GuineaDad Food Blog: Can guinea pigs eat lettuce?

Can guinea pigs eat lettuce?

The simple answer? Yes! In fact, it should comprise the bulk of your guinea pig’s fresh leafy veggie consumption. However, there are different kinds of lettuce with varying amounts of nutrients, so it’s important to figure out which kind is best for your piggy.

We've also got a Vegetable Master List that lists common veggies that your piggy can and can't eat!

What vitamins and other nutrients does lettuce contain?

Vitamin C

Most types of lettuce contain large amounts of Vitamin C! In a 100 g portion, romaine lettuce contains 24 mg, red leaf contains 3.7 mg, butterhead contains 3.7 mg, and green leaf contains 18 mg! As we can see, romaine and green leaf lettuces are a great source of Vitamin C, while red leaf and butterhead don't provide as much.

Calcium

Lettuce also contains a pretty moderate amount of calcium. In a 100 g portion, romaine contains 33 mg, red leaf has 33 mg, butterhead contains 35 mg, and green leaf has 36 mg. Calcium is necessary in a guinea pig's diet, but in controlled amounts to minimize risks when it comes to their urinary tract. Lettuce is great for that purpose.

Infographic displaying the vitamins and nutrients in lettuce for guinea pigs

What other benefits does lettuce provide for your guinea pig?

Lettuce is one of those veggies that can be an alternative source of hydration, if your guinea pig isn’t drinking enough actual water. 

What are the downsides about lettuce for guinea pigs?

With any food that contains calcium, regardless of the amount, overconsumption can lead to the risk of the formation of bladder stones. It’s important to monitor your guinea pig’s urine in order to decide what is too much for them! When you look, you’ll be able to see calcium deposits (little white granules) if they’re consuming too much of a food with high concentrations of calcium. Also note that iceberg lettuce is not good to give to your guinea pig because it has so little nutritional value! Their spot in your guinea pig's meal is best taken by something else more nutritional.

Guinea pigs can lettuce, but do they like it?

Yes! In fact, in some cases they’ll eat the lettuce first, before the other veggies that are served to them.

How should you go about feeding your guinea pig lettuce?

Because of the different quantities of nutrients in the various types of lettuce, there’s also a different frequency that you should be feeding it to your guinea pigs! When it comes to romaine and green leaf lettuce, those can be fed to your guinea pig anywhere from five to seven times a week. These two types have a more balanced nutrient content, and are ideal for serving often. When it comes to red lead and butterhead types, those should be only fed to your piggies two to four times a week.

As a general guideline, one medium-sized leaf of lettuce should be a good amount to feed to them! This is especially true when you’re including other types of fruits and vegetables in their diet as well.

A woman picking lettuce to feed to guinea pigs

Overall, it is OK to feed your guinea pigs lettuce!

When feeding your guinea pig different types of lettuce, make sure to monitor their urine in order to decide whether a certain kind is good for them. Their bodies will always let you know if it’s time to switch out a type of lettuce or to reduce or increase the amount you’re giving them—make sure you listen!

What else can guinea pigs eat?

Check out our Vegetable Master List for an extensive list of vegetables for guinea pigs!


1 comment


  • Tish McBurney

    Vets seem to say to avoid romaine acting like the calcium is higher. You didn’t mention escarole. I believe that’s a better option too.


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