Will Eating Basil Kill Your Guinea Pigs? (Find Out Now)

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As natural herbivores, guinea pigs love eating greens. But, there’s some options they should avoid. Can can guinea pigs eat basil?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat basil. Basil is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, and magnesium, which are important nutrients for guinea pigs. But, basil is high in calcium, so it can cause kidney stones and urinary stones if it’s overfed. Only offer basil to guinea pigs as an occasional treat and in small amounts.

a guinea pig wondering if he can eat basil

You can give your guinea pigs basil as long as you do it in a healthy way. Otherwise, this tasty herb can be a safety hazard for guinea pigs.

And yes, this article is all about guinea pigs and basil. Stay tuned to know more.

Is It Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat Basil?

Yes, basil is one of the safe herbs for guinea pigs to eat. The herb itself doesn’t contain any toxic compounds that can harm your guinea pigs. Just make sure that you’re careful not to give them too much.

Of the safe herbs for guinea pigs, basil comes among the top on the list. You can give your guinea pigs this herb without worrying about their safety. Basil itself isn’t harmful to guinea pigs.

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But that doesn’t mean you can give your guinea pigs as much basil as they want. You have to control the amount you give your guinea pigs. Otherwise, it’ll seriously mess up their health in the long run.

Let’s dive into the details and see how much basil is safe for guinea pigs and how you can give it to them without any problem.

Is Basil Good for Guinea Pigs? 

Yes, for the most part, basil is good for guinea pigs. This herb is a rich source of many essential nutrients. For instance, its high in vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, zinc, and magnesium. All these nutrients are vital for guinea pigs’ health.

So yes, basil is a tasty AND healthy snack for piggies.

Here’s why:

1. Packed With Phytochemical and Antioxidants

Basil is a rich source of antioxidants and phytochemicals. These two nutrients are very beneficial for guinea pigs.

This herb contains quercetin, apigenin, caffeic acid, and luteolin. (Fancy, names right?) Well, they’re antioxidants. And they’re important because they help protect your fur babies’ cells from damage. Free radicals can damage cells. They make them weaker and less effective. Antioxidants help to stop this from happening.

Antioxidants scavenge these free radicals and make sure they don’t damage the cells. This process is called “oxidative stress.” It’s important for guinea pigs because it helps them stay healthy and avoid diseases.

2. Can Help With Digestion

Basil can also help with digestion. This herb is a good source of fiber, which is awesome for guinea pigs. Fiber adds bulk to the stool and makes it easier to pass. It also prevents constipation, which is a common problem in guinea pigs.

3. Calming Effect

Basil has a calming effect on guinea pigs. This herb contains linalool, which is a compound that has a calming effect on animals. This compound can help to reduce stress and anxiety in guinea pigs.

So yes, if you’ve noticed that your guinea pig is feeling stressed, you can give them some basil to calm them down.

4. Improves Eyesight

Your guinea pig needs good eyesight as much as you do, and basil can help with that too. This herb is a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for vision. Vitamin A helps to prevent night blindness and protect the eyes from damage. And yes, you can also expect improved vision in your guinea pigs.

5. Scurvy Protection

One of the top reasons for giving guinea pigs basil is that it helps to prevent scurvy. Scurvy arises from the deficiency of vitamin C, a nutrient piggies don’t make of their own. 

So they have to get it from their diet. And basil is a good source of this nutrient. Vitamin C is essential for guinea pigs as it boosts the immune system. It also helps to protect the cells from damage.

6. Low Calorie and Low Fat

Basil is also low in calories and fat. This herb contains only 23 calories per 100 grams. It’s also poor in fat, with only 0.64 grams of fat per the same quantity size.

That makes basil a thoughtful choice for all guinea pigs, including overweight ones. Actually, basil can help obese cavies lose weight without compromising their nutrient intake.

Risks to Consider When Feeding Basil To Guinea Pigs

a decision tree about guinea pigs eating basil
Use this to help you figure out if you should feed basil to your little friends.

Even with all the above benefits, there’s also some risks when feeding your guinea pigs basil. That includes overfeeding, pesticides, and digestion issues. But if you follow the feeding guidelines, basil should be entirely safe for your pet. 

Let’s look at these risk factors;

1. Overfeeding

It’s easy to overfeed herbs to your piggies. Like who can keep track , right? But you really need to.

Why?

Because guinea pigs are prone to bladder and kidney stones. They’re caused by a buildup of minerals, including calcium. And too much calcium in their diet can cause these stones to form.

And guess what basil has a lot of…yep, calcium.

You see, guinea pigs need a balanced diet.

Too much of one nutrient can cause health problems for your fur babies. So you really need to watch how much basil you’re feeding your piggies. A good rule of thumb is to offer no more than one leaf (or half a leaf) once or twice a week.

