Food For Guinea Pigs – Which One Makes Sense And Is Species-Appropriate

Guinea pigs melt many hearts with their small and lively nature and are now kept as pets. They come in all imaginable colors and with different fur hairstyles, so there is a colorful variety. Every guinea pig owner has a great deal of responsibility towards their animals and the task of making sure that the animals are always doing well and feeling comfortable.

Many factors play an important role in feeling good. For example, guinea pigs should never be kept alone and need several conspecifics around them. The cage must not be too small under any circumstances – even better would be a whole room or daily exercise for several hours. However, it is particularly important that the animals are properly fed so that they remain healthy and do not lack for anything. In this article, you will find out which food is the right food for your guinea pigs and what your darlings should not eat under any circumstances.

What should guinea pigs eat?

Guinea pigs love to eat, so they are not one of those animals who hate food. They always follow their natural instincts, which means that they mainly eat different grasses and hay. The little animals are particularly happy about freshly picked grass, herbs, or other plants. Vegetables and the occasional small piece of fruit should also be on the diet. Guinea pigs even like to eat branches and leaves, but caution is always advised because the same applies here: all that glitters is not gold.

Hay and grass

Hay and grass are the main food for the animals. The hay should therefore always be available and was not on the ground but in haystacks. The hay must be renewed every day and the old hay must be disposed of. The simple reason for this is that the guinea pigs only choose the high-quality hay and leave the less good hay behind. This food is essential for your guinea pigs as it plays an important role in healthy digestion and is also rich in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. However, it is important that you only give your guinea pigs high-quality hay and always remove the leftovers.

Guinea pigs love the fresh grass and should be fed it every day. It doesn’t matter whether the animals have the opportunity to choose the grass themselves in an outdoor stall or whether you pick it fresh, grass is part of the animals’ daily diet from spring onwards. However, it is important that you gradually get the guinea pigs used to this fresh food. Many guinea pigs react with diarrhea, especially in the beginning, so it is important that you only give small amounts of weed and gradually increase this amount. Do not shy away from it, because grass is important for animals and also in nature, it is the main food, which is also rich in vitamins. Always collect the grass fresh and new, because if it is stored incorrectly, the grass can quickly become damp and moldy, which can quickly have health consequences for the animals. Dandelions and herbs should also be given daily so that your guinea pig is supplied with all the important nutrients.


Vegetables should also be fed and are an ideal alternative to fresh grass, especially in the winter months and in autumn, and on wet days. However, it does not replace hay, so this must still be given. It is also important when giving vegetables that you slowly begin to get used to the food, as here too diarrhea and flatulence can occur in animals that are not used to the food.

These vegetables are particularly digestible:

vegetable type effect and hints
eggplants Only feed ripe fruit

do not feed the green of the aubergine

rich in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients

broccoli contains a lot of vitamin C

feed little and start in small amounts

chicory rich in vitamins

please only feed in small amounts

Always remove the outer leaves

can lead to diarrhea

Iceberg lettuce + lamb’s lettuce + lettuce feed very rarely

rich in vitamins

contains a lot of nitrates

Animals can get diarrhea or flatulence

endive salads contains many vitamins

stimulates the appetite, so that animals that eat little have advantages

rich in minerals

fennel very well tolerated

can relieve abdominal pain and bloating

the urine may become discolored

high vitamin content and rich in minerals

cucumbers contains a lot of water

don’t give too much

rarely feeding

can lead to diarrhea

Guinea pigs love cucumber

Kohlrabi give very little, especially in the beginning

the leaves can also be given

rich in vitamins and nutrients

can cause bloating

Corn Corn on the cob can make you fat

corn leaves and stalks can also be served

don’t feed too much

very popular with guinea pigs

carrots not enough every day

contain a lot of calories

the green can also be served, but it contains a lot of calcium

can discolor the urine

rich in vitamins and minerals

paprika rich in vitamin c

the stalk and unripe areas must be removed

very popular

rarely enough

radish leaves rich in vitamins

never feed the radishes yourself, they are too spicy and can irritate the animals’ respiratory tract!

celery can be fed completely

rich in vitamin c

Celeriac must be peeled in advance

don’t feed too often

turnip especially ideal in winter

very rich in vitamins

well tolerated

You should not give your guinea pigs these vegetables:

  • Legumes such as nuts;
  • Avocado is toxic to guinea pigs;
  • Potatoes are difficult to digest due to the starch they contain;
  • Types of cabbage lead to flatulence and severe diarrhea, which could quickly become dangerous for the animals;
  • various bulbous plants quickly lead to abdominal pain and severe flatulence. In addition to normal onions, there are also leeks and chives.


