If you’re looking for safe guinea pig foods to add to your cavy’s diet, we’ve got you covered!
Below, you’ll find a robust list of fruits, veggies, and other essentials that guinea pigs can eat (along with how often they can have them).
We’ll also go over some of the worst guinea pig foods that you should NEVER feed them!
Let’s dive in!
What Should You Feed Your Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs are herbivores, meaning they only eat “things that need photosynthesis to live,” such as vegetables, fruits, grasses, and bulbs.
In the wild, a guinea pig’s diet mainly consists of bark, grasses, hay, herbs, plants, seeds, and twigs.
Domestically, it is recommended that about 80% of a guinea pig’s diet comes from hay, 10% comes from guinea pig pellet food, and the remaining 10% from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Let’s look at that a bit more, then we’ll go over the list of safe guinea pig foods.
Guinea pigs require an unlimited supply of fresh hay every day. In fact, this is easily your biggest cavy food expense.
We covered this quite a bit in “Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass Instead of Hay,” so check that out for the safest types of hay and other recommendations.
Guinea pigs should be given about 1/8th cup of pellet food per day. Just make sure you’re choosing pellets made for cavies and not rabbits.
While they may look the same, guinea pig pellets have added nutrients, like vitamin C, that bunnies don’t really need.
Safe Fresh fruits and vegetables–
Your guinea pig should eat about 1 cup of veggies/fruits (far more veggies than fruits, though) each day.
When I make a guinea pig salad I start with about two leaves of lettuce from the list below.
Then I add in three different veggies from the “frequently” or “occasionally” list. I finish it off with a piece of fruit from one of the lists.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s check out that list of safe guinea pig foods.
List of Safe Guinea Pig Foods
I’ve broken down this list into foods that are safe to feed daily, frequently, and occasionally. Try to mix things up so that your cavy doesn’t get bored.
Believe me, it happens! My guinea pigs went on a Romaine strike for weeks because they were just so tired of it.
- Broccoli– Raw broccoli only- Guinea pigs can eat all parts including stems and leaves.
- Endive– Rich in vitamins and minerals- Low in sugar.
- Green and/or red leaf lettuce– Good source of calcium & Vitamin C. With all lettuces, serve about 1-2 leaves.
- Kale– Packed with fiber and vitamins.
- Radicchio– Great source of fiber, minerals and vitamins.
- Romaine lettuce- One of the best vegetables for guinea pigs- Contains a good amount of Vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as iron and potassium,
Frequently (2-4 times per week)–
- Arugula Lettuce– Very high in calcium. Stick to 1-2 leaves.
- Bell peppers– Serve 1 slice of green and/or yellow peppers since the orange and red ones are higher in sugar.
- Blueberries– Loaded with antioxidants, but also high in sugar- Serve 1-2 berries.
- Carrots– Rich source of beta carotene- Serve 1-2 sticks.
- Cucumber– Ok to leave the skin and seeds intact. Contains Vitamins C & K, as well as potassium- Serve 1 slice.
- Green beans- Raw green beans only- Good source of Vitamin C- Serve 1-2 beans.
- Peas– (snap, snow and sugar)- Ok to include the pods- Contains calcium, Vitamin C and phosphorus- Serve 1-2 pods.
- Squash– (summer and winter)- Leave the skin on as that is where most of the nutrients are- Serve small slices or cubes.
- Zucchini– High in Vitamin C- Low in salt and sugar- Serve small slices or cubes.
Occasionally (1-2 times per week)-
- Apples– High in fiber, but also high in sugar- Serve 1-2 small pieces, remove seeds.
- Dandelions– Both the yellow flower and the stalk. Only pick from your yard if you don’t use chemical weeders. Wash thoroughly.
- Grapes– Great source of Vitamin C- Serve 1-2 grapes.
- Honeydew– Remove the seeds as they are a choking hazard- Good amount of Vitamin C and potassium, but also high in sugar- Serve 1 slice.
- Kiwi– Rich source of fiber, potassium and Vitamin C- Contains sugar- A bit acidic- Serve 1 slice.
- Oranges– Excellent source of Vitamin C. Serve 1/4 per piggy. Remove seeds.
- Peaches– Contains potassium and Vitamin C, but also high in sugar- Serve 1 slice. Pits are HIGHLY toxic, so remove them.
- Spinach– High in Vitamin C and low in sugar- Contains oxalic acids- Serve 1-2 leaves.
- Watercress– High in Vitamin C, but also high in calcium- Serve 1 cup.
- Watermelon– Can eat the flesh and the rind- High in Vitamins A & C- Serve 1 small slice, without the seeds.
Rare Treats (Once a Month)
- Bananas– High in sugar and can cause gas, but a good source of calcium. Serve ½-inch slice.
- Carrot tops– while carrots themselves are a “frequent” food, the green tops should be an occasional treat.
- Cherries– just make sure to remove the pits.
- Peppermint (fresh herb)– Many piggies love it, but some REALLY hate it, so serve it on its own. Otherwise, they’ll reject the rest of the salad.
- Sweet potato– A good Thanksgiving treat for guinea pigs.
You’ll notice that the daily list of safe guinea pig foods is fairly short, but there’s still plenty to work with.
Like I said above, I use lettuce as a base, then I rotate through a selection of the other fruits and veggies to keep things interesting.
I also use this chart to help me figure out the ratio of fruits to veggies to feed my piggies.
Harmful and Toxic Foods for Guinea PigS
There are certain foods that you shouldn’t feed to your guinea pig. This is because these foods are either difficult to digest, are high in fat and/or sugar, have no nutritional value and/or are toxic to guinea pigs.
- Avocado– The skin is toxic to guinea pigs and the inside has a high-fat content.
- Bread– Bread is a type of processed food, which causes problems for a guinea pig’s digestive system.
- Cabbage– Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which can cause bloating and gas in guinea pigs.
- Caffeine (chocolate, coffee, soda, etc.)- High in sugar.
- Coconut– High in fat content.
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.)- Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant.
- Garlic– Toxic to guinea pigs.
- Iceberg lettuce– While not toxic, it has high water content and no nutritional value.
- Meat– A guinea pig’s digestive system is not designed to consume meat.
- Mushrooms– Wild mushrooms are toxic to guinea pigs, while other types of mushrooms, like portobello, have no nutritional value.
- Nuts & seeds- High-fat content.
- Olives– High in fat, sodium and water content.
- Onions– Contains the compounds disulfides and thiosulphates, which are both toxic to guinea pigs.
- Peanut butter– High in calories, fat and salt.
- Pickles– Too acidic for guinea pigs.
- Potatoes– Green and sprouted potatoes can be toxic to guinea pigs.
- Rhubarb– The leaves and stalks are toxic to guinea pigs.
There you go! It’s far from a complete list of every safe fruit and veggie for cavies, but it will get you started.
Can you think of any safe guinea pig foods that I missed that your own cavy really loves? Share below!
Deanna is a passionate animal lover. She is the mom of several guinea pigs and sugar gliders.