Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cleavers? (What You Need To Know)

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It’s pretty common to get the question, can guinea pigs eat this or that? I’m going to answer that question today about cleavers.

Guinea pigs can safely eat cleavers (also called sticky weed) – in moderation. It’s a nutritious weed that have a number of health benefits for guinea pigs. Just make sure to avoid giving them too much, too soon, as it can cause stomach upset and bloat.

a pictures of a guinea pigs saying that he'd like to try some cleavers if they're safe

Now if you’re hemming and hawing over how much cleaver to give your guinea pigs, or the benefits of this weed – don’t worry.

You’re in just the right place.

Keep reading to learn more.

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

Are Cleavers A Safe Weed For Guinea Pigs To Eat?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cleavers
If you can find a clean source of cleavers, you’re going to have a FREE, nutritious snack for your little friends.

Yes, cleavers are a safe weed for guinea pigs too eat. As long as you introduce it slowly to their diet and remember to feed it in moderation, guinea pigs can enjoy the benefits of the foraged weed.

They help to improve gut health and digestion and the Vitamin C in it is great for their immune system.

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What Are Cleavers? Do They Have Any Other Names?

Cleavers have lots of different names like: sticky weed, goosegrass, bedstraw, “grip-grass” and sticky willy. They’re all in the same family (Galium aparine) but they can look different depending on where they grow.

They also have small, white flowers and a round stem. The leaves are hairy and feel sticky to the touch because of a sap that’s released when they’re crushed. (Hence the name, “sticky” weed.)

They’re often found in fields, gardens, and backyards.

Cleaver Health Benefits for Guinea Pigs

Can guinea pigs eat cleavers decision tree
Here’s a little chart to help you figure out if you should feed cleavers to your piggies.

Believe it or not, guinea pigs can get a lot of benefits from cleavers – even though it’s just a weed.

1. Flushes Out Toxins

A lot of people don’t know that sticky weed helps improve the lymphatic system of the body.

The lymphatic system is responsible for flushing out toxins. So cleavers can help keep guinea pigs healthy by getting rid of any harmful toxins in their system.

This means that they can help improve gut health and digestion in your piggies.

This is especially helpful if your guinea pig has been eating a lot of junk food or unhealthy treats.

2. Good for Digestive Health

Cleavers (or sticky weeds) have a good amount of fiber in them. Fiber helps to keep guinea pigs’ digestive systems healthy by moving food through their intestines.

This can help to prevent constipation and other stomach problems in your guinea pig.

If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your guinea pig’s gut health, sticky weed is a good option.

3. Scurvy Prevention

As far as cavies are concerned, every bit of Vitamin C helps. And luckily , cleavers are a good source of Vitamin C.

Guinea pigs need at least 10 to 30 mg of Vitamin C a day – depending on their health and stage of life. So, if your guinea pig is eating cleavers, they’re getting a decent dose of Vitamin C.

This can help to prevent scurvy – a disease that’s caused by lack of Vitamin C.

Risks Of Feeding Cleavers To Your Guinea Pigs

Even though there’s plenty of benefits to feeding cleavers to your little friends, it’s important to remember the risks involved if you’re not careful about how much you give.

1. Digestive Issues

Too much cleavers can cause:

  • stomach upset
  • bloating
  • diarrhea

Just like with any other food, it’s important to introduce cleavers slowly to your fur babies’ diet and watch for any signs of discomfort or sickness. If you notice any, stop feeding the weed immediately.

One thing for sure, if your little friends eat too much, too soon, it could cause stomach upset and bloat.

2. Contamination

The main way you’re going to get cleavers for your guinea pigs is by harvesting it yourself.

But, if you’re not careful, you could end up harvesting them from contaminated areas.

This means that the weed might have been in contact with harmful chemicals or pollutants.

Or that have been sprayed with animal urine or feces.

So, before you give cleavers to your guinea pigs, make sure you harvest them yourself from a clean and safe area.

How To Forage For Cleavers

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cleavers
If you can spare the time, foraging is an awesome way to get some tasty food for your cavies.

Foraging for your piggies can be a fun way to get some fresh air and to provide your little friends with some healthy snacks.

Here are a few tips for finding cleavers:

  • Look along the edges of fields, gardens, and maybe even your own yard
  • The leaves will be hairy and feel sticky to the touch because of a sap that’s released when they’re crushed.
  • The flowers are small and white, and grow in clusters at the top of the stem.
  • Cleavers can be identified by its unique clover-like leaves.

If you’re having trouble identifying cleavers, there’s plenty of online resources that can help. Just do a quick Google search for “cleavers guinea pig.”

And when you find what you need, make sure that you keep the following tips in mind:

  • Try to only harvest from clean areas without pesticides or animal droppings.
  • Avoid harvesting from near roadsides where there might be pollutants.
  • Choose the youngest cleavers because they tend to taste better to guinea pigs. Older parts of the plant become bitter-tasting and your little friends might not like it.
  • Don’t overharvest – leave some for the next person.
  • Rinse the weeds well in clean water before feeding them to your guinea pigs.
  • Bring a plant identification book (or your Smartphone) with you to help identify any plants you’re not sure about.

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

Do You Have To Worry About The Sticky Stuff?

Nope! You don’t have to worry about the sticky stuff on cleavers. It’s not harmful to guinea pigs and it won’t make them sticky.

So go ahead and feed your guinea pigs cleavers – just remember to do so in moderation. They’ll love the taste and you’ll love knowing that they’re getting all the benefits of this nutritious weed.

How To Feed Cleavers To Your Guinea Pig

Like I mentioned earlier, guinea pigs should only eat cleavers in moderation. Start by feeding them just a small amount (about a table spoon or so) and see how they do.

You’ll want to monitor your piggies for any signs of digestive issues – for about 24 hours or so.

If all goes well, you can gradually increase the amount.

You can give cleavers to your guinea pigs in two ways: fresh or dried.

Fresh cleavers can be chopped up and given directly to your guinea pigs as a snack.

Cleavers can be dried by hanging them in a cool, dry place. Once they’re dried, you can grind them up into a powder and mix it with their food or feed it to them in hay as forage.

Wrap Up

So there you have it! Guinea pigs can eat cleavers safely and enjoy the benefits of this weed. Just make sure to introduce it slowly to their diet and remember to feed it in moderation.

If you’re looking for other ways to improve your guinea pig’s diet, check out my other blog posts on guinea pig diet and nutrition.

And as always, feel free to leave me a comment below if you have any questions. I’m more than happy to help.

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

Cleavers (G. aparine): Benefits, side effects, dosage, and interactions. (2020, October 28). Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/cleavers-health-benefits-5084341

Guinea lynx :: Common forages. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig. https://www.guinealynx.info/forages_common.html

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/

What can Guinea pigs NOT eat | What food & plants are poisonous? (2021, June 14). Guinea Piggles. https://www.guineapiggles.com/unsafe-foods-guinea-pigs/#nuts-seeds n

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