Although fruit is very tasty and is loved by guinea pigs, it should only be fed very rarely. Fruit can be served as a small treat between meals, but should not be on the menu every day, as fruit not only makes you fat and contains too much sugar, but also leads to diarrhea. So it is advisable to give fruit only once a week.

type of fruit effect and hints
apples rich in vitamin c

contain a lot of water

can lead to diarrhea

high sugar content

contain a lot of acid

bananas can lead to constipation

never enough whole bananas, only small pieces

high sugar content

do not feed if you have diabetes

pears much sugar

quickly leads to diarrhea

can cause bloating

rarely give

rich in water

strawberries rich in vitamins

don’t feed too many at once

risk of diarrhea

the green of the strawberries can be fed

melons much sugar

rarely give

can lead to diarrhea

grapes Remove seeds before feeding

rarely give

high acidity

rich in vitamins

contain a lot of sugar

Fruit in itself is not that healthy for guinea pigs, so as mentioned above, you should not feed them too often. You should not give your guinea pigs these fruits:

  • Stone fruit, which includes all types of stone fruit, as these not only contain too much sugar but also hydrocyanic acid and lead to severe diarrhea and other intolerances in the guinea pig;
  • Kohlrabi is also not well tolerated and quickly leads to severe diarrhea and flatulence, which can have serious consequences;
  • Exotic fruits such as papaya, pomegranate, and mango are not tolerated by guinea pigs and lead to colic or even to disorders in the digestive tract, which in the worst case can lead to the death of the animals;
  • Rhubarb is also intolerable for guinea pigs and contains too much oxalic acid.


Herbs are also important for your guinea pigs and should be in the animal’s bowl every day, especially during the warm months. Herbs contain a variety of important vitamins and minerals that guinea pigs need to stay healthy. But here, too, you should first get the animals used to the new food, since most guinea pigs, especially those from a pet shop, often only know hay and dry food.

herb type effect and hints
alfalfa rich in vitamins

only feed freshly picked

never store

give only in small quantities

nettles very high vitamin C content

has a diuretic effect

Dry nettles beforehand

never feed fresh

dill stimulates the appetite of the animals

promotes digestion

good for guinea pig mums as it stimulates and supports milk production

good for flatulence

tarragon good for flatulence

stimulates the appetite

contains many vitamins

grass start with small portions and increase them

can be given in large quantities after feeding

always feed fresh

Grain always remove the kernels
Johannis herbs very healthy

ideal for loss of appetite

stimulates wound healing

chamomile has an anti-inflammatory effect

ideal for digestive problems

very healthy

dandelion stimulates the appetite


feed carefully

has a diuretic effect

lemon balm ideal for digestive problems


mint should not be fed to pregnant animals as it may induce labor

do not give to nursing guinea pigs either, as milk production may be reduced

Parsely do not give to pregnant animals as it may induce labor

reduces milk production

peppermint do not feed to lactating animals, reduces milk production

great taste

rich in vitamins

anticonvulsant effect

arming ideal for animals that have bladder and kidney problems

stimulates the appetite

rich in vitamins

buckhorn can help with colds

only feed in small amounts

thyme healthy

don’t feed too much at once

ideal for respiratory diseases

lemon balm ideal for animals with digestive problems

do not give in large quantities

There are many herbs that are poisonous to guinea pigs and should therefore never be given. If you are unsure, please do not give your animals the affected herbs, so that you do not pose any health risks.

You should never give your loved ones these herbs:

  • cyclamen;
  • Bear Claw;
  • boxwood;
  • ivy;
  • aconite;
  • fern;
  • thimble;
  • species of lilac;
  • buttercup;
  • elder;
  • lilies;
  • lily of the valley;
  • daffodils;
  • primroses;
  • snowdrop;
  • deadly nightshade;
  • juniper.

Branches, leaves, and twigs

Branches and twigs are also popular with guinea pigs and are primarily used for dental health. When the leaves are still on the branches, the little ones are particularly happy about the successful change.

Your guinea pigs will be particularly happy about these:

species effect and hints
maple tree only feed in small amounts

can lead to diarrhea

Apple Can also be given in large amounts and regularly

contains many vitamins

also compatible with leaves

birch tree rarely enough

can cause diarrhea and bloating

contains a high value of tannic acid

pear tree is also well tolerated in large quantities by guinea pigs

rich in vitamins

Branches can be fed fresh and with leaves

beech species feed only rarely and in small amounts

high oxal content

hazelnut well tolerated

can also be fed in large quantities

currant well tolerated

rich in vitamins

can also be served in large quantities

These trees, branches, and leaves should not be fed as they are not tolerated by guinea pigs and can even have serious health consequences:

  • Coniferous trees, such as pine, fir, or spruce, because these are difficult to digest and are not tolerated by some animals;
  • Oak can lead to symptoms of poisoning and should therefore not be fed at all;
  • Yew is poisonous;
  • Thuja is poisonous.

Dry food from the specialist trade

There are of course many different types of dry food, which many guinea pig owners use again and again for feeding. These are usually not necessary with a balanced diet with the foods described above. If at all, only a small amount should be given per day.

How often should guinea pigs be fed?

Rule of thumb: A guinea pig should get 10% of its body weight in fresh food per day.

Since guinea pigs are small animals, it is important not to feed them too much. This is mainly because the animals can overeat, especially with very tasty things, which of course can lead to book pains and digestive problems. For this reason, you should feed your animals several times a day and up to four times. Always with smaller amounts. However, please make sure that your animals always have fresh hay. Please only feed fruit once a week and slowly increase the rations for green fodder.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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