Is Rice Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat? (Find Out Here)

It’s important to understand what to feed your guinea pigs. However, understanding which foods should be avoided is essential information to have. Can guinea pigs eat rice?

Rice shouldn’t be fed to guinea pigs. Rice is a grain, and grains are not good for them. Rice is also inedible to guinea pigs because it must be cooked, and they should never consume cooked food. They’re herbivores since they can only eat fruits, vegetables, and a few other plants.

Keep reading to learn more about the hazards of rice for guinea pigs. You’ll also learn some healthy alternatives to rice that you can include in your piggie’s diet.

What Is Rice?

can guinea pigs eat rice

Rice is a grain that is mostly used in human food but occasionally fed to pets. It’s a major food staple and the most important crop in Asia.

It’s also one of the most produced foods all over the world. They are similar to wheat grains, although they’re a bit less hard than wheat kernels.

If you want some more information about what guinea pigs can safely eat, check out these posts: Are Bananas Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat? (Find Out Here) and Will Eating Corn Hurt Your Guinea Pig? (You Need To Know!)

Why Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat Rice?

Feeding your fur babies rice is a bad idea. Piggies are vegetarians and herbivores. That means they can only eat plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Pigs have sensitive digestive systems that are designed to digest plant matter. It contains “good bacteria” that helps them break down produce that they eat. It can struggle to process complex carbs and sugars, so they need more nutritious food sources.

Even some produce that cavies can eat safely can be difficult for them to break down (e.g. kale, broccoli) in large amounts and make them gassy. So, adding a grain to your guinea pig’s diet could potentially cause a number of issues.

Additionally, it has very little nutritional value for your fur babies. So, pet parents beware: processed grains (like rice) aren’t the best food for your pet.

What Would Happen If A Guinea Pig Ate Rice?


If you feed your fur babies rice – especially to the exclusion of other more appropriate guinea pig foods – there’ll be a lot of problems. So, what happens if guinea pig eats it?

Here’s the lowdown on what could happen:

Weight gain 

Rice contains sugar and tons of carbs, which causes weight gain. While it isn’t enough to make it very appealing to guinea pigs, it’s enough to cause a weight increase.

Not only that, it’ll make your piggie feel full without giving your little friend essential nutrients to keep it healthy.

Even healthy treats like carrots, apples and bananas will promote weight gain if they are the staple of their diet.

So make sure your little friends eats a variety of vegetables and fruits instead of just one or two kinds. This will help to prevent weight gain and digestive issues at the same time.  

Vitamin C Deficiency

Guinea pigs’ bodies do not produce vitamin C naturally, so they must get it indirectly through diet and supplementation. Additionally, when they ingest this vitamin, they cannot store it.

Fresh fruits are a great alternative since they are reliant on their meals for energy. Rice has no vitamin C, so if your cavy eats more of it instead of other healthier foods, there’s a chance that they’ll get sick from scurvy. Scurvy is the disease that results from a vitamin C deficiency. The symptoms are swollen joints, lethargy, hair loss, weakness, and overall illness.

Fiber Deficiency

White rice has a shallow fiber content (brown rice is a better alternative, but it is still not ideal). As a result, guinea pigs don’t digest sugars too well, and they get cramps or loose stools from excess sugar. This means that piggies who eat it are in danger of experiencing indigestion and constipation. And maybe even bloat.

⭐Key Takeaway:

Rice isn’t the best source of food for guinea pigs. There are many different foods that provide more nutritional value to your piggies and should be eaten instead of rice. Weight gain, vitamin C, and fiber deficiency are just some of the issues that can arise from cavies eating rice.

If you want some more information about what guinea pigs can safely eat, check out these posts: Is Cabbage Toxic To Your Guinea Pig? (Find Out Here) and Will Eating Mango Hurt Your Guinea Pig? (Explained Now)

Can My Guinea Pig Eat Rice Cakes?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat rice cakes for the same reason they shouldn’t eat rice. Rice cakes will give your piggies digestive issues. Plus, the cakes will eventually lead to weight gain and deficiencies in important nutrients.

And guinea pigs aren’t supposed to eat cooked food, remember? Any processed or cooked food can be harmful for piggies.

If you feel that your guinea pig has developed a taste for rice cakes, switch to a healthier option. Unprocessed treats are always better than processed ones. And keep in mind that treats should only be given in very small amounts (i.e. once per week).

⭐Key Takeaway:

Rice cakes are just as bad for guinea pigs as plain rice. If you want to give your pet treats, choose something healthier like fruit or veggies instead!

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Brown Rice?

When it comes to grains, brown rice is better than white rice; but it isn’t the best. Although brown rice is better for us humans, it’s still a food that you don’t want to give your guinea pig.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rice Chex Or Rice Krispies?

I think it’s easy to see why this one should be a “no” too. All processed foods and tend to cause digestive issues in guinea pigs. Additionally, processed foods are low in nutritional value and can lead to major health issues over time. So, avoid cereals period, if you want to keep your furry friend healthy.

