Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass?

Guinea Pigs Jul 15, 2021
Written by | Updated Sep 21, 2021
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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass?

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass?

Grass isn’t something we humans eat but it’s an important part of a guinea pig’s natural diet.

But hold on.

Before you run out and pick grass for your cavy or turn them loose to nibble in a little pen on your lawn, there are quite a few things you should know.

Keep reading and in just a few minutes, you’ll know all there is to know about grass for guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Grass?

Yes! You just need to make sure that your piggie is munching on clean grass that hasn’t been treated with any chemicals, and that no other pets use that grass as a toilet area.

If a professional lawn care company cares for your home’s landscaping, there’s a good chance that there are chemicals on your lawn. The same might be true if you do it yourself.

Many people prefer to have smooth green lawns with no crab grass or dandelions. This looks nice but it takes chemicals to achieve the desired look, in most cases. This means that the grass in your lawn might not be the best for your guinea pig to eat.

If your family cares for the lawn outside your home, then you probably know whether the grass has been treated or not. If not, you’re good to go! Your guinea pig can have grass from the yard, no problem.

But hang on. Grass requires a gradual introduction even though it’s a mainstay in your guinea pig’s natural diet! We’ll get to that in just a minute.

Is Grass Good For Guinea Pigs?

Yes, it’s an excellent source of vitamin C, which guinea pigs need since they aren’t able to make their own.

So long as you’ve got clean, fresh grass that hasn’t been treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, your cavy can eventually eat all they want.

What if you don’t have access to fresh, clean grass for your guinea pig?

There’s a solution. You can grow cat grass or wheat grass in a container – either inside or outdoors – and snip a few pieces to give your guinea pig each day. This is a really nice treat that’s actually very good for your cavy!

Do Guinea Pigs Like Grass?

Guinea pigs love grass! It’s safe to say that grass is a favorite food for cavies – and luckily, it’s one they can ultimately enjoy with reckless abandon (after you’ve gotten them used to it, of course!)

How Much Grass Can A Guinea Pig Eat?

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

Age Amount
Baby guinea pig A few pieces
Adult guinea pig 1 big handful

A heaping helping of grass might not sound terribly appetizing to you, but to your guinea pig, it’s the perfect food.

Before you get that grass though, hold on.

Here’s how to introduce your guinea pig to fresh grass.

Even though grass is the perfect, natural guinea pig food, cavies that haven’t eaten it need to be gradually introduced. This is the best way to prevent a life-threatening case of diarrhea and a severe upset tummy.

If your guinea pig ate grass last summer and fresh green springtime shoots are coming up, you’ll want to follow the same protocol. Just like horses, ponies, and a few other animals, guinea pigs need to gradually transition over to fresh grass after not eating it for a while.

  • Start by offering a small handful of grass the first day.
  • The next day, you can give your guinea pig two handfuls of grass and the following day, three handfuls.
  • Gradually increase the amount of grass you’re giving your guinea pig until they’re enjoying as much as they want.

If you’re letting your guinea pig eat grass on the lawn, limit their time to just a minute or so the first day and gradually increase the amount of time they spend from then on out.

This next part is important, too.

In case your guinea pig ever has a long break from grass (more than a week or so) then you’ll want to err on the side of caution and gradually reintroduce grass again until they’re eating as much as they like.

How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Grass?

Since grass is great for guinea pigs and as it’s at the cornerstone of their natural diet, a cavy can eat grass every single day.

The Correct Diet Is Important

So now you know that a guinea pig’s natural diet is mostly grass! They’ll eat lots of other little plants too, so don’t worry if there are other little bits such as chickweed or dandelion mixed up in the grass you’re offering.

Besides fresh grass, here’s what your guinea pig needs to eat:

  • Fresh hay, preferably oat, orchard, or timothy – offer more than your piggie can actually eat. They should have a 24/7 hay supply to keep their digestive system running smoothly.
  • Guinea pig food – Check the package for the correct serving size and make sure that you choose a brand with vitamin C
  • Approximately one cup of fresh leafy green vegetables mixed with a few crisp veggies, preferably broken into two or three smaller meals and offered at different times during the day

Last but not least, your guinea pig (like all other animals!) needs a constant supply of clean, fresh water. Rinse and refill your cavy’s water bottle every day.

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

Guinea pigs need a lot of variety in their diet – in fact, you’ll want to rotate through different greens and crunchy vegetables all throughout the week to ensure that your cavy is getting proper nutrition and to make sure that your pet isn’t consuming too much oxalate at once. Oxalate is a compound that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, so you’ll want to be careful!

Here’s a list of guinea pig-approved veggies to help you get started:

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

This is quite a list but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg! There are lots of different herbs, fruits, and vegetables guinea pigs can eat.

Anytime you’re thinking about offering your guinea pig a new food, take a little time out for research. It’s important to know if each food is safe, plus you’ll find out how much to offer and how often your guinea pig can enjoy it.

Now it’s time for some fun!

Giving your guinea pig grass shows you care – and your cavy is sure to enjoy every minute spent nibbling this fresh, yummy treat.

FAQ

Is grass safe for guinea pigs?

Yes, so long as you choose clean, untreated grass that hasn’t been used as a bathroom by another animal.

Can grass make my guinea pig sick?

Yes – it’s surprising but too much green grass at once can make your guinea pig terribly sick. Provide a gradual introduction though, and fresh grass is one of the best foods your guinea pig will ever eat.

Can my guinea pig eat grass from the yard?

It’s possible! You’ll need to be absolutely certain that the grass hasn’t been treated with any chemicals and you’ll want to double-check to be sure that other animals haven’t used that particular section as a bathroom.

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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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