Can guinea pigs eat celery? Is celery good or even bad for our tiny friends? The short answer is yes, they can eat celery occasionally. However, there are some health concerns you should be aware of.
Feeding fresh fruits and vegetables to your guinea pigs is an important part of their diets. Veterinarians say that a good guinea pig diet consists of pellets, hay, fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you’re like me, then you go out of your way to make sure your cavies get a little extra greenery at mealtime. Those veggies usually come from whatever I happen to be cooking.
I knew that that leafy green veggies like carrot tops and romaine lettuce were good for our pets, but what about celery?
Can guinea pigs eat celery? Is it good for them? Are there any health risks? The answer is a little more complicated than I expected.
Is Celery Safe For Guinea Pigs
Can guinea pigs have celery? Leafy green vegetables keep your guinea pig healthy, but not all leafy greens are safe.
Celery is not toxic for guinea pigs.
However, veterinarians do not recommend feeding celery to your cavy on a regular basis.
This is because celery contains high amounts of oxalates.
Vegetables like spinach, beets, chard, and green beans are also high in oxalates.
Oxalates are a naturally occurring compound. They may increase your guinea pig’s chances of developing bladder or kidney stones.
Guinea pigs as a species may be prone to developing urinary tract stones. Some veterinarians therefore caution owners to avoid feeding celery to your guinea pig on a regular basis.
This is especially important if your guinea pig already has a history of kidney or bladder stones. A high oxalate diet could exacerbate the problem.
Celery appears to be a safe treat for guinea pigs without pre-existing conditions like urinary tract stones. Let’s look at celery for guinea pigs in more detail.
Guinea Pigs and Celery
Urinary tract stones are definitely bad for guinea pigs. But, are there any benefits to feeding celery to guinea pigs? Maybe.
Guinea pigs are unable to create or store vitamin C. This means they need a constant supply of vitamin C to stay healthy.
While pelleted food contains vitamin C, time and exposure to air reduces the vitamin C content. Provide your guinea pig with safe fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C (hint: not citrus!) This is the best way to make sure your guinea pig has plenty of vitamin C.
Celery is a good source of vitamin C. As an occasional treat, celery might give your guinea pig a vitamin C boost.
However, make sure you do not feed celery on a regular basis, as the oxalate content could create problems for your guinea pig down the line.
Why do Guinea Pigs Like Celery?
Guinea pigs love their leafy greens so they may prefer the leaves to the stalks.
Celery is hydrating, and it’s rich with minerals like vitamins A, C, and K. It is also a great source of fiber.
This might explain why your Guinea Pig likes to crunch on celery.
Is Celery Bad For Guinea Pigs?
It may seem like a harmless vegetable but too much celery can spell trouble for your Cavy.
The oxalates in celery can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
Guinea pigs are already quite prone to getting kidney stones. So, anything you can do to avoid that risk is a good move. This includes saving celery for treat time!
Another potential risk the celery poses is its high sodium content.
Is Celery Good For Guinea Pigs?
While celery is not toxic to guinea pigs, this doesn’t mean it’s particularly good for them.
As mentioned, vitamin C is an important element in your guinea pig’s diet.
The vitamin C found in celery helps maintain connective tissue and is an important element in keeping organs healthy.
However, it’s important that celery is only an occasional treat.
Other sources of vitamin C for guinea pigs include: pellets, vitamin C tablets, hay and leafy greens.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Celery?
Guinea pigs are herbivores. They nibble on grasses and leafy greens, and would not naturally encounter cooked food.
Veterinarians advise feeding guinea pigs fresh, raw vegetables. This provides them with lots of nutrients, as well as dental wear, which is important for their oral health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Celery?
Cooked vegetables can come with risks.
Many recipes involving cooked celery also contain other ingredients that may be toxic to your guinea pig.
Play it safe and always feed your guinea pig raw vegetables unless otherwise recommended by your veterinarian.
Can guinea pigs eat celery leaves?
Most guinea pig nutrition articles emphasize leafy greens.
Guinea pigs and celery leaves seem like they should be a perfect match.
Here is the good news: guinea pigs can eat celery leaves in moderation as an occasional snack.
However, keep in mind that feeding too many celery leaves could lead to or exacerbate urinary tract stones.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Celery Stems?
