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Home > General > What Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat? 15 Foods to Avoid

What Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat? 15 Foods to Avoid

guinea-pig_Minka2507, Pixabay

Guinea pigs are cute and small animals, perfect for a child’s first pet or just because you love them. There are many things to consider when selecting the diet for your guinea pig. Instead of knowing what they should eat, it is sometimes better to see the list of things they should never eat.

Before giving your guinea pig a snack, think about this: What would they eat if they were living in the wild? These are the kinds of things their bodies are designed to process effectively.

If you aren’t sure or want to give them a special treat, refer to the list below before dropping it into their feeding dish.


The 15 Things Your Guinea Pig Can’t Ear

1.  Chocolate

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Guinea pigs cannot eat chocolate or candy of any kind. They are sensitive to the quantity of sugar that they digest. Naturally, they do not eat many things that have almost any sugar. It is safest for them to avoid synthetic sugars.

Also, note that they cannot eat anything with caffeine in it. Their heartbeat is naturally regulated. They would only be able to handle trace amounts before experiencing major cardiovascular issues.

2.  Meats

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Guinea pigs are true omnivores. Their digestive systems are only made to process plants. They cannot properly absorb and digest the proteins that are typical in any meat. If they accidentally eat any form of meat, observe them. It can make them extremely ill.

3.  Other Animal Kibble

dry dog food in bowl
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Since guinea pigs cannot eat meat, it means they also cannot eat other animals’ kibble. If the other animal is an omnivore or carnivore, keep the guinea pig away from their food. These include cats, dogs, and ferrets, to name a few common ones. Meats are always processed into their meals to round out their dietary needs.

4.  Onion Family

Onions Garlic
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Any plant belonging to the onion family is not healthy for your guinea pig to eat. These include:

  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Onions
  • Chives
  • Garlic

These plants are not healthy for guinea pigs, but similar animals like hamsters and rabbits should also avoid them. They commonly cause blood disorders, leading to more severe health issues.

5.  Dairy Products

milk and cheese
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There is no reason that a guinea pig would ever even encounter a dairy product other than their own mother’s milk. Their GI tract cannot break it down properly. Such products include:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Kefir
  • Cream cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt

Note: Some people are proponents of giving guinea pigs yogurt drops. Since their bodies simply don’t have the enzymes to break this down, it is not suitable for them. Talk to your vet before adding any amount of any dairy product into a guinea pig’s diet.

6.  Cabbage and Cauliflower

cauliflower cabbage
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Are there any vegetables that you consider to cause extra gas if they are part of a meal or added to your diet? Then a good rule of thumb is to be safe and avoid giving these to your guinea pig too.

Plants like cabbage and cauliflower are common causes of bloating and extra gas for guinea pigs. Just because it’s a plant doesn’t mean it is the best supplement.

7.  Mushrooms

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Mushrooms are akin to junk food for guinea pigs. They contain about as much nutritional value for them as potato chips do for us. Instead of supplementing their diet, they only lead them to eat empty calories and gain excessive weight. Don’t panic if they snatch one that was dropped, though, since they don’t do any significant harm.

8.  Avocado

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Guinea pigs didn’t gain their name out of someone’s love for irony. They can gain unnecessary weight by overeating. Their diet should always be full of highly nutritious foods without high fat or sugar content. Avocados don’t fit the bill because they have a high-fat content.

9.  Light-Green Lettuce

light green Lettuce
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Although it would seem like lettuce would be one of the best options to choose from when feeding your guinea pig, it is still something you should be careful when adding. Lighter lettuces, like iceberg lettuce, do not have as high nutritional value as others. These kinds of lettuce give them diarrhea instead.

Opt for other greens with a deeper shade, like dandelion leaves, carrot tops, or endives.

10. Plants Treated With Pesticides

Plants treated with pesticides
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Make sure to stay away from any plant treated with chemicals. Although it might be certified safe for humans, guinea pigs are much smaller. Even trace amounts of chemicals can do more damage.

11. Nuts

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Although nuts are safe for guinea pigs to eat, they are not a health supplement. Much like avocados, they are high in fat and require your guinea pig to clock extra time on their wheel.

12. Beans

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Trying to stay away from any digestive issues is a big deal for guinea pig owners. Just like cauliflower, beans lead to gas and bloating in guinea pigs. Since they don’t have much nutritional value, they simply cause more pain than they are worth.

13. Potatoes

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Potatoes are starchy and unnecessary in a guinea pig’s diet. Avoid them.

14. Rhubarb (Plants High in Oxalic Acid)

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Oxalic acid is not easy for a little guinea pig to deal with, so keep it out of their diet. Too much eventually causes kidney disease and urinary tract stones. Other plants with high levels of oxalic acid include bok choy, beet leaves, and swiss chard.

15. Seeds

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Finally, don’t give your guinea pig any seeds. It might seem like seeds are an excellent choice because they are like bite-sized treats for something the size of a guinea pig. However, they are more often a choking hazard.

Some seeds have a high-fat content, which isn’t great, and others are loaded with poison. Cyanide is present in many fruit seeds and pips, such as apples and cherries.

Even if the treat that you are considering isn’t toxic for a guinea pig, you should think about whether it will be good for them in the long run. There are plenty of healthy snacks to instead give your guinea pig in moderate amounts to please them and you.

Featured Image Credit: minka2507, Pixabay

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