guinea pig eating grass

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass Clippings?

Have you wondered, ‘can guinea pigs eat grass clippings?’ They eat hay, which is a type of grass, after all. Actually, guinea pigs can’t eat grass clippings. They are a potentially serious health risk.

You see, gathering a handful of grass is much different than blending everything chopped up on the lawn together.

Your guinea pig could end up eating pesticides, bird droppings, and other harmful things that are also in your lawn. Grass clippings will ferment quickly. Feeding fermented clippings to your guinea pig will cause them to become bloated and sick. You can still feed your guinea pig freshly-washed, pesticide-free grass.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass Clippings?

While guinea pigs can eat grass, grass clippings are a different matter. These introduce all kinds of risks that you can avoid simply by gathering some grass on your own. There is no need for a mower.

The biggest dangers of grass clippings are:

Pesticides

Pesticides are poisonous not just to plants and pests, but to guinea pigs, as well. You should never feed your guinea pig grass that has been treated in any way. The grass will not be safe for them to eat for at least 4-5 lawn mowings after.

Never pick grass for your guinea pigs unless you’re 100% sure it is free of pesticides, fertilizer, etc.

Weeds

There is a lot more that grows in our lawns than just grass, and not everything is safe for guinea pigs to eat! When you mow your lawn, weeds will be caught up with the grass and become a part of the grass clipping mix. Among others, weeds toxic to guinea pigs include Ivy, Sorrel, Coltsfoot, GoldenRod, and Mallow.

Lawnmower Exhaust

Grass clippings are exposed to lawn mower exhaust, a pollutant which certainly isn’t healthy. This is yet another reason feeding grass clippings to your guinea pig will almost certainly make them sick!

mowing the grass
Fuel and fumes can drop onto the grass causing harm to your guinea pig

Bird Droppings and Dog Urine in the Grass

Your lawn can contain all sorts of things you don’t know about, like bird droppings! These can carry transmittable diseases that can make your guinea pigs sick. Both the bird droppings and the urine will be blended in with the grass you mow.

Mushrooms

There are lots of mushrooms that appreciate the moist conditions created by a frequently-watered lawn. Perhaps you’ve seen them crop up before. Some are quite big and noticeable.

Others may be hidden beneath pine cones or dead leaves, and are sure to be mixed in with the grass clippings as you mow.

As virtually all mushrooms are toxic to guinea pigs, this can make feeding them the clippings even more of a risk!

Fermentation

Did you know, grass clippings ferment extremely fast? Should a guinea pig eat fermented clippings, they will rapidly become bloated and sick. As guinea pigs have no way to get rid of gas, this can prove fatal. It’s better to entirely avoid this risk.

Guinea Pigs Won’t Chew Grass Clippings Properly

Because grass clippings are already so torn up, your guinea pigs will not feel the need to chew. Grass clippings do actually still need to be chewed, however. As a result of swallowing the clippings whole, your guinea pig can easily become blocked-up and sick.

Can I Give My Guinea Pig Grass?

Did you know that hay is a kind of grass? Guinea pigs eat primarily hay, which is chock-full of fiber. This means that regular-old lawn grass can also be OK. There are just a few things you will need to be aware of.

First off, the grass must be perfectly clean. This means no pesticides, dirt, bird droppings, etc. It is recommended to pick the blades of grass with great care. Make sure that all of the grass is fresh, as well. Guinea pigs also tend to prefer grass that is tender and new!

Introduce Grass to Your Guinea Pigs Slowly

While guinea pigs are accustomed to eating grassy hay, lawn grass is another species altogether. This means that you will need to introduce it to your guinea pigs slowly.

Give them a little bit at a time, and see how they react. Keep an eye out for bloating or other signs of digestive upset, as this will mean you will need to take a little break.

Have hay available to your guinea pigs at the same time, and it will help them to digest it easier.

How to Prepare Grass for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs can indeed eat grass if you prepare it properly. This means that you will need to clean the grass extremely well. Gather a small handful – ensuring it contains only grass – and wash it thoroughly in the sink with a colander.

This should rinse off any possible droppings, urine, etc. You cannot remove pesticides by washing the grass, however.

What Kinds of Grass Can Guinea Pigs Have?

Guinea pigs are big grass-eaters, and there are several kinds that they can enjoy. First off, there is their staple: Timothy Hay, which they consume as much as they want of. Barley grass is similar.

You can also give your guinea pig little bits of wheatgrass or lemongrass as a small snack.

Worms Can Be a Risk

Even when feeding your guinea pig the cleanest, freshest, and best grass, developing worms is still a risk. You can address this by deworming your guinea pigs regularly!

Don’t Let Your Guinea Pigs Walk on Wet Grass

If you’d like to let your guinea pigs roam your lawn, you will need to make sure that the grass is perfectly dry. Wet grass is known for giving guinea pigs UTIs. Also only allow them outside in 65-75 F weather.

Final Thoughts

So, can guinea pigs eat grass clippings? Definitely not!  Their health will almost certainly be at risk.

Instead, carefully pick them some fresh, pesticide-free grass and wash it really well. This alternative makes for a convenient, nutritious, and tasty guinea pig snack.

Hutch and Cage.com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim is to provide the reader with information to enable them to make a good decision when making a purchase or caring for their pet. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.