Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

Guinea Pigs May 13, 2022
Written by | Updated Mar 30, 2024
Share Email Pinterest Linkedin Twitter Facebook


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

A wonderfully aromatic herb with an appealing aroma, basil is easy to grow in your garden or even in a pot on your windowsill.

If you love fresh basil and have lots of it on hand, you’re probably wondering whether it’s OK to share with your little cavy friend.

The quick answer to your question is this: Yes, guinea pigs can eat basil!

But there are definite limits. While basil is OK for guinea pigs to eat, it shouldn’t be a big part of their diet – in fact, they can have just a tiny bit, and they shouldn’t have it all that often.

Ready for more? Keep reading and in moments you’ll be well-informed on the subject of basil for guinea pigs.

Basil Nutrition Stats

Love pesto? you’re in luck. Basil is big on flavor but before you add other ingredients, it barely dips into your daily calorie budget at all.

A big ¼ cup serving of fresh basil leaves offers approximately:

  • 5 calories
  • .6 g carbohydrates
  • .1 g fiber
  • .2 g protein
  • 0 g fat

Basil Nutritional Facts

Basil is high in vitamin K, which is good news for you and your guinea pig.

That same heaping ¼ cup serving of basil leaves, you’ll get about:

  • 317 iu vitamin A
  • 9 mcg vitamin K
  • 1 mg vitamin C
  • 1 mcg folate
  • 8 mg magnesium
  • 6 mg calcium
  • 7 mg potassium

Can Guinea Pigs Have Basil?

Certainly! Basil is a nice, natural treat that adds a bit of interest to your guinea pig’s day. Of course, it’s just one of many plants that your guinea pig can eat.

Is Basil Good For Guinea Pigs?

Given the fact that guinea pigs can only have small amounts of basil, they’re not really going to get a ton of vitamins or minerals from those yummy little leaves.

At the same time, basil isn’t bad for guinea pigs. As it contains no sugar, it’s a very safe choice even for guinea pigs who’ve been advised to watch their waistlines by their vets.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Basil?

Here’s a fun fact: Not all guinea pigs like the same things!

Some guinea pigs love basil and eagerly nibble. Others can’t stand it and ignore it completely. The best way to see if your guinea pig likes basil is to place a little bit in their cage and watch for their response.

How Much Basil Can A Guinea Pig Eat?

That’s a great question! Here’s how much basil a to feed your guinea pig:

Age Amount
Baby guinea pig None
Adult guinea pig 2 or 3 average-size basil leaves

This doesn’t sound like much but in reality, it’s quite a few nibbles!

Anytime you give your cavy something new, it’s important to make a careful, gradual introduction. Start by giving your guinea pig one basil leaf – and choose one that’s on the small size.

If they like it and eat it, then you’ll want to watch for signs of bloating, diarrhea, or an upset tummy. None of these are likely but sudden dietary changes can make unusual things happen! It’s best to take a cautious approach.

So long as everything is normal, you can give your guinea pig 2 basil leaves next time they’re on the menu. Again, watch for complications. If nothing happens, you can add basil to your guinea pig’s regular rotation of fresh foods.

How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Basil?

Since variety and good nutrition are important, you’ll want to offer basil just two to three times per week. There are lots of other things for your piggie to eat and nibble for nibble, most are more nutritious than basil.

The Correct Diet Is Important

A guinea pig’s natural diet might sound a bit boring to you but these little piggies thrive on long-stemmed grasses and little leafy plants that are easy to reach.

It’s safe to say that if a guinea pig encountered basil in their natural environment, they’d definitely pause for a sniff and perhaps give it a try! But even then, basil wouldn’t be a big part of their menu.

Here’s what to feed your guinea pig every day:

  • A serving of guinea pig pellets with vitamin C – the label will tell you how much to offer your pet
  • Unlimited amounts of fresh hay such as Timothy, oat, or orchard
  • Clean, fresh water (Remember to rinse and refill your guinea pig’s drinking bottle every day!)

Last but not least, you should offer about one cup of fresh, guinea pig-safe vegetables, divided into at least two smaller meals per day if possible.

Rotate through at least a few kinds of leafy greens and crunchy vegetables, offering different items each day. This helps prevent oxalic acid buildup and reduces your guinea pig’s risk of kidney stones.

What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Basil In A Guinea Pig’s Diet?

Guinea pigs like lots of vegetables and fruits, and they thrive on variety. This means you’ve got tons of choices!

Next time you’re looking for a healthy way to treat your guinea pig, try:

  • broccoli
  • broccolini
  • brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • watercress
  • green beans
  • artichoke
  • parsley
  • mint
  • beets
  • beet tops
  • cilantro
  • carrot
  • carrot tops
  • romaine
  • arugula
  • swiss chard
  • cabbage
  • butter lettuce
  • cucumber
  • buttercrunch lettuce
  • bibb lettuce
  • escarole
  • rocket
  • spinach
  • bell pepper
  • endive
  • parsnip
  • sweet potato
  • zucchini
  • summer squash
  • pumpkin
  • winter squash
  • tomato
  • bok choy
  • asparagus
  • yu choy

The odds are good that many of the same veggies, fruits, and herbs that are great for you are also good for your guinea pig, but certain foods are toxic.

This means you’ll need to spend a few minutes looking for information on every new food you plan to offer your cavy. Not only will this approach allow you to learn about any potential benefits and drawbacks, it’ll also give you insight into how much to feed your guinea pig and how often each item can be offered.

Now, it’s time for that experiment! Try giving your guinea pig basil and see how they respond!

Let us know what happened in the comments. We’d love to find out how your guinea pig feels about basil!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is basil safe for guinea pigs?

Yes, basil is safe for guinea pigs. Just remember to introduce it gradually to prevent a potential upset tummy.

Can basil make my guinea pig sick?

It’s possible but not really likely. Your guinea pig would probably have to overeat basil to get sick from it and we know you’re planning to offer only a tiny amount.

Can guinea pigs eat Thai basil?

Yes, it's OK for guinea pigs to eat Thai basil so long as you stick to the correct serving size and introduce it slowly.

Can guinea pigs have lemon basil?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat lemon basil, just remember to offer the right amount and provide your pet with a gradual introduction to this herb.

Is sweet basil OK for guinea pigs?

Yes, it’s fine to give a guinea pig sweet basil. As with all other types of basil, remember to give your cavy the right amount of basil and offer it just a few times per week.

Was this article helpful?
Let us know what you think.

Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *