Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potato

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potato? [Serving Size, Risks & More]

Within this article, our goal is to discuss whether it’s safe to feed sweet potato to your guinea pig.

We’re going to assume that unless you’ve come across this article by accident, you actually have a pet guinea pig (or multiple) that you are looking for nutritional advice for what to feed them.

If so, we fully understand. You’ll want to ensure that these loveable, cute animals that will provide us with so much joy are properly cared for, and live long and healthy lives.

Guinea pigs make for great little pets, especially for families with young children since they are cuddly and easy to handle. However, since they’re social animals, it is highly recommended to get two guinea pigs, so that they always have company.

There’s nothing not to love about these furry creatures!

With that said, let’s dive into the topic in detail and find out if cavies should consume sweet potatoes or not.

Can my Guinea Pig Eat Sweet Potato?

Yes, that’s the short answer!

However, it’s recommended that adult guinea pigs only eat a small amount of sweet potato (around 1/8 of a cup) on a rare basis. Why? Because of its high levels of sugars.

It’s not recommended that baby guinea pigs consume sweet potato.

Additionally, if you do decide to treat your cavy by feeding them with a tiny portion of raw sweet potato, it’s important to make sure that you monitor them, to see if they show signs of bloating or diarrhea, which indicates that they’re having issues digesting the food.

You can then decide whether to include it as a treat in the future (just lower the amount given) or not, this will also depend on their current health status. We advise speaking to a veterinarian more about this.

Finally, it’s crucial that you only feed your guinea pig with raw sweet potato, as their gastrointestinal system is not equipped to digest cooked sweet potato.

Now, let’s talk about some reasons why sweet potato is beneficial to include as a treat for your guinea pig.

unpeeled sweet potatoes

Why is Sweet Potato Suitable For A Guinea Pig to Eat?

To begin with, it’s important to note that a guinea pig‘s diet is quite a complex subject. Why?

Well, cavies require a varied diet that contains all of the essential vitamins and nutrients they need in order to thrive.

Additionally, guinea pigs are highly susceptible to gut problems unless they are fed a well-balanced diet.

Such gut problems include imbalances and dysbiosis, which are both the result of an overgrowth of certain strains of bacteria and fungi, and if they are not resolved, can result in chronic illness.

What is the best diet for Guinea pigs?

As we can see from VCA Hospitals’ advice:

The preferred basic diet for guinea pigs is unlimited amounts of Timothy or other low-calcium hay, supplemented with smaller amounts of commercial, high-fiber, Timothy-hay based guinea pig pellets. Vitamin C should be given each day to help maintain and boost your guinea pigs immune system. Hay should be offered throughout the day. Hay and pellets should be supplemented with a variety of fresh, well-washed, leafy greens or colored vegetables (especially those high in vitamin C, such as bell pepper, tomato, and asparagus).

Other good choices for vegetables include green and red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, endive, kale, carrot tops, beet greens, cilantro, carrot, and squash. Iceberg or head lettuce has little nutritional value and is mostly water, so it should not be offered.

balanced diet for guinea pig/cavy

As shown above in the quoted text from VCS, sweet potato is not mentioned.

The reason for this is linked to its high sugar content, starch, carbohydrate, and oxalates levels, making it only suitable as a rare treat, and not part of your guinea’s regular diet.

With that being said, sweet potato still has some key nutrients which are beneficial to your adult cavy, and these are vitamin C, A, E, B5, Manganese, Potassium, Fiber and a range of antioxidants.

This is why sweet potato is a great choice of vegetable when looking to treat your guinea pig, on a rare occasion.

Although we cannot find a professional entity to recommend a specific timeframe, once per month would be a good option to start with – We have found some owners give it to their guinea pig once or twice per month.

However, if your guinea pig has previous/current medical conditions, please speak to a veterinarian to discuss how you should optimally construct their diet.

Let’s further explore the nutritional aspects and health benefits of sweet potato.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is beneficial to guinea pigs in several ways, including:

Extremely nutritious

Sweet potato has a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it a great treat to give to your guinea pig on that rare occasion.

Depending on the skin colour, sweet potatoes have different types of antioxidants available. For example, the purple sweet potatoes have anthocyanins and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, whilst the orange-skinned sweet potatoes have beta-carotene.

Additionally, t’s also a great source of fiber which helps with digestion.

Anti-inflammatory properties

As we’ve talked above, Sweet potato has plenty of antioxidants, and these differ based on the color of the sweet potato itself. These antioxidants ultimately help to eliminate free radicals, inflammation, and oxidative aging in the body.

The natural anti-inflammatory compounds found in sweet potatoes have been shown to reduce inflammation at the cellular level.