Just like celery leaves, small amounts of celery stems are safe for guinea pigs. This is the case for guinea pigs who don’t have a history of urinary tract stones.
That does not mean that you should feed an entire celery stick to your guinea pigs. No matter how much they seem to enjoy it.
Instead, offer a small piece of fresh celery and be sure to remove any uneaten portions from their cage.
My Guinea Pig Ate Celery. What Should I Do?
If your little adventurer stole some celery when you weren’t looking, don’t worry.
Celery is safe for guinea pigs to have as an occasional treat. However, there are some health risks associated with this vegetable.
Talk to your veterinarian about your guinea pig’s diet. Also, keep an eye out for symptoms of urinary tract stones. These include: difficulty urinating, painful urination, or bloody urine.
Again, celery should not be fed to guinea pigs with a history of urinary tract stones.
To help reduce the risk of stones, do not feed large amounts of celery to your guinea pig on a regular basis. Be sure to offer a wide variety of safe fruits and vegetables as part of a complete diet.
Can Celery Treat Scurvy in Guinea Pigs?
Like humans and monkeys, Guinea Pigs can’t produce their own vitamin C and as a result are prone to scurvy.
Although celery is a source of vitamin C, it is not recommended for the treatment of scurvy.
Can Celery Treat Urinary Tract Stones in Guinea Pigs?
You might still be wondering ‘can guinea pigs have celery’? It might depend on your particular guinea pig. Unfortunately, celery may contribute to urinary and bladder stones.
It is best to avoid celery if your cavy has either. Instead, opt for lots of water and other leafy greens.
If you are concerned that your guinea pig is suffering with an ailment, please contact your vet.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Celery
Like adults, it is important that guinea pig pups have a plentiful source of vitamin C.
However, it may take a couple of weeks before pups will take to vegetables. As a result, celery isn’t the most optimal source.
You can read our guide to the Baby Guinea Pig diet here.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Celery Everyday?
It’s important to avoid the risk of developing urinary tract stones.
Because celery is a source of oxalates, it can increase the chances of these stones occurring.
Therefore, it is not recommended to feed your Guinea Pig celery every day.
Guinea Pig Celery Treats
Here are some great ways to dole out celery on treat days!
- Add celery leaves to your Guinea Pigs lettuce and salads *food*
- Thinly sliced chunks of celery (make sure to remove the stringy parts)
Alternatives to Celery for Guinea Pigs
Because of the risks involved with including celery as a regular part of a guinea pig’s diet, you might be looking for an option you can use more regularly.
- Bok Choy
- Dark Leafed Lettuce
- Dandelion Greens
If you’re looking for some extra treats, check out our article on fruit for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Celery – Summary
To sum up, your Guinea Pigs might love the taste of celery.
That’s perfectly okay, as long as celery isn’t a main ingredient in their diet.
It’s very important that you can provide an ample source of vitamin C.
Celery has the benefit of being a tasty treat that also provides much needed Vitamin C.
However, there are plenty of other food sources that are packed with Vitamin C. You can read our article about them here.
Does your Guinea Pig love to crunch on celery? Let us know in the comments.
This article has been extensively revised in 2019.
Further Reading and Resources
- ‘Housing and Feeding Your Guinea Pig.’ College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois. Jan 2016.
- ‘The Vitamin C Requirement of the Guinea Pig’, Giroud et al, 1937. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
- ‘The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig’ Witowska et al, 2017. Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science
- ‘Scurvy-prone animals, including man, monkey, and guinea pig, do not express the gene for gulonolactone oxidase’ Sato & Udenfriend, 1978 Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
- ‘What Should I Feed My Guinea Pigs?’ 2019 RSPCA
- ‘UROLITHIASIS IN RABBITS AND GUINEA PIGS’ Hoefer H, 2006. North American Veterinary Conference.
- ‘Common diseases of guinea pigs (Proceedings).’ Corriveau, L. DVM. DVM360 Magazine. Aug 2010.
- ‘Guinea Pig Care.’ American Animal Hospital Association. 2017.
- Quesenberry, K. DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian). ‘Providing a Home for a Guinea Pig.’ Merck Veterinary Manual.