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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrots? [Tops, Leaves, and Skin]

Can guinea pigs eat carrots?

Guinea pigs love vegetables, especially those with higher sugar content.

However, not all veggies are safe for your cavies.

If you’re wondering if you should feed your piggies this crispy vegetable, join me as I explain more about guinea pigs and carrots, benefits, risks, and other foods that are safe for guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrots?

cute guinea pig leaning on a carrot but can guinea pigs eat carrots?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat carrots. Carrots are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Fiber, and minerals that guinea pigs need for their growth.

However, you should feed them in moderation since they contain a higher amount of sugar, leading to tooth decay and digestive issues in guinea pigs.

 

Carrots also contain oxalates, which could lead to bladder stones in guinea pigs if fed in excess.

I will discuss the appropriate serving size in a minute. But first, let’s answer some of the questions you may have regarding carrots and guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrot Tops?

cavy chewing a carrot top

Yes, they can. The green leaves that grow above the ground of a carrot plant make a perfect treat since they contain considerable amounts of vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and fiber.

However, carrot tops have higher calcium content than the carrot itself.

Therefore, overfeeding the carrot tops to your guinea pigs could lead to kidney stones.

 

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrot Skin?

two brown guinea pigs sharing for one carrot

Yes, guinea pigs can have carrot skin. As you prepare dinner, you can throw in some of the peelings for your cavies to munch on.

However, carrot skins may contain pesticide residues and dirt, which may be harmful to guinea pigs.

Make sure you wash them thoroughly before feeding your guinea pigs.

 

If you’re not sure how the carrots were grown, it would be better to get rid of the skin.

It would be best if you also got rid of moldy sections or sections that are discolored or decayed.

Not all guinea pigs love the skin, though. If your cavy doesn’t, it’s okay to peel them off and let them have the inner fleshy part.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Baby Carrots?

guinea pig eating a piece of carrot

Yes, cavies can eat baby carrots. Baby carrots have almost the same nutrient contents as mature carrots.

But they tend to be sweeter, and some guinea pigs may prefer them to the mature carrots.

 

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Carrots?

cooking carrots in a pan

No, they shouldn’t. Cooked food doesn’t have any nutritional value for guinea pigs.

Cooking also involves adding oils, salts, or even spices that are harmful to guinea pigs. So always feed your cavies raw food.

Related: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Leaves?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Carrots?

frozen carrots

Yes, frozen carrot is safe for guinea pigs, but you should thaw it to room temperature before being fed to guinea pigs.

If you provide it to your pet without thawing, it could lead to diarrhea and other digestive issues.

 

Besides, frozen food doesn’t always have the same nutritional value as of fresh food. So when you can, always stick to fresh raw food.

Can guinea pigs eat canned carrots?

pickled carrots in a jar

No. they shouldn’t. Canning involves adding sugar, sodium, and other preservatives, which are too complex for a guinea pig’s digestive system.

Some guinea pig owners have fed their cavies small amounts of canned carrots and got away with it.

But when it comes to guinea pigs or any other pets, avoid all canned food.

 

Can Guinea Pigs Have Carrot Cake?

delicious carrot cake

No, it would be best if you don’t feed your guinea pigs carrot cake.

While it’s not toxic to guinea pigs, carrot cake contains too much sugar, leading to teeth issues, digestive issues, obesity, and diabetes in guinea pigs.

 

Avoid feeding your cavies all types of cake, sweets, or any other sugary foods. If your guinea pig accidentally ate carrot cake (they can be sneaky sometimes), don’t fret.

Just observe them for the next couple of hours. If you note diarrhea or a change in their health, contact a veterinary as soon as possible.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Carrot Juice?

carrot juice

No, it would help if you didn’t let your guinea pigs drink carrot juice.

It may pack lots of nutrients that guinea pigs need, but carrot juice also contains too much sugar, which isn’t good for your guinea pig’s health.

The only fluid guinea pigs should have is water.

 

So make sure they have a constant supply of fresh water in their cages.

You can also feed them veggies such as cucumbers as an additional source of water, especially when it’s too hot.

Keep reading for more veggies that you can include in your piggy’s diet.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Carrots?

Yes, they do due to the sweet sugary taste. It’s your job to control how much they eat, since they can’t control themselves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlvVBCPHzcY

Are Carrots Good For Guinea Pigs?

Carrots (Daucus Carota) are some of the sweetest and most popular vegetables you can eat raw or incorporate into your food.

They’re used to make cakes, juices, salads, and a wide range of foods.

According to Brittanica.com, carrots are biennial plants that date back to the 13th century, where they were first cultivated across Europe and Asia.

Today, they are grown across the world. But are they suitable for guinea pigs? Yes, they are. Please keep reading to find out their nutritional benefits.

