Can guinea pigs eat potatoes?
As a new guinea pig owner, you should know that a strict diet is important for your guinea pig’s health.
Guinea pigs are herbivores, but this doesn’t mean they can eat all types of plants, fruits, and vegetables you give them.
Normally, guinea pigs eat hay, fresh veggies, as well as guinea pig pellets you can buy in most pet stores.
Let’s see whether guinea pigs can eat the potato plant and in which quantities.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes?
No, you shouldn’t let your guinea pigs eat potatoes since potatoes are poisonous to them.
Besides, guinea pigs should eat foods that contain high amounts of fiber and little carbohydrates, such as grass or hay.
It’s best to avoid potatoes altogether.
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What is the Nutritional Value of Potatoes?
Most junk food is made of potatoes.
For that reason, potatoes are notoriously popular for being unhealthy.
But, for humans, potatoes have health benefits as well.
They are equally tasty with or without a skin, fried, cooked, or baked.
Let’s see what is the nutritional value of potatoes.
Potato with skin intact provides the following nutrients:
- 160 calories
- 8 g fiber
- 3 g protein
- 0.2 g fat
- 37 g carbohydrates
- 3 IU vitamin A
- 5 mg Vitamin C
- 0.1 mg Vitamin E
- 5 mcg Vitamin K
- 0.1 mg Thiamine
- 0.1 mg riboflavin
- 4 mg niacin
- 4 mcg folate
- 0.5 mg vitamin B6
- 9 mg calcium
- 9 mg iron
- 4 mg magnesium
- 121 mg phosphorus
- 926 mg potassium
- 0.6 mg zinc
- 0.4 mg manganese
Why Are Potatoes Lethal to Guinea Pigs?
Even though we, humans, can eat various fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t mean that our pets can eat those produces as well.
Some foods that we enjoy are poisonous to animals.
In this case, potatoes are a strict no for guinea pigs because they contain substances toxic to guinea pigs.
For that reason, make sure that your guinea pig doesn’t eat a single bite of potatoes.
You might think that cooked potatoes wouldn’t cause any harm to a guinea pig, but that’s not the case.
Remember, guinea pigs eat only raw herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and cannot digest cooked food.
Let’s see which substances in potatoes can kill your guinea pig.
Potatoes contain large amounts of alkaloids which are toxic to piggies, which is also the main reason why these small animals cannot eat potatoes.
Alkaloids are not even good for humans, which is why we cannot eat raw potatoes but we can eat many other raw vegetables.
Alkaloids affect the digestive system of these small animals.
Guinea pigs, while they are still young, require calcium for their growth.
Calcium is good for them in the earlier days of their life because it builds the bones and makes them stronger.
According to an analysis performed by The National Academy Of Science, the average guinea pig needs 8g calcium per kg.
Calcium intake depends upon the age of the guinea pig.
Calcium is an important part of your guinea pig’s diet, but too much calcium harms guinea pigs.
As guinea pig grows older, it needs less calcium.
Adding more calcium to the diet of an adult guinea pig is dangerous.
It can cause bladder and kidney stones and create many difficulties for your guinea pigs such as urinary infections and pain.
Potatoes contain a massive amount of calcium, which is perilous for the guinea pig.
The digestive system of guinea pigs is very delicate; it cannot deal with excessive sugar potatoes contain.
Complex carbs are always dangerous for guinea pigs.
So, let’s assume that potatoes are not poisonous to guinea pigs.
Even so, potatoes contain high amount of sugar that can cause diabetes in your guinea pig.
How Much Potatoes Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
You scrolled down to this section thinking you will find the exact amount of potatoes your guinea pig can eat?
In that case, you missed the part in which we clearly explain that potatoes are lethal to guinea pigs.
So once again we remind you that you shouldn’t let your guinea pigs eat potatoes since potatoes are poisonous to them.
I hope that it is clear that NO amount of potatoes should be given to the guinea pigs.
