Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions? (Greens, Flowers and Roots)

Keeping a guinea pig as a pet is adorable and more important – lots of fun! These cute animals are most famous for their eating habits. Every meal time with guinea pigs is a leisure activity because they are so cute to feed. There’s nothing cuter in the world than a guinea pig munching on some food!

They are herbivores, so most things that grow from the ground are good foods for guinea pigs. Often, herbs and weeds can be dangerous, poisonous, or toxic, so you must examine everything before feeding the guinea pig. Now, let’s have a look at the dandelion as food for guinea pigs.

Can guinea pigs eat dandelions? Yes, guinea pigs can safely eat dandelions but in moderation, because it contains high amounts of calcium. They can eat every part of the dandelion plant, this includes the greens, leaves, the root, the flower, and the flower stems as well. The guinea pigs can eat dandelions up to 3-4 times per week. Dandelions contain high amounts of vitamins, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers that are good for guinea pig’s health.

Anyway, this plant is one of the favorites of guinea pigs! Who would’ve thought that these flowers and greens can be an amazing food for guinea pigs? It is even very simple to find dandelions! It’s not expensive and your guinea pig will love it.

In the following section you can read more about can a guinea pig eat dandelions, nutrition facts of dandelion, and much more. Let’s begin!

Are Dandelions Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits

Are Dandelions Good for Guinea Pigs

If you get dandelions from a clean and unpolluted place, they are perfectly fine for guinea pigs.

The root of the dandelion is very healthy. If consumed in moderation, it can cure appetite loss, an upset belly, gallstones and more. But, this applies only for small or minimal serving sizes, because guinea pigs have a different metabolism than humans. Guinea pigs can benefit from dandelions if consumed in moderate doses.

Dandelion promotes more appetite because it increases the bile flow and gastric functions. Dandelions contain antioxidants (which prevent illnesses and create a stronger immune system) and protect from free radical damage (which causes illnesses). It also reduces blood sugar (this is good if you sometimes give sweet treats to the guinea pig).

This plant also heals and refreshes the liver from various toxins (animal studies have proved this). When served in moderation, dandelion improves digestion and removes constipation. Be careful, too much of this plant and a counter effect will appear (loose stool and bad digestion).

Most importantly, it has vitamin C. We mentioned in our previous articles that guinea pigs don’t produce their own vitamin C, so they need it from other sources. Also, they cannot store this vitamin in their bodies, so it is crucial for them to constantly get enough of this vitamin. Without vitamin C, guinea pigs can get scurvy. This disease makes their whole organism weaker, symptoms are fatigue, teeth and mouth problems, loss of appetite and a rough coat.

Overall, the dandelion is very good for guinea pigs and it is also tasty. However, it contains calcium and has a laxative/diuretic effect, so give it sparingly.

Nutrition Facts of Dandelions for Guinea Pigs

Nutrition Facts of Dandelions for Guinea Pigs

For 100 g of dandelion greens (around 3.5 oz of dandelion greens):

  • 45 calories – in total.
  • 9.2 g carbs – for fast energy.
  • 2.7 g protein – for slow release energy and healthy muscles.
  • 0.7 g fat – a low-fat level that is healthy overall.
  • 3.5 g fiber – for good digestion.
  • 35 mg vitamin C – the essential vitamin for guinea pigs.
  • 10 161 IU vitamin A – antioxidant for the immune system, skin, vision, brain, lungs, kidneys and heart.
  • 3.44 mg vitamin E – for skin, immune system and less inflammation.
  • 778.4 µg vitamin K – for healthy bones and healing of wounds.
  • 76 mg sodium – too much salt, this is why it’s a diuretic.
  • 397 mg potassium – prevents heart issues, hypertension, stroke and good for water/electrolyte balance.
  • 187 mg calcium – high level of calcium which can make bladder/kidney stones in guinea pigs.

Are Dandelions Poisonous to Guinea Pigs? | Risks

Are Dandelions Poisonous to Guinea Pigs

One of the risks of eating a lot of dandelion is the laxative and diuretic effects. If your guinea pig eats too many dandelions, it might get an upset stomach or urinate too much.

Don’t get fooled by the cute guinea pig’s face, you must not give it too much of this plant. If eaten in excess, the dandelion may cause problems with the gastrointestinal tract of guinea pigs. The side effects are bad digestion, stomach pains, vomiting, bloating, gasses or diarrhea and loose stools.

Another thing is that dry herbs and plants, like the dandelion, have lots of calcium. Calcium is not good for the guinea pigs because it builds up in the organism and makes bladder or kidney stones.

A minor risk is also the change of their urine color. You might notice that after they eat dandelions, the urine of the guinea pig will look orange or even reddish. No need to panic, this is just the body processing the pigments of the plant.

This plant grows commonly in many places, but try to avoid polluted parts like the roadside or areas with agricultural spraying of chemicals and pesticides. Also, avoid common areas where owners walk their dogs or where there is a risk of feces and pollution. Basically, dandelions grow almost everywhere.

