Clover is a common plant that guinea pig owners can often find in their yard. Guinea pigs are herbivores, meaning they eat plants. Can guinea pigs eat clover? And if so, is it safe for them to do so?
Guinea pigs can safely eat clover stems, grass, and flowers in moderation. Clover is high in calcium, so only feed it to guinea pigs in small quantities 2 to 3 time a week to avoid giving them an upset stomach. Too much calcium can cause health problems for guinea pigs, such as bladder stones.
Keep reading to learn more information about how to safely feed clover to your guinea pigs as well as how and where to find it.
But, first let’s take a look at…
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clover?
Guinea pigs can definitely eat clover. But, the high calcium level means that your guinea pigs can’t eat large amounts of clover at once. Feed them clover sparingly, and only once or twice a week.
That way your furry burritos can benefit from clover’s calcium without being inadvertently shoved into the horrors of bladder stones, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.
What Is Clover Anyway?
Clover is a type of small flowering plant that is often found in fields and meadows – not to mention yards and gardens.
There’s different types of clover, but the most common one is white clover. Clover is a source of food for both livestock and wildlife (like your fur babies).
Is Clover Good For Guinea Pigs?
Yes, clover is definitely good for guinea pigs. In fact, it’s one of the best foraged plants you can feed them (more on what foraging is later). The white flowers are especially tasty for guinea pigs.
Clover has a lot of other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that guinea pigs need.
Let’s take a look at some of the guinea pig clover benefits:
1. Scurvy Protection
Guinea pigs can’t make their own Vitamin C (just like we – humans, that is, can’t make it), so they need to get it from their diet. Clover can help guinea pigs avoid scurvy, which is a disease caused by Vitamin C deficiency.
When piggies get scurvy they have the following symptoms:
- huge lack of energy
- stiff, sore joints (inflammation)
- gums that bleed easily
- tooth loss
- skin lesions
- even death is possible if scurvy is let untreated.
Clover is a good source of Vitamin C, so it can help drop kick scurvy in the throat.
2. Improved Digestion
There’s fiber in clover, which can help with digestion. Cavies have to constantly move food through their digestive tract…or they’ll get a condition called GI stasis.
That’s when guinea pigs waste (yep, poop and other gunk) stops moving through their intestines and *ahem* exiting their bodies.
And, that’s bad news for guinea pigs because they can’t clear food out of their digestive tract on their own. And if it’s not treated…they die.
So, anything that helps guinea pigs have good digestion is a big plus in my book.
Now hay is their main source of fiber (good thing you’re giving your guinea pigs unlimited access to high quality hay, right? right???), but anything in their diet that includes fiber is helpful.
Enter: Clover (ta da!)
Even though it’s not packed with a ton of fiber (yet another reason why hay is so important #justsayin’) every little bit counts.
Is Clover Toxic To Guinea Pigs?
Generally speaking, clover isn’t toxic to guinea pigs. Actually, clover is a good source of nutrition for guinea pigs – it has calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamins A, C, and K.
Typically, the most common varieties of clover aren’t toxic to guinea pigs. White, red, and yellow clover are quite safe as long as they’re fed in moderation. So, are three leaf clovers and four leaf clovers.
There’s so many clover species that it would be impossible to list them all (well I could, but it would make for a really long, potentially boring blog post – and you’re welcome).
So, as long as your guinea pig is eating one of the common types of clover (like white, yellow, or red clover), it’s perfectly safe.
But, there’s a few things you need to be aware of when you’re feeding clover to guinea pigs:
1. Calcium Levels
Certain types of clover have higher levels of calcium than others. For example, red clover is higher in calcium compared to white clover.
Your little friends won’t be able to flush the extra calcium out of their bodies and it can cause some serious health issues.
The calcium sorta lingers there and crystalizes (forms stones)…in their bladder, kidneys, and urinary tract.
And bladder stones are not something that you want your fur babies to have to deal with. It’s often requires surgery to correct. Plus, your fuzz spuds can die from this condition.
So, just keep an eye on how much clover you’re feeding them. Small amounts fed once or twice a week is ideal.
Typically, clover is found growing in fields and meadows. Depending on where you get it from, there’s a good chance that the clover has been sprayed with pesticides.
Pesticides aren’t exactly great for your piggies – they can cause skin problems, respiratory issues, and even death. Poop and pee from other animals can make your fur babies sick, too.
So, if you’re harvesting clover yourself, make sure you get it from a pesticide-free area AND that is hasn’t been drenched in dog or animal waste (let’s just say guinea pigs – like all of us – are sensitive to environmental toxins, okay).
You can also get clover from your own yard or garden. It’s find to feed to your little friends as long as you know it’s pesticide and animal waste – free.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clover Flowers?
Guinea pigs can eat clover flowers as long as they’re fed in moderation. They’re tasty and filled with nutrients that guinea pigs need.
