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Home > Guinea Pigs > Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Can Guinea Pigs Eat_mushrooms

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Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

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

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While you might love the earthy taste of certain fungi, mushrooms aren’t safe for every animal. For example, can guinea pigs eat mushrooms? Well, yes and no. While most sources will tell you that mushrooms are safe, a wide variety of mushrooms are toxic to your cavy friends.

Some mushrooms, like portobello, white, or button, are the most common, which are entirely safe for your guinea pig, though there is little to no nutritional value in mushrooms for guinea pigs.

In this article, you’ll find more about why some mushrooms are toxic while others are safe and whether it’s worth it to feed your piggy pals this type of fungus.


What Types of Mushrooms Are Safe for Guinea Pigs?

Whether a mushroom is safe for your guinea pig to eat depends on the type of mushroom. There are over 2,000 edible mushroom varieties in the world.1 Although most people use mushrooms as vegetables, they are a fungus with little to no nutritional value for guinea pigs. Common mushrooms include portobello, white button, shiitake, and cremini, which are all safe for your guinea pig to snack on.

However, about 80 varieties of mushrooms are wild and unsafe for guinea pigs, and it can be challenging to decipher which wild mushrooms are safe. It’s best to avoid feeding your pocket pals wild mushrooms.

On some sites, you’ll read that mushrooms are one of the foods to avoid feeding your guinea pigs at all costs. Though other sites tell you store-bought mushrooms are completely safe, there’s a broad misunderstanding of the safety of feeding guinea pigs mushrooms.

mushrooms on the chopping board
Image Credit: Jumpstory


Why Are Some Mushrooms Unsafe?

The only science-based evidence that mushrooms are unsafe for guinea pigs is that they cannot eat wild mushrooms.2 Some wild mushrooms are poisonous and will kill guinea pigs. However, there is no backed-up research that store-bought mushrooms are unsafe. Enough evidence suggests that store-bought mushrooms hold very little nutritional value for guinea pigs and should only be fed occasionally as a light snack.

Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

As mentioned, there is minimal meaningful guinea pig nutrition in mushrooms. Guinea pigs rely on vitamin C from their food as they are unable to synthesize it from glucose (as cats and dogs can).  Vitamin C is essential for the normal development and maintenance of skin, joints and mucosal surfaces such as gums. It is absolutely essential for guinea pigs to take in 10-50 mg of Vitamin C a day to stay healthy and sustainably (the exact amount depends on the status of the guinea pig e.g. if it is pregnant, unwell, young or old).  One small white mushroom (10g) contains a very low amount of Vitamin C, approximately 0.21mg, and is 92% water.

Below is a table showing the nutritional value per small (10g) mushroom:

Nutrition Per small (10 g) white mushroom










0.3 g

0.03 g

0.3 g

0.19 g

0.11 g

0.5 mg

31.8 mg

8.6 mg




So, while there are some useful and necessary nutrients contained in mushrooms, they come in low quantities.  The phosphorus to calcium ratio in guinea pigs food should ideally be about 1.3:1.  In the above example, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 1:28 which is not ideal.  The occasional mushroom won’t harm your guinea pig but if they are given regularly, they can lead to health problems.

Mushrooms in the wild
Image Credit: Engin, Akyurt, Pixabay


What Happens if a Guinea Pig Eats a Mushroom?

If your guinea pig accidentally eats a piece of store-bought mushroom, they’ll more than likely be absolutely fine.  However, if they’ve snuffled a wild mushroom that you didn’t realise was growing in your yard, it might be a different story.  If this is the case, you must call the vet immediately for advice.  Take a piece of the mushroom with you when you go to the vet hospital so that the species of mushroom can be identified.  Wild mushrooms can be fatal to guinea pigs.

Tips to Keep a Guinea Pig on a Healthy Diet

Guinea pigs don’t gain much in the way of nutrition from mushrooms, but a raw store-bought mushroom can be an occasional snack for your piggy.  Guinea pigs rely solely on vitamin C from their food to stay healthy. A chronic lack of vitamin C predisposes a guinea pig to scurvy which will cause swollen joints, poor mobility and skin infections.

As long as you are feeding your guinea pig unlimited amounts of timothy hay, a small amount of well-balanced, guinea pig pellets, a selection of safe leafy and coloured vegetables and supplementing them daily with vitamin C, the addition of a store-bought mushroom as a treat won’t cause them any harm.  Mushrooms don’t have enough nutrition to sustain a guinea pig so they should only be an occasional treat.

Guinea pigs must always have a sufficient supply of clean water available to them.



Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Mushrooms?

Raw Portobello, white and button mushrooms are safe to feed your guinea pig. You should never feed your guinea pigs cooked mushrooms, or any other cooked vegetable as they cannot digest cooked foods. Raw mushrooms include stems, peels, and tops, which are all safe for your guinea pig to consume.

Credit: monika1607, Pixabay

What Are the Signs of Dangerous Mushrooms for Guinea Pigs?

As mentioned, guinea pigs should not eat wild mushrooms. However, let’s say you’ve looked away for a split second, and when you look back, they’re eating a wild mushroom from your yard. The first thing to do is to call a veterinarian and explain what has happened.  They are likely to ask what the mushroom looked like so try and have a piece with you when you call them and when you go into the practice.

Signs of mushroom toxicity can include:
  • Sudden diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Fast or labored breathing
  • Wobbliness (ataxia)
  • Seizures

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushroom Soup?

No, guinea pigs cannot eat mushroom soup, as it contains cooked ingredients they can’t digest properly. If your guinea pig consumes mushroom soup, they may experience stomach upset and diarrhea.


Final Words

So, can guinea pigs safely eat mushrooms? Is it worth the risk to feed them store-bought mushrooms? The answer still remains both yes and no.

If the mushrooms are raw, given in small portions and only occasionally, and they are store bought white, button, or portobello mushrooms, they are safe to feed.

On the other hand, you must always watch your guinea pigs in your yard and keep them away from wild mushrooms at all costs, as wild mushrooms can be fatal to your pocket pal.

So, would you risk it? Is it worth it? Above all else, mushrooms have very limited  nutritional value for your guinea pig and an inappropriate calcium:phosphorus ratio, so it’s not a snack we’d be rushing to recommend.  However, it is safe if the above rules are followed as an occasional treat.

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