Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes?

Guinea Pigs May 3, 2022
Written by | Updated May 14, 2024
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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes?

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes?

French fries, tater tots, and more: Potatoes make their way into loads of delicious recipes – and they can be a healthy part of our diet!

But what about cavies? Can you give a guinea pig potatoes? Can a cavy eat potato vines?

The quick answer is “no.” Potatoes shouldn’t be on your cavy’s menu.

In case you’re wondering why potatoes are toxic to guinea pigs, we’ve got the answers, plus more insight into healthy, natural snacks to offer your pet instead. Keep reading to learn all about potatoes for guinea pigs.

Potato Nutrition Stats

Lots of junk foods are made with potatoes and this is part of the reason why this tuber gets such bad press. The truth is that potatoes can be good for you so long as they’re eaten with the skin intact, and without a ton of fatty, salty additives.

One medium-sized potato with skin offers about:

  • 160 calories
  • 37 g carbohydrates
  • 8 g fiber
  • 3 g protein
  • .2 g fat

Potato Nutritional Facts

Just like guinea pigs, we humans can’t synthesize our own vitamin C – so we need lots of it. Even though cavies can’t have these tubers, there’s a bit of good new for us: Potatoes have a little bit of this nutrient, along with several others.

That same medium-sized potato with skin provides:

  • 3 IU vitamin A
  • 5 mg vitamin C
  • .1 mg vitamin E
  • 5 mcg vitamin K
  • .1 mg thiamine
  • .1 mg riboflavin
  • 4 mg niacin
  • 4 mcg folate
  • .5 mg vitamin B6
  • 9 mg calcium
  • 9 mg iron
  • 4 mg magnesium
  • 121 mg phosphorus
  • 926 mg potassium
  • .6 mg zinc
  • .4 mg manganese

Can Guinea Pigs Have Potatoes?

Even though they’re chock-full of essential nutrients, potatoes are a big no-no for guinea pigs. For one, they’re a source of starchy carbohydrates, which really shouldn’t be on your cavy’s menu.

Secondly, potatoes contain high concentrations of alkaloids that are toxic to guinea pigs. Our human digestive system can handle these alkaloids, but a cavy’s digestion is far more sensitive and cannot process them.

Are Potatoes Good For Guinea Pigs?

Even though potatoes can be good for you, they’re not at all good for your guinea pig. In fact, if a guinea pig eats potato, there’s a high risk of serious illness or even death.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Potatoes?

We never want to put our cavies at risk (and we don’t want you to put your pet at risk, either!) so we’ve never tried feeding potato to our guinea pigs. It’s as simple as that. Because potatoes are among the most toxic foods guinea pigs could ever consume, you should not offer them to your pet in any form.

How Much Potato Can A Guinea Pig Eat?

In case you’re scrolling through and haven’t seen our previous advice yet, here’s how much potato to give a guinea pig:

Age Amount
Baby guinea pig None
Adult guinea pig None

What if you’ve accidentally given potato to your guinea pig?

It depends on how much potato your cavy has consumed, as well as which part of the potato plant was eaten.

We recommend monitoring your pet for signs of illness and contacting your vet immediately. Watch for diarrhea and abnormal behavior for at least 24 hours after a guinea pig accidentally eats potato.

How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Potatoes?

Never! Even though your cavy might eat potato if you offered it to them (again, don’t try it!) they should never consume this particular veggie.

The Correct Diet is Important

So, what can you give your guinea pig instead of potatoes?

There are tons of great options. First, let’s talk about the mainstays. Because guinea pigs are herbivores with a very specific natural diet that consists mostly of grasses and other leafy, low-lying plants that grow within easy reach, it’s important to mimic those essentials.

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

  • Offer unlimited amounts of fresh Timothy hay. The hay replaces the natural grasses, and the long fibers it contains plays an important role in keeping the digestive tract moving. Your guinea pig cannot go without hay.
  • Give your guinea pig a specifically formulated pelleted guinea pig food with vitamin C added. This is important as guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C. You’ll be supplementing with fresh foods that contain vitamin C, too.
  • Guinea pigs need fresh food every day. Give your pet about one cup of fresh leafy greens with a few other crunchy green veggies, split into two or three different servings if possible. Fresh treats – i.e. colorful fruits and veggies – can be a healthy part of your guinea pig’s diet.
  • Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Rinse and refill your guinea pig’s water bottle every day, no exceptions.

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

Guinea pigs can’t have potatoes, but there are loads of other options to consider when deciding on healthy, natural treats.

Here’s a list of some veggies guinea pigs like best:

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

Although you should never give your guinea pig potatoes – even in small quantities – there are so many other treats they’ll enjoy!

Remember to do a little bit of research whenever you’re thinking about offering your cavy something new. You’ll learn if the item is safe, plus you’ll find out how much to give and how often to offer it.

One thing is for sure: A balanced diet and healthy treats are key to keeping your guinea pig healthy and happy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are potatoes safe for guinea pigs?

No. Potatoes are toxic to guinea pigs.

Can guinea pigs eat potato peels?

No. Potato peels are toxic to guinea pigs.

Can guinea pigs have potato vines?

No. Potato vines are toxic and should not be fed to guinea pigs.

Can my guinea pig eat potato sprouts?

Potato sprouts form where a potato’s eyes are located. These are highly toxic. In fact, humans shouldn’t eat these sprouts either.

Can guinea pigs eat baked potatoes?

Cooking potatoes makes them safe for humans to eat but guinea pigs can’t digest cooked food. This means that the answer is still no. Guinea pigs can’t have baked potatoes, boiled potatoes, or any other form of cooked potatoes.

Can guinea pigs eat potato chips?

No. Potato chips contain fat, starch, and lots of salt, plus they’re made with potatoes, which aren’t safe for cavies. Never give potato chips to a guinea pig as they can cause serious illness.

Can guinea pigs eat French fries?

No. Never give French fries to a guinea pig. Not only are potatoes toxic to guinea pigs, the salt and fat in French fries aren’t good for your guinea pig. French fries will make a cavy very sick.

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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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