Also, avoid feeding potato-flavored food to your furry friend.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potato Skin?
Potato’s skin has many benefits and many nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, and potassium but these benefits and nutrients are neutralized because of the presence of starch in the skin.
Starch is a carbohydrate that is harmful to the health of guinea pigs.
So, like the potato’s inner part, its skin is also not appropriate.
Therefore, you can’t serve the potato skin to your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs should only be given a fiber-based diet such as grasses and herbs, which is beneficial for their health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potato Leaves?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat potato leaves.
Potatoes belong to the nightshade family; it contains the poison called solanine.
So, its leaves or any other leaves which belong to the nightshade family can’t be served to guinea pigs.
Anything related to potatoes is poisonous to guinea pigs; either the leaf or the flower.
You may serve them tree branches that are safe for their health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potato Sprouts?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat potato sprouts.
They are highly toxic and deadly even for humans!
Potato sprouts can kill your pet!
Can Guinea Pigs Have Potato Vines?
No, potato vines are very poisonous to the health of guinea pigs.
Don’t try to feed your pet with potato vines.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Baked Potatoes?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat any form of potato.
Potatoes have solanine which is harmful to guinea pigs, so whether they are cooked or baked, they just can’t be served to guinea pigs.
Besides, keep in mind that your guinea pig’s digestive system cannot process baked, cooked, and fried food.
For that reason, here’s the answer to another related question:
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Boiled Potatoes?
The answer is no, boiled potatoes aren’t good for guinea pigs.
Although a large amount of starch is removed from boiled or cooked potatoes, it doesn’t help much because your guinea pigs cannot digest processed food.
The only way to keep your guinea pigs healthy and happy is to provide them timothy hay in unlimited amounts, fresh and clean water, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables that are safe for them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potato Fries?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat potato fries.
Guinea pigs cannot eat any forms of potato, potato leaves, sprouts, or potato skin.
When it comes to potatoes, no part of a potato is safe for your guinea pig.
Processed food also causes much harm to your pets, because they cannot digest such meals.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Regular potatoes belong to the Nightshade family whereas sweet potatoes belong to the Convolvulaceae family.
Sweet Potatoes contain more sugar and fat than regular potatoes.
They can be served one or two times a month to prevent your guinea pig from developing a serious chronic condition.
However, why would you risk your pet’s life with any potato when there are so many other healthy alternatives that are absolutely safe for your guinea pig?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potatoe Leaves?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat sweet potato leaves.
However, two times a week is a reasonable amount of sweet potato leaves you can give to your guinea pigs.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Potatoes?
Guinea pigs will take a bite of anything you serve them and decide whether they like it or not.
So, if you give your guinea pig a potato, it will definitely take a bite.
However, don’t forget that potatoes are poisonous to guinea pigs even in small amounts.
So, it doesn’t really matter whether your guinea pig would love the taste of potato!
Which Food Is Unsafe for Guinea Pigs?
Here is the list of foods that is not safe for guinea pigs.
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Citrus Fruits
- Pear Seeds
- Snacks of Humans
- Dairy Product
- Apple Seeds
- Flowering Plants
Other foods can be harmful to your guinea pig, but the ones which are enlisted above have high-risk elements.
So, guinea pig owners should make sure to avoid the foods on this list at all costs.
Which Food is Healthy for Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs’ diet must include foods rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
These elements are important for their health.
Let’s see which foods for guinea pigs provide them with all the nutrients these small animals need.
Guinea pigs are herbivores, so their diet includes herbs, vegetables, and fruits.
Vegetables give nutritional benefits to guinea pigs, especially vegetables high in vitamin C.
Some of the vegetables that are good for guinea pigs are:
- green beans
- bell pepper
- swiss chard
- butter lettuce
- Bibb lettuce
Fruits also add nutritional benefits to the diet of guinea pigs.
They are rich in vitamins and minerals, so they enhance the health of a guinea pig.
