Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions?

Guinea Pigs Jul 29, 2020
Anne Kennedy
Written by Anne Kennedy | Updated Apr 21, 2021
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Anne Kennedy

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions?

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Even though some people consider dandelions to be nothing more than weeds, lots of us are allowing them to grow these days simply because they help pollinators thrive. But are dandelions only good for bees? What about guinea pigs?

These are great questions! If you’ve noticed some dandelions growing in your lawn, you might have wondered if they’re okay for your guinea pig.

The quick answer is yes! Guinea pigs can eat dandelions but only in small quantities and only every so often.

Keep reading: In just a few minutes, you’ll know all there is to know about dental lands for guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Dandelions?

Yes! Guinea pigs can have dandelions – in fact, most guinea pigs really appreciate this unique treat.

When choosing dandelions for your guinea pig, make sure to pick dandelion blossoms that come from an area that hasn’t been treated with any herbicides or pesticides that might harm your pet. You’ll also want to make sure that other animals haven’t been using that area as a toilet.

Just to be on the safe side, give the dandelion blossoms a good rinse before you give them to your guinea pig.

Are Dandelions Good For Guinea Pigs?

Yes! While they are not terribly nutritious, dandelion blossoms do offer a few nutrients.

Look at it this way: Dandelions certainly aren’t junk food! They offer small amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as some iron and vitamin K.

We recommend feeding your guinea pig dandelion blossoms only. Dandelion leaves are very high in calcium, and they have a bitter taste that your guinea pig might not like.

If you discover that your guinea pig likes dandelion leaves, it’s okay to offer one or two.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Dandelions?

Yes! Most guinea pigs love dandelions – at least the blossom portion of the plant.

How Many Dandelions Can A Guinea Pig Eat?

Think of dandelions as a special treat. They shouldn’t make up a big part of your guinea pig’s diet.

Here’s how many dandelions to feed a guinea pig:

AgeAmount
Baby guinea pigNone
Adult guinea pig2 large dandelions or 3 small dandelions

Ready for some fun? Pick a fresh, clean dandelion and give it to your guinea pig. If your pet eats the dandelion, monitor them for about 12 hours to make sure they don’t show any signs of an upset tummy, bloating, or diarrhea.

So long as everything comes out okay, it’s okay to offer your guinea pig 2 to 3 dandelions next time.

How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Dandelions?

This treat might be all natural, but that doesn’t mean your guinea pig should have it every day.

Your pets will do best with lots of variety in their diet, so try to offer different treats on different days. While fresh dandelions are in season, you can give them to your guinea pig up to three times per week.

The Correct Diet Is Important

In the wild, guinea pigs eat a diet that consists mostly of grasses and small, low-lying plants that grow within easy reach of their short little legs. This might not sound terribly exciting, but all of these little plants offer well-rounded nutrition.

Pet guinea pigs have the same digestive systems their wild cousins do. For this reason, it’s important to give your guinea pig a diet that satisfies their unique needs.

Here’s a quick guide to feeding your guinea pig the right way:

  • Offer an unlimited amount of fresh hay. The fiber in the hay keeps your guinea pig’s digestive system active.
  • Provide a serving of vitamin C-enriched guinea pig food every day. Different brands recommend different serving sizes, so be sure to check the label to see how much you should be feeding your guinea pig.
  • Make sure your guinea pig always has fresh, clean water. Rinse and refill their drinking bottle every day.
  • Give your guinea pig a salad made with about 1 cup of leafy greens and a few chopped vegetables every day. You can also offer your guinea pig a little tiny bit of fruit as a special treat.

That’s not all:

Since your guinea pig lives inside a cage, they don’t have access to all the woody plants that while guinea pigs must chew through during the course of their daily lives.

Here’s something new guinea pig parents don’t always know: A guinea pig’s teeth are always growing and it’s up to us as their guardian to prevent overgrown teeth that could eventually become painful and infected.

The good news is that this issue is very easy to avoid. All you need to do is provide your guinea pig with safe, chewable toys. Guinea pig toys wear down your guinea pig’s teeth and keep them at the right length. In addition, they give your guinea pigs something to do and promote mental balance.

What Are Some Healthy Alternatives To Dandelions In A Guinea Pig’s Diet?

Guinea pigs can’t live on dandelions alone – and we are pretty sure they wouldn’t want to!

Since variety is important, you’ll want to offer lots of different treats as well as different veggies in your guinea pig’s daily salad.

Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

  • arugula
  • asparagus
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • green bean
  • cabbage
  • green leaf lettuce
  • Brussels sprouts
  • zucchini
  • pumpkin
  • summer squash
  • Winter squash
  • apples
  • bananas
  • blueberries

These are just a few favorites! You might be surprised to learn that many of the vegetables, fruits, and herbs that you like are also great for your guinea pig.

Take a few minutes to look into each new item that you consider for your pet just to make sure that it’s safe and that it isn’t on the list of toxic items or foods guinea pigs shouldn’t eat. This is the easiest way to keep your guinea pig safe.

Now that you’ve got the facts, why not try giving your guinea pig dandelion? We’re pretty sure they’ll squeak their approval!

FAQ

Are dandelions safe for guinea pigs?

Yes – it's safe to give dandelions to guinea pigs so long as the flowers are fresh and clean, and so long as they have not been treated with chemicals such as herbicides or pesticides.

Can dandelions make my guinea pig sick?

Yes, but it isn't very likely. Dandelions are one of the few foods that guinea pigs would probably enjoy if they encountered them in their natural habitat. So long as the dandelions haven't been tainted with chemicals, and so long as your guinea pig doesn't eat too many at once, everything should be fine!
As always, be sure to monitor your pet the first time they eat anything new including dandelions. Call your vet if anything seems to be wrong with your guinea pig. They'll be able to provide you with specific advice.

Can my guinea pig eat dandelions from the yard?

Yes! So long as your lawn hasn't been treated with chemicals of any kind - and so long as other pets don't use the area as a toilet - it's fine for your guinea pig to eat dandelions from the lawn.
You can pick the dandelions or supervise your guinea pig while they nibble a bit of dandelion while exploring the outdoors.

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Anne Kennedy

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.
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