Grasses make a large part of a guinea pig’s daily diet but do you know which one to feed to your guinea pig? There is a large variety of grasses that guinea pigs can eat but choosing the best one can be a tough option for some owners.
Grasses are bountiful in nutrients and with high palatability and ease to digest, they make a great meal for guinea pigs. Grasses contain nutrients like protein, vitamin A, C, K, and E. They are also packed with antioxidants and some grasses have medicinal properties which help to reduce the prevalence of some diseases in guinea pigs.
Certain grasses can be turned into hay for use during the lean periods when fresh greens are not available.
How Often You Should Feed Grass To Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs can be fed grass daily however it’s best to keep changing the type of grass every other week. Grass should be accompanied by veggies and fruits to make up a balanced diet for guinea pigs. Chowing on grass helps guinea pigs wear their teeth and gather vital nutrients.
Which Grasses Make The Best Eating For Guinea Pigs?
A major portion of the guinea pig diet consists of grasses, so it is very important to feed them the right amount of grass and the right type.
The following grasses are considered best for guinea pigs.
- Timothy grass
It is one of the most popular grasses for guinea pigs. This grass was first grown in Europe but now it can be found across the world, especially in North America and Asia. Hay of this grass is considered best for guinea pigs and provides them with a lot of health benefits. Chowing on this grass helps increase the wear on guinea pig teeth so they remain at the ideal length. The hay of this grass also aids in gut health and is a good source of protein, calcium, and fiber for guinea pigs.
- Orchard grass
Orchard grass can be found across North America although it originated somewhere else. It has a lot of health benefits for guinea pigs which have to do with the high concentration of protein and fiber in this grass. Guinea pigs take a lot of pleasure as they eat it because of its sweet taste and exquisite texture.
- Oat grass
This grass is considered very beneficial for guinea pig health due to the presence of a wide variety of nutrients. These include vitamin K, C, B9, calcium, protein, and loads of essential minerals. This is one of the best grasses to give your guinea pig vitamin C. It also helps in the prevention of disease due to the abundance of antioxidants like beta carotene. This grass commonly grows in hilly areas with fertile soil and plenty of sunlight. It was originally used by humans as a tea ingredient, cooking ingredient, and for medicinal purposes. It mostly grows in the cold season but its hay is available year around.
- Buffalo grass
This is a hardy grass that originated from the great plains of the USA. the name of this grass comes with its association with bison or buffalo. This grass is now grown across the US in the yards and lawns. It is considered a good source of nutrition for guinea pigs as it does for the great buffalo. It grows mostly during the summer months and can survive through extreme cold.
- Dandelion grass
Guinea pigs love to munch on this grass due to its flavor and juicy nature. This grass frequently grows near water sources and in fertile soil with sunny weather. It is believed that the taste of this grass matches the taste of mustard greens and arugula. Due to rich nutrients that boost the immune system, feeding this grass can help prevent diseases in guinea pigs. It is also good for blood pressure and weight loss.
- Blue grass
This grass is highly appreciated for its medicinal properties and health benefits. It is native to England, Scotland, and Ireland. Now it is grown in many parts of the world.
Guinea pigs are fond of its sweet tangy taste. It is called bluegrass due to its blue appearance in the sunlight. Eating this grass helps facilitate brain health and cardiovascular health in cavies.
- Centipede grass
This grass may have a horrible name but it is very good for the health of guinea pigs. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It is called a centipede grass due to the segmented appearance of its stem. It is native to China and is grown as lawn grass. It is safe for guinea pig consumption and some guinea pig prefer its flavor.
- Alfalfa grass
It should only be fed to guinea pigs who have a calcium deficiency or if a vet has recommended it. This grass should only be fed on an occasional basis because overfeeding can cause certain health risks in guinea pigs like diarrhea.
Which Lawn Grasses Can Be Fed To Guinea Pigs?
Feeding grass from your lawn or backyard can be an interesting activity for guinea pig owners. But before you do it remember not all grasses can be fed directly from the lawn. Here is a list of lawn grasses that are considered safe for guinea pigs.
- Meadow grass
This grass is grown on lawns to give them a look of a meadow due to this fast growth and green color. It also makes a decent meal for guinea pigs because of its mild flavor and smooth texture. It also has several nutrients like protein, antioxidants, and fiber. However, some guinea pigs may not like to eat so never force your pet.
- Bermuda grass
This grass has its origins somewhere in Africa and mostly grows in areas near the tropics where sunlight is plentiful. If fed to guinea pigs, Bermuda grass promotes dental health, reduces itchiness on the skin, and enhances overall skin health. It has an abundant supply of nutrients and bold tastes which your guinea pigs will love. This grass is a common choice for people who own small pets like rabbits, hamsters, and of course guinea pigs.
- Fescue grass
This grass is considered a healthy food choice for humans and guinea pigs alike. It’s native to the European continent but today it can be found throughout the world. People grow it as lawn grass for its beautiful color and soft feel. Guinea pigs can benefit from its high protein concentration and properties which improve digestion.
Which Wild Grasses Are Best For Guinea Pigs?
Some people who have access to forests or wild locations can harvest wild grasses for their guinea pigs. These grasses are free from chemicals and full of nutrients. Make sure you have the correct knowledge of the grass before feeding it to your guinea pigs.
- Plantain grass
You can feed these grasses growing near agricultural lands, on wild trails, and even on lawns. These have their origin in Europe but are found in many parts of the world. This grass has great medicinal properties and is also used as a cooking ingredient. This grass can be a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and protein for your guinea pig, and due to its medicinal qualities, it can reduce the incidence of digestive problems in guinea pigs.
- Chickweed grass
Chickweed grass is pretty famous among chicken owners but it also makes a delicious meal for your guinea pigs as well. It has small leaves and tiny white flowers. It has great health qualities and can reduce disease symptoms in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs like its taste and texture. It is good for dental health and reduces certain inflammations in the body.
- Goose grass
If you live near a marshland, river, lake, or beach there is a high probability you will find this grass in your surroundings. It has a savory flavor and juicy texture which makes it an ideal food choice for guinea pigs. It also facilitates digestive health and urinary health in guinea pigs while providing plenty of nutrients.
Which Grasses To Avoid For Guinea Pigs?
You should avoid any grass that is grown with the help of fertilizers because it can have high levels of nitrogen and urea which can be dangerous for guinea pigs.
Avoid feeding alfalfa grass and clover because they have very high concentrations of protein and calcium. Feeding these can contribute to the formation of stones in the urinary tract of your guinea pig and high calcium levels in the body can lead to cardiac arrest.
Avoid grasses that grow near crop fields because they might contain residues of insecticides or pesticides used for crops.
If you have limited knowledge of grasses it is best to avoid wild grass of all kinds until you are completely sure. Some wild grasses can contain harmful compounds which may be toxic for guinea pigs and some can even be life-threatening. Guinea pigs can be allergic to some wild grasses and can get seriously ill. Signs of allergy in guinea pigs include watery eyes, runny nose, facial swelling, difficulty in breathing, and restlessness.
Article Sources & Research
- A. (2022, February 27). 13 Types of Grass Guinea Pigs Can Eat. A Few Good Pets. https://afewgoodpets.com/types-of-grass-guinea-pigs-can-eat/
- Cosgrove, N. (2022, July 22). Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass? What You Need To Know. Pet Keen. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://petkeen.com/can-guinea-pigs-eat-grass-what-you-need-to-know/
- Riffee, C. (2018, June 14). Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fresh Grass? Squeaks and Nibbles. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://squeaksandnibbles.com/can-guinea-pigs-eat-fresh-grass/