Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for guinea pigs, yet they cannot make their own so they must get it from their diet. This article will review the foods with vitamin C that are safe to eat by your guinea pigs.
Best Food For Guinea Pig
|Food Item||Weight or|
Volume of Food
|Vitamin C in weight or|
volume of food
|Amount needed to|
|Guava||1 cup = 165mg||377mg||1.1 tbsp|
|Red Peppers||1 cup chopped = 149g||190mg||2.1 tbsp chopped|
|Kale||1 cup chopped = 67g||80.4mg||5 tbsp (1/3 cup)|
|Tendergreen||1 cup chopped = 150g||195mg||2.1 tbsp chopped|
|Parsley||1 cup = 60g||79.8mg||5 tbsp (1/3 cup)|
|Broccoli||1 cup chopped = 91g||81.2mg||5 tbsp (1/3 cup)|
|Broccoli flowerets||1 cup = 71g||66.2mg||6 tbsp (between 1/3 and ½ cup)|
|Broccoli leaves||1 oz = 28g||26.1 mg||2 tbsp|
|Broccoli stalks||1 oz = 28g||26.1 mg||2 tbsp|
|Lambsquarter||1 oz = 28g||22.4mg||2.2 tbsp|
|Cauliflower||1 floweret = 13g||6.0mg||About 4 flowerets|
|Strawberry||Avg berry = 18g||10.6mg||About 2.5 average berries|
|Kiwi||1 cup = 17 g||164mg||2.4 tbsp|
|Green pepper||1 cup chopped = 149g||120mg||3.4 tbsp chopped|
|Mustard greens||1 cup = 56g||39.2mg||½-3/4 cup|
|Cooked broccoli||1 cup = 156g||101.2mg||cup|
|Cooked Brussels sprouts||1 cup = 156g||96.7mg||Just over cup|
|Kohlrabi||1 cup = 135g||89.1mg||Just over ½ cup|
|Papaya||1 cup = 140g||86.5mg||Just under 1/3 cup|
|Snap peas||1 cup = 98g||58.8mg||Just under ½ cup|
|Turnip greens||1 cup = 55g||39.5mg||Just under ½ cup|
|Red cabbage||1 cup = 70g||39.9mg||Just under ½ cup|
|Orange||Avg orange = 131g||69.7mg||Between 1/4 and ½ avg orange|
|Cooked kale||1 cup cooked = 130g||53.3 mg||About ½ cup|
|Peas||1 cup = 58mg||58mg||About 1/2 cup|
|Clementines||Avg Clementine = 74g||36.1mg||Almost ½ average Clementine|
|Cantaloupe||1 cup balls = 177g||65mg||Betwee1/4 and ½ cup of melon balls|
|Pineapple||1 cup chunks = 165g||78.9mg||1/3 cup of chunks|
|Dill weed||5 sprigs = 1g||0.9mg||154 sprigs|
|Dried tarragon||1 oz = 28g||14mg||About 4 tbsp|
|Dried basil||1 oz = 28g||17.1mg||About 3 tbsp|
|Dried oregano||1 oz = 28g||14mg||About 4 tbsp|
|Lemon||Avg lemon = 58g||30.7mg||80% of average lemon|
|Dried cilantro||1 tbsp = 2g||9.9mg||2.5 tbsp|
(pak choi or bak choi)
|1 cup shredded = 70.0g||31.5mg||Over ½ cup|
|Beet greens||1 cup = 38g||11.4mg||Over 2 cups|
|Starfruit (carambola)||Avg fruit = 91g||31.3mg||Over ½ of an average starfruit|
|Collard greens||1 cup = 36g||12.7mg||2 cups|
|Watercress||1 cup chopped = 34g||14.6mg||About 1 and ½ cups|
|Grapefruit||Avg fruit = 120g||38.5mg||Just under grapefruit|
Best Vegetables for Guinea Pigs That Are High in Vitamin C
Veggies are one of the best sources of Vitamin C for your guinea pig. They are all natural, healthy, and contain many other great nutrients as well. However, some of them should be fed more sparingly than others due to high levels of sugar, acidity, calcium or phosphorus.
Leafy greens are commonly rich in Vitamin C and other nutrients, but they often have higher than average levels of calcium. Too much calcium can contribute to the formation of bladder stones, which is a painful condition that can prevent guinea pigs from peeing and often requires surgery to remove.
Some fruits provide a great source of Vitamin C, but they are often high in sugar. Too much sugar can cause obesity and related health problems in guinea pigs. As with anything in life, moderation and variety are key to a healthy guinea pig diet.
1. Sweet Bell Peppers
Sweet bell peppers, also known as capsicums, are one of the best sources of Vitamin C for your guinea pig. They come in several colors; red, yellow, orange, and green.
Red bell peppers are the highest in Vitamin C, at about 300mg of Vitamin C per cup. They also have a slightly higher level of sugar, which can cause obesity in guinea pigs if fed too much.
Green bell peppers are still high in Vitamin C, at 160mg per cup. They can also be fed quite regularly with their lower sugar content. Orange and yellow are in the middle for both Vitamin C and sugar content.
It’s a great idea to feed bell peppers to your guinea pig daily and rotate through different colors each day for more variety. Bell peppers have more sugar than leafy greens, but much less sugar than any kind of fruit. They are also low in calcium, making this a great staple vegetable in your guinea pig’s diet.
Parsley has very high levels of Vitamin C, but unfortunately it also has high levels of calcium. This makes it an excellent veggie for young, growing guinea pigs. However, it can cause bladder stones in adult piggies if fed too frequently. Therefore, it’s best to limit this veggie to a couple times a week.
