Will Eating Corn Hurt Your Guinea Pig? (You Need To Know!)

If you have a guinea pig, one of the best ways to care for it is to feed it only the highest quality guinea pig food. Perhaps you’re considering feeding your guinea pig corn. But, can guinea pigs eat corn?

Generally, guinea pigs can eat corn safely. Because of the high sugar content, corn kernels can be eaten once or twice as week as a treat. However, corn husks and silks have much of the same nutritional value as hay, and they can be eaten every day or every other day.

The health and safety of your pet guinea pig are in the palm of your hand. That’s why this article covers all things corn-related, including how much your piggies should eat, what type, as well as any potential risks involved with serving it.

Is Eating Corn Safe For Your Guinea Pigs?

can guinea pigs eat corn

Eating every part of the corn is safe for your guinea pigs as long as take some simple precautions. Corn isn’t any more more dangerous than peppers, tomatoes, or any other sort of food that you’d give your furry friends.

However: not all parts of this starch are equal. Some parts have more nutritional value than others.

In this case, corn silk and the husks provide the bulk of your guinea pig’s recommended dietary fiber. The tough, stringy nature of the silk and the husk helps your guinea pigs grind down their their teeth; aiding in keeping their ever-grown teeth trim.

The kernels and cob, on the other hand, are relatively low in nutritional value and the kernels have a high sugar content. It’s recommended that kernels are only fed once or twice a week as a special treat.

Most guinea pigs gnaw and nibble on the cob, but don’t enjoy eating it as much as they other parts of the cob.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Only serve your piggies raw corn – the fresher, the better. But, it shouldn’t be a regular staple of your fur baby’s diet, rather offered as a treat once in a while.

Why You Should Feed Your Guinea Pigs Corn (the Pros)

One issue with feeding corn to guinea pigs is that they don’t eat the kernels themselves. Instead, they prefer eating the husk and silk around it. And that’s fine, too.

As you’ll see, the corn silk and husks provide more nutritional value than the kernels themselves.

  • Boosts immune system: Kernels have a decent source of antioxidants which provide the body with an essential defense against chronic diseases and cancers. The most common antioxidants found in this starch are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotenoids.
  • Packs energy: Also, the kernels are full of carbohydrates that will give your guinea pig a quick boost of energy.
  • Improves digestion: Husks and silks are very similar to hay and are packed with fiber. Fiber helps with digestion and makes sure that your guinea pig has a healthy digestive tract.
  • Good for teeth: Corn silk and husks can to grind down your piggies’ ever growing teeth, keeping them trim.

⭐Key Takeaway:

Many guinea pigs prefer to eat the husks and silk instead of the kernels. Kernels are a moderate source of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and E and provide a quick boost of energy to piggies due to the carbohydrate content.

If you want learn more about foods that you can (or can’t) feed to your piggies, check out this post I wrote: Find Out If Guinea Pigs Can Eat Endive (Right Now) and The Truth About Blueberries (Can Guinea Pigs Eat Them?)

Can Corn Kill Guinea Pigs? (the Cons)

Unfortunately, many vegetables that guinea pigs eat have some risks associated with them and corn is no different. It won’t kill your guinea pig if you: if you feed it as an occasional treat and watch how much your guinea pig eats.

Honestly, the kernels are what you need to watch out for (all that sugar need to be monitored!). Corn silk and husks can be fed more frequently because of their nutritional value.

One of the most important considerations when feeding your guinea pig a healthy diet is to be mindful about what foods are safe for them. With that said, keep these safety tips in mind to reduce the health risks of feeding your piggie’s this particular starchy food:

  • It’s a treat. Keep it that way: The corn you feed your guinea pig should not constitute the majority of its diet. Sweetcorn is high in calories, and would cause weight gain on cavies if they’re given too much of it. Obesity in guinea pigs can lead to diabetes and a ton of other health problems.
  • Watch the portions you give: If you’re going to feed kernels to your guinea pig, slice the cob into 2 to 3 inch wide pieces. Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat more than that because
  • Broken Teeth: Cavy teeth are pretty durable, but they’re not indestructible. Feeding hard cracked corn to guinea pigs is a bad idea. They could easily break their teeth on the harder kernels.
  • Digestive Issues: If your piggies eat too much of it, then they could have a tough time digesting it. That could make them sick or cause diarrhea. Although many owners will toss the entire cob (husks and silks) into the cage, but it’s better to cut or measure out a 2 to 3 inch piece of the cob. That way, your piggies don’t stuff themselves on the kernels.

