Are Guinea Pigs Herbivores, Carnivores or Omnivores?

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Eating is one of the most favorite activities of the cute and cuddly guinea pigs. To see them munching green leafy vegetables is truly priceless. That being said, are guinea pigs herbivores?

Well, the answer is yes. Guinea pigs are herbivores (plant eaters). They are neither carnivores that eat meat, nor omnivores that eat both plants and meat.

Now that you know guinea pigs are herbivores, it’s time to find out what kind of plants they eat. You will know if they can eat flowers too. At the same time, I will share with you the best way to prepare their food.

Keep on reading until the last part to not miss any important information about the food that guinea pigs eat.

What Kind of Plants Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs are herbivores. Generally, they eat grasses or anything related, just like hay. They also eat different fruits, and vegetables.

Let’s have a more detailed explanation of the following:

Grasses

timothy grass - a type of grass the guinea pigs eat

It is the main diet of the guinea pigs. They can eat it fresh as it is, or dried like hay. So, yeah you can simply let them eat the grass in your yard.

During summer, eating grass is the main component of their diet. They can feed on grass for hours. Imagine if you have several guinea pigs, they can be excellent lawnmowers.

Timothy hay, the best diet for guinea pigs, is made up of timothy grass. This perennial grass is abundant throughout most of Europe, except in the Mediterranean region. Alternatively, it is known as meadow cat’s tail or simply cat’s tail.

Vegetables

vegetables for guinea pigs
Photo Source: Erin’s Ark

Often we see guinea pigs enjoying green leafy vegetables. A cup of vegetables each day is a reasonable amount to feed your pets. You should introduce new vegetables to your pet one at a time.

The vitamins and minerals that can be found in these vegetables are beneficial to the health of your guinea pig. Ensure all produce is thoroughly washed to remove pesticide residues, and do not serve cold.

The best option for greens is to choose fresh, organically grown ones. Guinea pigs can eat the following vegetables:

  • Broccoli spears
  • Romaine lettuce only (never iceberg lettuce)
  • Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes (not the stems or leaves)
  • Green and red bell peppers
  • Other dark green veggies
  • Carrots and carrot tops
  • Peas
  • Spinach

Fruits

List of fruits that guinea pigs can eat
Photo Source: Masala Pop

Fruits have high sugar content, and they should be fed less often than vegetables. Providing your guinea pigs with fresh fruits daily will delight them and provide Vitamin C at the same time. A guinea pig can consume the following fruits:

Make sure you thoroughly wash any fruits you serve your guinea pig before giving them to them. Avoid serving the fruit cold.

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Flowers?

Yes, they eat flowers. Considering flowers are from ornamental plants, it is not surprising that guinea pigs eat them too. Let’s know more about it.

What Kind of Flowers Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs can eat the following flowers: dandelion, violets, marigold, and roses. Why do guinea pigs eat them? What benefits they can get out of it.

Dandelion

Dandelions are the most common flower that guinea pigs eat. It has yellow flowers, it is easy to identify. They can consume their roots, stems, leaves, and petals as long as they do so in moderation.

When eaten in the right amounts, dandelion roots are very healthy. You can prevent guinea pigs from losing their appetite, getting upset stomachs, and forming gallstones by giving this as an occasional treat. Furthermore, dandelions promote gastric function and the flow of bile.

Also, dandelions contain antioxidants that can improve the immunity of your guinea pigs so they won’t be prone to disease. Dandelions also reduce free radical damage. As a result, your pet will have healthier cells that help prolong its life. 

You will benefit from the flower as it helps in excreting various toxins from your pet’s liver. As a result, it will function better. Scurvy can be prevented with dandelions since they contain Vitamin C.

The bottom line is that dandelions are safe to feed to guinea pigs. It only takes careful monitoring and preparation of the flower to reap its health benefits.

Violets

Guinea Pigs can eat violet flowers

It is safe to give the leaves and flowers to guinea pigs. Violets supply pets with vitamin C, which helps them fight off diseases and other complications inside the body. Moreover, it prevents Scurvy, which arises when a person is deficient in Vitamin C.

The common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Contact an expert as soon as you notice any of these signs. Moderation is highly recommended when giving this flower.

Marigolds

Guinea pigs can eat  marigold

Yellow flowers like the sun brighten our days. A good example is the marigold flower. It is reported that guinea pigs enjoy the taste of marigolds. They will surely enjoy this flower if you give it to them.

Marigolds contain a lot of fiber. In addition to aiding digestion, it helps control parasites and worms. Its sugar level is low, and it contains antioxidants that help your pet grow.

Furthermore, it can also be used as an ointment when your pet suffers an external injury. Marigold blossoms are the best choice, as the marigold leaves and steam are very pungent and will not be liked by your guinea pig. Don’t feed the flower more than twice a week.

