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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cheerios? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson


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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There isn’t much cuter than a guinea pig contentedly nibbling away at their favorite snacks. Guinea pigs love a bit of a crunch, which leads some cavy parents to wonder whether cereals like Cheerios are okay as an occasional snack.

We’ll cut to the chase; Cheerios, even plain ones, aren’t the best treats for guinea pigs because they’re highly processed and grain-based. Read on to find out more.

Divider Guinea Pig

Are Cheerios Safe for Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs’ digestive systems aren’t built to handle grains, so cereals should not be fed to them, especially not as part of their principal diet. In addition to being grain-based, some Cheerio varieties are particularly unhealthy for guinea pigs because they contain more sugar and sweeteners than other types.

Plain Cheerios contain less sugar but are processed and grain-based just like the more sugary varieties, so they’re still not a good choice for guinea pigs. That said, if your guinea pig has eaten a few Cheerios, don’t panic—this is very unlikely to cause any harm.

It’s simply better to avoid feeding Cheerios and other cereals. Guinea pigs don’t need to eat these, so it’s best to opt for healthier snacks more suited to your guinea pig’s digestive system and natural eating habits.

Image credit: Pixabay

Healthy Foods for Guinea Pigs

Though they may not seem like treats to many people, fortunately, guinea pigs have a very different opinion of fresh, leafy green veggies! By offering a variety of these vegetables and rotating them regularly, you ensure that your guinea pig gets all the nutrients they need, including that all-important vitamin C, and doesn’t get bored of their diet.

Guinea pig-approved veggies and greens that can be fed in addition to a good amount of daily hay/grass (not lawn clippings—these make guinea pigs sick) and a tablespoon of pellets include:

  • Dandelion greens
  • Snow peas
  • Rocket
  • Bell peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Spring greens
  • Bok choy
  • Watercress
  • Baby corn
  • Courgette
  • Swiss chard
  • Carrot tops
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Coriander
  • Basil
  • Oregano

Other vegetables that can be fed in moderation include:

Guinea Pigs Eat Lettuce
Image Credit: Dev_Maryna, Shutterstock

Treats for Guinea Pigs

It’s normal to want to treat your guinea pig (after all, who can resist that face?), and this is perfectly fine as long as treats are offered sparingly and in small amounts. It’s not necessary to give your guinea pig commercial treats—these aren’t the best for guinea pigs, and there are much healthier treats you can prepare at home.

One way to mentally stimulate your guinea pig is to pop some of their daily hay rations into a toy or feeder rack that requires them to work a little to extract the hay—this appeals to their natural foraging instincts. Guinea pigs need hay every day so this is nothing special, but you can certainly provide different means of them getting to the hay to keep things interesting.

If you want to treat your guinea pig, you can offer a bit of fresh fruit now and again. Just bear in mind that fruit should not make up part of your guinea pig’s main diet because of its sugar content— too much fruit can cause your guinea pig to pile on the pounds. Too much sugar can also be hard on a guinea pig’s digestive system and cause an upset stomach.

Here are some fruits (and vegetables) to offer in small amounts:

Guinea Pig eating a carrot
Image Credit: enchanted_fairy, Shutterstock

Divider Guinea Pig

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs aren’t meant to eat grains or processed foods—many of which are high in sugar—so it’s wise to keep Cheerios off the menu. Cereal or muesli-style treats from pet stores are also pretty unhealthy, so we recommend sticking to hay, fresh greens and small amounts of guinea pig pellets for the main part of their diet, with a little fruit thrown in as an occasional treat.

Please speak to your vet if you have any concerns related to your guinea pig’s diet or if their eating habits suddenly change.

Featured Image Credit: images72, Shutterstock

Kit Copson

Authored by

Kit Copson is a freelance writer and lifelong animal lover with a strong interest in animal welfare. She has parented various furry beings over the years and is currently a proud cat mom of two—one very chilled (unless hungry) Siamese and a skittish but adorable Domestic Shorthair—and dog mom of one—an adopted Bichon Poodle cross. When not writing about or spending time with animals, Kit can be found doodling in her...Read more

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