More Information About Guinea Pigs and Dandelions

More Information About Guinea Pigs and Dandelions

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions Everyday?

During the dandelion season, you can give them a few dandelions as a serving size. Remember to reduce other calcium foods from the guinea pig’s diet when feeding them dandelions. This will create balanced nutrition during the season of dandelions.

Also, give them dandelions only 3-4 times per week during the peak season of summer and spring when dandelions grow.

Good advice is to mix dandelions with some hay to enhance the natural flavors and aromas. You can even find stores that offer hay already mixed with dandelions! Sounds great and practical, right?

If this plant is new to the guinea pig, introduce it slowly. Give it a few leaves or flowers only once or twice weekly. After some time, you can increase the serving size or frequency. Before the dandelion is served to the guinea pig, you should really wash it well with water.

Also, if you have dandelions in the backyard, don’t pluck the whole plant. Instead, get the leaves and flowers and leave the root so it can grow again. If you have more of these plants, you can pluck some of them with their roots fully and give them to your guinea pig. Your pet prefers the flower, leaves, and stems, but roots are also good.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Greens? | Dandelion Leaves

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Greens Dandelion Leaves

Guinea pigs need greens in their diet because greens provide different nutrients to guinea pigs. So, are dandelion greens good for guinea pigs? Yes, guinea pigs can eat dandelion greens and they are good for them, especially because it has vitamin C which is very important for guinea pig’s nutrition and health (100 g of dandelion greens contain around 35 mg of vitamin C).

But, you need to be careful when feeding guinea pigs with dandelion leaves. Dandelion leaves also contain a high amount of calcium and oxalate, which aren’t good for guinea pig’s health because they can cause kidney stones. It’s important to give them dandelion leaves in smaller quantities (100 g of dandelion greens contain around 187 mg of calcium).

Related: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Leaves?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Flowers?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Flowers

Many guinea pig’s owners are unsure if dandelion flowers are poisonous to guinea pigs and if guinea pigs can eat dandelion flowers? Dandelion flowers aren’t poisonous for guinea pigs and they can definitely eat them.

Your guinea pig will love to eat dandelion flowers and it’s very important because dandelion flowers have a lot of benefits for them. Dandelion flowers are good for guinea pig’s immune system, blood sugar control, reducing inflammation, reducing cholesterol and much more.

Related: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Flowers?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Stems?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Stems

Yes, guinea pigs can eat dandelion stems and they’re delicious for guinea pigs because of the milky sap inside the dandelion stalk and also they have many other health benefits. Dandelion stems can help with the digestion system, and they contain a lot of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and many other nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

Your guinea pig will love it because of the taste and you will be satisfied as well because your guinea pig will get all these health benefits.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Roots?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelion Roots

Guinea pigs can eat dandelion roots, but even if the root has powerful cleansing properties, it’s very important to pick the root from clean areas without pesticides or other chemical pollutants. Also, wash the dandelion root very well before giving it to the guinea pigs.

Dandelion roots also have a lot of health benefits for guinea pigs, they are rich with minerals, antioxidants and many other nutrients.

Some studies have found that dandelion root helps with lower cholesterol in animals and that it can slow down the growth of cancer cells.

Quick Facts on Dandelions and Guinea Pigs

  • Dandelion must be picked up from an unpolluted place and without any chemicals/pesticides.
  • Guinea pigs can eat the flower, stem, leaves, and even roots of dandelions – they love everything about this plant.
  • It promotes appetite and works up stomach fluids.
  • Too much dandelion causes stomach problems.
  • It has calcium which is bad for the guinea pigs (bladder/kidney stones).
  • Also, it has vitamin C which is essential for the guinea pigs.
  • Normal serving size: almost a handful, a few times per week.
  • Too much dandelion can change the urine color of the guinea pig.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions_1

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

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Jin, Y. .1, Jin, J., Piao, X. X., Jin, N. G., The effect of Taraxacum officinale on gastric emptying and smooth muscle motility in Rodents, Neurogastroenterology and motility: the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, 2011.

Awortwe, C., Sackeyfio, A. C., Dorcas Osei-Safo, Bugyei, K. A., Asiedu-Gyekye, I. J., Dual effect of Taraxacum officinale leaves: Anticholinergic and inhibitory effect on inflammatory cells in ovalbumin-sensitized guinea-pigs, African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 2011.

Hagymási, K., Blázovics, A., Fehér, J., Lugasi, A., Kristó, Sz. T., Kéry, A., The in vitro effect of dandelions antioxidants on microsomal lipid peroxidation, Wiley Online Library, 2000.

Hu, C., Kitts, D. D., Antioxidant, Prooxidant, and Cytotoxic Activities of Solvent-Fractionated Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Flower Extracts in Vitro, J. Agric. Food Chem. 2003.

Cannon, M. D., Emerson, G. A., Dietary Requirements of the Guinea Pig with Reference to the Need for a Special Factor, The Journal of Nutrition, 1939.