Can Guinea Pigs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts? (Find Out Now)

It’s guinea pig feeding time, and you notice a bag of alfalfa sprouts that you had bought earlier. So, you begin to wonder, “Can guinea pigs eat alfalfa sprouts?”

Guinea pigs can eat alfalfa sprouts. It’s a low calorie food, and very they’re nutritious and filled with vitamins and minerals that guinea pigs need to stay healthy. But, the phosphorus content is tad high. So limit feeding alfalfa sprouts to 2 to 3 times a week.

While guinea pigs can eat alfalfa sprouts, there are a few things you should remember before giving them the green light on your piggie’s menu.

a picture of a brown and white guinea pigs wondering if je can eat alfalfa sprouts

Keep reading to learn about how your furry friends can eat alfalfa sprouts safely.

You’ll also learn how often you can feed alfalfa sprouts to your furry friends and the ins and outs of cavy alfalfa sprout consumption.

But, before we dive into that, let’s talk a little bit more about…

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?

As long as you feed them in moderation, then alfalfa sprouts are a great food choice for guinea pigs. Alfalfa sprouts are safe and nutritious for guinea pigs to eat. You just have to make sure that you only feed them in moderation and to feed a variety of other fruits and vegetables to your guinea pig as well.

The reason for this is that your guinea pigs need a balanced diet to stay healthy AND because alfalfa sprouts have a high phosphorus content.

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Your piggies could have health issues if there’s too much phosphorus in their system. Sometimes calcium can get tugged from a guinea pig’s bones (making weak bones!) to counteract the high phosphorus levels, so it’s important to make sure they’re getting a reasonable amount of calcium in their diet too.

What Are Alfalfa Sprouts, Anyway?

Alfalfa sprouts come from a germinated alfalfa seed. A shoot comes up when the seed has germinated. Then it’s harvested before the plant matures fully.

Alfalfa sprouts are healthy for your piggies and nutritious. You can even find them in in many dishes, like soup or on sandwiches – depending on where you live.

(Bonus points for any veggie that both you AND your piggies can eat!)

The sprouts are good for your fur babies because the process of sprouting makes them healthier by releasing healthy enzymes (which your piggie can munch down and benefit from).

Sprouted seeds have more protein, vitamins and minerals. They also have less starch because the starches become sugars (but the amount isn’t dangerous to cavies) that are easy to digest.

Are Alfalfa Sprouts Good For Guinea Pigs?

Like I mentioned before, alfalfa sprouts are good for cavies. They’re filled with tons of vitamins and minerals, which are essential for your piggies to stay healthy.

As long as you’re feeding the sprouts to your piggies properly (watch the frequency and the amount), then they can eat alfalfa sprouts.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of your piggies eating alfalfa sprouts below.

1. Weight Control

Alfalfa sprouts also have a low calorie content, so they’re perfect for guinea pigs who need to watch their weight.

If your little friend is a little bit on the *ahem* chunky side, alfalfa sprouts are a nice, low calorie food to help them slim down (without cutting corners on your piggie’s health).

Alfalfa sprouts are also low in sugar, which makes cavies happy (and cavies that get to eat too much sweet stuff could end up with diabetes – not good).

2. Protection from Toxins

The high antioxidant content in alfalfa sprouts protect piggies from toxins. So, you might be wondering what antioxidants are.

Basically, antioxidants are molecules that protect cavies (and even us) from toxins – especially the ones that age us or make us sick. (three cheers for antioxidants!).

Plus, the antioxidants in the sprouts also help guinea pigs fight against free radicals, which can damage cells and cause cancer (stupid cancer – always ruining piggie lives).

For a healthy piggie diet , alfalfa sprouts are an excellent addition to the mix. (can you say “superfood”?)

Bottom line?

Alfalfa sprouts are a great way to give your guinea pig some added protection against toxins and other diseases.

In moderation, cavies can eat alfalfa sprouts without any problems.

(I mean, as long as you’re not throwing a ginormous salad made of 100% alfalfa sprouts at them every day – that could get dangerous – more on that later).

So, if you’re looking for a way to help keep your little friend healthy, alfalfa sprouts are the perfect food choice.

3. Scurvy Repellant

Since alfalfa has about 8.2 mg of Vitamin C per cup, it’s a good way to help keep your little friends from getting scurvy – which can lead to all sorts of health problems.

A lack of Vitamin C in guinea pigs diets often results in scurvy, which has the following symptoms:

  • raggedy looking coat
  • weakness and lack of energy
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss (because of the lack of appetite)
  • crusty eyes and nose
  • diarrhea
  • inflammation of the joints (which means it’ll hurt your piggies when you try to touch or pick them up)

If you notice any of your piggie pals showing these symptoms, alfalfa sprouts are an easy way to give them the Vitamin C they need.

