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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms? Vet-Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

guinea-pig-mushrooms

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Most people know that some mushrooms are strictly off-limits as they can be highly poisonous. For example, a single death cap mushroom can contain enough toxins to kill multiple adults 1. So, if mushrooms are so potentially dangerous, you’re right to be tentative about feeding them to your guinea pig. As it turns out, however, many types of mushrooms are safe to offer your cavie friend occasionally.

Read on to learn which mushrooms are ideal for your guinea pig, the nutritional benefits of offering such fungi to your pet, and signs to watch for if your piggy ate a poisonous wild mushroom.

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms?

Guinea pigs can eat certain mushrooms, provided they’re offered in moderation. As a guinea pig owner, you know your pet requires a hay-based diet with pellets, vegetables, and fruits making up much smaller portions of their daily diet. Mushrooms do not contain many nutrients your guinea pig needs, so they’re best offered in small quantities and only if your pig absolutely loves them.

close up of a guinea pig
Image Credit: Miroslav Hlavko, Shutterstock

What Mushroom Varieties Are Safe for Guinea Pigs?

White, button, and portobello mushrooms are not toxic for guinea pigs and, fun fact, are all the same mushroom at various stages of maturity.

When harvested young, they’re known as white or button mushrooms if white, or cremini if they have a slight brown tinge. When they’re fully mature, they’re known as portobello mushrooms.

Only offer raw mushrooms as a guinea pig’s digestive system is not equipped to digest cooked food. Not to mention, cooking removes many of the nutrients from vegetables and negates any potential benefits they would offer your pet.

What Mushrooms Are Dangerous for Guinea Pigs?

Many wild mushrooms are highly dangerous for guinea pigs, other pets, and even humans. Because of a guinea pig’s small size, even the tiniest nibble of a wild mushroom can cause illness or even death.

Identifying wild mushrooms is no easy task, so it’s not something the layperson should try. In addition, mushroom identification requires practice, so unless you’re a professional, we highly advise against foraging wild mushrooms for yourself or your pets.

mushrooms on wooden table
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

What Are the Nutritional Facts for Mushrooms?

The nutritional value of one cup of white mushrooms is as follows:

Calories 21.1 calories
Protein 3 grams
Fat 0.3 grams
Carbohydrates 3 grams
Fiber 1 gram

 

Are Mushrooms Beneficial for Guinea Pigs?

Mushrooms are a moderate plant-based source of protein, which guinea pigs require for growth 2. They also provide a modest amount of fiber, an important ingredient in a guinea pig’s diet. However, guinea pigs should get the majority of their fiber from hay and grass which should form the bulk of their diet.

Mushrooms contain riboflavin and niacin. Cavies deficient in riboflavin can exhibit poor growth, pale feet, and early death 3. Pigs deficient in niacin may have a poor appetite, diarrhea, and low hemoglobin 4.

Mushrooms don’t contain many of the main nutrients your guinea pig needs to thrive. Since cavies cannot produce their own vitamin C, they need things in their diet that will supply it for them. Most owners find vitamin C in leafy green vegetables and vitamin C fortified guinea pig pellets.

Mushrooms may be a source of other vitamins and nutrients, but they are not high in vitamin C, so they do not need to be a regular part of your piggy’s diet. Giving your pet too many mushrooms means its tummy will get filled with a nutrient-sparse food that’ll take up space and leave no room for healthier and more nutritious food.

mushrooms
Image Credit: Pixabay

What Do I Do If My Pig Ate a Wild Mushroom?

Guinea pigs love spending time outside in the summer, but if yours was left unattended in your yard and was exposed to a wild mushroom, you need to act fast. If you believe your pet has had a nibble of something it shouldn’t have growing in your yard, go to your exotic veterinarian immediately. Bring a portion of the mushroom with you so your vet can identify it.

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Final Thoughts

Mushrooms aren’t an ideal food to offer your guinea pig as they don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. But, if your pet absolutely loves them, you can provide them as a treat occasionally. Never forage for mushrooms in the wild, as it’s difficult for the untrained eye to determine which are safe and which are toxic.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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