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Home > Guinea Pigs > Can Guinea Pigs Eat Thyme? Vet Approved Nutrition Advice

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Thyme? Vet Approved Nutrition Advice

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Thyme

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Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

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

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Most people know that guinea pigs are herbivores that love to munch on just about any plant matter, but it might occur to wonder what precisely is good for them and not. For instance, what about herbs like thyme? Thyme is safe and even healthy for your guinea pig, containing important nutrients like calcium, fiber, and a high amount of vitamin C. However, thyme is also high in calcium, and too much calcium can contribute to dangerous urinary tract infections and stones in guinea pigs.

What’s the verdict? A few sprigs of thyme per week won’t hurt your guinea pig and can even contribute to their overall health, but it shouldn’t be a large part or staple in their feeding schedule. If you’re interested in what other herbs are safe for your guinea pig, you’re in luck. Read on for some other healthy herbs for your guinea pig, nutritional tips, and more.


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Any Other Herbs?

Yes! Guinea pigs can eat a lot of the same herbs you may already have in your cabinets and maybe even in your garden. Like thyme, these other herbs contain some valuable nutrients that make them worthwhile snacks for your guinea pig once in a while. Scroll down for the herbs and what nutrients they have to offer.

Other Nutritious & Delicious Herbs for Guinea Pigs:
  • Cilantro: Contains a moderate amount of calcium and vitamin C with a balanced calcium-phosphorus ratio.
  • Mint: Mint has an addictively sweet scent, also offering vitamin C and a moderate amount of calcium.
  • Lavender: Contains vitamin A, calcium, and a bit of iron.
texel guinea pigs on green grass
Image Credit: Svitlana Govorun, Shutterstock

What Herbs & Other Foods to Avoid for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs won’t discriminate between a bunch of different plants given the choice, so it’s on you as their owner to learn what’s safe for them to eat and what you should avoid. Let’s take a quick look at some herbs and other foods you should keep away from your guinea pig.

Herbs and Foods to Avoid:
  • Rosemary: Contains a notably high amount of calcium among other herbs.
  • Onion, garlic, and chive: Like in dogs, all these Allium family members are toxic to guinea pigs.
  • Tulips: These cheery flowers are very poisonous to guinea pigs because they contain a toxin called tulipalin.
  • Rhubarb: All parts of the rhubarb plant are poisonous to guinea pigs.
  • Potato: Potatoes and their flowers are toxic to guinea pigs because of a compound called solanine, which is largely found in green potatoes.
onion and garlic
Image Credit: Monika, Pixabay

What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs are herbivores that subsist on native grasses, hays, shrubs, flowers, and herbs. In captivity, they tend to eat a diet composed of 80% hay. That said, they’re more than happy to sample some other tasty greens you may have growing in your garden or at the supermarket. Check those out with us down below.

Guinea Pig Staples:
  • Timothy hay: The guinea pig staple, timothy hay contains a majority of the nutrients they need to thrive.
  • Zucchini: A bright, tasty alternative to hay that’s rich in both vitamin C and fiber.
  • Cabbage: An excellent low-calorie source of vitamin C for your guinea pig.
  • Bell peppers: The underrated bell pepper is a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants with very low calcium content.
  • Lettuce: Romaine lettuce is a great low-calorie staple to mix in with your guinea pig’s hay but contains few nutrients.
himalayan guinea pig eating hay
Image By: PHOTO FUN, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs love to try new foods, and adding some thyme is a good way to keep their food interesting. Though they largely eat hay or grass, you can try introducing some other foods like cabbage or zucchini to see if they enjoy it.

Featured Image Credit: Afanasieva, Shutterstock

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