Is It Safe to Feed Guinea Pigs Turnips? (You Need To Know)

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Guinea pigs can eat a lot of different things, but not everything is good for them. You should start by knowing which foods are safe for them and which ones are not. For example, can guinea pigs eat turnips?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat turnips safely. Turnips are a good source of vitamins C, K, folate and other essential nutrients for guinea pigs. However, you need to be careful with the amount of calcium and sodium in turnips. Overfeeding will cause bladder and kidney stones and other dangerous health issues in guinea pigs.

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

Guinea pigs and turnips can be a healthy combination. But it’s important to follow the guidelines for feeding your pet. If you don’t, your piggy might get sick.

Let’s dive into some more information about the nutritional value of turnips and how to feed them to your guinea pig.

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

What are Turnips?

Turnips are a root vegetable that is related to the cabbage family. They can be white, yellow or purple and have a slightly sweet and peppery taste. Turnips can be eaten cooked (for humans) or raw (for piggies and humans) and are a good source of vitamins C, K and folate.

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Typically, turnips are grown for their greens, but the roots can also be eaten (more on this later) . Turnip greens are a good source of vitamins A, C and K.

All in all, turnips are a healthy vegetable for both humans and guinea pigs. But you need to be careful with the amount of calcium and sodium in turnips if you’re feeding them to your guinea pig.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Turnips? (The Good, The Bad, & More)

a tip that explains that guinea pigs can eat turnips safely

Yes, guinea pigs can definitely eat turnips in moderation. Turnips come with Vitamin C and a whole host of other nutrients and minerals to promote your pig’s health and happiness. But as you offer this cruciferous vegetable to your pig, stick to the correct way of doing things to dodge trouble.

Giving your piggie pets turnips is a good idea because turnips have a lot of minerals and vitamins that are good for them.

One example is that they contain a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for keeping your little friend’s immune system healthy and helping to prevent diseases like scurvy (more on this later).


Turnips should be fed to your fuzz spuds with caution.

Yes, turnips can turn out to be the worst nightmare for your guinea pet, although that can happen from just about any food or treat. Even so, never take the simple feeding tips so lightly when serving turnips to cavies.

So you might be wondering what the consequences of feeding turnips to guinea pigs?

We’re gonna take a look at that. But first, let’s look at the pros of giving turnips to guinea pigs.

Is Turnip Good for Guinea Pigs?

Turnips are a good food for guinea pigs. They have a lot of nutrients that will help with things like inflammation and keeping their immune system strong. Turnips can also help prevent scurvy.

This means that turnips are one of the healthy foods you should not keep away from your pet. Once they eat it, the nutrients in turnips work hard to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Let’s take a deep dig into that in more detail:

1. Helps With Inflammation

Guinea pigs, just like other pets, can experience inflammation. In fact, the leading cause of death in guinea pigs is pneumonia, which is a type of inflammation.

Guinea pigs that eat turnips reap the benefits of the anti-inflammatory properties in these vegetables. This is thanks to the antioxidants present in turnips.

So, it certainly can’t hurt to add turnips to your guinea pig’s diet in order to help with inflammation.

2. Strengthens Your Guinea Pigs Immune System

Just like people, guinea pigs can get sick. That’s why it’s important to include foods in their diet that’ll keep them healthy.

And yes, turnips are a great way to help your pet’s immune system stay healthy. They have a variety of vitamins, zinc, and iron that’ll help keep your guinea pig’s immune system strong and able to fight diseases.

Turnips are a good source of vitamins C and K, both of which play an important role in keeping the immune system strong.

When the immune system is functioning optimally, your pet is less likely to get sick. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone.

3. Helps Guinea Pigs Maintain Their Weight

Turnips are a good source of nutrients, but they’re low in fat and calories. There’s only 28 calories in 100 grams of this veggie when it’s fresh and raw. That means that turnips aren’t likely to make your guinea pig gain weight.

The vegetables are good for making guinea pigs feel full – it’s the fiber content that makes this happen. This makes them eat less, and that can help overweight pets lose weight.

So, if your guinea pig is struggling to maintain a healthy weight, adding turnips to their diet can help.

4. Scurvy Prevention

Scurvy can be a serious problem for cavies. This happens when they don’t have enough of a nutrient called vitamin C.

When your piggie doesn’t have enough vitamin C, it can lead to problems with collagen, blood clotting, and skin and joint issues.

Turnips are a good source of Vitamin C, which is important for keeping your guinea pig safe from diseases like scurvy.

5. Helps With Hydration

Like all other animals, guinea pigs need water to survive. They can get dehydrated easily – especially in hot weather.

Turnips can help with this because they’re a good source of water. In fact, the average turnip and they’re about 91% water. This means that they can help keep your guinea pig hydrated and healthy.

