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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lavender? [Is It Safe For Them?]

Lavender is great for cooking and safe for humans to consume. As a result, I’ve decided to research if I can share it with my cavy to stop his picky eating. Truthfully, I could use help.

So can guinea pigs eat lavender? They can eat lavender as it’s packed with antioxidants and other nutrients. But it contains calcium, so moderation is vital to prevent health issues.

However, there’s much more to learn about lavender before feeding it to cavies.

So please read on, and see whether it’s a fitting addition to your guinea pig’s diet.

Key Takeaways

  • Lavender is a safe plant to offer cavies occasionally. Its high calcium content can make too much of it dangerous for guinea pigs.
  • Cavies will get several health benefits from eating lavender. Some of them include protection from scurvy, fighting infections, and offering a calming effect.
  • Owners should only allow lavender to be 10% or less of a guinea pig’s diet. So a tiny piece of lavender once or twice a week is a good starting point.

Is Lavender Safe to Eat for Guinea Pigs?

In most cases, lavender is a safe plant to feed cavies. My only concern with its consumption would be its 1% per teaspoon calcium content.

Sadly, too much calcium can become make a cavy susceptible to urinary tract issues. For instance, excess calcium in this area can cause painful urination and kidney stones (1).

But the right amount of calcium will provide several benefits. It’ll help a cavy get strong bones, hair, and teeth. Hence, moderation is so vital when feeding guinea pigs lavender.

Guinea pigs also love how it tastes. For instance, look at this video where a funny little cavy absolutely adores eating his lavender treat.

Due to this, younger cavies will require more calcium within their diets. But as they get older, they don’t need much of it.

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Lavender?

Baby guinea pigs can eat lavender but wait until three weeks old. Before then, their digestive system isn’t developed enough to process lavender completely.

Once they are three weeks old, you can start by placing a small piece of lavender next to them. Giving them a small amount will let you test if there are any adverse reactions.

Stop feeding them lavender if they show signs such as diarrhea or vomiting. If they don’t, you can continue to provide them with it.

But I’d only provide a small piece of lavender once a week for the next three months. Afterward, gradually increase the amount to feed them. But only once or twice per week.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lavender Stems?

Lavender stems are fine for guinea pigs to consume. But the stems are a bit tough to eat for most cavies. However, if your cavy is like mine, he’ll enjoy nibbling on them.

lavender stems for guinea pigs but can guinea pigs eat lavender

You also want to avoid giving them an entire stem, or it will be too much for them. Instead, a small amount of it will do the job.

Cut a small piece of the stem and wash them first. This will remove any dirt, pest, and debris on it. Then toss them to your cavy to nibble on.

Honestly, I couldn’t believe how much my cavy adored nibbling on the stems. It’s become his favorite weekly activity, so I think he looks forward to it. 

Health Benefits Of Eating Lavender

Lavender can benefit guinea pigs in many ways. The most obvious is its ability to help fight infections, prevent digestive issues, and healing properties.

But there are a few less-known ways lavender can help cavies. Here’s a quick look at some unexpected health benefits offered by this valuable herb:

1. Prevention From Scurvy

One overlooked thing about lavender is that it contains a good amount of vitamin C. For guinea pigs, this vitamin is crucial for their overall health.

But these creatures “lack the physical ability to manufacture their own vitamin C” (2). So they need to get from external contributors, such as eating lavender.

If they don’t, cavies will get scurvy. Yes, the disease is often associated with pirates. It’s a nightmare with symptoms of diarrhea, swollen joints, internal bleeding, and fatigue.

As a result, they need a constant supply of vitamin C to stay healthy and avoid it. Thankfully, it’s a task that some lavender can accomplish.

2. Calming Effect

Lavender is famous for its smell providing “calming properties” (3). It’s why you often see it placed in tea, balms, lotion, and essential oil.

But some people must realize that this calming effect also happens when you eat it. So you can expect the same when your cavies ingest it.

For instance, I’ve used it several times to calm my cavy in stressful situations, such as when I moved into a new apartment.