(Or once a month…or none at all, if your piggies are prone to bladder and kidney stones.)

Plus, too much of this herb for your guinea pigs can lead to digestive problems like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. So only give your guinea pigs basil in moderation.

2. Pesticides

It’s possible that pesticides have been sprayed on the basil to protect them from pests and diseases. And these farm chemicals can be harmful to your guinea pigs if ingested.

To avoid all that, only give your guinea pigs organic variety. This will ensure that they’re not ingesting any harmful chemicals.

You can even plant a small herb garden in your kitchen or backyard and grow your own organic basil.

3. Digestion Issues

Digestion issues is another reason to be careful when feeding your guinea pigs basil. The fiber in this herb can cause more harm than good to your pet’s gastrointestinal. That’s why you always have to stick to the “rules of the game” when offering your piggy basil.

Is It Common For Pet Parents To Feed Basil To Their Guinea Pigs? 

Yes, it’s actually quite common for pet parents to give their guinea pigs basil. This herb has so many benefits that it’s hard to resist giving it to your beloved pet.

Even so, you should always be careful when feeding any new food to your guinea pig. Some foods can cause some serious digestive issues. Always best to start with a small amount and see how your guinea pig reacts to it.

Nutritional Information For Basil

With all that been said about basil, it’s clear that this herb is ideal for your guinea pigs. But just how healthy is it?

Basil is actually quite nutritious. It contains lots of nutrients and minerals your pet so much needs to stay healthy and happy.

To understand that better, let’s look at what 100 grams of basil contains as per the details provided by the USDA.

  • Water – 92.1g:To keep your guinea pig healthy, it is essential to provide them with enough water.
  • Protein – 3.15g: Your pig needs it for cell growth and repair
  • Fat – 0.64g: Low fat foods are PERFECT for your average, healthy piggie
  • Carbohydrates – 2.65g: It’s the body’s primary source of energy
  • Fiber – 1.6g: Good for the digestive system. But too much is no bueno! Only feed in moderation
  • Sugar – 0.3g: Not too much of that. Excellent!
  • Calcium – 177mg: Needed for strong bones and teeth. But it can cause health problems when given in excess – like bladder stones (ugh!)
  • Iron – 3.17mg: keeps
  • Magnesium – 64mg: Needed for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles
  • Phosphorus – 56mg: It’s essential for the growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissues
  • Sodium – 4mg: This mineral helps in the proper fluid balance in the body
  • Potassium – 295mg: Your piggies need this nutrient for proper muscle function. This nutrient also helps cavy hearts stay healthy.
  • Copper – 0.385mg: It ensures proper absorption of iron. It also boosts the immune system.
  • Zinc – 0.81mg: It’s necessary for a healthy immune system and proper growth.
  • Vitamin A – 264ug: Ideal for good eyesight and a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamin C – 10mg: This powerful antioxidant is awesome for fighting scurvy and other diseases.
  • Vitamin K – 415ug: One of the benefits of vitamin K is that it helps with blood clotting. It also helps keep your pet’s bones healthy.
  • Folate – 68ug: It’s needed for the proper development of your guinea pig’s nervous system

As you can see, basil is a very nutritious herb. It contains many nutrients and minerals essential for your guinea pig’s health.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Petals? 

Basil petals – or flowers – are safe for guinea pigs to eat. Basil petals have a milder taste than the leaves, so your guinea pigs will love them. Just make sure you don’t overfeed your little friends.

Different basil species produce distinct colors of petals. The most common colors are white, purple, and pink.

All these flowers are edible and will not harm your pig. But before you offer any of them to your pet, do the necessary. In other words, only offer well-washed fresh petals and in moderation.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Stems? 

Yes, guinea pigs can eat basil stems. The stems are high in vitamin C, a nutrient that your pet needs to maintain a healthy immune system. Vitamin C will also help them fight diseases. 

Basil stems taste a little more bitter than the flowers. But they don’t contain anything toxic to guinea pigs. In fact, they pack plenty of beneficial vitamins and other plant compounds for cavies.

But only offer basil stems in moderation and occasionally. Also, ensure that they are well-washed to remove any dangerous compounds or dirt.

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Seeds?

We don’t encourage giving guinea pigs basil seeds. Basil seeds may not contain anything toxic for your pocket pet. But it’s generally not a good idea to give them to your pig. 

Basil seeds are a potential choking hazard to guinea pigs. So, if you must give your guinea pig any basil, ensure that you remove the seeds. That way, you’ll have avoided much trouble.

Warning: Avoid feeding hard seeds (and nuts) to guinea pigs because they’re a potential choking hazard. Peanuts, almonds, and fruit pits and seeds (like apples) are all on the “don’t-feed-them-to-your-guinea-pig” list.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Stalks? 