Nutrition Facts of Alfalfa Sprouts

Look below to see the nutrition facts of alfalfa sprouts:

Healthy guinea pigs need a lot of Vitamin C. On average, guinea pigs need between 15-25 mgs per day (depending on their age and if they’re pregnant).

The USDA website weighed in and says that in a serving of 3 oz (100 g) of bean sprouts, there’s:

  • 28 calories in total (keeps your piggies slim and trim)
  • 2.1 g carbs (an energy booster)
  • 3.99g protein (cuz piggies need all the muscle help they can get)
  • 1.9 g fiber (no one wants their piggie to be clogged up)
  • .69g fat (low fat makes for trim, healthy piggies)
  • .2g sugars (almost ZERO!)
  • 32 mg calcium (this is actually a moderate amount; some veggies have as much of 210mg per 100g; yeah, I’m lookin’ at you spinach!)
  • .96mg of iron (perfect for piggies who get anemic easily)
  • 27mg of magnesium (keep those bones nice and strong)
  • 70mg of phosphorus (remember too much of this can cause health problems in cavies)
  • 70mg potassium (for healthy muscles, hearts, and kidneys)
  • 8.2mg of Vitamin C (not as much as a bell pepper, but it’ll help)

So, as you can see, alfalfa sprouts are a great way to give your guinea pig some added nutrition – perfect for keeping them healthy and strong.

Risks Of Feeding Guinea Pigs Too Many Alfalfa Sprouts

There are risks of overfeeding alfalfa to your guinea pigs (moderation is key, remember?)

So, let’s take a look at what could happen if you give your guinea pig too many alfalfa sprouts:

1. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is probably the most common problem when guinea pigs eat too much alfalfa (or even too much produce with a high water content).

Make sure that if your guinea pig has diarrhea, you decrease the amount of alfalfa sprouts (hey, any veggies) you’re feeding them. In fact, I’d suggest that you stop feeding veggies completely.

Do this for 1 to 2 days until the diarrhea stops.

If guinea pig’s condition worsens or if they stop eating, take them to the vet. For piggies, untreated diarrhea can be deadly.

2. Gas and Bloat

Alfalfa is from the legume / herb family. And just like veggies in the cruciferous family (cabbage, brussel sprouts, etc) it can cause gas and bloat in guinea pigs – IF you give them too much or if you have a guinea pigs that’s very sensitive to it.

I know you’re thinking: “Wait, so should I nix the alfalfa sprouts then?”

Nope!

Just feed your piggies in moderation and watch their reaction. If they seem uncomfortable in that first 24 hours after you’ve let the try a small amount of alfalfa sprouts, stop feeding them alfalfa sprouts for a few days until the bloating goes down.

For piggies, variety is the tasty spice of life.

Instead, make sure that you only feed appropriate amounts of each veggies and that your little friends are getting plenty of hay.

At the end of the day, the fiber in the hay will keep your piggies’ digestive systems moving regularly. So, guinea pigs shouldn’t have any problems with gas or bloat.

But, when in doubt – don’t feed them any veggies from the cruciferous family and only give alfalfa sprouts a try once or twice a week to see if they can handle it. That way you won’t have gassy, uncomfortable piggies (ain’t nobody want their piggies giving them death stares because they’re having so much gas pain).

3. Foodborne illnesses

If you feed your piggie unwashed alfalfa sprouts, there’s a chance they could get sick from foodborne illnesses like E. coli or salmonella.

This is a risk for pretty much every vegetable that you feed your furry, little friends.

So, make sure to always wash your veggies before you give them to guinea pigs.

4. Bladder Stones

A diet high in calcium can cause bladder stones in guinea pigs.

While alfalfa sprouts do contain calcium, it’s not a lot – and it’s certainly less than some other high-calcium veggies like kale or collard greens.

However:

Alfalfa sprouts have enough calcium in them to cause bladder stones in guinea pigs who have a history of getting them or even to perfectly healthy piggies if you overfeed them alfalfa sprouts.

As long as you’re feeding your guinea pig appropriate amounts of all the different types of veggies, they shouldn’t have a problem with getting bladder stones caused from the alfalfa sprouts.

How Many Alfalfa Sprouts Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs can eat a half a handful serving of alfalfa sprouts. Serve them that small amount once or twice a week, but no more than that! The sprouts aren’t meant to be a “main dish” for cavies. It’s more of a side dish or a treat.