3. Healthy Blood

Lavender is a good source of iron, which is vital to a guinea pig’s health. For instance, it protects them against anemia and keeps the blood healthy.

On the other hand, insufficient iron can make cavies become ill and suffer from other health issues. The condition can even lead to death when left untreated for a long time.

As someone who’s suffered from anemia, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I certainly wouldn’t wish it on my cavy or other pets.

How To Feed Guinea Pigs Lavender?

You can feed cavies lavender in two ways: by a stalk or just the flowers. In either case, always wash the lavender plant before providing them with any of it.

lavender flower for guinea pigs but can guinea pigs eat lavender

If you don’t, they will most likely have insects on them and dirt accumulating on the plant. These insects aren’t a huge issue, but exposure to fertilizers/pesticides is a large concern.

So cleaning them off before feeding becomes essential. You can then choose your preferred method of stalk or flowers, then place them in the enclosure.

If your cavy is a picky eater, try mixing it with other foods. For example, you can mix it with vegetables, fruits, and hay. It’s a simple way to give them a boost in nutrition.

How Much Lavender To Feed Guinea Pigs

A good starting point for cavy lavender consumption would be once or twice per week. It’s a moderate amount but still manages to provide a guinea pig with its primary benefits.

If you’re looking for a more precise amount, lavender should only make up 10% of their overall diet. So it’s much more a secondary piece rather than the main course.

Other Safe Herbs For Your Guinea Pig

Lavender is only one of several herbs that are safe for cavies. So here’s a list of three others to provide some more ideas for spicing up your cavy’s diet:

1. Thyme

Thyme is an herb that’s packed with nutrition, especially vitamin C. It also contains vitamin A, antioxidants, and manganese.

All of these are needed for the guinea pigs to remain healthy. However, due to the high amount of calcium, thyme should be fed to them in a tiny amount, 2-3 times a week.

2. Parsley

This is an herb that most guinea pigs enjoy eating. In fact, my cavy can never seem to get enough of it.

guinea pig trying to eat parsley but can guinea pigs eat parsley

He also benefits from eating it since it is full of nutrition, especially vitamin C. But like most herbs, parsley contains a lot of calcium and oxalic acid, which can be harmful.

So to prevent any health issues, feed them parsley in moderation. Also, check out our guide on can guinea pigs eat parsley stems if want to feed it too to your cavies.

3. Mint

Mint is another herb that you can feed to guinea pigs. This herb contains vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and iron.

But it also contains a high amount of calcium and phosphorus, which can harm the cavies. For that reason, feed mint to guinea pigs in moderation.

I suggest offering them a few small mint leaves 1-2 times a week. This routine will keep those pesky calcium and phosphorus levels at bay.

FAQs

Can guinea pigs eat roses?

Guinea pigs can eat roses, but only in small quantities. Therefore, a feeding of five grams twice a week should be appropriate.

Can guinea pigs eat rosemary?

Rosemary is an acceptable food guinea pigs can eat. But proceed with caution as it’s known for its high calcium content.

Conclusion

So can guinea pigs eat lavender? It’s perfectly fine to give a cavy lavender. It provides them with vitamin C and has calming properties to help prevent stress.

But as with other treats, lavender should be fed to them in moderation to avoid health issues. A couple of pieces of lavender, once or twice per week, is plenty.

guinea pig waving at lavender but can guinea pigs eat lavender

So, did you ever feed lavender to your guinea pig? Let us know in the comments section!

Resources

  • 1. Reavill DR, Lennox AM. Disease Overview of the Urinary Tract in Exotic Companion Mammals and Tips on Clinical Management. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice. 2020;23:169–93.
  • 2. Vitamin C Deficiency in Guinea Pigs [Internet]. www.petmd.com. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/exotic/conditions/cardiovascular/c_ex_gp_vitamin_c_deficiency
  • 3. Koulivand PH, Khaleghi Ghadiri M, Gorji A. Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:1–10.
Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts

My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed.
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