Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ham? (Find Out Now)

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Not knowing what to feed your guinea pig can be pretty irritating – especially if the only meal available is ham and your little friend is hungry. If you’re a guinea pig owner, you may be wondering if it’s safe for your pet to eat ham.

No, guinea pigs can’t eat ham. They’re herbivores, which means they can only eat veggies, fruits, herbs, grasses, and roots. And since ham is a fatty, processed meat, eating it can cause health problems for your guinea pigs.

a picture of a guinea pig wondering if he can eat ham

Since guinea pigs can’t eat ham, it is important to not give them ham to eat. If they eat ham, it could make them sick.

Keep reading this article to learn more about why ham should NEVER be on the menu for your little friends.

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

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ham?

a reminder that guinea pigs can't eat ham
Actually, you need to avoid all types of meats when it comes to piggies.

Guinea pigs cannot eat ham, and it’s not advisable for your piggy because of the risks that can emerge after feeding it.

Guinea pigs are herbivores, meaning they eat plant-based diets with no meat.

You might be thinking: “Well, what’s the harm in feeding my cavy a tiny, little piece of ham?”

Well, the harm can be pretty significant.

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The digestive systems of guinea pigs aren’t designed to digest anything other than produce (like fruits and veggies), grasses, roots, and herbs. Cavies lack the GI tract equipment to digest meat, break it down, and extract nutrients.

So, if you fed them ham, all it would do it slog it’s way through their system, causing an upset stomach, possible blockages, and a bunch of other issues, we’re going to cover below.

Why Guinea Pigs Shouldn’t Eat Ham

a decision tree to help people work out that guinea pigs can't eat ham

Every food (except maybe hay and grass) should be fed to cavies with caution, because they can have different effects on your fur babies.

But, processed meats like ham should never be given to guinea pigs because of the following reasons:

1. Digestion Issues

A guinea pig’s digestive system and biology are not like human beings; cavies are not good at processing and breaking down any meat they might happen to eat.

Guinea pigs can’t digest meat or other forms of animal protein because they don’t have the acids, enzymes, and processes needed for digestion in their digestive tract.

If guinea pigs eat ham, it will only lead to bad health consequences such as constipation, leading to more severe illness. Ham also causes cramps, indigestion, and diarrhea in your furry friends if they eat it.

2. Too Much Fat and Cholesterol

Ham contains too many fats and cholesterol that aren’t good for your piggy’s health. Cholesterol can lead to heart disease and other health problems in guinea pigs.

The high levels of unhealthy fats found in ham can cause your piggy to become dangerously overweight, which can then lead to even more health concerns like liver failure, joint pain, respiratory illness, and diabetes.

Plus, that extra layer of fat will make it difficult for your guinea pigs to move around, which can cause them a lot of discomfort (and maybe bumblefoot, urine scald, and other health issues).

When it comes to fat, guinea pigs can only handle small amounts in their diet. So, feeding them ham is a surefire way to make them sick.

3. Food Poisoning Is A Risk

Food poisoning is an illness that is mainly caused by bacterial infections, toxins, or viruses in the food consumed.

Ham can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as Listeria and Staphylococcus aureus (diseases that can kill your piggies) at several stages during its processing. Deli meats like ham, bacon, and salami can be a source of food poisoning for your piggies. 

The contamination might have happened because someone mishandled raw meat, the cleaning services were poor, or the equipment wasn’t clean.

Feeding raw meat to your piggies increases their chance of contracting Salmonella. Raw meat diets may be harmful to your cavy. 

Ham from supermarkets might also contain some toxins used for preservation, and if your piggy consumes it, they are at risk of food poisoning.

When your piggy suffers from food poisoning, it tends to affect its digestive system. The symptoms that will occur are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration due to diarrhea
  • Loss of energy and appetite
  • Loose stool
  • Stomach cramps

What Happens If I Give My Guinea Pig Ham?

If you give your guinea pig ham, the first thing that will happen is that they’ll probably love it (most do).

But just because they like the taste of ham, doesn’t mean it’s good for them. In fact, as we’ve covered, it can be quite dangerous.

The symptoms you might see if your guinea pig eats ham are:

  • Diarrhea (loose stools)
  • Sluggishness
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite.

And if this continues, pretty soon you’re not gonna even have a piggie. You’ll be burying your poor, little friend.

What Happens If My Guinea Pig Accidently Eats Some Ham?