Basil stalks are safe to eat by guinea pigs, but they should only eat a small amount. Basil stalks have more fiber than the leaves. So, it isn’t good for guinea pigs to eat a lot of it.

So again, much like the petals and stems, basil stalks are healthy for your guinea pig, but only in moderation. And as usual, give them a thorough rinse to remove any dangerous compounds.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Basil?

a fact about guinea pigs eating basil
Fresh herbs are overflowing with nutrients. Dried? Well…not so much.

No, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat dried basil. Dried basil doesn’t contain water content and may have preservatives. Neither of that is good for your guinea pig’s health. So yes, steer clear of dried basil. Instead, only give your guinea pig the fresh leaves.

Guinea pigs should only eat basil – or any other herb – when it’s fresh. Dried herbs don’t have the nutrients that your guinea pig needs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Basil?

Sweet basil is safe for eating by guinea pigs. But as you feed your pet this variety, keep everything in moderation. Otherwise, sweet basil can stir digestive issues in guinea pigs.

Sweet basil is the most popular type of basil. This type of basil is healthy for your pets. But, like other types of basil, only give your pet a small amount occasionally. They’ll be able to enjoy it without getting sick.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Basil Tea? 

No, you shouldn’t give your guinea pig basil tea. As a general rule, teas and juices aren’t healthy for guinea pigs. It’s best for your little friends to stick with water.

Basil tea may not be toxic for guinea pigs, but…

It generally isn’t a good idea to give them any tea. Tea, in general, can upset your guinea pig’s delicate digestive system. So, offer only water to your pet and nothing else.

Just stick to the leaves, petals, stems, and stalks. All these are healthy for cavies. As for basil tea, don’t offer it to your pet. Not even in small amounts.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Basil?

a sarcastic comment from a guinea pig about eating basil

Yes and No. While most guinea pigs enjoy eating basil, some may not like the taste. So, to know whether your pig likes basil, the only option you have is to offer them. If they enjoy it and eat it with gusto, they like basil. Otherwise, they don’t. 

You’re going to need patience to build up your piggies’ love for a new treat. So, if they don’t like basil at first, try again later. With time, they may start enjoying it.

If they don’t seem to like it, try something else. There’s plenty of We will be revealing these alternatives later in the article. But at this point, know that you shouldn’t sweat it if your guinea pig doesn’t like the taste of basil – at least at first.

Are Guinea Pigs Allergic To Basil?

No, guinea pigs aren’t allergic to basil. In fact, they can eat it without any problems. But, as we said earlier, some guinea pigs may not like the taste. So, it would be best if you tried giving your guinea pig a small amount of basil to see how they respond to it.

Unlike other animals, guinea pigs have very delicate body systems. So, it’s always better to find out whether something will cause them allergies before you offer it to your little friends. But as for basil, you should have no worries. It’s a safe herb for guinea pigs.

Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

Guinea pigs that are pregnant can eat basil. This herb is a good source of Vitamin C and other nutrients that pregnant cavies need. They can gain a lot from having basil in their diet.

Pregnant guinea pigs have special dietary requirements. For instance, they need twice as much Vitamin C as other guinea pigs. And yes, basil is rich in this essential vitamin. So, don’t hold back on giving your expectant guinea pig some basil leaves.

But be careful not to use too much. Always wash the herb before you give it to your piggies. Also, try to give them organic basil leaves. That way you know for sure that there’s no harmful chemicals or pesticides on the leaves.

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

Baby guinea pigs can eat basil. Basil is a good food for them because it has a lot of calcium. This will help their bones and teeth grow strong. Unlike adults, baby piggies (less than six months old) thrive on high calcium hay (like alfalfa) and treats like basil.

How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

Guinea pigs should only eat basil twice a week and only a leaf or so each time. Offering guinea pigs basil more than twice a week can lead to bladder and kidney in the long term. So, be very careful with how often you feed them this herb.

Basil is a good herb for guinea pigs, but you need to be careful when you feed it to them. They might like it, but too much of it can have short and long-term effects (yep, negative ones). So even if your little friends love it, don’t give them basil as a regular treat).

Should Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

Yes, of course! Basil is a very healthy herb to give to your guinea pigs. Just don’t overfeed them this herb, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

The only exception would be for piggies that have had bladder or kidney stones. Some piggies are more sensitive to calcium than others and can develop stones from eating too many high calcium foods (like alfalfa).

If your guinea pig has had stones in the past, it would be best to avoid giving them any foods that are high in calcium (including basil).

How To Forage For Basil

You can find basil in your backyard, at the park, or even in the wild. If you’re foraging for basil, make sure you only pick leaves that look fresh and green. Avoid any that are yellowing or browning as these could be poisonous.

It’s also important to avoid basil that has residues of pesticides. If you’re not sure if the basil has chemical traces, it’s best to avoid it.

Once you’ve gathered the herb, take it home for thorough washing. That will remove any dirt, bugs, or chemicals present.

