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Home > Guinea Pigs > Can Guinea Pigs Eat Meat? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Meat? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Meat

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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No, guinea pigs can’t eat meat. Guinea pigs are strictly herbivores, and their stomachs are not equipped to process or digest meat. Yes, this also includes meat by-products such as eggs or anything derived from animals. Cat and dog food are no exception to this rule, as they also contain meat products.

In this article, you’ll learn what is okay to feed your guinea pigs and what can happen if your guinea pig eats meat, and we’ll also include foods you should never feed them.


Why Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat Meat?

Guinea pigs have evolved and adapted as herbivores, so their stomachs and intestines are designed to process and break down plant products. Unlike carnivorous animals, your guinea pig’s digestive system is not equipped to handle meat and meat products, which makes it difficult to break down meat or meat products.

If, in any case, you suspect that your guinea pig has eaten meat, contact your veterinary clinic for advice. Guinea pigs can’t vomit, so the meat will pass through their digestive system, and they may develop diarrhea.

Other reasons guinea pigs can’t eat meat include the following:

  • Digestive enzymes: They do not produce as many enzymes for digestion of proteins.
  • Obesity: Cholesterol and fat relate to weight gain. Excess weight on your guinea pig increases the chances of several diseases.
  • Good bacteria: Eating meat will upset the balance of good bacteria and result in diarrhea.
  • Meats have too many unhealthy components for your guinea pig and are not a suitable food source.


A Typical Guinea Pig Diet

Herbivores generally have specially adapted stomachs and intestines, which means they can break down cellulose and plant matter components more easily than carnivores. A typical guinea pig diet should include hay, vegetables, guinea pig pellets and occasional fruit. A healthy guinea pig diet requires vitamin C, fiber, and a good supply of minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Here’s why:

  • Hay: Hay is one of the most essential food requirements for guinea pigs because it is loaded with fiber and has a low protein count. This is important for herbivores.
  • Vegetables: Most vegetables contain vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fiber, folate, and potassium. These are great nutrient sources to keep your guinea pigs happy and healthy.
  • Fruits: Most but not all fruit are healthy for your guinea pig but should be provided as a snack only twice a week. Most fruit contains vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and folic acid. These nutrients are most important for your guinea pig’s brain health. On the flip side they are high in sugar which is not ideal.
  • Guinea Pellets: Since guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C, guinea pig pellets are fortified with vitamin C. However, too much of anything is bad, so always feed your guinea pig a wide range of foods alongside their pellet diet.

Maintaining a healthy diet for your guinea pig helps them stay active and decreases common diseases. Since guinea pigs are herbivores, they’ll always need a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep them happy.

guinea pig eating hays
Image By: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Foods Your Guinea Pig Should Never Eat

Although your guinea pigs are herbivores, some fruits and vegetables must be avoided. These fruits and vegetables include:

  • Anything with pesticide treatment
  • Rhubarb or plants that are high in oxalic acid
  • Onions, leeks, chives, and shallots
  • Garlic
  • Gassy vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Nuts, seeds, dried fruits
  • Rabbit, ferret, or any other pellets made for other animals
  • Starchy foods, including beans, peas, corn, oat, cereal grain, and bread
  • Avocadoes
  • Spicy peppers
  • Acidic fruits like lemon and limes
  • Tomato stems and stalks
  • Apple seeds
  • Fruit pits

When feeding your guinea pig fruits and vegetables, check for what they are and aren’t allowed to eat. For the most part, as long as you keep a variety of nutrients for your guinea pig, they’ll stay happy and healthy. Around a cup of vegetables a day and an egg cup of pellets will suffice per piggy each day. The vast majority of a guinea pigs diet should be good quality hay such as Timothy hay.



So, can guinea pigs eat meat? Due to their digestive system, they can’t eat meat. Meat is potentially harmful to guinea pigs and can cause stomach pain and illness. If you suspect your guinea pig has ingested meat, it’s best to contact your vet for advice.

If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pocket piggies, ensure they have unlimited amounts of hay, have access to fresh water, and provide them with many nutrient-diverse foods.

Featured Image Credit: NeydtStock, Shutterstock

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