A complete guide to feeding vegetables for guinea pigs.
A healthy guinea pig diet is made up of 80% hay, 5% pellets, and 15% fresh veggies. Vegetables are important because they provide vitamins and nutrients, especially Vitamin C, that are important for a healthy pet. They also provide your guinea pig with some much need variety.
Knowing what vegetables you can feed your guinea pigs can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re a new owner. This guide will walk you through how to feed veggies and provide you with some safe and healthy options you can try.
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How to Feed Guinea Pig Veggies
As I mentioned before, fresh vegetables should make up about 10-15% of a guinea pig’s diet. The general rule of thumb when it comes to feeding veggies to guinea pigs is they should get about one cup of veggies per guinea pig per day.
Make sure the vegetables that you are feeding are nice and fresh and have been washed before giving them to your guinea pig. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t eat it- neither should your guinea pig! Vegetables should always be fed raw. I like to remove the seeds from peppers and other vegetables before feeding to my guinea pigs to avoid any choking risks as well.
If you want to start feeding veggies to a guinea pig that has never had them, make sure to start out slow. Changing a guinea pig’s diet too fast can upset their stomachs. Start by feeding a very small amount of veggies each day for about a week. Increase the amount the next week, working your way up to feeding a cup of veggies over a 3-4 week period.
Read More: Why hay is important for guinea pigs
Vitamin C for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are not able to produce their own Vitamin C. If they don’t get enough Vitamin C in their diet it can lead to scurvy and other health problems. Because of this, it’s important to provide good sources of vitamin C to your piggie.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by providing vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C. Mixing in some daily veggies that are high in Vitamin C will make sure your piggies are getting the amount they need. You can check out the full veggie list down below, but for now, some of my favorite high Vitamin C veggies are bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and kale.
There are also other ways your guinea pig can get vitamin C. Healthy guinea pig pellets will contain vitamin C along with other needed nutrients. There are also a few different brands of Vitamin C tabs – Oxbow and Sherwood Pet Health are my favorites. I just use these as treats and my guinea pigs love them.
The only thing you don’t want to be using are the drops you put in your guinea pig’s water. These are only effective for about 20 minutes, and they change the taste of the water. This could actually cause your pet to not drink enough water and cause a bunch of other problems.
Having too much Vitamin C in their diet won’t hurt your guinea pig. Their bodies process the vitamins they need, and the rest is flushed out in their urine. You don’t have to worry about giving too much Vitamin C, you just want to make sure you’re providing your guinea pig with options to get enough!
Make sure to download your printable veggie list below – it even includes a sample weekly diet plan!
Safe Vegetables for Guinea Pigs
When it comes to choosing safe and healthy vegetables for guinea pigs, the most important thing is providing a variety so they are getting a balanced diet. Providing variety will also be more exciting for your guinea pig since they won’t have to eat the same thing every day!
Guinea pigs can be prone to bladder stones if their diet is too high in calcium. They do need SOME calcium, so feeding vegetables with higher levels of calcium a few times a week is fine. However, if your guinea pig has really thick pee spots left in their cage, you probably want to reduce the calcium in their diet to reduce the risk of developing bladder stones.
I’ve broken down safe veggies into a list that can be fed daily, a few times a week, or just occasionally. You can feed 2-3 options from the daily list every day. Rotate through the options on the weekly list every few days. The occasional veggies are either very high in calcium or have the potential to cause bloat, so I would only offer these every month or two to provide some variety.
Daily Vegetable Options
These veggies can be fed on a daily basis:
- Green leaf lettuce
- Red leaf lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Bell pepper (any color, red have more sugar)
- Swiss Chart
*Note about tomatoes – they can be fed every day, but start off feeding one a few times a week and work your way up to feeding daily. Otherwise, they might cause sores in your guinea pig’s mouth since they are very acidic. Also, ensure your guinea pig never has tomato leaves or stems as they are toxic.
Feed Several Times a Week
- Beets (high in sugar)
- Butternut squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Summer squash (high in sugar)
- Rutabagas (high in sugar)
- Garden cress
Occasional Veggie Options
- Broccoli (can cause bloat)
- Cabbage (can cause bloat)
- Celery (can also be hard for pigs to eat)
- Brussel sprouts
- Collard greens (can cause bloat)
- Cauliflower (can cause bloat)
- Turnip greens
- Beet greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
Final Thoughts on Feeding Guinea Pig Veggies
Feeding fresh veggies to your guinea pig every day is a great way to give them some variety and make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need. Feeding veggies to your guinea pigs doesn’t have to be so complicated or overwhelming!
Make sure to download your printable list so you always have it on hand!
I don’t see parsley are kale mentioned. My guinea pig love them, are these not good for them?
Parsley has a lot of calcium, so should only be fed occasionally. I choose not to feed kale because it can increase the risk of bloat.