How To Prepare Basil For Guinea Pigs

After you’ve foraged and washed the leaves, it’s time to prepare them for your guinea pigs. The best way to do this is to chop the leaves – or the part you are offering – into smaller pieces.

This’ll make it easier for your guinea pigs to eat. It will also reduce the chances of your pig choking on them. That’s especially when offering the stems or the stalks of the plant.

How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?

Guinea pigs should eat basil at most twice a week. And only feed a leaf or two per guinea pig. As said, too much of this herb can lead to urinary stones in the long term. As for the short-term, you can expect digestion problems.

You should know that no plant contains every nutrient your guinea pig needs. That’s why you can’t offer basil day in and day out. Even if your pet loves it a lot.

Instead, alternate it with other healthy vegetables and fruits. That will ensure that your pet is getting a well-rounded diet.

What Flowers and Herbs Can Guinea Pigs Eat

Your guinea pig can eat basil, yarrow, clover, fennel, dill, parsley, and other herbs and flowers. Make sure they’re pesticide-free and that you offer them in moderation.

Guinea pigs are natural herbivores, which means that they eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, hay, and other plants. This includes some herbs and flowers.

Let’s take a keen look at some of the herbs and flowers;

  • Yarrow: This herb is safe for guinea pigs to eat. It packs lots of nutrients for them. Even so, much isn’t known about how much is safe. Hence, it’s best to operate at the lower end of the spectrum and offer only a tiny amount.
  • Clover: Red, green, purple, and other clover varieties are safe for guinea pigs. Your pig can eat the leaves, flowers, and stems of this herbaceous plant of the pea family. But keep the quantity at 1/4 teaspoon for average adult pigs to avoid any digestive problems.
  • Fennel: Fennel is OK for guinea pigs in moderation. This herb can offer your pig a wide range of nutrients, including vitamin C. Only keep it twice or thrice a week.
  • Parsley: Parsley is a good food for guinea pigs. It has a lot of vitamin C and other good things for them. But you should not give it to them every day because it has a lot of calcium.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile is a good herb for guinea pigs. It has a calming effect and can soothe an upset stomach. Only give your fresh herbs to guinea pigs in small amounts.
  • Rose petals and leaves: These items are safe for guinea pigs to eat. In fact, they make a good treat for your pig. Just make sure they’re free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
  • Rosemary: This sweet-scented option is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, and calcium. So, it’s a healthy treat for guinea pigs. But like anything else containing calcium, don’t make it a regular treat. 
  • Sage: Sage also makes a healthy option for guinea pigs. This herb can even help with indigestion. But again, only give a small amount at a time as too much sage can lead to kidney damage.
  • Dill: Dill is a good herb for guinea pigs. It’s high in calcium and other nutrients. But give it to your pig fresh and in small amounts.

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Final Thoughts

Basil is safe for guinea pigs to eat, but only offer it in small amounts and not more than twice a week. Otherwise, it can cause urinary stones and other health problems.

There are many different types of herbs and flowers that you can give to your guinea pig. You can try yarrow, clover, fennel, dill, parsley, rose petals and leaves. They’ll all be tasty snack for your piggie – in the right amounts, that is.

(n.d.). ARS Home : USDA ARS. https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/37108/pdf/2009/2009foodchem115_650_656.pdf 

Can Guinea pigs eat basil? (Benefits, risks, serving size & more). (2022, February 12). Guinea Pig Tube. https://www.guineapigtube.com/can-guinea-pigs-eat-basil/ 

Care of Guinea Pigs. (n.d.). College of Veterinary Medicine – Purdue University. https://vet.purdue.edu/vth/files/documents/Care%20of%20Guinea%20Pigs.pdf

Everything you need to know about Guinea pigs. (n.d.). Humane Rescue Alliance – Pet Adoption and Training Services. https://www.humanerescuealliance.org/blog/posts/everything-you-need-to-know-about-guinea-pigs

FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172232/nutrients

Guinea pig diet. (n.d.). Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. https://mgpr.org/newsite/GP_Info/Guinea%20Pig%20Diet.htm

Guinea pig feeding. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-feeding

Hawkins, M. G., Ruby, A. L., Westropp, J. L., & Drazenovich, T. L. (2009, January 15). Composition and characteristics of urinary calculi from guinea pigs. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19210239/

Lecuona, A. (2020, December 1). Basics of growing basil for commercial open farms. Horticulture. https://www.horticulture.org.za/basics-of-growing-basil/

What should I feed my Guinea pigs? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-should-i-feed-my-guinea-pigs/

Your Guinea pig’s diet. (n.d.). Saving pets, Changing lives – PDSA. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/small-pets/your-guinea-pig-s-diet

Have you ever given your guinea pig basil? How did they like it? Let me know in the comments below!

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