Additionally, animal studies show that the consumption of purple sweet potato is able to reduce inflammation in the brain and nerve tissue.

raw sweet potato

Nutrients in Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are considered to be a highly nutritious food because of their high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content.

Let’s look closer and examine its specific nutrients and their quantities.

According to Nutritiondata, 1 cup of raw sweet potato which weighs approximately 133g, has the following nutritional qualities:


Vitamin A – 18866.0 IU

Vitamic C – 3.2 mg

Vitamin D – 0.0 mg

Vitamin E – 0.3 mg

Vitamin K – 2.4 mcg

Thiamin – 0.1 mg

Riboflavin – 0.1 mg

Niacin – 0.7 mg

Vitamin B6 – 0.3 mg

Folate – 14.6 mcg

Vitamin B12 – 0.0 mcg

Pantothenic Acid – 1.1 mg

Choline – 16.4 mg

Betaine – 0.0 mg


Calcium – 39.9 mg

Iron – 0.8 mg

Magnesium – 33.2 mg

Phosphorus – 62.5 mg

Potassium – 448.0 mg

Sodium – 73.2 mg

Zinc – 0.4 mg

Copper – 0.2 mg

Manganese – 0.3 mg

Selenium – 0.8 mcg

Fluoride – 0.0 mcg

Fats & Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids – 1.3 mg

Omega-6 fatty acids – 17.3 mg


How Much Sweet Potato Should I Give To My Guinea Pig?

It’s recommended to give only give your guinea pig a tiny portion of sweet potato (1/8 cup) each month. We’ve read that some guinea pig owners feed their cavy up to twice per month, but we recommend using discretion here.

Additionally, you’ll know your guinea pig best, and whether they’re more susceptible to suffer from bloating and diarrhea.

Guinea Pig Eating Hay

It’s vital that your guinea pig has a balanced diet, which should primarily include hay, pellets, leafy greens such as parsley, spinach, lettuce (romaine & iceberg lettuce), broccoli, zucchini, and more fresh veggies that are nutrient-dense.

Except as rare treats, guinea pigs should not be regularly fed foods that are high in sugar content. These foods include citrus fruit, strawberries, and other sweet berries.

Ultimately, we want to make sure that our small pet has a long and healthy life.

How Should I Prepare Sweet Potato For My Guinea Pig?

As with any fresh fruit or vegetable, it’s recommended to wash your sweet potato with hot water to rinse off any loose dirt.

Additionally, if you cannot find organic sweet potato, then we recommend washing it with hot water for a longer period of time. This will help to wash off any preservatives or pesticides which may be on the outside.

As mentioned, you should only give your cavy 1/8 of a cup per serving, and it’s suggested that these servings can be given once per month.

You can also feed your guinea pig the sweet potato peel/skin, in small quantities.

Young Cavy Eating

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As a guinea pig owner, we understand that you’ll most likely have a lot of questions.

Therefore, we’ve addressed some of the most common FAQs that we see on a daily basis, in regards to feeding sweet potato to your cavy. These are as follows:

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potato Every Day?

No, it’s not recommended to feed your cavy sweet potato every day. Instead, 1 tiny portion (1/8 cup), once per month.

You should instead feed your guinea pig on a balanced diet of fresh food, primarily of hay (timothy hay/alfalfa hay are good options) and fresh, leafy green vegetables.

How should sweet potatoes be given to guinea pigs?

As mentioned further above, you’ll want to wash the small portion of sweet potato before serving it, especially if you’re giving them the skin/peel to eat.

You can then make sure that your guinea pig can easily eat it, and by simply cutting it into small pieces.

Can guinea pigs eat cooked sweet potato?

No, unlike humans, guinea pig‘s digestive systems are not capable of digesting cooked foods. Therefore, it’s best to stick to feeding them raw sweet potato (as a rare treat) and a veggie diet.

Can guinea pigs eat sweet potato skin?

Yes, it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat sweet potato skin/peel.

It’s recommended to give these to your guinea pigs alongside the sweet potato. Therefore, approximately 1/8 of a cup, once per month.

Can guinea pigs eat sweet potato leaves?

Yes, it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat sweet potato leaves.

It’s recommended to give these to your guinea pigs alongside the sweet potato. Therefore, approximately 1/8 of a cup, once per month.

What Are The Alternatives To Sweet Potato For Guinea Pigs?

Since not all guinea pigs will enjoy the taste of sweet potato, we understand that you’ll want some alternatives.

Here are some options of other fresh vegetables for you to choose from, which are still high in essential nutrient and minerals:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cilantro
  • Asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts






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