Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
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Once reserved for holiday meals, sweet potatoes seem to be everywhere these days!
Whether you love them baked, roasted, or blended into a tasty soup, you’re probably wondering whether it’s okay to share sweet potatoes with your guinea pig.
Can guinea pigs have sweet potatoes? If so, how much sweet potato can they have, and how often can they enjoy them?
The subject of sweet potatoes for guinea pigs is a tricky one, since they can only have a certain amount and since this is a treat this should only be offered occasionally.
Keep reading for answers to all of your questions. In just a few moments, you’ll be well-informed and ready to decide whether to give your guinea pig sweet potatoes or choose a different treat.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
Sweet potatoes make meals more interesting for you – and when you make them, you might have a little left over for your guinea pig! That’s a good thing, because these veggies really fill you up.
A satisfying 1 cup serving of baked or mashed sweet potatoes gives you about:
- 180 calories
- .3 g fat
- 4 g protein
- 41.4 g carbohydrates
- 6.6 g fiber
Sweet Potato Nutrients
You and your guinea pig will benefit from all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in sweet potatoes. Just one serving gives you more than 750% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A!
In that same one cup serving of baked or mashed sweet potato, you’ll get approximately:
- 38433 IU vitamin A
- 39.2 mg vitamin C
- 1.4 mg vitamin E
- 4.6 mcg vitamin K
- 3.0 mg niacin
- 0.6 mg vitamin B6
- 12.0 mcg folate
- 26.2 mcg choline
- 76 mg calcium
- 54 mg magnesium
- 1.4 mg iron
- 108 mg phosphorus
- 950 mg potassium
- 0.6 mg zinc
- 1 mg manganese
- .3 mg copper
Can Guinea Pigs Have Sweet Potatoes?
Yes – guinea pigs can eat sweet potatoes, but only in very small amounts and not too often. Just like other starchy root vegetables, sweet potatoes can cause digestive issues for your guinea pig if they are overeaten.
Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Guinea Pigs?
Let’s put it this way: If you decide to let your guinea pig have sweet potatoes, they’ll get some nutrients from this tasty treat. On the other hand, the portion size is small and your cavy won’t receive any major benefits.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Sweet Potatoes?
Yes! Most guinea pigs really like sweet potatoes.
Just as when other sweet veggies and fruits, cavies are eager to sink their teeth into a yummy slice of sweet potato.
How Much Sweet Potato Can A Guinea Pig Eat?
Your little friend isn’t going to like this answer much, because the appropriate serving size is almost ridiculously small. Here’s how much sweet potato to feed a guinea pig.
|Baby guinea pig||None|
|Adult guinea pig||One 1” cube or four ½ inch cubes|
We recommend reserving sweet potato as a special treat for your cavy simply because it contains higher levels of sugar and starch.
For the same reason, it’s very important to give your guinea pig a gradual introduction to sweet potato.
Start by offering your cavy a piece of sweet potato that measures about 1/2 inch square.
Monitor your pet carefully for the next 12 hours, watching for signs of discomfort or diarrhea.
If all goes well, then you can gradually increase the amount of sweet potato you give your guinea pig over the next few weeks until they are eating all four cubes.
How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Sweet Potato?
You can give guinea pig sweet potato once a week at most – and never on the same day as other starchy vegetables or sugary foods. Even though there’s less sugar in a sweet potato than there is in an apple, the combination of sugar and starch makes this vegetable a little difficult for cavies to digest.
There’s another reason to keep your guinea pig’s sweet potato intake low if you decide to offer this treat at all.
Ounce for ounce, sweet potatoes contain far more calories than the foods that make up a guinea pig’s natural diet. Overfeeding your pet can lead to obesity, which is both dangerous and uncomfortable for your guinea pig.
Even after your guinea pig is accustomed to eating sweet potato, be sure to keep an eye on them each time they have this treat. If they seem bloated, lethargic, or even a little under the weather, cut back on the sweet potatoes and foods other than hay and guinea pig food until they return to normal.
