Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chicken? (The Surprising Truth)

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If you own a guinea pig, you might have questions about what they should eat. Some people think that it is okay to feed chicken to guinea pigs, but is this really safe? Or are they better off with a different kind of food?

No, guinea pigs can’t eat chicken. Guinea pigs are strictly herbivores. That means their natural diet is grasses, vegetables, and hay. In fact, guinea pigs don’t have the digestive system required to break down and absorb nutrients from chicken. So, eating chicken could make your cavy very sick. It might even kill them in some cases.

If you don’t provide your pet with the right type of food, your cavies can become sick or die in a matter of days. (Yeah, it’s that serious).

A picture of a guinea pig wondering if he can eat chicken

If you want to keep your pet alive and happy, you can’t just feed them anything. So, let’s take a closer look at why guinea pigs shouldn’t eat chicken and also go over some other things that can be dangerous to them.

An easy-to-read food chart for safe piggie foods – Buy, download, and print.

Why Guinea Pigs Shouldn’t Eat Chicken

It’s an honest mistake. New guinea pigs owners want to make sure that their fur babies have a balanced diet. So, it’s only natural that they are curious about whether their fur babies can eat chicken.

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The reality is, there’s a number of reasons why cavies shouldn’t eat chicken. And we’re going to cover some of the main ones now.

1. Guinea Pigs Are Herbivores

Since guinea pigs are herbivores, they do best with a strictly vegan diet. Plants, grasses, and fruit treats give them all the nutrients that they need to be healthy.

Your fur babies  digestive system can be a delicate thing.

In the wild, cavies only ate fresh grasses and plants. Guinea pigs don’t stomach enzymes and acids needed to break down and absorb animal matter – like chicken.

So, whatever meat they ate (if they actually did eat the meat) would sort of hang out in their stomach and can cause your little friends a lot of pain and discomfort. I’m talking constipation and other blockages that’ll lead to even more serious illnesses.

Cavy digestive systems have to be constantly moving or they can’t digest their food properly. So, if they ate something like chicken (something that can turn into a blockage in their guts), it can cause them to become sick and unhappy pretty quickly.

2. Too Much Cholesterol and Fat

There’s way too much cholesterol and fat in chicken for it to be a good option for cavies – even if there were able to absorb nutrients from it.

And, like I already mentioned, your fur babies can’t digest and absorb these things. So, when they eat them – it can lead to extremely negative health effects for their tiny bodies.

Cholesterol and high amounts of saturated fat can lead to heart disease – which is a serious issue for anyone and an especially serious issue for cavies.

3. Dangerous Salmonella on Chicken

It’s dangerous for anyone to get salmonella, but it can be especially dangerous for small pets like guinea pigs.

Salmonella can cause serious diarrhea and can actually lead to death in some cases. It can take as little as 12 hours for infection to set in, so you can see why you want to avoid this at all costs.

You might be thinking: Well, can’t cavies get salmonella from certain vegetables?

The answer: Sure they can.

Salmonella, E. Coli, and other bacteria that causes food poisoning has been linked to leafy green and vegetables. Basically, what happens is that the vegetables end up with the bacteria from animal poop and other contaminates.

Vegetables are a food that all cavies need to eat get the full range of nutrients that they need – and if you wash them really well (or buy organic), then the salmonella isn’t as big of a risk.

Whereas, eating chicken (which your fuzz spuds can even properly digest, mind you) can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, and can actually kill the little guys in some cases.

Bottom line?

If you’re going to take the risk, do it with the food that your little friends actually need – veggies. Not chicken.

What Happens If I Give My Guinea Pig Chicken?

a decision tree for deciding if you should feed chicken to your guinea pig

Let’s say that you decide to take the plunge (against every fiber of my being) and give your fur babies some chicken.

What can happen? Here are some of the common symptoms for when cavies eat chicken:

  • Fatigue or sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation/blockage
  • Bloat

An a whole bunch of other issues.

Now will this happen all at one? Maybe not.

But, one thing is sure. Giving your cavies chicken to eat isn’t a good idea.

Remember when I said that cavies can’t digest chicken and that it would lead to blockage?

Well, that blockage will lead to a loss of appetite and a loss of appetite immediately puts your fur babies’ life in danger.

If your fur babies can’t eat, then they’ll die. It’s that simple.

Keep them safe and happy by sticking to their normal diet of hay, veggies, and fruits. It’s the best way to help your little buddies stay in top shape.

What Happens If My Guinea Pig Accidentally Eats A Little Bit Of Chicken?

It’s unlikely that a little, tiny shred of chicken is going to kill your little friends Your cavy should be able to poop it out eventually – as long as there’s not too much of it in their system to clog it up and cause constipation.

But, the chicken is wasted space in your fur babies digestive system. Since, they can’t digest it, it’s taking up room from healthy options like hay and veggies.

This can lead to bloat, which can cause a whole host of other problems – including death. Bloat is a condition where the stomach can swell up with air or fluid. This can make it hard for your guinea pig to breathe poop, eat and can actually kill them in some cases.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chicken Nuggets?

No, guinea pig shouldn’t eat chicken nuggets. Chicken nuggets have a high saturated fat content and can disrupt your furry friend’s digestive system and make them very sick with bloat, constipation, and other health issues.

