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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes? What You Need To Know!

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Guinea pigs are herbivores and enjoy eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables in addition to the hay or pellets that make up most of their diet. But while many fruits and veggies are healthy for guinea pigs, some should be avoided for different reasons. So, should guinea pigs eat potatoes? The short answer is no, they should not eat potatoes. We uncover why guinea pigs should not be fed potatoes and what they can be fed instead.


Why Guinea Pigs Should Not Be Offered Potatoes

There are a couple of important reasons that guinea pigs should not be offered potatoes, even occasionally. First, potatoes have alkaloids that guinea pigs are not equipped to handle. These alkaloids act as toxins in their bodies and can cause serious health effects, such as lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and unfortunately, even death.

Another reason that you should not feed your guinea pig potatoes is due to their high starch and carbohydrate content. Guinea pigs are prone to obesity, and potatoes could impact your pet’s blood pressure levels and overall heart health. Many other types of produce do not pose the same threats as potatoes do when it comes to guinea pigs.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Alternatives to Potatoes at Snack Time

Luckily, your guinea pigs will never miss potatoes. They would prefer the flavor and texture of other types of products. For example, they love the sweetness of sweet potatoes, which do not carry the same alkaloids that white potatoes do. Other types of foods that you should consider feeding your guinea pig include:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Kale
  • Sweet peppers
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash

It is important to note that guinea pigs should eat hay or commercially produced pellets that contain hay and grasses as their main staple. Fruits and vegetables should make up only 10% to 20% of your pet’s overall diet.

Guinea Pig Eating
Image Credit By: CC0 Public Domain, pikist

What to Do If Your Guinea Pig Eats a Potato

There may come a time when your guinea pig comes across a potato chip or a piece of potato that has fallen on the kitchen floor. So, what should you do if your guinea pig swallows a potato of any kind? First, you should keep an eye on them to see if they develop any problems, such as respiratory stress and lethargy. Just because your guinea pig eats a bit of potato does not mean that they will experience any adverse side effects. This is especially true if it is just a small amount or a one-time deal. If you do see warning signs, however, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away.

The more often your guinea pig eats potatoes or if they eat a large amount of potato at one time, they have more of a risk of developing side effects and health problems. Therefore, you should not panic just because your guinea pig gets their paws on a bit of a potato. Instead, assess the situation and offer extra water. If, for any reason, you feel uncomfortable about how much potato that your guinea pig ate, do not hesitate to take them to the vet.


In Conclusion

While guinea pigs can get by unharmed after eating a potato chip, a piece of baked potato, or even a nibble of raw potato, it is best to make sure that your pet never gets access to this type of produce. Avoiding potatoes will help ensure that your guinea pig stays happy, healthy, and strong throughout their entire lives. What kinds of produce do you enjoy feeding your guinea pig? Are there other types besides potatoes that you tend to avoid? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She is an artist at heart and loves to read, paint, and make jewelry in her spare time. As a vegan, Rachael is obsessed with helping animals in need both in her community and anywhere in the world where she feels she can make a difference. Animals also happen to be her favorite topic to write about! She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens.