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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potatoes? Vet Approved Nutritional Value & Facts

Tara Perreault

By Tara Perreault

guinea-pig-sweet-potatoes

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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Raw sweet potatoes are a healthy and nutritious snack that your guinea pig will love. So, yes, guinea pigs can eat sweet potatoes. However, sweet potatoes have high oxalate, starch, and sugar levels, so it’s best to feed your guinea small portions.

Guinea pigs are popular as pocket pets because they’re affectionate, entertaining, and loyal. Because they eat almost everything, keeping them happy and healthy is easy. Sweet potatoes may be a superfood treat for your furry companion, though there are some risks along with many benefits. Let’s take a deeper look into how safe sweet potatoes are.

Divider Guinea Pig

How Safe Are Sweet Potatoes for Guinea Pigs?

While offering sweet potatoes to your guinea pig, the most important thing to remember is to balance this snack with a complementary vegetable. For example, offer sweet potatoes with celery or asparagus. If you offer strawberries, apples, or another fruit, you may overload their system with sugar and calcium, which can cause bladder stones.

Calories are another determining factor as to why you must keep sweet potato intake low. There are 86 calories per 100 grams of sweet potato. What does this look like? Well, 100 grams of sweet potato measures roughly 4 ounces. While this isn’t much, it overwhelms your guinea’s daily calorie intake.

Sure, there are many risks in offering your pocket pig sweet potatoes; then again, there are many benefits to providing sweet potatoes. The superfood contains vitamin C and vitamin B6, which is crucial for the overall health of your guinea pig.

Sweet potato
Image Credit: mahirart, Shutterstock

Signs of Allergies

Just like us, guinea pigs are prone to allergies. Though each guinea pig is unique, your guinea may react to anything new you give them.

When offering sweet potato for the first time, offer it in small, bite-sized cubes and wait 30 minutes. If nothing happens, you may offer more,

Signs of allergies include:
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Red or sore skin

It is difficult to find the main culprit to your piggies allergy; however, pay attention to anything you’ve done differently. If your guinea shows allergy symptoms, it could be due to new bedding, different hay, or a change in food.

When in doubt, contact your closest veterinarian. Your vet will assess your guinea through an allergy test to lessen future outbreaks.

Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are delicious, sweet, and filling, making any pocket piggie dance and squeak for more. The best nutritional fact about sweet potatoes is that they contain vitamins C, A, and B6 and iron, potassium, and magnesium—all of which are beneficial to keeping a healthy pig.

Below is a list of sweet potatoes’ nutritional value:

Nutrients Per 100 grams
Calories

 

Water

 

Protein

 

Carbohydrates

 

Sugar

 

Fiber

 

Fat

 

Vitamin C

 

Vitamin B6

 

Magnesium

 

Calcium

86

 

77%

 

1.6g

 

20.1g

 

4.2g

 

3g

 

0.1g

 

3mg = 4%

 

10%

 

6%

 

3%

What About Normal Potatoes?

Weirdly, regular potatoes are not okay to feed your guinea pig, although sweet potatoes are completely fine. Why is that?

Regular potatoes, like red, white, and russet, contain toxic alkaloids for your guinea pig. Sweet potatoes are a better option because they don’t contain harmful phytonutrients that will affect your guinea poorly.

potatoes on wooden table
Image Credit: Piqsels

How to Serve Your Guinea Pig a Sweet Potato

Limiting your pocket pig’s sweet potato intake to a maximum of 100 grams once a week or occasionally as a sweet treat is best. Too much sweet potato will increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, and digestive issues.

Ensure you are not cooking or boiling the sweet potato when serving your guinea pig. Always wash and scrub the outside of the potato if you plan on leaving the skin; otherwise, peeling is fine. Chop one medium potato into bite-sized pieces—no more than equal ½ inch cubes. About three or four of these pieces are sufficient.

Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Your Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs love anything sweet, so it’s safe to say that there is a common concern for offering sweet potatoes to your pocket pig. Aside from sweet potatoes being a healthy human superfood, they may offer further benefits for your furry companion, including:

  • Promotes good vision
  • High dose of antioxidants
  • Promotes neurological health
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Enhances gut health
  • Digestive aid
  • Immune booster

Together, these components found in sweet potatoes make for a happy and healthy pig.

Two guinea pigs red black white home pets
Image Credit: Kiki vera yasmina, Shutterstock

Healthy Alternative Vegetables for Guinea Pigs

As pet parents, we want to ensure our pocket piggies get the proper nutrition. Also, the best way for our guineas to love us is through their stomach. So, if you’re still unsure whether the sweet potato is best, here are some alternatives:

  • Pumpkin
  • Asparagus
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Mangos
  • Squash
  • Zucchini

These alternatives offer sufficient vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and natural sugars. It is ok to feed your guinea pig a variety of these options alongside sweet potatoes, as long as it’s in small doses and there is something different every day.

A Healthy Guinea Pig

Feeding your guinea pig about a cup of fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits daily is recommended to keep them healthy. It is crucial to ensure your guinea pig gets a variety of foods, proper exercise, and regular grooming.

Without proper care, your guinea pig may fall sick or depressed. A healthy guinea pig will have bright and alert eyes, their coats will be shiny and knotless, and their droppings should look small and tear-shaped without discoloration.

If your guinea shows signs of depression, illness, or malnutrition, it’s best to seek veterinarian advice.

guinea pig eating pellets
Image Credit: Fangfy, Shutterstock

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Final Words

In conclusion, never feed your guinea pigs regular potatoes, though sweet potatoes are entirely safe in small doses occasionally. When serving your pocket pig sweet potatoes, ensure they are bite-sized pieces, so there’s less risk of choking. Cooked tots are unsafe, so raw tots are the only way to go.

While there are some precautions and safety measures you should take before serving sweet potato, the benefits outweigh the risks. If you want a clear-thinking, immune-boosted, and active guinea pig, the sweet potato is the right choice.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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