Lavender is a gorgeous blue-purple flower famous for its nice smell, which creates a relaxation effect. We use lavender scents all the time; simply look at your cosmetics, sprays, perfumes, fabric softeners, and lotions! But, can this flower be food for our herbivore guinea pigs?
Can guinea pigs eat lavender? Guinea pigs can eat lavender, but it has to be in moderation. The lavender has a specific flavor, and its scent is quite calming, so it can even be useful during times of stress for your guinea pigs. Your guinea pig may have some digestive issues if they eat too much lavender, so it’s important to be careful with how much they get. If your guinea pig is healthy, then lavender is safe for them to eat.
If this is a new food for guinea pigs, introduce it slowly in the diet until it gets used to it over time. So far, it seems that lavender is almost a perfect flower as it relaxes and releases a nice smell! However, lavender doesn’t have some special vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for guinea pig’s health and it’s even rich in calcium and sodium. Because of that, we need to be careful with serving sizes.
Before we feed guinea pigs some lavender, let’s see all the pros and cons and some other facts about lavender. Let’s begin!
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Lavender
Lavender is famous for the calming effect that comes from the scent. For this purpose, lavender is mostly used in tea, balms, and lotions. As an essential oil – the options are limitless.
It’s been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat anxiety, stress, insomnia, depression, and headaches. Lavender also has a calming effect even when it’s consumed.
Lavender has a compound called limonene, which stimulates the enzymes in the stomach and the liver. This process detoxifies the whole body on the inside. It’s also been found by modern research studies to be effective in reducing inflammation and for promoting healthy aging.
Healthy Cardiovascular System
Lavender has zero cholesterol, and this is a good thing. Cholesterol damages the blood vessels because it builds up in them. This increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Luckily, lavender consumption won’t damage the cardiovascular system or the blood vessels.
Lavender is a great energy source. Just like any food item, lavender has carbs and proteins which are the main energy sources that warm up the body.
There is also iron in lavender. This nutrient is extremely important because it fights anemia and keeps the blood healthy.
Nutrition Facts of Lavender for Guinea Pigs
Energy – 238.9 kcal
Protein – 4.4 g
Total lipid (fat) – 15 g
Carbs – 21.2 g
Dietary fiber – 3.3 g
Sugars – 21.2 g
Calcium – 132.7 mg
Iron – 0.3 mg
Sodium – 57.5 mg
Vitamin A – 199.1 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Lavender to Guinea Pigs
Lavender can present possible problems for the urinary tract of guinea pigs because it contains calcium and sodium. Calcium is needed for strong bones, but once the guinea pig is fully grown, it doesn’t need that much calcium. This mineral is useful when the guinea pigs are growing and developing.
If there is excess calcium and sodium in the urinary tract of the guinea pigs, it will pile up as deposits. These deposits can make urination painful, there might be blood in the urine, and also bladder or kidney stones can develop. When this is not treated on time, it can be fatal because it leads to renal failure.
Lack of Vitamins
There are no enough vitamins in lavender, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, and others. Vitamin C is crucial for the overall health of guinea pigs, but sadly, they don’t produce it naturally and can’t store it either.
The guinea pig benefits from any food with vitamin C, or from supplements. Without this vitamin, guinea pigs get scurvy which has awful symptoms: internal bleeding, rough coat, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and swollen joints.
Guinea pigs can have an allergic reaction to lavender. The most common allergic reaction from lavender is contact dermatitis, which happens when the skin comes into direct contact with the plant and forms rashes that can look similar to poison ivy.
Other symptoms of lavender allergy include swelling and irritation of the mouth, frequent sneezing, swollen eyes, etc.
Serving Size and Frequency of Lavender for Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Have Lavender Every Day?
One way to ensure that your pet enjoys the benefits of lavender without risking any allergic reactions is to introduce it gradually! Start by introducing small amounts one time per week. Later, serve lavender in moderation, just a few times per week, not daily, and there will be no risk of health problems.
Lavender will help keep your guinea pig calm, so it may be helpful during times of high stress, such as a visit to the vet or when they’re recovering from illness or surgery.
How Much Lavender Can My Guinea Pigs Have?
You should only give your guinea pigs small amounts of lavender since overfeeding can cause stomach problems or irritation. If this is a new food for the guinea pig, introduce this slowly at first. One little flower bud with the stem is enough for taste.
After some time, you can give 2-3 flower buds tops, but not daily. Always have a good variety of foods in the guinea pig’s diet, so just 1-2 times per week should be enough.
More Information About Guinea Pigs and Lavender
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lavender Flowers?
Guinea pigs can eat lavender flowers, however just like with other foods, it is important not to overfeed them. So you must keep an eye on your guinea pigs’ eating habits and make sure they don’t accidentally consume too many of them in a given period of time.
Also, lavender is safe for them as long as you are using organic lavender that’s been grown without pesticides and herbicides. However, it’s always recommended to check with your veterinarian when adding something new to their diet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lavender Leaves?
Guinea pigs can also enjoy the flavor of fresh lavender leaves but they should only be given to them sparingly, as they are slightly toxic if eaten in large quantities. It’s generally a good idea to limit their intake to a maximum of one leaf, and only one or two times per week.
Lavender leaves won’t harm your guinea pigs if they nibble on one occasionally. However, there is some concern about feeding your pet with too many lavender leaves because they could have an adverse effect on its blood sugar levels and digestive system.
Is Lavender Oil Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Despite their good nature, guinea pigs can be prone to illness and need to be treated with care. In order to keep your pet happy and healthy for as long as possible, it is important that you know what kind of oils to give them and how often. Lavender oil is a natural remedy used for aromatherapy that has a calming effect on humans and animals.
However, the question remains of is it safe to use lavender oil around guinea pigs? Some people have reported that using lavender oil in small amounts around and on guinea pigs is safe and does not cause any serious harm to them. This statement has been made by some owners, but we recommend taking advice from your veterinarians before using lavender oil on guinea pigs.
Is the Scent of the Lavender Safe for Guinea Pig?
The scent of lavender is very calming for humans, but the exposure of a guinea pig to lavender oil should be limited.
That’s because guinea pigs have a great sense of smell and the strong scent of lavender can affect their respiratory system. So, as we have said, it is better to ask your vet if you can use lavender around guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Lavender?
Also, it’s important to note that any type of herb should be given to your pet only in moderation. A guinea pig is a small animal, so it would stand to reason that lavender would be toxic in larger quantities.
Quick Facts on Lavender
- The word ‘lavender’ comes from the Latin word ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’.
- Lavender and mint belong to the same plant family.
- This flower was used for the mummification of pharaohs in ancient Egypt, 2500 years ago.
- During the Elizabethan reign, taking baths was not a common habit. So, lavender was used as perfume to mask the unpleasant smells on the body, clothes, and linens.
- The smell of lavender will keep pests at bay. It prevents rats, mice, mosquitoes, or flies.
- The oil of lavender reduces anxiety, stress, soothes the muscles, and induces sleepiness.
- Some expensive types of honey are made with the nectar of lavender.
- The symbolism of this flower is luck, success, devotion, and happiness.
- Lavender is either blue or purple, but also there are varieties which are yellow and pink.
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.
Wynn, S. G., Fougère, B. J., Veterinary Herbal Medicine: A Systems-Based Approach, Veterinary Herbal Medicine, 2007.