⭐Key Takeaway:

In most cases, corn is perfectly find to eat. Just pay attention to which parts your piggies are eating and how much of it to avoid them having issues.

Do Guinea Pigs Like It?  

Many guinea pigs like corn. It seems to be a favorite treat for most piggies. But, a lot prefer the husks and silk. It seems like each piggie has their favorite part of corn on the cob.

I took at poll to see which part piggies prefer. Not all guinea pigs like corn on the cob, but most who do eat it…have their favorite parts!

From the survey it was clear that most piggies prefer husks and silks. About 46.8% of respondents said that their guinea pigs enjoyed the husks and silks the most.

Piggies who literally enjoyed eating EVERY part of the cob (silk, husks, kernels, etc) ran a close second at 41.9%

can guinea pigs eat corn on the cob

The corn on the cob is not harmful for guinea pigs to eat, but you don’t want them to eat all of it at once. 

Some piggies will even go back for seconds or thirds. Please don’t let them do this. Overfeeding your piggie is one of the worse things you can do.

Health Benefits of Corn to Guinea Pigs

Corn is typically yellow but comes in a variety of other colors, such as red, orange, purple, blue, white, and black. For example, blue corn is a variety that contains anthocyanins, or plant-produced pigments responsible for the blue color.

Corn is a starchy vegetable that can provide a number of health benefits. It contains essential minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron which are important for our overall well-being. Because the veggie has a decent amount of fiber it aids with digestion as well!

Eating this veggie on the cob can help your piggie feel more energetic. Corn is rich in proteins, fats, carbs, and calories.

It also has some antioxidants that fight infections. These antioxidant makes their immune system stronger, so little friends don’t get sick quite as much.

The table below shows the nutrients in 100 grams of raw, yellow, sweet corn:

Energy86 cal
Carb18.7g
Sugars6.26g
Fiber2g
Fat1.35g
Protein3.27g
Vitamin C6.8mg
Vitamin A9mg
Calcium2 mg 
Iron.52mg

Best Type For Piggies

Sweet, yellow corn is the variety that’s commonly found in grocery stores. However, if you have the chance to grab the white, sweet corn, you might want to do that instead.

If you take a look at the table below, you’ll see that the nutritional value of the white corn is a little bit better than the yellow. The sugar content is much lower, which makes it a tad healthier for your fur babies.

SugarCarbFiberFat
White Corn, Raw3.22g19g2.7g1.18g
Yellow Corn, Raw6.27g18.7g2g1.35

Why Do Guinea Pigs Prefer Husks To Kernels?

Guinea pigs love the green leafy husks because they’re tasty. But, the husks also appeal to their chewing instinct. Piggies love to chew.

The husks are fibrous and tough to chew (just like hay and grass). This makes it the perfect toothsome snack for piggies to sink their teeth into (pun intended, sorry!.)

In fact, the cob itself make a great nibbling and gnawing toy for piggies, too.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Your piggies might like it if you rip the husks into thin strips. It makes it easier for them to pick up and eat, so they’ll be less frustrated when eating their food!

How Much Corn Can I Give My Guinea Pig? (Feeding Guidelines)

Eating a cup of veggies every day is what the average guinea pig needs. But don’t feed them any more than that!

The recommended ration for corn should be included in that daily cup of veggies, too. Don’t go over the designated daily amount of veggies if you want to keep your friend healthy

That said, take a look at these guinea pig feeding guidelines. They’re good for all ages, whether adult or juvenile.

  • Raw Kernels: packed with sugar, raw sweet corn kernels should be fed no more than 1 to 2 times a week. Only give a few tablespoons of kernels or slice a 2 to 3 inch piece of the cob for your piggies to enjoy
  • Husks: Guinea pigs enjoy eating fresh husks. Bonus points for you if you can find organic husks that are free of pesticides. Since the husks are so similar in nutritional content as hay (low in calories, but a high fiber content), it can be given to them nearly every day without risk of health issues.
  • Silk: Is just as popular with piggies. Also, high in fiber and low in calories, it can be given nearly every day or every other day – just like the husks. As long as it doesn’t exceed the recommended cup a day. Try shredding it up like “piggie spaghetti” and sprinkle in cilantro, parsley, and green bell pepper.
  • Cobs: Generally speaking, piggies enjoy gnawing on the cobs more than actually chewing on them.

