Guinea pigs are one of the most popular small house pets mainly because they are budget-friendly, happy vegetarians! A herbivore pet can eat fruits, veggies, herbs, roots, or even some flowers! Yes, almost everything that grows from the ground.
Daisies, for example, are beautiful flowering plants that have a nice white-yellow flower all of us know. In this article, you will learn are daisies edible for guinea pigs. Daisy is a pretty flower, but it might not be so “innocent-looking” after all, at least for rodents.
Can guinea pigs eat daisies? Guinea pigs can’t eat daisies because certain types of daisies contain chemicals that may be toxic to guinea pigs. Some types of daisies can be toxic to guinea pigs even if they consume just a small amount of them. On the other hand, some of them are not toxic at all. So, if we talk in general, daisies are a risky food for the guinea pigs and should be avoided.
Some of the side-effects of daisy toxicity are nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, diarrhea, contact dermatitis, and allergic reactions. Even though flowers are technically safe for herbivores, most flowers have toxins that can harm guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs can eat dandelions, for example, but daisies are the opposite. Don’t get us wrong there are daisies that are safe but as it is extremely difficult to differentiate them, it is best to simply avoid them. It’s just a riskier option.
In the following sections, we will explain more about the nutrition facts of daisies and the risks of feeding daisies to guinea pigs. Let’s start!
Nutrition Facts of Daisies
Here are some known nutrients that are present in 100 g ( 3 oz ) of daisies:
- Energy – 22 kcal
- Protein – 2.6 mg
- Calcium – 190 mg
- Iron – 2.7 mg
- Potassium – 600 mg
- Phosphorus – 88 mg
- Magnesium – 33 mg
- Vitamin C – 34 mg
- Vitamin A – 160 mg
Are Daisies Poisonous to Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks
Sadly, there is not enough factual research or proven way to show how toxic it is for guinea pigs. But we have found some studies about daisy toxicity on animals in general. Let’s begin!.
First of all, there are several chemicals in daisies that can cause serious health problems in guinea pigs. The first chemicals are sesquiterpene lactones, usually found in plants of the family Asteraceae (daisies are part of this family). Sesquiterpene lactones can be toxic and irritant for animals and cause different health problems.
Other compounds in daisies are toxins known as pyrethrins. These toxins are found in the Pyrethrum daisy (Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium) used to make botanical insecticides. This type of daisy contains deadly nerve toxins that can be extracted from the dried flowers.
Due to that, daisies can be very dangerous to guinea pigs and other mammals. These toxins have the ability to be absorbed in the bloodstream, which can lead even to death.
Due to nutrition and toxicity, daisies can cause problems to the guinea pig’s digestive system. Compounds found in daises mentioned above can lead to serious stomach pains, flatulence, gas, bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding within the digestive tract.
If the guinea pig eats some of the toxic daisies, don’t panic. Simply give them a lot of water and take the guinea pigs to the vet if you notice any strange symptoms.
The scariest risk is an allergic reaction. As we have said, this plant apparently has some powerful components that can cause severe allergies in guinea pigs.
The sesquiterpene lactones may be very irritating to the guinea pig’s nose, eyes, mouth, and skin. Also, these components can cause allergic contact dermatitis, swelling, or irritation in the throat.
The pyrethrum component is also very dangerous. It can lead to excessive drooling, muscle spasms, respiratory problems, breathing difficulties, gagging or choking, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, paralysis, and even death. All of the symptoms are indicators of allergic reactions in guinea pigs.
The amount of calcium in daisies can lead to serious urinary problems in guinea pigs. That’s because an excess of calcium in food causes bladder or kidney stones. Some of the bladder and kidney stones symptoms are darkened urine, blood in urine, pain during urination, weight loss, etc.
It’s good to know that calcium is important for young guinea pigs when they are growing, and because of that, baby guinea pigs have a special diet. But, for adult guinea pigs, calcium can be a real treat, so our adult guinea pigs need food that is low in calcium.
Some toxic chemicals found in daisies can cause appetite loss, and due to that, guinea pigs can suffer from weight loss and anorexia. If you ever notice that your guinea pig won’t eat or suffers from weight loss, it is important to visit a vet as soon as possible.
Also, with the lack of detailed researches for daisies as food for guinea pigs, it’s always best to stay safe and avoid feeding this plant to the guinea pigs.
More Information About Daisies and Guinea Pigs
Are Ox Eye Daisies Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Ox Eye daisies are botanically classified as Leucanthemum vulgare, which means “common white flower”. They have tall stems that can reach more than 30 centimeters high.
These flowers have large lower leaves and blossoms with white petals and a yellow center. Although people can eat Ox Eye daisies and use them for medical purposes, we don’t recommend feeding Ox Eye daises to guinea pigs.
That’s because Ox Eye daisies may cause allergies and other health problems due to different toxic compounds such as sesquiterpene lactones and pyrethrins mentioned in the risk section of this article.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Daisy Flowers?
Guinea pigs can’t eat daisy flowers because the flowers also contain toxic compounds that may cause serious health problems if eaten in large amounts. But, if the guinea pig tries a daisy flower, just for taste and one bite – don’t panic. Just make sure the guinea pig won’t continue to eat them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Daisy Leaves?
Guinea pigs can’t eat daisy leaves. Although guinea pigs enjoy eating different types of leaves, daisy leaves may be dangerous for them in large amounts. Also, the calcium content in daisy leaves is higher than in their flowers, so in huge amounts, daisy leaves aren’t good for the urinary system as well.
Otherwise, if guinea pigs just chewed on a little piece of daisy leaves, nothing serious will happen.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lawn Daisies?
Lawn daises are in the Asteraceae family of plants, and their botanical name is Bellis perennis. These daisies are also known as a common daisy or English daisy. Lawn daisies have white petals and a yellow center, and they grow along the ground without any required maintenance.
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat law daisies because these flowers are the most common source of plant allergen and chemicals called sesquiterpene lactones. These compounds are present in their leaves, stems, flowers and tend to cause contact dermatitis.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat China Crown Daisy?
Glebionis coronaria, formerly called Chrysanthemum coronarium, is a flower from the daisy family, commonly called garland chrysanthemum, crown daisy, or Japanese daisy. This plant is widely used in Chinese cuisines.
Guinea pigs can’t eat China crown daisy as it also contains sesquiterpene lactones, pyrethrins, and other potential irritants that may be very harmful to our guinea pigs.
Quick Facts on Daisies
- There are over 4000 types of daisies worldwide.
- Daisies can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
- The daisy flower stalks are generally longer than the daisy leaves.
- Daisies have lots of medicinal properties.
- Bees and other pollinators love daisies.
- Some daisy species are annual, lasting only for one year, and some are biennial, and their life cycle ends after two years.
- The daisy flower symbolizes purity, innocence, loyal love, beauty, patience, and simplicity.
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas.
We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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List of Sources
Norman, R., Wills, A. P., An Investigation into the Relationship between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus), Animals: an open access journal from MDPI, 2016.
National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition, Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995., Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1995.
Witkowska, A., Price, J., Hughes, C., Smith, D., White, K., Alibhai, A., Rutland C. S., The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science, 2017.