Can Guinea Pigs Eat Meat? Facts & Risks

guinea pig eating meat

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So, can eat guinea pigs eat meat? The answer, long or short, is no. In fact, guinea pigs are what are known as obligate herbivores. This means that they eat veggies, fruits, grasses, and greens only, and have no choice in the matter. Were you to feed your guinea pig any kind of meat, they would become quite sick! 

Most guinea pigs will not even give meats a sniff… but just in case, keep meats of any kind well out of their reach. Instead, try offering them a much healthier source of protein, like pellets, hay, and so on.

Guinea pigs are what’s called an obligate omnivore. This means that, physically, they are only capable of digesting Processed meat. If a guinea pig were to eat meat, their body would reject it, and they would become very sick. They may even experience a total GI block! Their digestive system is not set up to digest anything but plant matter.


What Do Guinea Pigs Eat In The Wild?

The guinea pig is a clan animal. This means that they are group and community-oriented, and you will rarely see one alone. A solitary guinea pig is sure to be a lonely one. Rather, guinea pigs travel in herds, where they will build a hierarchy. They will play, groom, and socialize. 

A guinea pig will spend its time with ten or so other guinea pigs, as they travel and live. During the day, they will stick to an ingenious underground burrow. This will include a nesting area, a storage area, a waste area, and more.

wild guinea pig
Brazilian guinea pig (Cavia aperea) eating grass

Many predators seek guinea pigs during the day, from wildcat to wolf, to hawk. Guinea pigs wait until nighttime to become more active. They have more cover in the dark.

Once the sun has gone down, guinea pigs will emerge from their burrow. They will forage for food, some to eat right away, and some to store, for later. 

So, what kind of food do guinea pigs look for? What do guinea pigs eat in the wild? Can guinea pigs eat meat? As a matter of fact, the diet of a guinea pig is very simple. Mostly, they eat grass and hay.

There are also some wild plants that they might sample. If you wonder, can guinea pigs eat meat? ‘No’ is your answer. 

Guinea Pigs Cannot Eat Meat

The guinea pig is what is called an obligate omnivore. This means that, physically, they are only capable of digesting processed meat. If a guinea pig were to eat meat, their body would reject it, and they would become very sick. They may even experience a total GI block!

Foods That Are Poisonous To Guinea Pigs

When it comes to foods that are poisonous to guinea pigs, meat is at the top of the list. If you have wondered, well, can guinea pigs eat meat in small portions? Never. There are some foods that guinea pigs simply should not have. Besides, for guinea pigs, meat has nothing to offer: just protein, fat, and calories that they don’t require, and absolutely no fiber. 

As with meat, guinea pigs are not designed to digest dairy, either. Any dairy can make them really ill. 

Avocados have too much fat for guinea pigs, which tend to be obesity-prone. Better to leave a fatty fruit like this out of the picture. Avocados also have a deadly-toxic pit and peel.

Did you know, iceberg lettuce has virtually no nutritional value? At best, it will give your guinea pig the runs. At the worst, the lactucarium content may actually make them sick.

Onion, leek, and chive can cause your guinea pig to develop a deadly blood disorder. 

guinea pig in a basket

Guinea Pig Dietary Requirements

So, what dietary requirements do guinea pigs have? If you have a pet guinea pig, what should you feed them? 

The idea is to mimic what your little friend would eat in the wild… and, one perk of domesticated life is that it can offer even better.

Above all, as herbivores, their bodies are streamlined to digest fiber. Along with this, guinea pigs actually do not produce their own vitamin C. As a result, they must obtain this precious nutrient through diet alone. When feeding your guinea pig, give the greatest consideration to fiber and vitamin C. 


Most hay varieties are chock-full of fiber. This is perfect for guinea pigs, and other livestock!  But which hay is the best one? Every kind of hay has its own unique levels of protein, calcium, and fiber. Learn about each, and take a look at the table, below!

Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is considered the top hay for guinea pigs everywhere. Why? Because it is high in fiber, but also nice and low in calories and calcium. Since guinea pigs are basically always eating hay (in fact, they should have 24/7 access), this is really important.

Otherwise, weight gain and obesity become a risk. Along with this, excessive calcium can cause urinary tract stones in guinea pigs that are very painful.


Alfalfa Hay 

Like Timothy hay, alfalfa hay is just full of fiber. This hay variety is also made up of a whopping 17-20% protein… enough to meet your guinea pig’s protein requirements, and then some. 

Unfortunately for guinea pigs, alfalfa hay is also quite calcium-rich, at over double that of Timothy hay, in total. Alfalfa hay is also not as low cal. 

So, while alfalfa hay certainly isn’t the worst for guinea pigs, it should not make up the majority of their diet. Rather, you can toss a handful to your guinea pigs as a special treat now and then. They tend to enjoy the rich, sweet flavor.

Clover Hay

Like alfalfa hay, clover hay is technically a legume grass (whereas Timothy has is not). It, too, is higher in calories, and calcium. Thanks to its 24% fiber content, however, it can still make a nutritious guinea pig snack.

When feeding your guinea pig a portion of food that is particularly rich in calcium (like alfalfa or clover hay), make sure that there is only a little bit of calcium in the rest of their meal. 

Hay VarietyProteinFiberCalcium
Compare These Guinea Pig-Friendly Hays


Most recommend that you include pellets in your guinea pig’s diet. Why you might ask? Because are fortified especially for your guinea pig as they grow. High-quality pellets will contain lots of fiber, as well as the necessary protein and precious vitamin C. 

Not only this, but pellets are great for guinea pigs to chew. Chewing is a large part of what guinea pigs do to keep their ever-growing teeth whittled-down and in-check.


There are lots of healthy greens, such as romaine lettuce or dandelion leaves, that your guinea pig can enjoy. Just double-check that a plant is not toxic, and never offer greens that might have pesticides on them, as guinea pigs are quite sensitive!

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Fruits and Veggies Are An Excellent Source of Vitamin C

Fruits and veggies are some of the best foods that you can feed your guinea pig, to give them plenty of vitamin C! Some of the best sun-fed fruits and veggies are apples, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and spinach. Take a look at their vitamin C percentages, below.

Fruit or VeggieVitamin CFiber
1 medium apple8.4mg4.4g
1 medium strawberry7.1mg0.2g
1 medium (green) bell pepper95.7mg2g
1 medium tomato14mg1.5g
1 cup spinach28mg1g
Compare Fruits and Veggies For Guinea Pigs That Have High Amounts of Vitamin C

Final Thoughts

For those of you who have been wondering, can guinea pigs eat meat? Hopefully, you’ve got your answer: no, meat is impossible to digest for this little herbivore.

As you can see, there are plenty of other much healthier foods you can offer, from hay to pellets, to greens, and so on. There are even lots of fruits and veggies that can make a great, vitamin C-rich snack.

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