If your guinea pig accidentally eats a little bit of ham, there’s no need to overly upset. He will most likely be alright. However, he may experience some minor stomach upset.

Just increase his hay and take your little friend off of produce for a day or two while his stomach settles. If he’s still having loose stools or seems particularly inactive, then take him to the vet quickly.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Ham?

a warning message that guinea pigs can't eat ham

No, cooked ham isn’t safe for guinea pigs to eat. Cavies can’t digest cooked food at all. Their digestive systems aren’t designed to process it, so it can cause problems like stomach upset, diarrhea and even death.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Spam?

Unfortunately, guinea pigs can’t eat spam because it is a canned meat product, which is very bad for a cavys’ health. SPAM (like all canned meats) is made with a lot of salt and other preservatives that can cause serious health problems in guinea pigs, including death.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Deli Ham?

Deli ham is dangerous for cavies to eat, so don’t feed it to your guinea pig. The high salt content and preservatives are very harmful to guinea pigs and can cause serious 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!


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bacon?

No, guinea pigs can’t eat bacon because it’s a meat, and a processed meat – which makes it even worse for guinea pigs. The high levels of salt and fat in bacon can cause stomach upset, diarrhea and other health problems in cavies.

So keep your guinea pig away from all types of processed meats. They’re bad for their health.

Instead, give them appropriate amounts of fresh leafy greens, herbs, and unlimited hay. These are all safe and healthy for guinea pigs to eat.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pork?

No, guinea pigs can’t eat pork because it’s a meat product. Pork contains high levels of fat and salt, which can cause digestive issues that can be fatal for a guinea pig.

Just like with all processed meats, it’s best to keep your guinea pig away from any kind of pork. Instead, give them plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits (as an occasional treat), as well as unlimited hay – which are all healthy and safe for guinea pigs to eat.

What Meat Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs can’t eat meat at all. Since they’re herbivores, eating meat will make guinea pigs sick. Guinea pigs’ digestive systems aren’t designed for anything other than vegetables, and giving meat to your pet can cause significant health problems.

What Foods Are Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?

Not all foods that people eat are safe for pets. In fact, some foods can be dangerous for them.

Some of the poisonous (or really harmful) foods that you should avoid at all costs for your fur babies include:

  • Potatoes.
  • Avocado.
  • Dried beans and peas.
  • Cabbages.
  • Onions.
  • Nuts.
  • Chocolate.
  • Biscuits.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Xylitol.
  • Meat.
  • Any human food.
  • Any cereals

Any processed food can be really harmful or even poisonous for your beloved guinea pig. So, it’s best to do your research and know what foods are safe for them to eat before feeding anything to your pet.

Best Diet For Guinea Pigs

The best diet you can provide to your guinea pigs is plants and plant-based food, and this should always be fresh to avoid affecting it health wise. Some of the best diet meals that are nutritional for your pig include:

  • Hay and grass (clean, fresh, and good quality only, please)
  • Fresh vegetables like kale, radicchio, endive, and bell peppers that are rich in nutrients.
  • Vitamin C-enriched pellets.
  • Fresh, clean water (always available)
  • And fresh fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries, and nectarines can be given as an occasional treat in the appropriate amounts

As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to what guinea pigs can eat. By providing them with a varied and balanced diet, you can be sure that your guinea pig will stay healthy and happy.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it. If you love your fur babies, you’ll make sure that you are providing them with the best and healthiest diet possible.

And that means steering clear of processed meats, like ham, spam, bacon and pork – and sticking to healthy fruits, vegetables and hay instead.

As a pet parent, you need to be aware of what you can and cannot feed your fur babies. Feeding them contaminated food shortens their life span and makes them more likely to get sick. And I know that you don’t want that for your guinea pigs.

So, make sure to keep processed meats far away from your pet’s diet and stick to healthy, nutritious options that will keep them healthy and happy.

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!


Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Healthy Pets, Healthy People. Salmonella Infection (salmonellosis) and Animals. 2006. Available at: 

Care Guide For Your Guinea Pig

Connor, M(2020) What Guinea Pigs Eat, The Do’s And Dont’s Of Cavy’s Diet.

Coyle, D.(2018) Top 9 Most Foods Likely to Cause Food Poisoning.Top 9 Most Foods Likely to Cause Food Poisoning.

PDSA.Your Guinea Pig’s Diet.

RSPCA. A healthy Diet For Guinea Pigs.

Ham, Sliced, Regular.

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