Is It Safe for Guinea Pigs to Eat Lavender?

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Guinea pigs love to munch on anything they can reach, and they’re not always careful about whether or not it’s something that is safe for them. It’s easy to protect them from obvious hazards, such as electrical cords and cleaning chemicals, but not always so easy to know what plants are safe. According to the experts at the Lovely Cavy Rescue and Sanctuary, it’s OK to feed your pet lavender and other fresh foods.

Basics

Guinea pigs are vegetarians that enjoy variety in their diets. Feed your guinea pig a good commercial pelleted food every day as the basis of his diet. Since a guinea pig’s teeth grow throughout his lifetime, he should always have something safe to munch on, such as a handful of timothy hay, to keep his teeth from getting too long. Offer various greens, fruits and vegetables to supplement the dry foods. These will keep him happy and healthy, but they don’t need to be in front of him all the time.

Feeding Lavender

The lavender plant is highly edible and can safely be consumed by guinea pigs. It’s even something you can share with your pet because humans can eat it too, as can dogs and other animals. Lavender has a unique flavor and is said to have a calming effect, so it makes a good treat for your guinea pig during times of stress or change. Give very small amounts at first so that your guinea pig’s digestive system doesn’t get overwhelmed with the new food, then slowly increase the amount as your pet gets used to it.

Treats

Your guinea pig will enjoy it if you include a variety of fresh foods in his diet, but be careful not to feed too much too often. Feed lavender once a week and stronger foods like leeks, lemongrass or miner’s lettuce monthly. It's OK to give your pet some fresh foods every day, but not too much of any one thing. Foods the Humane Society of the United States suggests for daily use include leaf lettuce, a slice of banana, a few blueberries and spinach.

Considerations

When feeding fresh foods such as lavender, lettuce or fruits, always remove anything that your pet doesn’t eat before it has a chance to spoil. Lavender may last a couple of days, but lettuce and sliced fruits should be removed within a day. If your guinea pig is leaving a lot of food, feed less the next time to minimize waste. Always provide fresh, clean drinking water in a bottle or a dish that is hard for your pet to tip over.

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