If I’ve Already Given My Guinea Pigs Rice, Will They Die? 

First of all: breathe. Secondly, don’t freak out. If you only gave your little friends a small amount of rice, then the odds of it harming them are pretty small.

But, you do need to keep a close eye on your cavies to make sure that they don’t suffer any allergic reaction or digestive problems from the rice.

Keep a close eye on your cavies for the next 24 hours or so. Specifically, look for the following signs of pain and discomfort:

  • grinding teeth
  • being arched over
  • unwillingness to move
  • squeaks or squeals of pain
  • rapid breathing

If your guinea pig shows any of these signs or you just want to make sure that they’re safe, then take your cavy to the vet for an examination.

Guinea Pigs Eating Habits

Guinea Pigs are plant-eating rodents that have been domesticated from their wild family members and roamed the forests searching for vegetation.

When it comes to eating habits, this creature exhibits very distinct characteristics; this is why it’s crucial to take into consideration the following before feeding your pet:

  • They are greedy feeders who are oblivious to what they can and cannot consume. So they’ll happily eat contaminated food, utterly unaware of that it could kill them.
  • They’ll gnaw on most anything and everything they can get their hands on.
  • They are natural foragers, which means that digging and scavenging is in their blood.
  • Because their teeth are constantly growing, they need a diet rich in fibrous foods to help them wear down their teeth naturally – like hay and untreated, fresh grass. Otherwise, they may experience major dental issues. Rice doesn’t really help with this issue.

Bottom line?

As the pet parent, you have to make sure that what you’re giving your piggies is safe, nutritious and natural. Plain old rice (or any processed versions of it) isn’t in any of those categories!

What Can Be Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?

can guinea pigs eat rice

Guinea pigs are herbivores, so they can’t consume anything made from animals. So, that means no meat.

But, there are a number of other items that aren’t healthy for cavies. In fact, some of them might cause severe health issue and maybe even death.

This isn’t an exhaustive list. But, you need to avoid giving your piggies the following items:

  • cakes, cookies, or any kind of baked goods
  • iceberg lettuce
  • coffee, soda, or anything with caffeine
  • nuts & seeds (choking hazards)
  • potato tops (a toxic food)
  • tomato stems and leaves
  • any kid of dairy products (e.g. cream cheese, cottage cheese)
  • moldy, spoiled food will cause health issues for piggies
  • onions, garlic, and potatoes (all these items are harmful)  
  • actually, any kind of processed food (e.g. chips, pretzels)

Even some household plants are harmful to them. So, it’s best to keep them away from places like flower pots, your garden, and outdoor areas.

Also remember that some foods can be harmful even in small amounts.

So just because you give a tiny bite of something doesn’t mean it’s okay for your cavies to eat the whole thing! You should always monitor what you’re feeding to your little friends.

What Should My Guinea Pig Eat?

Nutrition is crucial for guinea pigs. Chronic diarrhea, obesity, heart, liver, and kidney disorders can all be caused by a nutritional imbalance. 

Feed your piggies on a regular schedule. It can be once or twice a day.  But, make sure that you do it the same time each day, so that you don’t forget.

Remove any pelleted food that is left uneaten after one hour, and discard any fresh fruits or vegetables that are left uneaten after 24 hours to prevent obesity.

It would help if you did the following to keep your fur babies happy and healthy:

  1. Ensure that your little friends have access to fresh, untreated grass and grass hay at all times.
  2. Daily, provide a variety of fresh leafy green vegetables and herbs. Put be careful of the portion size. No more than 1 cup per piggie.
  3. Give your piggies a source of Vitamin C in their food (e.g. bell peppers)
  4. Guinea pigs cannot synthesize vitamin C from other foods. Leafy green vegetables and bell peppers are high in vitamin C and should be offered to your cavies daily. But, only 2 to 3 times a week. Most leafy veggies have a high calcium content (and can cause urinary tract stones) so you don’t want to overfeed it to your piggie.
  5. Make sure you purchase organic grass, herbs, fruits, and veggies that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. Or thoroughly wash what you plan on giving your piggies.
  6. Allow your little friends to eat new foods gradually.  This will allow their digestive system time to adjust and avoid getting sick.
  7. Always have clean, fresh water available.


It is now clear that guinea pigs are unable to digest grain, which means they should never eat rice, whether cooked or raw. It’s entirely unsuitable for a guinea pig.

In the end, rice barely qualifies as half-way decent food source. Allowing your fur babies to eat rice comes with a lot of risks and no reward.

Furthermore, there are many types of food you can provide your pet with that are much more nutritionally beneficial.

So, I think it’s safe to say that: No, guinea pigs can’t or shouldn’t eat rice. Take it off your guinea pig food list.  Or if it’s already on there, burn the list and start fresh – but only include guinea pig healthy foods.

Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Raman, R. (n.d.). Is white rice healthy or bad for you? Healthline.

What do I need to know about my Guinea pigs’ health? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions.

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