When it comes down to it, processed foods (especially meat-based processed food like chicken nuggets) shouldn’t be fed to cavies. If you decide to ignore all of this advice, then there are some problems that can happen if you decide to put chicken nuggets on the menu for your cavies.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chicken Tenders?

Guinea pigs can’t eat chicken tenders. Like chicken nuggets, chicken tenders have a high saturated fat content and additives that aren’t good for cavies, to say the least. It can upset your cavies’ digestive system and cause them to become horribly ill with bloating, constipation, and other health problems.

Planning Your Piggie's

Meals Just Got A LOT Easier!

Our Wheekly Meal planner is designed to make it simple and fun for you

to create balanced and healthy

meals for your furry friends -

and they'll love you for it!

FREE

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Popcorn Chicken?

Popcorn chicken is bad for guinea pigs, and they should never eat it. It’s filled with additives that can cause cavies to become sick – with constipation, bloating, and other digestive problems.

It’s important to remember that cavies have a hard time digesting processed food and plain chicken, too. Their digestive systems aren’t built to digest these items and can cause them to get really

Can Guinea Pigs Eat BBQ Chicken?

Guinea pigs can’t eat BBQ chicken. It’s too fatty and spicy for them. Plus, the BBQ sauce is filled with sugar, which cavies shouldn’t have too much of anyway. The extra sugar, plus the fact that it’s covers meat makes BBQ chicken a hard “no” for cavies

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chicken Bones?

Guinea pigs can’t eat chicken bones. And, since chicken bones can splinter and get lodged in their throat or intestines, it can cause serious problems. There’s a real possibility that feeding your fur babies chicken bones could kill them.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chicken Scratch?

Barley, sunflower seeds, milo, and millet are some of the grains that may be used to make chicken scratch (which is a nutritious food – for chickens). It’s then tossed into a chicken yard and the chicken “scratch” and peck for it.

Guinea pigs can’t eat chicken scratch, because it’s made up of grains and seeds. Both of which will either cause digestive issues or choking them to death. Don’t feed guinea pigs chicken scratch.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chicken Pellets?

Guinea pigs can’t eat chicken pellets for two main reasons. First of all, they’re made out of crushed grains, which cavies have a difficult time digesting.

Secondly, they’re designed to meet the nutritional needs of chickens – not guinea pigs. The vitamins and minerals in chicken pellets wouldn’t give your guinea pig the nutrients they need.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Chicken?

No, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat cooked chicken. Their digestive systems aren’t designed to process and digest cooked food or chicken. Remember, cavies are strictly herbivores and can only digest grasses, raw produce, and hay. They can get sick if you feed them foods that aren’t on their menu (like cooked chicken).

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Chicken?

Raw chicken isn’t safe for guinea pigs. So, guinea pigs definitely can’t eat raw chicken. If they did eat raw chicken, they can get salmonella or some other type of food poisoning. Not to mention it can make them incredibly sick and can even kill them. Whether it’s raw or cooked, chicken should never be fed to guinea pigs.

What Other Foods Should Guinea Pigs Avoid?

a warning to not to feed guinea pigs chicken

So, now that you understand why your little friends can’t eat chicken. Let’s talk about other foods that you should avoid giving to your fur babies.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list. But, down below you’ll see some other foods that are on the “no-no” list for cavies.

  • Chocolate
  • Potatoes and potato leaves
  • rhubarb and rhubarb leaves
  • Milk, ice cream, and other dairy products
  • onions, onion tops, and chives
  • Hard-shelled seeds and fruit pits
  • Human junk food like chip, candy, and baked goods

Steer away from everything on this list, if you want to stand a chance at maintaining your guinea pigs’ good health.

Planning Your Piggie's

Meals Just Got A LOT Easier!

Our Wheekly Meal planner is designed to make it simple and fun for you

to create balanced and healthy

meals for your furry friends -

and they'll love you for it!

FREE

Conclusion

So, what can you feed your little friends ? Grasses, vegetables, and hay are all great options that will keep your furry friend healthy.

If you’re looking for a little variety in their diet, try some specially made guinea pig pellets or fresh fruit and veggies.

As for chicken? That’s strictly off limits. Leave the poultry to the humans and give your fur babies something they can actually digest – and make your fuzz spuds  happy.

Fresh vegetables, fresh water (make sure it’s clean water), high quality, Vitamin C-enriched  food pellets and unlimited hay are what your little buddies need for a good, healthy, long life.

Do you have any questions about cavy feeding routines or other pet care advice?

Let me know in the comments below.

CDC. (2021a, September 21). Chicken and food poisoning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/chicken.html

CDC. (2021b, November 17). Foods that can cause food poisoning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/foods-linked-illness.html

CDC. (2021c, December 30). Lettuce, other leafy greens, and food safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/leafy-greens.html

Grunkemeyer, V. (2013). Clinical approach to ileus in rabbits and guinea pigs. Ncsu.Edu. https://cvm.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IleusinrabbitsandguineapigsVetForumGrunkemeyernotes.pdf

National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition. (1995). Nutrient requirements of the guinea pig. National Academies Press.

Small Pet Select U. (n.d.). 15 things guinea pigs shouldn’t eat. Small Pet Select U.S. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://shop.smallpetselect.com/pages/15-things-guinea-pigs-shouldnt-eat

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