So, limit their intake to once or twice a week and make sure that they’re getting the right amount of hay, grass, etc in their diet everyday.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Alfalfa Sprouts?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat frozen alfalfa sprouts (or any other type of frozen vegetable for that matter). Cold temperatures shock a guinea pigs’s digestive systems and can cause stomach pain and bloating.

Plus, most frozen vegetables are blanched (flash boiled) before they’re frozen, which strips them of some of their nutrients.

There’s no point in feeding your guinea pig frozen alfalfa sprouts when they can eat fresh, healthy alfalfa sprouts instead – and get the full benefit of the nutrients they contain.

I know you might be thinking: Hmmmm, but what if I thaw out the alfalfa sprouts first?

Sorry, my friend. That’s still a no go.

Defrosting veggies to give to your piggies carries a certain amount of risk, too. As the veggies defrost, bacteria (sneaky, little guinea pig killers) start to grow.

If your fur babies eat veggies that have been defrosted, they could get sick from the bacteria – and it’s just not worth the risk!

I mean, come on. If you want your cavies to be healthy, just stick to fresh veggies.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Alfalfa Sprouts?

Guinea pigs should never eat cooked alfalfa sprouts (or any other sort of cooked vegetable for that matter). In general, guinea pigs can only tolerate food in it’s natural, fresh state, because of their gut and digestive system is designed to extract nutrients from raw fruits and vegetables, hays and grasses.

If guinea pigs ate cooked veggies, their bodies would pull out fewer nutrients because the heat has destroyed some of those precious vitamins and minerals that guinea pigs need to thrive.

And that’s assuming that their digestive system could even process the cooked veggies.

And the resulting food would be much, more difficult for your little friends to digest. So, do the right thing and avoid cooking your guinea pigs’ veggies – and just feed them fresh, raw alfalfa sprouts instead!

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?

Baby guinea pigs can eat alfalfa sprouts from about 2 weeks old onwards. That’s around the time that they able to eat all foods that adult guinea pigs eat.

Guinea pigs babies are usually weaned from their mother. She actively refuses to nurse them around the same time, so their appetite for solids is going to increase.

Just make sure that you take the same preparation precautions with baby piggies as you would with adult piggies – wash the alfalfa sprouts thoroughly before giving them to your little one and start them off with small amounts.

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Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?

Pregnant guinea pigs can eat alfalfa sprouts. Because they’re so nutritious, they’re an excellent veggie to add to guinea pigs’ diets when they’re expecting.

Just make sure that you stick to the same preparation precautions as you would for adult cavies – wash alfalfa sprouts thoroughly before giving them to any piggies, including pregnant piggies.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Alfalfa Sprout Seeds?

In general, it’s best that guinea pigs avoid eating alfalfa seeds. In fact, most seeds are either a choking hazard or can cause an intestinal blockage if piggies eat them.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Alfalfa Sprouts?

Many guinea pigs like eating alfalfa sprouts. However, guinea pigs are creatures of habit and usually don’t like trying new things to eat.

So, don’t be surprised if your guinea pig doesn’t eat alfalfa sprouts right away.

Just keep offering them to your little friend, and eventually they’ll give them a try.

Piggies are smart little guys who eventually realize that alfalfa sprouts are a pretty good food to eat – so don’t give up on introducing new foods into their diet.

Should You Feed Your Guinea Pig Alfalfa Sprouts?

You can safely feed your guinea pig alfalfa sprouts if your pet doesn’t have any health issues or sensitivities (like bladder stones or an allergy) that might make it dangerous for them to eat this type of grass.

When in doubt, don’t feed them to your little friend at all or get some advice from your vet (who hopefully specializes in exotic animals like guinea pigs). *fingers crossed*

How To Introduce Alfalfa Sprouts To Your Pet

There’s different schools of thought around how to introduce guinea pigs to alfalfa sprouts.

But, I suggest that…

When you feed alfalfa sprouts to your guinea pigs for the first time, make sure that feed it to them with other vegetables.

The best way to introduce them to this leafy green is by chopping it up and mixing it with other vegetables that they’re already familiar with like celery, cucumber, or romaine lettuce.

But if you mix it with some other vegetables that they’re already familiar with (like cucumber, celery, or carrots) then there’s a better chance that they’ll try it out.

Follow the additional steps below to increase your odds of a successful experience getting your piggies to try alfalfa sprouts:

  • If your piggie has never had alfalfa sprouts, slowly start with feeding a tiny amount (just a few sprouts) to your piggies.
  • For guinea pigs, it is important to watch them for AT LEAST 24 hours after they eat the new food you give them. If they have a bad reaction (like diarrhea or stomach pain), then stop feeding that food immediately.
  • If your pet likes the taste of alfalfa sprouts (and there’s not bad reaction), you can add them to their regular diet. But make sure you gradually work up to this amount of alfalfa sprouts depending on their age, health status, and history with bladder stones.