If your guinea pig has had an unpleasant reaction to sweet potato, it’s a sign that this and similar foods aren’t a good match for your pet’s digestive system.
The Correct Diet Is Important
Since sweet potatoes should make up a large portion of your guinea pig’s diet, what should you be feeding them instead?
Guinea pigs have a specialized digestive system. They must eat a diet that consists of high-fiber grasses and leafy green vegetables, with a few extra nibbles here and there.
The easiest way to satisfy this need is to provide your guinea pig with an unlimited amount of fresh hay.
In addition to hay, here’s what to feed your guinea pig every day:
- A serving of vitamin C enriched guinea pig food. The package label is your guide to feeding the correct amount based on your guinea pig’s size and life stage.
- About 1 cup of fresh veggies, mostly leafy greens.
- Tiny amounts of fruit for special treats – always check for information about the correct serving size.
- An unlimited supply of fresh, clean water. Remember to rinse and refill your guinea pigs drinking bottle at least once a day.
Last but not least, remember to keep your guinea pig well supplied with chew toys. Not only is constant nibbling a natural behavior that keeps your guinea pig mentally healthy, it’s essential for wearing down your guinea pig’s teeth, which never stop growing.
Without items such as hay cubes, unbleached loofah, and untreated softwood sticks, your guinea pig’s teeth are at risk of becoming overgrown. This condition can be painful and it can lead to an infection that requires medical intervention.
What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Sweet Potato In A Guinea Pig’s Diet?
Guinea pigs may not be able to eat an unlimited amount of sweet potatoes, but there are plenty of other healthy treats to try:
- Swiss chard
- Green beans
- summer squash
- Winter squash
- bok choy
- bell pepper
- carrot tops
- Brussel sprouts
Whether you decide to give your guinea pig sweet potatoes or stick to treats with less sugar and starch, they’ll appreciate the fresh foods you provide!
Just as you did when searching for information about sweet potatoes for guinea pigs, spend a few minutes researching each new food you’re considering for your pet.
It’s the best way to avoid foods that are toxic to guinea pigs, plus it’s a great way to ensure that you are offering the right amount of foods that are safe for your cavy.
Did you decide to give your guinea pig sweet potato? Let us know how they liked it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are sweet potatoes safe for guinea pigs?
Yes, but only in small amounts and only on occasion.
Can sweet potatoes make my guinea pig sick?
Yes – sweet potatoes can make a guinea pig sick, particularly if they are not introduced slowly.
If your guinea pig eats too much sweet potato at once, there's a risk of digestive distress.
If your guinea pig seems lethargic or bloated, or if they have stopped eating, drinking or pooping, call your vet right away. Notify your vet immediately if your guinea pig develops diarrhea.
This advice doesn't only apply when guinea pigs eat sweet potatoes – it's worth keeping in mind at all times, particularly when your guinea pig is trying new foods.
Can guinea pigs eat sweet potato peels?
Yes, it's okay to give your guinea pig sweet potato peels but make sure that they are well scrubbed. Only offer a small amount of sweet potato peel to your guinea pig – just an inch is enough for treat.
Just like the inner portion of a sweet potato, the peel contains quite a bit of starch, which can be difficult for a guinea pig to digest.
Can guinea pigs eat sweet potato vines and leaves?
Yes! Unlike toxic leaves and vines from standard potatoes – think Russett, Yukon gold, or red potatoes – the leaves and vines from sweet potatoes are safe for guinea pigs to eat.
If you're growing sweet potatoes in your garden, it's okay to give a guinea pig a small handful of sweet potato vines and leaves. If your pet like these, you can mix them into their salad once or twice per week.
If you do decide to give your rabbit sweet potato vines and leaves, only offer them when fresh, never wilted. If the leaves have begun to ferment, they can cause bloating and discomfort for your rabbit.