But, too much of anything (with a few exceptions) can be bad for guinea pigs – even clover flowers. So only feed them 2 to 3 times a week to avoid stomach issues or bladder stones from too much calcium.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clover Stems?
Guinea pigs can eat clover stems. If you give guinea pigs clover stems in the right amount (just 2 or 3 stems per serving) and it’s pesticide and animal waste-free, it’s a great addition to their diet.
So, if you’re looking for a way to give your guinea pigs a little nutritional boost – clover stems are a great option.
Can Guinea Pigs Drink Clover Tea?
Avoid giving clover tea to guinea pigs. Most teas contain caffeine, which is harmful to guinea pigs.
Raw, fresh clover is a great source of nutrition for guinea pigs, but when you make clover tea, the nutritional value diminishes.
Plus, caffeine is bad for guinea pigs – it can cause health issues down the road. (and I know you as a good piggie parent don’t want that)
So, while guinea pigs can eat red, yellow, and white clover flowers and stems in moderation, avoid giving them clover tea.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Clover?
Guinea pigs should avoid any kind of cooked clover. In fact, any flower or vegetable cooked in any form shouldn’t be eaten by guinea pigs.
Cooking veggies and flowers takes away all of the nutritional value and can cause serious health problems for guinea pigs. Their digestive systems are only built to handle raw, fresh vegetables and fruits and of course hays and grasses.
So, when it comes to clover – keep it simple. Feed them the raw stems, flowers, or in moderation to avoid stomach problems or bladder stones from consuming too much calcium.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Clover?
Dried clover makes a great guinea pig treat – just don’t overdo it. Dried clover leaves can be sprinkled into their hay or into a snuffle matt for a nutritional boost. Plus, your piggie can enjoy foraging for the dried clover in their hay.
But, too much of a good thing (even dried clover leaves) can be bad for guinea pigs, so only give them a small amount as a treat every once in awhile.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Red Clover?
Guinea pigs can eat red clover, but baby guinea pigs can have it more frequently than adult guinea pigs. Red clover has a higher calcium content, which makes it great for baby guinea pigs (say 6 months old or less) to enjoy. They need the extra calcium and calories to help them grow big and strong.
But, for adult guinea pigs, too much red clover can cause bladder stones from consuming too much calcium. So it’s best to only feed them a small amount of red clover every once in awhile – like other types of clover.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat White Clover?
Guinea pigs can eat white clover. In fact, they can actually have it more frequently than red clover, because the calcium content is lower.
But, don’t go too crazy with the white clover – guinea pigs can eat it in moderation (just like everything else). Too much calcium can cause bladder stones and other health problems for guinea pigs if they’re not careful.
So, while guinea pigs can safely enjoy eating white clover flowers or stems, keep the consumption to a minimum – just like other clover types.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clover Sprouts?
Clover sprouts are safe for guinea pigs to eat in moderation. But, you need to make sure that you wash them well before giving them to your piggies. Sprouts need a warm and humid environment to grow, which means they can be a breeding ground for salmonella and E. Coli.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clover Hay?
Typically, clover hay shouldn’t be eaten by healthy, adult guinea pigs. The high calcium content makes it great for guinea pigs who are pregnant or nursing as well as baby guinea pigs that are 6 months old or less.
But adult cavies will likely end up with bladder or kidney stones from the high calcium content of the hay.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clover Everyday?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat clover everyday. It’s not on the safe list of foods that guinea pigs can enjoy daily like:
- bell pepper
- corn husks and silks
When it comes down to it, clover is too high in calcium to be fed to guinea pigs on a daily basis (can you say bladder stone city?). Instead clover should be rotated in with other safe foods like:
- alfalfa sprouts
- lettuce (red leaf and butter leaf)
- mustard greens
- Swiss chard
- bean sprouts
(P.S. This list isn’t exhaustive. You honestly could have a field day trying new guinea pig safe foods to mix in with clover.)
For a guinea pigs to have a well balanced diet and to be exposed to the wide variety of nutrients they need, clover should only be eaten occasionally – like two or three times a week.
But, if you’re looking for something to add a little excitement to your guinea pigs diet, try mixing in some clover with their other safe food favorites.
But remember: moderation is key.
How Much Clover Should Guinea Pigs Have? How Often?
Guinea pigs can have 1 or 2 clover flowers (with stems) 2 to 3 times a week. Three and four leaf clover can be fed by half a handful 1 to 2 times a week to make sure that you don’t overfeed
And guinea pigs shouldn’t eat any type of clover everyday; instead they should mix it up with other safe foods that guinea pigs can enjoy daily.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Clover?
Clover can be fed to baby guinea pigs from the age of two weeks. They may eat all of the same things as adult guinea pigs after that. When the mother guinea pig stops nursing her babies, they will want to eat solids. So, baby guinea pigs will want a lot more veggie, pellets, and herbs when that happens.
Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Clover?
Pregnant guinea pigs can eat clover as long as they are in moderation. Feeding a flower and stem two or three times a week should suffice.
Guinea pigs should avoid overindulging in clover during pregnancy as it can lead to an upset stomach or worse – bladder stones.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Eating Clover?
Many guinea pigs like eating clover. However, guinea pigs are picky and unpredictable. There’s a chance that your little friend ignore the clover, even if it’s fresh and new.
Sometimes guinea pigs can be very stubborn about what they want to eat – especially when there are other high powered treats like bell peppers or apples around.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Tired Of Eating Clover?
It’s possible for guinea pigs for get tired of eating clover. Actually, guinea pigs can get tired of eating anything – except for their favorite foods. It’s always a good idea to mix up your guinea pig’s diet with new safe foods to keep them from getting bored.
So, if you’re noticing that your guinea pig isn’t as enthusiastic about clover as they used to be, try mixing it up with a different safe food for guinea pigs.
How To Introduce Clover To Your Guinea Pig
Follow the steps below when introducing guinea pigs to clover:
- Wait until your guinea pig is at least two weeks old.
- Only give them a small amount of clover – a little piece of stem and a bit of flower.
- Watch them carefully for 24 hours.
- If they have a bad reaction (ex stomach aches or loose stools), stop feeding them clover and consult your veterinarian.
- If your piggies like the clover, then slowly increase the amount and frequency of clover you feed them until they’re eating regular amounts.
What Happens If A Guinea Pig Eats Too Much Clover?
If a guinea pigs eats too much clover, it’s possible that they could develop diarrhea, bladder stones, and have other health issues. Please keep a close eye on what your cavies eat to avoid stuff like this.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Weeds?
Guinea pigs can eat only certain types of weeds. Some types of weeds are even poisonous for guinea pigs. A common weed that guinea pigs can eat are oxtails. But, they can also eat cleavers, chickweed, dandelion weed, oxalis, plantain, yarrow and nut grass.
What Weeds Are Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?
The following weeds are toxic for guinea Pigs: black nightshade, buttercup, Carolina jessamine, deadly nightshade, English ivy, foxglove, poppies, bindweed, Japanese honeysuckle, Jerusalem cherry and Jimson weed (locoweed).
Some weeds look so similar that it can be tough to tell which ones guinea pigs can eat and which ones are poisonous.
For safety sake, when you’re foraging for weeds (or flowers) to feed your guinea pig, it’s best to take a foraging manual with you or to look up the types of weeds that are safe to eat online.
If you’re not sure if a weed is safe for guinea pigs to eat, don’t give it to them! It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your guinea pig.
Where Can I Find Clover To Feed My Guinea Pigs?
You can find clover for your guinea pigs in the wild or even in the grass or flower beds of your own yard. To feed guinea pigs clover, you can go to a park, your yard, or a meadow and forage for it yourself (in permitted areas only) or purchase dried clover leaves from some local pet stores.
Foraging is when you search for plants and other resources in the wild. And clover makes excellent forage for guinea pigs.
If you plan on foraging clover (or another other wild plant) for your guinea pigs, make sure you follow these safety tips:
- Check with your local municipality to see if foraging is allowed in your area. Avoid private properties and areas that aren’t available to the public.
- Never eat anything you find while foraging unless you are 100% sure that it is safe for guinea pigs to eat. Foraging is hard. You have to know which plants are safe and which ones are not. If you pick the wrong plant, it can make your pets sick. But there are plenty of common plants that you’ll know right away since they look different from other plants.
- Take a foraging manual or guidebook with you when you go foraging, or look up the types of plants that are safe to eat online.
- Don’t forage by the side of busy road or on the edges of field. The exhaust from the cars can be poisonous. Plus, you might get hit by a car.
- Take just what you need – don’t strip the area bare! Clover (and other plants) can take a while to grow back and you want to be respectful of the other wildlife that might depend on the plants for food, shelter, etc.
- Only pick the youngest, freshest plants, because they’re usually the tastiest. Older plants tend to be a tad bitter.
- Be aware of the dangers of foraging, like ticks, snakes and plants that can cause skin irritation.
- Only collect plants from areas that have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.
Let’s Wrap Up
Well, there you have it. Guinea pigs can eat clover in moderation. Whether is the red or white flowers or the tasty stems, it’s a good source of calcium and other nutrients.
But, like with anything, too much of a good thing can be bad.
So, keep an eye on your guinea pig for any adverse reactions after eating clover and adjust the amount and frequency you give it accordingly. And make sure you avoid poisonous plants if you do decide to forage for your furry, little friends
And when in doubt, check with your guinea pig’s veterinarian. They can give you the final say on whether clover is safe for guinea pigs to eat or not.
I hope you found this article helpful.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for reading!