Roses

Guinea pigs can eat roses

The giving of roses is a common means of expressing a person’s admiration. Are you aware that you can also give your guinea pigs roses? In fact, you should give them flowers not only to hold but to eat as well.

Roses are the favorite flower of Guinea pigs. For them, it is not only edible but also delicious. Additionally, it has an enticing scent and a colorful appearance. Roses smell and taste sweet. This will surely make your guinea’s day.

Moreover, a rosehip is also a fruit of the rose plant. Despite their high sugar content, rosehips contain significant amounts of vitamins and nutrients. Give this occasionally and in smaller portions. Don’t give guinea pigs sprayed roses.

The Guinea Pig Diet

What should guinea pigs eat on a daily basis? When is the right time to give them food? Let’s find out more about the diet of guinea pigs.

What Type of Food Should You Consider for Your GP’s Diet?

There are two things that every guinea pig owner needs to keep in mind when choosing food:

  1. Guinea pigs cannot produce Vitamin C, making them vulnerable to scurvy. Vitamin C should be included in guinea pig pellets to keep your pet healthy.
  1. Guinea pigs have constantly growing teeth. You should give your guinea pig something fibrous to chew on. Hay plays an important role here because the use of hard pellets alone will not solve the problem.

It is also important not to switch your guinea pigs’ diet too fast. If you need to do so, gradually switch the diet from their original home to their new diet.

When is The Best Time to Give Guinea Pigs Their Food?

Feed your guinea pig twice a day, in the morning and the evening.

The guinea pig will overeat if they are allowed to do so. Therefore, remove pelleted food that has not been eaten within one hour, and discard fresh fruits and vegetables that have not been consumed within 24 hours.

The guinea pig is primarily an herbivore, grazing on plants. Throughout the day, they munch on grass and vegetables. Fresh hay should be readily available at all times.

Moreover, guinea pig’s bowls should be emptied daily, then they should be cleaned and filled with fresh food and water.

How to Prepare Food for Your Guinea Pigs?

Before preparing the food for your guinea pigs, it is much better if you consult a vet for better recommendations. There are simple steps that you can do in preparing the food for your guinea pigs. They are as follows:

1. Cut the vegetables into small pieces (variety).

2. Put it in a cup (better if it is ceramic-made).

3. Add some pellets to it.

4. You can add a small pile of hay beside it.

5. You can also give them some treats (seldom times only).

6. Lastly, water that they will drink after eating.

Take note, other than hay, everything should be given moderately or with certain interval days. It is important to be consistent in your pet’s daily diet. In this way, any stomach upsets for guinea pigs can be avoided.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Here are some of the questions that most people ask about guinea pigs’ diet.

What Other Foods Can Guinea Pig Eat?

Guinea pigs can eat artificial and other unexpected food too. They are as follows:

Pellets

In commercial guinea pig food, Vitamin C and other essential nutrients are carefully formulated to provide balanced nutrition. Make sure the pelleted food you select has been veterinarian-tested and approved, and follow the feeding instructions on the packaging.

Treats

Pet shops offer many different kinds of treats, many of them based on carbohydrates, or sweets, like yogurt drops. They are all expensive gimmicks, and your guinea pig will be much happier (and healthier) with an extra carrot!

Caecotrophs

There is no need for you to get involved with these, your guinea pig will prepare and eat them on its own! A guinea pig’s caecotrophs are proteins and vitamins that are excreted in soft (and odorous) droppings, usually overnight.

As soon as they pass through the digestive process, they are ready to be eaten. Don’t be disgusted if you catch them eating their poop. They need it to stay healthy.

Can Guinea Pigs Die from Eating Meat?

Yes, they can die from eating meat. Herbivores digest plants while carnivores digest meat. So, you never feed meat to a herbivore, nor feed plants to a carnivore, right?

Scientifically speaking, the digestive system (the organs that process the food intake) of a guinea pig is not intended for meat. If that is the case, what may happen if they eat meat? Well, let’s find out!

It may stay inside its stomach left undigested, which can cause trouble and discomfort for your pet. Moreover, some parasites live in meat. That being said, they might infest the internal organs of these animals, which can be deadly for them.

Nonetheless, they will not eat meat, even if you offer it to them. Plus, they can recognize what they can eat or not. So, you can rest your worries now.

Final Thoughts

In this article, you have learned that guinea pigs are herbivores. You also learned that they eat grasses, vegetables, fruits, flowers, and more. Moreover, you also learned the way on how their food should be given to them.

Your guinea pigs deserve to have a healthy diet. But remember, a diet should always be put in moderation to promote better health. Not because we enjoy watching our pets eat a lot does mean it’s good for them.

Let’s always keep in mind that the food we feed to our pets will affect their body. If we feed them unhealthy food they will die faster. On the other hand, they will live longer if we feed them with healthy food.

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