Some fruits that are safe for guinea pigs are:
Timothy hay is an essential part of your guinea pig’s diet.
Provide fresh timothy hay day-to-day to your guinea pigs.
Never leave your guinea pigs without timothy hay.
The fiber present in hay is great for their digestion and also restricts the growth of their teeth.
However, as hay doesn’t contain vitamin C, you will have to provide it to your guinea pigs through vitamin C supplements and their daily cup of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Provide your guinea pigs with fortified pellets, without dried fruits or seeds that are rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin C reduces quickly so your guinea pig needs vitamin C-rich food.
Serve ⅛ cup of pellets in a day with fresh hay or veggies.
Treats for Guinea Pigs
There are many treats marketed as good for guinea pigs.
However, that is not always the case.
Some of these guinea pig treats are not safe for your guinea pigs.
They contain a high level of sugars such as fructose or sucrose.
These sugars are carbohydrates that add no nutritional value to the diet of guinea pigs.
You may provide fresh hay, fruits, or veggies to your guinea pig, which is sufficient for your pet to be happy and healthy.
Correct Way of Serving Guinea Pigs
So, what is the correct way of serving a guinea pig?
Different owners feed their guinea pets in different ways.
There is no fixed ritual.
But, let me tell you the correct way so that your guinea pig stays healthy and active.
Your guinea pig should have unlimited access to timothy hay.
It has long fibers and plays a vital role in keeping the digestive system of your guinea pig on track.
Likewise, timothy hay trims your guinea pig’s teeth; it prevents them from overgrowing.
Provide your guinea pig with guinea pig pellets enriched with vitamin C.
Guinea pigs can’t synthesize vitamin C but this vitamin is extremely important for their wellbeing.
Besides, guinea pigs cannot get all the vitamin C that they need from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Also, you should know that high amounts of vitamin C cannot harm you or your pet.
All the vitamin C that the body hasn’t used is eliminated through urine.
However, a lack of vitamin C can cause problems.
In guinea pigs, one of the most dangerous conditions caused by the lack of vitamin C is scurvy, a potentially fatal disease.
You should serve your guinea pigs with one cup of fresh leafy greens supplemented with crunchy veggies.
By now, you know that guinea pigs cannot process cooked, baked, fried and processed food.
Therefore, don’t even think about feeding your guinea pig with pies, syrups, broth, fries, and whatever else that requires baking, cooking, frying…
Also, don’t feed your guinea pigs with bought frozen fruits and vegetables because manufacturers usually process such foods before freezing them.
Your guinea pig can eat only fresh and raw fruits and vegetables.
Your guinea pigs need a constant supply and clear access to fresh and clean water.
Make sure that the bowl or water bottle is always full, and change it often, several times a day.
For How Long Guinea Pigs Can Go Around Without Hay?
Guinea pigs need hay every 24 hours.
If they’re not served hay longer than that, such as between 24-28 hours, they are likely to die.
That is because guinea pigs need fiber in their diet daily and hay provides them sufficient amounts of fiber.
How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs may overeat.
The unlimited amount of timothy hay should be supplemented with guinea pig pellets enriched with vitamin C, and some fresh fruits, and vegetables.
You should feed your guinea pig two times a day, in the morning and evening.
Make sure to follow a routine, so your pets can know when to expect their meals.
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Last update on 2023-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
You shouldn’t let your guinea pigs eat potatoes since potatoes are lethal for them.
No, a potato will not cause minor digestion problems but will actually poison your pet, kill its red blood cells, and your guinea pig may die in pain and suffering.
Also, remember that potato sprouts are definitely toxic, even for humans, so you should always remove them when preparing a meal for yourself and your family and friends.
While the sweet potato is not as dangerous to your guinea pig’s health, avoid feeding your pets with it.
However, sweet potato leaves should be safe, so you can give them to your pets once or twice a week in small amounts.
Remember, there are plenty of alternatives to potatoes, safe and beneficial nutritious foods that guinea pigs can eat.