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

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley


Vet approved

Dr. Ashley Darby Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

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

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This article has been reviewed for factual accuracy by a qualified veterinarian, using information available at the time of publishing. Guinea pig owners are urged to consult with their veterinarian when making dietary decisions for their pet. This article is designed to provide general information but it does not take into account your pet’s health status or circumstances.

Sage is a delicious herb that tends to make a big appearance in fall and winter dishes, thanks to its earthy, warm flavor profile. It pairs well with acidic, sweet, and savory flavors, making sage an herb with many uses. Of course, guinea pig owners are always looking for new and interesting things to offer to your piggies in their diet, leading some to wonder if sage is safe. The good news is that sage is safe for guinea pigs, but there are some things that you should know.

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Is Sage Toxic to Guinea Pigs?

Common sage, also known as Salvia officinalis, is a safe food for guinea pigs as part of a balanced diet. However, there is a plant with a similar name that is not safe for guinea pigs.

Lantana camara, also known as red sage, wild sage, white sage, big sage, and tickberry, is extremely toxic to guinea pigs, as well as many other animals 1. To make things more confusing, there is a Salvia species, called Salvia miltiorrhiza, that has the common name of red sage, except this herb is not known to be toxic to guinea pigs.

If offering sage to your piggy, it’s extremely important that you are fully aware of what the plant is that you are feeding to them and the safety of said plant.

Photo Credit: JumpStory

Where Can I Get Sage for My Guinea Pig?

Sage purchased at the grocery store is usually a safe option, and if you grow your own herbs, this can also be a safe option.

Common sage is indigenous to the Mediterranean region in Europe, but it has become naturalized in North America, so people who forage, they may come across sage. Foraging is a dangerous hobby if you are not fully competent in plant identification, and it’s usually recommended to learn how to forage properly under the direct supervision of an expert. If you choose to forage for herbs and weeds for your guinea pig, you need to be 100% certain of any plant ID before feeding it to your guinea pig.

How Much Sage Can I Feed My Guinea Pig?

Although considered safe, sage contains high levels of calcium. Because of this, it should only be fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Due to the high calcium content, guinea pigs can develop bladder stones if fed sage in large quantities, as the calcium is excreted in urine but can form into crystals. Be aware of your guinea pig’s total calcium intake, which comes from other components of the diet as well. Too much of anything can cause diarrhea as your piggy struggles to digest it. Limit sage to a leaf or two no more than once per week.

white and gray coronet guinea pig
Image Credit: alexis j schell, Shutterstock

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In Conclusion

Common sage is safe for guinea pigs when fed in small quantities as part of a balanced diet. However, in large quantities, sage can cause stomach upset and bladder stones. Speak to your veterinarian before adding sage to the diet if you have any concerns about whether it would be safe for your guinea pig. One major thing to consider when offering sage to piggies for the first time is that sage has an extremely strong and unique taste and smell. Some guinea pigs may find sage unpleasant and not want to eat it at all, so don’t be surprised if they turn their nose up at this potent herb.

Featured Image Credit: JumpStory

Brooke Billingsley

Authored by

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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