Corn husks and silk do a great job of breaking up your guinea pigs’ monotony of daily hay. Piggies love hay, but it’s always nice to add a little bit of variety. When it comes to husk, be sure to include it along with other foods, like hay, and you can do so daily as a treat.

Corn husks are great for guinea pigs, but they shouldn’t be the only veggie that you feed your furry friends.

Make sure you keep your piggie’s diet balanced by including a bunch of leafy greens (like beet leaves, kale, etc) and mineral-filled herbs (e.g. cilantro, parsley) in their daily menu.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Husks are easy to remove from the cob and should only be cut up or broken down if you plan on feeding it to your furry friend right away. If you intend to keep them, husks are best dried and then stored in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to serve them. Dried husk is like hay and will stay fresh for a long while.

How To Dry Corn Husks

Drying corn husks is a great idea because it’s really easy to do. It helps you preserve that tasty treat for your piggies when corn isn’t in season.

  • To dry the husks, lay them out ion single layers of on cookie sheets and set either your oven’s lowest setting (make sure they don’t burn) or let them air-dry for several hours.
  • Then store the pieces in an airtight container in a dark, cool area such as a pantry or a closet.

How To Store Corn and Serve Corn For Your Guinea Pigs

If you want fresh corn, it needs to stay wrapped tightly in a plastic bag. For convenience at home, store the corn on the cob in the refrigerator.

Corn is best served to your piggies on the same day you bought it. If you need to keep it for two to three days, you should pack it in a plastic bag and loosen up the husks so that air can get inside.

Only shuck the corn right before you’re going to feed it to your piggies. That way, the husks will keep it from drying out. If you don’t have room in your refrigerator for all of the husks and corn leaves, then just take a few off.

But make sure that at least one layer of husk is still on. This shouldn’t affect the taste, as long as you do it right before giving it to your furry friends.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Corn Flakes?

Corn flakes are a cereal eaten for breakfast, and it shouldn’t be fed to guinea pigs for a couple of reasons. Take a look below:

  • Corn flakes have a high sugar content. This means that it will spike your guinea pig’s blood sugar levels. This could also lead to the development of diabetes, which is very dangerous for your pet.
  • It has a lot of preservatives and additives (with names I can’t even pronounce!).This can upset your piggie’s stomach. Fresh foods that don’t require preservatives are what you should stick with for your furry friends.

⚠️Warning

Guinea pigs cannot digest milk, and feeding them cereal with dairy will make them seriously sick.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cracked Corn?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat cracked corn. If you feed it to them, then you’re running the risk of dental damage to your guinea pig’s teeth.

Kernels of dried corn meal is called cracked corn. Cracked corn, which is already dry, comes in food mixes and can cause tooth damage if fed to a guinea pig.

Tooth damage can affect how well your piggie is able to eat and possibly be painful to your little one. This can cause your little friends to lose weight and potentially starve.

Avoid the cracked corn and stick with the regular corn. Raw and fresh is best!

Oh, and just so we’re clear.  Don’t feed your guinea pigs’ corn chips or corn tortillas or baby corn cakes or any other sort of processed corn products. It doesn’t matter if it’s made from actual corn kernels, if it’s not uncooked corn, then it’s going to mess with your piggie’s digestive system.

???? Tips & Tricks:

If you’d like your guinea pigs to gnaw on something safely, consider buying them some wooden blocks, apple chew sticks, or willow balls to enjoy. And a big pile of hay is one of the best enrichment toys you can give your little friends.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned, Frozen Corn, Or Cooked Corn?

For the health of your guinea pig, do not feed them canned corn. Salt is often added to preserve each can and this has been shown in previous studies as causing harm for a guinea pigs health.

Guinea pigs cannot properly digest cooked or heavily salted food, so you should never feed them these foods. Their digestive systems are designed to accept raw foods or plants. Adding unusual cooked foods into the mix is sure to make your furry friends really sick.

