Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fresh Grass? Is It Safe Or Even Good For Them? How Much Grass Can They Eat? Let’s Find Out!
Are you wondering whether or not your guinea pig can eat fresh grass?
Since guinea pigs are often kept in cages, a guinea pig eating grass may not seem quite right.
However, the domestic guinea pig’s wild ancestors were actually natural grazers!
While pet guinea pigs can indeed have fresh grass, their indoor lifestyle often requires their diet to consist of primarily grass hay, pellets, and other supplements. Therefore, incorporating fresh grass into your pet guinea’s diet should be a slow transition.
Read on to find out how to safely feed grass to your guinea pig.
Can guinea pigs eat grass from outside?
Let’s start at the most important point – can guinea pigs eat fresh grass in your own backyard?
Yes! In fact, guinea pigs and grass, in both dried and fresh forms, go together like peas and carrots.
You may be accustomed to feeding your guinea pig grass hay in place of fresh grass.
Grass hay for guinea pigs is simply grass of various types that has been dried, cured, and baled. Timothy hay or orchard grass hay for guinea pigs are both common.
Therefore, timothy or orchard grass for guinea pigs is a great idea! It can be fed as a nutritious part of your guinea pig’s diet when done properly. More on that later!
Can you feed guinea pigs fresh grass safely?
Fresh grass is safe for guineas. However, there are a few limitations.
Guinea pig grass (or any other new addition to your guinea’s diet) should be introduced slowly. If he’s not already accustomed to grazing fresh grass for a period of time each day. Changing his food too quickly can upset his little tummy.
Additionally, according to veterinarian Dr. Marie McKibbin, guineas that graze on fresh grass should be routinely checked for intestinal parasites to see if they require deworming.
Like many animals that consume grass, guineas can pick up pesky parasite eggs that live in the soil and on blades of grass.
Furthermore, guineas should not be fed wet grass or grass clippings. We’ll discuss why in the next section.
Is grass bad for guinea pigs?
As we mentioned earlier, grass clippings and wet grass, for guinea pigs, are both no-no’s.
If you let guineas out on wet grass for an extended period of time, their legs and bellies will consequently become wet.
This can lead to the formation of skin conditions, including lesion formation and hair loss as well as fungal infections, such as ringworm.
And, if you live in an area that stays pretty damp for extended periods of time, there’s a chance that the grass could be moldy.
This isn’t safe for Ginny the guinea pig to eat, unfortunately.
Additionally, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), if a guinea pig ingests lawnmower clippings, digestive upset and illness can result.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the weeds that are growing in your yard, as some of them are toxic to guineas.
Furthermore, never let a guinea pig out on grass that’s been treated with pesticide, fertilizer, or any other lawn chemical. Doing so could result in severe illness or even death in your guinea.
Is grass good for guinea pigs?
Yes, grass is good for guinea pigs for several reasons!
Guinea pigs do not produce their own vitamin C supply, so they must be fed it in a supplement or via greens that are rich in vitamin C.
Fortunately, fresh grass can provide a healthy boost of vitamin C for your beloved fur baby!
Additionally, roughage such as grass hay or fresh grass should make up at least 75% of your guinea’s diet.
His digestive system is made to run on a high-fiber diet, so he should have enough forage to last him for most of the day and night.
Furthermore, guineas must constantly graze or chew on roughage in order to keep their teeth from growing too long or sharp. Letting your guinea pig graze on fresh grass for several hours a day and on hay while he’s in his cage should help to prevent dental issues.
Do guinea pigs like fresh grass?
So we are sure that the answer to can guinea pigs eat fresh grass is yes. But do they want to?
Guineas definitely like fresh grass. They’ll readily eat it all day, every day, if left to their own devices!
Do wild guinea pigs eat fresh grass?
Yes! The guinea pig’s wild ancestors, called cavies, were once found in mountainous regions of South America. Here they survived on grass and other vegetation.
Do guinea pigs eat grass roots and dirt?
Guineas can and will consume grass roots and dirt. In fact, these seemingly unappetizing foods can actually be useful for Ginny’s dental health!
According to the Canterbury Veterinary Clinic and Hospital, feeding Ginny grass with roots and dirt still attached can help prevent her teeth from becoming overgrown.
She’ll gnaw on them just like she would on wooden chew treats or toys.
Can you grow grass for guinea pigs?
It’s all well and good knowing the answer to can guinea pigs eat fresh grass is yes, but what if you don’t have a lawn? Well, no problem!
If you don’t have a lawn or if your lawn isn’t suitable for Gus the guinea pig to graze on, growing grass for guinea pigs indoors is one way to ensure that he reaps the benefits of fresh grass.
For maximum nutritional value, you’ll want to get a few different types of grass seed. Timothy, western orchard and brome grasses are good choices.
In addition to grass seed, you’ll need a growth medium.
This could be a container or flower pot filled with soil, or an all-in-one grass-growing station, like this one.
Then, just water it at regular intervals and watch the green stuff grow! Just be sure to avoid using fertilizer.
Summary: Can guinea pigs eat fresh grass?
Guinea pigs love fresh grass and can eat lots of it!
Fresh grass, like hay, can provide them with much-needed vitamin C and can keep their teeth from getting too long…just be sure to start with a little grass at a time until he’s built up to a few hours at a time.
You should also ensure that he doesn’t spend too much time out on wet grass, as a wet belly and legs can encourage skin infections.
Furthermore, do not let guineas graze on grass that’s been treated with fertilizer or any other toxic chemical spray. You also shouldn’t let them eat grass clippings, which can cause digestive upset.
If you live in an apartment and do not have a lawn, or if your lawn has been treated with chemicals, then you can always grow your own guinea-safe, uber nutritious grass indoors! There are kits available to do so, but you can also purchase various grass seeds and plant them in a pot or other container.
With the above guidelines in mind, your guinea pig will be on his way to enjoying fresh, green, delicious grass in no time!
Canterbury Veterinary Clinic and Hospital. “Guinea pig care”.
Donnelly, T. “Guinea Pigs”. Merck Veterinary Manual,
McKibbon, M. “Ask a Vet: Is it Safe for Guinea Pigs to Eat Grass?” Canadian Living,
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “A healthy diet for guinea pigs”.