Many guinea pigs love parsley, so it can be a great addition to your piggy’s diet in moderation. It’s a very nutrient rich food that provides countless health benefits for your guinea pig.
Like most leafy greens, kale is very nutrient rich. It is quite high in Vitamin C, and also a rich source of calcium. Another great veggie for baby guinea pigs. For adults, it’s a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet a couple times a week.
Be sure to rotate with lower calcium foods when you feed veggies like kale. This ensures that your guinea pig is getting a balanced mix of vegetables without high amounts of calcium.
Guava is another healthy and unique food to add to your guinea pig’s palette. This fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C for guinea pigs. Guava actually contains 4 times as much Vitamin C as an orange!
As with all fruits, guava is high in sugar, and also has a higher level of acidity and phosphorus. Because of all this, it shouldn’t be fed in large quantities. You can safely feed a small slice once or twice a week.
Guava can be served peeled or with the skin intact. However, unless you buy the fruit organic, it will likely have been exposed to pesticides. For this reason, it’s probably best to peel the skin off for your guinea pig.
Oranges are a good source of Vitamin C. However, they are high in sugar, acidity and calcium as well. Because of this, it’s best to feed oranges sparingly. A slice once or twice a week is fine for your guinea pig.
Orange peels are also safe for guinea pigs and they contain even more Vitamin C than the oranges themselves! Many guinea pigs won’t eat orange peels, but if you have one that will, it’s a great thing to feed them. However, make sure the oranges you buy are organic, because orange peels are often loaded with pesticides.
Thyme is a herb that guinea pigs can eat. You may be surprised to learn that thyme actually contains a ton of Vitamin C. It is right on par with bell peppers, and it even contains more Vitamin C than parsley. It’s high in fiber and low in sugar, making it a super healthy herb for guinea pigs.
Unfortunately, thyme also contains incredibly high levels of calcium. Because of this, it should be fed in very small quantities, no more than once or twice a week. However, because it’s so nutrient rich, guinea pigs can get a lot of Vitamin C and other benefits from eating thyme even in very small amounts.
Thyme is also a low maintenance and easy to grow plant. If you have space in your garden, consider growing your own so you have a fresh supply of organic thyme for your piggy. Thyme is also a perennial plant, meaning it will keep growing back year after year with little ongoing care.
7. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are a good source of Vitamin C, but like most leafy greens, they’re high in calcium. They’re also a bit acidic, and contain some phosphorus. Just like other types of leafy greens, feed this one sparingly once or twice a week, and mix it up with some lower calcium veggies.
8. Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are similar to mustard greens in nutritional value, so it all comes down to your guinea pig’s preference between the two. Both are a good source of Vitamin C and a bit higher in calcium. Turnip greens are very nutrient rich and make a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet on a rotational basis with other healthy vegetables.
Kiwi is very high in sugar and should be fed in small amounts, no more than once a week. Kiwis contain some calcium and phosphorus, which can contribute to bladder stone formation. They are also a little acidic, which can cause stomach upset for your guinea pig if fed in large amounts.
With that said, kiwi is a great source of Vitamin C. Even when fed in small amounts, it provides a substantial amount of Vitamin C for your guinea pig. In addition, they provide a great boost of Vitamins A, E, and K.
Mango is a good source of Vitamin C, and it also provides a decent amount of Vitamins A and B6. Like kiwi, mango is quite high in sugar and should be fed once a week max. It should be offered in small amounts, only a small cube or thin slice at a time. Feed only fresh mango, and avoid anything that has been frozen or dried.
Mango should also be fed to your guinea pig with the skin and pit removed. Mango skin has no real health benefits and it’s often sprayed with pesticides. The middle pit of the mango is much too big and hard for your guinea pig to eat.
Strawberries are a yummy treat for guinea pigs. Strawberry tops are a hit with most guinea pigs as well. Strawberries are high in all kinds of nutrients, including Vitamin C.
Like all fruits, they contain some sugar and should be fed sparingly. However, they do have comparatively less sugar than most other fruits. However, it’s still best to stick to just one strawberry once a week or so.
Be sure to buy organic or thoroughly rinse strawberries before feeding them to your guinea pig to wash away any pesticide residue.
Cantaloupe is a rich source of Vitamin C. It is quite high in phosphorus, so it should be fed in small amounts, no more than once a week. In addition, the rind and seeds should be removed before serving to your guinea pig.
Seeds pose a choking risk, while the tough texture of the rind is too rough for guinea pigs to chew and digest. However, the flesh of the cantaloupe contains many vitamins. This makes it a healthy treat for your guinea pig, provided it’s fed occasionally and not in excess.
Tomatoes are a healthy food for your guinea pig and can be fed a few times a week. They are very nutrient rich, and contain a decent amount of Vitamin C. Guinea pigs can eat small and large tomatoes alike. However, they should only eat about one cherry tomato at a time, or an equivalent slice of a larger tomato.
Tomato seeds are small enough to not cause any choking issues, so you don’t need to worry about removing them. Make sure to remove any leaves or stems from the tomato before feeding them to your guinea pig, as these parts are very poisonous to guinea pigs. Only feed tomatoes that are completely ripe, as unripe green tomatoes are also poisonous.
Broccoli is also high in Vitamin C. The flower part of the broccoli is the highest in Vitamin C, but the stalks and stems also have quite a bit of this nutrient. However, broccoli is a gassy vegetable and it can cause bloating and stomach discomfort if fed too much.
Broccoli is also a bit higher in calcium. Because of this, it’s best to limit this veggie to a couple times a week, and feed it in small amounts. It’s also important to introduce broccoli slowly into your guinea pig’s diet. Feed just a few bites at a time, gradually increasing the amount each time you feed it.