Carrots Nutritional Facts

Below are some of the nutrients that carrots contain;

Vitamin A

According to healthline.com, carrots contain high amounts of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that’s usually converted to Vitamin A, and it’s also the compound responsible for the orange color.

Vitamin A is one of the reasons carrots are popular since it helps in improving our vision.

And guess what, it has the same benefit for guinea pigs. Besides eye health, Vitamin A also boosts their immunity by helping fight disease.

Carrots also contain alpha-carotene, another antioxidant that makes up Vitamin A.

Vitamin C

Guinea pigs need lots of dietary Vitamin C. This is because their bodies can’t synthesize it or store it. Carrots don’t contain a lot of Vitamin C compared to foods like hay, but it still helps to have an extra source of this Vitamin.

Vitamin C is essential in bone development, blood vessel integrity, and overall health in guinea pigs.

If they don’t get enough from their diet, your pets will suffer from Scurvy, delayed healing of wounds, and poor skin.

Stick around as I’ll share the foods to feed your guinea pigs to meet their Vitamin C requirements.

Fiber

Guinea pigs need dietary fiber to maintain gut health, ideal teeth length, and gastrointestinal motility.

This is according to a factsheet published by Centre Vétérinaire Laval.

While they should get most of their fiber from hay, you can supplement that with the fiber from carrots, and they have a lot of it both in insoluble (cellulose) and soluble forms (pectin).

Besides maintaining gut health, fibers also help control cholesterol levels in a guinea pig’s body, preventing obesity.

Carbohydrates

Carrots are mainly water and carbohydrates. Carbs are present in the form of sugars and starch.

When fed in moderation, carbs are a good energy source, but they also expose your cavies to rapid weight gain.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) and B6

This is one of the Vitamins in the Vitamin B-Complex group, and it’s essential in the metabolism of carbs and fat into energy.

It’s also highly soluble once it enters the body, so you don’t have to worry about feeding your cavies too much of it. Besides, it’s only present in small amounts.

Vitamin B6 also helps in the metabolism of food to energy.

Potassium

According to a study published on the National Academic Press, guinea pigs need a higher amount of potassium, especially when feeding on foods with high amounts of calcium and phosphorous.

It helps prevent the formation of bladder stones, and it also helps regulate blood pressure.

Vitamin K1

Carrots also contain vitamin K1, which helps in blood coagulation.

Calcium

Just like us, guinea pigs need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Carrots contain a lot of calcium which is good if you feed them in moderation.

I will explain the risks associated with too much calcium later in the article.

Plant Compounds

Besides Vitamins and minerals, guinea pigs can also benefit from plant compounds found in guinea pigs.

These include anthocyanin, polyacetylene, lycopene, and lutein. These compounds are known to prevent diseases like cancer, heart disease, and leukemia.

Satiety

This is more of a health benefit whereby carrots are some of the most incredibly filling foods.

When your cavies feel full, they will minimize the amount of food they eat. This makes carrots a good option for guinea pigs that need to lose weight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26mJIz6EpMs

Risks to consider when feeding guinea pigs carrots

Below are some of the adverse effects of carrots.

  • Obesity
    • I don’t mean to shoot contradict myself here because I’ve just mentioned carrots are good weight-loss food. But too much of everything is always bad.
    • For example, even though carrots have some health benefits, they contain a lot of sugar (almost as much as strawberries), which, if fed in excess, could lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart issues.
    • As I mentioned earlier, too much sugar is also bad for their teeth and could also lead to stomach upsets, diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
    • To “neutralize” the excess sugar, Dr. Ivana Crnec advises that you should combine it with low-sugar vegetables such as lettuce.
  • Kidney Stones
    • Due to the high calcium content and oxalic acid, you will be exposing your guinea pigs to kidney stones when you overfeed them carrots.
    • This often happens when you also combine with food containing too many oxalates.
    • Besides being painful, the formation of kidney stones also inhibits the absorption of calcium into their bodies.
  • Allergies
    • Some guinea pigs may develop an allergy to carrots.
    • If you notice redness and sores in your pet’s mouth, it could be a reaction to this vegetable, and you should avoid feeding it to them.
    • In most cases, the allergy reaction will cease as soon as you get rid of the carrots, but if it doesn’t, contact your vet as quickly as possible.
  • Poisoning
    • If you rely on purchasing carrots from the store, you may not know how they are grown.
    • Some of them may pick up toxins from the soils, toxins you can’t rid of by just washing. These could lead to severe health problems.
    • If possible, grow your carrots in containers, seek organic carrots, or purchase carrots from a trusted supplier.
  • Carotenemia
    • This condition develops when you eat too many carrots, and it can develop in guinea pigs.
    • It’s characterized by yellow skin and too much beta-carotene in blood.
    • Guinea pigs may also develop this condition if they overeat sweet potatoes, squash, or any other foods rich in carotene.
    • The only way to deal with this condition is to minimize the intake of carotene-rich foods.

