
|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|
|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.|
|Cucumber with peel||5.30||14.00|
|Elderberries||36.00||38.00||Feed in small amounts.|
|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.|
|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|
|Kiwifruit, fuzzy (kiwi or kiwi fruit)||92.70||34.00||Remove brown, fuzzy skin.|
|Kohlrabi||62.00||24.00||Feed in moderation.|
butterhead, boston, bibb
romaine (cos lettuce)
|Mandarin orange (or tangerine)||30.80||14.00||Feed in small amounts.|
|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|
|Mustard greens||70.00||103.00||May cause gas or bloating.|
|Orange||53.20||40.00||Citrus can cause mouth sores.|
|Oregano||2.30||1597.00||Feed in very small amounts.|
|**Parsley (curly or flat)||133.00||138.00|
|Pears – Asian||3.80||4.00|
|Pears – European||6.60||18.15|
|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.|
|Pumpkin||11.00||39.00||High in Vitamin A.|
|Pumpkin Leaves||11.00||39.00||High in Vitamin A.|
|Spearmint||13.3||199.00||Feed in very small amounts|
|**Spinach||28.10||99.00||May cause gas or bloating.|
|Strawberries||56.70||14.00||Feed in moderation.|
|Sweet potato leaves||11.00||37.00|
|**Swiss Chard||30.00||51.00||Feed in moderation. May cause diarrhea.|
|Thyme||160.01||405.00||Feed in moderation.|
|#Tomato, red, cherry tomatoes||19.10||5.00|
|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.|
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