The last thing you want is for your guinea pig to get sick from bloat or other digestive problems that can be fatal to piggies.

⚠️Warning

Avoid giving your piggie highly processed food in general. Junk food (and the like) are high in calories, sugar and salt. Big no-nos for guinea pigs.  Fresh food is what they need.  Give it to them and they’re less likely to have health issues.

What Guinea Pigs Can Eat

Guinea pigs can enjoy a wide variety of foods. They eat grass (fresh grass that’s untreated, if possible), hay and grains; vegetables, fruits and herbs, and fresh water as part of their regular diet.

Let’s look at some of them in detail below:

  • Your guinea pig needs timothy hay (e.g. orchard, meadow, bermuda) in an unlimited quantity every day. The hay stimulates their digestive system and helps to keep their teeth at a manageable size. Avoid alfalfa hay (which is high in calories and calcium) for healthy adult guinea pigs. It’s best for baby guinea pigs (6 months or younger) and piggie expecting babies themselves.
  • Since guinea pigs don’t produce their own vitamin C, you should feed pellets enriched with Vitamin C to your piggies. They shouldn’t have dried fruit, seeds, or other junk added. Only 1/8 cup of the vitamin-C enriched pellets are allowed per day.
  • You can offer fresh veggies one or two times a day to the pigs, equivalent to about 1 cup total per pig per day. It’s important to provide variety and mix up what you feed your piggies each day. Bell peppers (green and yellow) which are high in vitamin C can be fed every day.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Steer away from store-bought treats. They’re usually loaded with sugar and other junk that your guinea pigs shouldn’t have. Most piggies enjoy simpler treats like carboard stuffed with hay and forage or herbs a couple of times a day for entertainment (and snacking).

Foods Guinea Pigs Should Avoid

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat certain foods because they are choking hazards, lack nutritional value or have a high fat content. Take a look at the bulleted points below to see some foods that you should avoid giving to your furry friends:

  • Caffeine products, garlic, mushrooms, peanut butter, dairy products, potatoes, sugary, sweet treats, and bread are big no-nos. Don’t give them to your piggies.
  • You should never feed your guinea pig any plants that you may have picked up outside unless you’re certain that they haven’t been treated with pesticides. Feeding your piggie plants, flowers, or branches treated with insecticides and other bug-killing poisons will make them sick.
  • Since guinea pigs are herbivores, meat isn’t part of their diet. They literally cannot process it in their digestive system. Piggies don’t need any types of meat, so it is best if you avoid from feeding it to them.
  • One of the greatest dangers for guinea pigs is receiving an unbalanced diet. Some common foods, such as mango and beet leaves are healthy in moderation but can be harmful when fed too much. A healthier diet is low in carbs, high in fiber and protein, and without any unhealthy fats.
  • Keep acidic fruits and veggies (e.g. oranges, grapefruit, pineapple) to a minimum.

⭐Key Takeaway:

Be aware of the types of food that your guinea pigs can and can’t eat. When in doubt, don’t feed it to them. Better to be safe than sorry.

Final Thoughts About Guinea Pigs And Corn

So now you know.

Guinea pigs need to steer clear of cooked corn and stick with raw, fresh corn. And it comes with it’s own set of health benefits if eaten in moderation and with proper clarification.

Guinea pigs can safely eat corn when: Corn kernels are provided as a treats, but it is not used in the diet. Corn husks and silks can be fed to piggies almost every day. They have a lot of fiber and are good for them.

Corn can be given on the cob, raw and uncooked, but avoid frozen, canned and cracked corn. Corn husks and silks can be fed almost

Corn brings variety and fiber to your piggie’s menu. Both of which they need to keep a healthy digestive tract and strong immune system.

At the end of the day, just make sure that you guinea pigs have a balanced diet filled with nutritious food and an abundance of fiber.

I hope you’ll consider letting your pet guinea pigs have corn kernels as a treat. Or better yet, let them enjoy some husks and silks as a tasty meal.

Corn husks. (n.d.). ScienceDirect.com | Science, health and medical journals, full text articles and books. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/corn-husks

FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168538/nutrients

FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169998/nutrients

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

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