How Much and How Often Should You Feed Guinea Pigs Carrots?

little girl feeding carrot to a guinea pig

Due to the risks involved, it’s advisable to feed your cavies two baby carrots or one medium-sized carrot at least two times per week.

If it’s your first time feeding them, don’t give them the full serving size. Instead, start with small amounts and observe for allergies or stomach upsets.

 

Preparing Carrots for guinea pigs

  • Select a fresh carrot that has no dark spots, decayed sections, or molds.
  • Wash the carrot thoroughly and rinse to get rid of any pesticide residues or dirt.
  • You can choose to peel or feed them the carrots with the skin.
  • Cut the carrot into small 2-inch pieces to prevent choking.
  • If there are any leftovers after 24 hours, get rid of them to prevent contamination.

Alternative Vegetables

Below are other vegetables that you can consider, or even mix them with carrots for more health benefits.

Lettuce

two brown cavies eating lettuce

This is one of the best vegetables to feed your guinea pigs.

They are excellent sources of Vitamin C, calcium, folate, potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium.

However, not all lettuces are safe for guinea pigs. Romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and green leaf lettuce are the best varieties to feed your cavies.

Avoid Iceberg lettuce and butter lettuce.

 

For serving size, health benefits, and risks, check this post – Can guinea pigs eat red leaf lettuce?

Swiss chard

Swiss chard is an excellent source of Vitamins A, K, calcium, iron phosphorous, carotene, and other plant compounds.

However, it should be fed in moderation since it contains oxalic acid, which could lead to kidney stones. It also contains carotene, which causes carotenemia if fed in excess.

For serving size, benefits, and risks, check out this comprehensive post – Can guinea pigs eat Swiss chard?

Broccoli

A bald guinea pig beside a broccoli. Can guinea pigs eat broccoli?

This gorgeous tree-like vegetable can perform part of your guinea pig’s diet.

This is because it contains adequate Vitamin K1, micro minerals such as potassium and calcium, carbs, and antioxidants.

However, due to the high amounts of oxalates, they too should be fed in moderation.

 

For serving size, benefits, and risks, check out this comprehensive post – Can guinea pigs eat broccoli?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrots FAQs

Can carrots kill guinea pigs?

Not really. Carrots are not toxic to guinea pigs. They contain high sugar content and oxalates. But if fed canned, cooked, rotten, or carrot juice in excess, they might die. Poisoning from contaminated carrots could also lead to death.

How many carrots should you feed a guinea pig?

The ideal size is a medium-sized carrot or two baby carrots. Make sure you cut them into 2-inch pieces and mix them with other fresh veggies and fruits for a balanced diet.

What should guinea pigs eat?

Guinea pigs’ food should mainly contain hay, so make sure they have a constant supply. Add a cup of mixed fresh veggies and fruits and 1/8 of a cup of Vitamin C-fortified pellets to supplement the hay. Also, make sure they always have access to fresh water.

What foods can kill guinea pigs?

Potatoes, rhubarbs, dairy products, meat, chocolate, processed foods such as bread, and highly sugary foods are harmful to guinea pigs and should be avoided.

Can guinea pigs eat carrots every day?

No, they shouldn’t. Carrots are good sources of Vitamin A, good for eye health, Vitamin C, minerals, antioxidants, and potassium. However, you should feed them at least three times a week since they are very high in sugar content.

Conclusion

Next time you get carrots for dinner, you can let your pet have some. They make a tasty treat for your pet, but they can’t form part of the main diet.

So instead, feed them a medium-sized piece a few times a week, and always mix them with other veggies and fruits.

The main diet should include hay, a mixture of leafy greens, other vegetables and fruits, and pellets.

References:

  • “History of Carrots – a Brief Summary and Timeline.” n.d. Www.carrotmuseum.co.uk. http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history.html.
  • “Nutrition for Guinea Pig.” 2016. Centre Vétérinaire Laval. July 11, 2016. https://cvlaval.com/en/exotic-services/fact-sheet/nutrition-guinea-pig.html.
  • Read “Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995” at NAP.edu. n.d. Www.nap.edu. Accessed June 16, 2021. https://www.nap.edu/read/4758/chapter/6.
  • “Vitamin B7 (Biotin).” n.d. Nuts.com. https://nuts.com/healthy-eating/vitamin-b7.
guinea pig surrounded by carrot. can guinea pigs eat carrots?

Can guinea pigs eat carrots? Please share your experience in feeding carrots to your cavies!

Peter
Peter

Peter is an experienced freelance writer with a passion for helping others navigate new situations. When he’s not busy writing, he enjoys spending time with his cat.
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