How To Store Alfalfa Sprouts For Your Guinea Pig

There’s nothing worse than buying fresh produce, only to have it spoil before you can use it.

The same goes for guinea pigs – if you’re going to add alfalfa sprouts to their diet, you’ll want to make sure they stay fresh.

Here are a few tips for storing alfalfa sprouts so that your guinea pig can enjoy them for days to come:

  • Rinse the alfalfa sprouts under cool water to clean them. Please be thorough (you remember that section about the foodborne pathogens, right?).
  • Dry the sprouts with a paper towel. The wet alfalfa sprouts will spoil quickly in your fridge.
  • Put some alfalfa sprouts in a plastic storage bag. Make sure that it is not too much.
  • Put your bags of alfalfa sprouts in the fridge. (Hint: The crisper is the best spot). Eat them within four days.

What Happens If Your Guinea Pig Eats Too Many Alfalfa Sprouts?

If your guinea pig eats too many alfalfa sprouts, they might have an upset stomach.

They could also get diarrhea from eating too many alfalfa sprouts. Bladder stones are also a side effect of overfeeding the alfalfa sprouts.

They also don’t need much in their diet – so please limit the amount of piggies alfalfa sprouts you feed them and

If your guinea pig has a bad reaction to eating alfalfa sprouts (like getting diarrhea), stop feeding them the spouts immediately.

But, this can be avoided if you just make sure that your fur babies don’t eat too much alfalfa sprouts.

What Other Kind Of Sprouts Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Alfalfa sprouts are a guinea pig-friendly vegetable, but there’s other types of sprouts that guinea pigs  can eat too.

If you want to give your piggies something different from alfalfa sprouts sometimes, try feeding them bean sprouts instead!

What Are Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat Daily?

There’s a few things that all guinea pigs can eat daily. The list is short, but piggies need lots of variety in their diets to stay healthy.

The veggies that you can feed your piggies daily include:

  • hay (unlimited, please)
  • bell pepper (about 1/8 of a bell pepper per piggie each day)
  • fresh, untreated grass (if you have access to it)
  • corn silks and husks (if your guinea pig enjoys it)

All other veggies and leafy greens should be rotated in and out of piggies’ diets – that means, they get a new type of food every few days.

That’s the best way to keep your little friends happy and healthy!

What Foods Are Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?

You should think about which foods you’re giving your piggies. Even organic veggies can have a bad effect on your piggies if they’re not . It doesn’t matter if it was grown organically or not, they can still get hurt.

Also, it’s a good idea to avoid foods that can become choking hazards or have high sugar content.

But most importantly, make sure to never give your guinea pig the following foods:

  • Meat: yep, that means no beef, ham, or chicken
  • Avocados: High-fat foods aren’t good for piggies. They can cause them to get fat or have problems with their heart.
  • Chocolates: If you want your little friend to stay a good size, do not give it too many sugary foods like chocolates and candy.
  • Dairy products: Ice cream, yogurt, milk, and other dairy isn’t any good for your piggies.
  • Peanut butter: much too high in sugar and calories
  • Iceberg lettuce: Guinea pigs should not eat iceberg lettuce. It can make them sick. Plus, it doesn’t have any nutrients.
  • Nuts: Nuts contain serious amounts of fat. They’re good for guinea pigs and they will do more harm than good. And it’s a choking hazard.
  • Onions:  They contain a toxic ingredient that cavies can’t metabolize.
  • Grains and wheats: They’re not good for cavies and they won’t help them stay healthy, no matter what people might say. Plus, it’s high in carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Potatoes: Way too much starch for your little friends.
  • Seeds: The small and hard seeds can be a choking hazard to piggies.

Final Thoughts

So, can guinea pigs eat alfalfa sprouts? ABSOLUTELY! They’re a great way to give your little friends some added nutrition – perfect for keeping them healthy and strong.

Just make sure you feed them in moderation (and watch their reaction after you’ve fed it to them for the first time) to avoid any uncomfortable side effects.

Alfalfa sprouts can also be found at most grocery stores, and they make for a healthy and tasty addition to your guinea pig’s diet.

So go ahead and give them a try – your piggie pals will love them!

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Potential of alfalfa as a source of calcium for calcium deficient horses. (1990, April). PubMed.

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Wondering which Guinea pig veggies are best? | Small pet select. (2019, December 10). Small Pet Select Blogs. https://smallpetselect.com/best-veggies-for-guinea-pigs/

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