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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Olives? Vet-Approved Facts & Safety Guide

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

olives close up

Vet approved

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

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

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Guinea pig parents should feed their cavies about a teacup’s worth of fresh greens and veggies on a daily basis in addition to hay and pellets. Fruits can also be offered occasionally, but are olives safe to include in this piggie salad?

The answer is not entirely clear, but one thing that we’re sure of is that olives are not the healthiest choice of fruit for guinea pigs, so are likely best avoided.

Divider Guinea Pig

Are Olives Safe for Guinea Pigs?

The little information available on this topic is conflicting. For example, some claim that small amounts of fresh, green olives are okay now and again and may even offer guinea pigs an antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral boost. However, they are not part of their natural diet and both green and black olives tend to be high in salt, especially those packaged in brine and salt water, so it would make sense that neither would be a good choice for guinea pigs.

Also, despite us not finding olives mentioned in any “toxic foods for guinea pigs” lists, they weren’t on any lists of recommended fruits and veggies, either. For that reason and many others, we think it’s best to err on the side of caution and not offer olives to guinea pigs. Another thing to consider is that olives are low in vitamin C, and this vitamin is very important for guinea pigs because they don’t produce it themselves. This is why it’s recommended to offer at least some vitamin C-rich greens on a daily basis.

Finally, if you were to offer an olive to a guinea pig, you’d need to make sure the stone was removed to prevent the risk of choking. Taking all of this into account, it’s clear that there are much healthier fruits and veggies you can offer your guinea pig.

olives in a bowl
Photo Credit: Vagelis-Dimas-Pixabay

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Black Olives?

Due to the high sodium content, no, however, as mentioned above, olives are high in salt in general. In fact, green olives may contain even more sodium and fat than black olives. On that basis, it looks like neither green nor black olives are great options.

My Guinea Pig Ate an Olive, What Should I Do?

First of all, don’t panic. Though olives aren’t the healthiest choice for guinea pigs, we didn’t find any evidence to suggest that olives are toxic to them. Your guinea pig should be fine as long as they haven’t consumed a large quantity of olives or swallowed the stone, in which case you should seek veterinary advice immediately.

Otherwise, keep an eye on your guinea pig in case they start showing signs of illness (not eating or reduced appetite, diarrhea, teeth grinding, lack of energy, reluctance to move, etc.), and contact a vet if something doesn’t seem right.

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Which Vegetables Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

A daily portion of greens and veggies is very important for making sure guinea pigs get the right amount of vitamin C. This should be fed in addition to hay (which is about 85%–90% of the overall diet) and a tablespoon of commercial guinea pig pellets. As a reminder, a teacup of greens and veggies is the correct daily amount recommended by PDSA vets. Safe veggies, herbs, and other greens include:

Note: Be sure to gradually introduce new foods to prevent a bout of diarrhea.

  • Bell peppers (high in vitamin C)
  • Chicory
  • Collard greens
  • Kale (in moderation)
  • Romaine lettuce (in moderation)
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Carrot tops
  • Parsnips
  • Rocket
  • Spring greens
  • Collard greens
  • Carrots
  • Spinach (in moderation)
  • Zucchini
  • Peas
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress
  • Ripe tomato (only the fruit, not the leaves or plant)
  • Rosemary
  • Green cabbage (in moderation)
  • Broccoli (in moderation)
  • Cucumber (in moderation)
  • Asparagus (in moderation)
  • Dandelions (pesticide-free)

Which Fruits Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

two guinea pigs eating shredded carrots
Photo Credit: Bonnie Kittle, Unsplash

Though olives aren’t the healthiest snacks for guinea pigs, plenty of other fruits are cheaper and easier to serve cut into small pieces as occasional treats. Don’t forget to remove any seeds and stones, too.

These include:
  • Apple
  • Strawberry
  • Melon
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Squash

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Final Thoughts

In summary, the lack of expert sources recommending olives for guinea pigs gives us the impression that, even if a little piece of olive now and then wouldn’t hurt, it’s not all that great for guinea pigs, either. What’s more, the sodium content in olives is enough to make us look to healthier, vitamin-C-rich veggies and fruits instead.

Featured Image Credit: Avdeyukphoto,Shutterstock

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