Food, glorious food!
There’s a huge list of vegetables that guinea pigs can eat, just like for us, but every guinea pig is an individual, and each one has its own food preferences too. Take Nosey for example, he adores parsley, parsley and more parsley, whereas Poppy prefers carrots and tomatoes. Parsley is high in calcium so should only be fed in small quantities, much to Nosey’s disgust. Tomatoes are very acidy, so again, don’t feed too many to your piggies, as they can cause sores around their mouths.
There are so many vegetables that are fine for your guinea pigs to eat that it’s probably easier to tell you which ones NOT to feed them for now!
Iceberg Lettuce is a big no, no as it has a high water content and not much nutritional value.This can lead to your guinea pigs having diarrhoea, not pleasant for them at the best of times and definitely not pleasant for you when you have to clean them out! Diarrhoea can lead to weight loss and a vet’s trip is necessary at the first signs of diarrhoea as it can get serious very quickly.
Potatoes are part of the nightshade family. They are very high in carbohydrates and contain toxins that are harmful to guinea pigs, the exception would be a teeny, tiny amount of raw sweet potato. Our piggies don’t like sweet potato, so we don’t bother, but hey, it’s more for us, so we don’t mind!
Tomato leaves and stalks also part of the nightshade family and are poisonous to piggies, but they can eat the tomatoes, just make sure they are lovely and ripe, so definitely no green ones.
As a side note, bell peppers are part of the nightshade family too but piggies can and do eat these, they are very high in vitamin C and low in calcium which is ideal. Our piggies eat bell peppers every day, I think there’d be a mutiny if a day went by without bell peppers being given out. Just bell peppers though, definitely not any other sort of spicy pepper.
Rhubarb and any stalks or leaves are definitely not good for your guinea pigs as the oxalate content is far too high. This can lead to stomach irritations if eaten in high amounts and may lead to kidney problems. Well, some say that the stalks are fine, but I’m not going to risk it with our precious piggies!
Healthy fats may be fabulous for us but not for a guinea pig, they are just too fatty, so no avocados, coconuts, butter and nuts, so you can eat these instead!
Mushrooms don’t really have any nutritional value for a guinea pig, they are low in protein, high in water, have no vitamin C what so ever, so I don’t think it’s worth feeding them mushrooms when there’s plenty of other vegetables that they can eat and get better nutrition from.
Definitely not wild mushrooms as these are poisonous to your guinea pigs!
Don’t feed any vegetable from the alium family to your guinea pigs, so no onions, leeks, garlic, etc as they are poisonous.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, never, never feed your guinea pigs cooked food (they are the raw foodies of the animal world), meat, fizzy pop, and any dried fruits – as the sugar content is too high for them, which can lead to weight gain, diabetes and bacterial imbalance in the digestive system, and we all know how sensitive a guinea pigs tummy is!
A pair of guinea pigs should have 1 cupful of good vegetables in the morning and one at teatime, with unlimited hay and an 1/8 cup of nuggets daily (but that’s a whole other blog post!)