Last updated on January 22nd, 2023 at 06:43 pm
Guinea pigs eat plant food, starting from hay and grass, up to vegetables and fruits.
By eating this kind of food, they get the necessary nutrients for their organism, especially vitamin C, which they cannot produce on their own.
But can guinea pigs eat leaves?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat a wide variety of leaves from sunflower, banana, strawberry, rose, and leaves from other vegetables and fruits.
However, it must be noted that there are also dangerous and poisonous leaves that must not be eaten, such as tomato leaves.
In today’s article, you will find out what leaves guinea pigs are allowed to eat, what are the benefits of leaves, and which ones should be avoided.
Can guinea pigs eat leaves?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat leaves, as long as we are careful about what leaves we give them, some are safe and some are poisonous for them.
Most fruit leaves are healthy and beneficial for their health.
Guinea pigs can eat leaves and get vitamin C, fiber, protein, and other vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy.
What kind of leaves can guinea pigs eat?
Most of the leaves are safe for guinea pigs and can be given freely in moderation.
Here are some leaves safe for your pet:
- leaves from the – cauliflower, banana, grape, apple, citrus, mango
- leaves of herbs – parsley, basil, mint
- vegetable leaves – lettuce, kale, yellow mild peppers
The leaves provide nutrients, including vitamin C, which they do not produce on their own.
Benefits of eating leaves for guinea pigs
The leaves have a number of nutrients and help the health of guinea pigs, so let’s read in detail about those benefits.
Protection against scurvy
Vitamin C is most important in preventing scurvy in guinea pigs. If the guinea pig does not have enough of this vitamin, it can have serious complications for its health and life.
Guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C on their own and they must get it through their diet.
The leaves have vitamin C and therefore we should give them in moderate amounts in their diet.
There is also potassium in the leaves, which helps with the proper balance of electrolytes in the guinea pigs’ bodies.
With the help of potassium, the guinea pigs will improve the state of salts in relation to the water in their body.
If guinea pigs do not have sufficient amounts of potassium they will have the following signs of problems:
- low blood pressure
When guinea pigs’ teeth grow they feel a certain level of pain.
But by eating leaves they get vitamin C which helps to reduce such pain and encourage the growth of teeth.
So give them leaves and spare the guinea pigs from unnecessary pain when they grow their ever-growing teeth.
If guinea pigs eat moderate amounts of leaves they will have better protection against cancer.
There are many antioxidants in the leaves, such as vitamin A, which is a very known antioxidant.
Antioxidants fight free radicals that destroy healthy cells in guinea pigs and cause cancer.
Guinea pigs need immunity so that they can more easily fight diseases and infections.
In the leaves, there are proteins, vitamins, and minerals that help to improve their immunity.
The better the immunity of guinea pigs, the more protection they will have and the longer they will live.
Protection against anemia
Guinea pigs need healthy blood to protect against anemia.
The leaves contain iron which helps guinea pigs have normal levels of this mineral.
So the leaves can significantly help protect against anemia in guinea pigs, thus improving their health and prolonging their lives.
When female guinea pigs are pregnant they need a lot more calcium to have a healthy and easy pregnancy.
They usually give birth to several guinea pigs and therefore need much more calcium.
The leaves contain calcium which is welcome for pregnant guinea pigs and should therefore be part of their diet, of course in moderate amounts.
What are the dangers of eating leaves for guinea pigs?
As there are benefits, we must say that there are also dangers of eating leaves in guinea pigs.
Here are some of the most common ones that occur if guinea pigs eat too many leaves.
Diarrhea can occur if guinea pigs eat too many leaves.
If the guinea pigs eat some leaves that are harmful to them, then again as a reaction, diarrhea may occur.
That’s why we have to be careful when they start trying some new leaves that we don’t know how they will perform for the health of the guinea pigs.
Diarrhea is dangerous for the health and life of the guinea pig and you must not let them have it for a long time, they should be taken to the vet immediately.
Problems with digestion
If the guinea pig eats too many leaves it can have stomach problems.
Stomach pains, bloating and other digestive problems may occur.
Therefore, do not give them more than 3 leaves a day to prevent such unwanted problems with their digestion.
Problems with the urinary system
When guinea pigs eat too many leaves it can result in kidney or bladder stones.
If guinea pigs eat too many leaves they will take in too much calcium, which they will not be able to process in their kidneys.
There will be calcium deposition and then problems with pain and stone formation begin.
When guinea pigs have problems with their urinary tract due to excess calcium they will also have painful urination.
This condition is very unpleasant for them and you must immediately take the guinea pig to a veterinarian to examine it and give it appropriate therapy.
Which leaves are poisonous to guinea pigs?
Not all leaves are good and healthy for guinea pigs, there are some that are poisonous and can cause serious problems with their health, and can cause death in our furry friends.
In no case do not give them potato leaves, because they contain a lot of solanine, which is toxic for them.
Do not give them leaves that grow on docks because they may have high levels of oxalic acid which is harmful to their health.
Other leaves that should be avoided are lemon leaves, as they have a lot of citric acids that can cause digestive problems in our pets.
Avoid bay and mulberry leaves which are also not very good for guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat garden leaves?
You may have certain houseplants in your garden that are safe for guinea pigs.
Check if you have any of the following that is good for guinea pigs:
- strawberry leaves
- blackberry leaves
- rose leaves
- raspberry leaves
Of course, there are others that are healthy for them, but still, inform yourself about their composition before you start giving them to your guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat dead leaves?
Guinea pigs can eat dead leaves although they will not have any special nutritional benefits.
Dead leaves from safe trees can be given to guinea pigs, but they are not fresh and can only serve as entertainment for the guinea pigs.
It is best to avoid dead leaves, rather give them fresh leaves for their health benefits.
Can guinea pigs eat dock leaves?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat dock leaves, but it depends on what stage of growth the leaves are at.
If you notice that after eating such leaves the guinea pig has diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, and other negative effects, you should stop giving them to eat.
Dock leaves are generally fine if they are given in moderate amounts of 2-3 leaves, which will have benefits for guinea pigs, such as the following:
- better digestion
- preventing constipation
- preventing diarrhea
- healthier bones
- prevent osteoporosis
Dock leaves are not very good for young guinea pigs, they are more suitable for older guinea pigs.