Some cavies get the majority of their hydration from the veggies that they eat, so it’s usually a good idea to work a few high water content foods into their menu rotation.

6. Improves Bone Health

Turnips have about 30mg of calcium in a 100g serving. That might make you a little hesitant to give them to your guinea pig.

And that’s because you’ve probably heard that calcium can cause health problems in their pet piggies like bladder and kidney stones (which can actually kill your guinea pig if it’s left untreated). But, this is only an issue if you overfeed the turnips to your piggie.

You shouldn’t stop giving your guinea pigs calcium, even though there are some problems associated with it. Guinea pigs need this mineral in their diet to keep their joints and mobility in top shape.

Calcium promotes healthy bones and teeth. One of the most important nutrients for pigs is one that keeps them healthy when they jump and play, as well as helps their teeth grow strong.

Risks To Consider When Feeding Turnips To Guinea Pigs

a decision tree to help people figure out if they can eat turnips

As we said before, you need to be careful when feeding guinea pigs turnips. Every food that you feed your guinea pigs can be dangerous if you just feed them whatever without thinking about it

1. Kidney And Bladder Stones

As we mentioned before, calcium can cause health problems in your guinea pig like bladder and kidney stones.

But, this is only an issue if you overfeed the turnips to your piggie. You shouldn’t stop giving your guinea pigs calcium, even though there are some problems associated with it. Guinea pigs need this mineral.

Feeding guinea pigs too many turnips can cause bladder and kidney stones. This is because there’s a decent amount of calcium in turnips.

Kidney and bladder stones can be dangerous and can life-threatening to piggies if they’re untreated. If you do not notice them until they are in the advanced stages, treatment may not be very effective.

Some signs that your little friends might have kidney or bladder stones include:

  • painful urination (squeaking in pain)
  • blood in the urine
  • straining to pee
  • and frequent trips to the water bowl.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your guinea pigs, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Your fur babies will need antibiotics to get well.

2. Diarrhea

In cavies, diarrhea is something you want to watch out for. Loose, squishy, smelly poops can be a sign of an underlying condition, it can be caused by feeding your little friends unhealthy food, or it can happen because of overfeeding.

Diarrhea can be a direct result of feeding your little friends too many turnips at once – especially if they’ve never had them before. Since they’re so high in water (remember about 91% of a turnip is water!), they can quickly cause your furry friends to have watery stool.

If you notice that your guinea pigs have diarrhea after eating turnips (or any other food), seriously cut back on the amount that you’re feeding them.

And you might even need to cut out all veggies for 24 hours or so and just stick to hay and veggies until your cavies’ poops are back to normal.

3. Sodium Is A Bit High

Calcium isn’t the only nutrient that you need to be careful with when feeding your furry friends turnips.

Sodium is also something to keep in mind, because it can cause health problems if your piggies consume too much of it.

The sodium content in turnips isn’t sky-high, but it’s still something to take into consideration – especially if your guinea pigs are already eating a lot of sodium in their diet.

(If you don’t know how much sodium your piggies are eating, that’s just another reason to start meal planning for your piggies. Just sayin’.)

Just like with calcium, you don’t want to stop feeding your furry friends turnips altogether because of the sodium content. Just make sure that you’re not giving them too many at once and that you’re balancing it out with other healthy foods.

Precisely, turnips have more than twice as much sodium as calcium, making high blood pressure and other heart diseases so likely. But again, in the recommended amounts, sodium definitely benefits your pet.

4. Food Poisoning From Pesticides

One of the dangers of turnips is that they can have harmful pesticides on them. Pesticides are chemicals that farmers use to kill bugs and other pests that can damage their crops. Unfortunately, these chemicals can also be harmful to animals – including guinea pigs.

The good news is that you can wash the turnips before feeding them to your furry friends to help reduce the amount of pesticides that they consume.

A water-vinegar wash is usually the most effective way to clean veggies.

Just mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and spray it on the turnips (or any other veggies that you’re feeding your furry friends).

Let them sit for a few minutes, then rinse them off with clean water.

You can also buy pre-washed and organic turnips to reduce the chances of your furry friends getting sick from pesticides and to set your mind at ease.

How Do Turnips Compare To Other Similar Root Vegetables?

Even with all those risk factors, turnips make a healthy treat for guinea pigs, especially when we compare them to other root vegetables.

I put a comparison table to show how the risk level of feeding turnips compares to that of other root vegetables.

The table looks at how much calcium, fiber, and sugar is in different root vegetables per 100 grams, as per USDA.

Celery root43mg1.8g1.6g100mg

From the table, turnips are the second-lowest in calcium after jicama. This means that they are less likely than most other root vegetables to cause calcium-related issues.

Plus, turnips don’t have as much sugar and sodium as other root veggies, which definitely makes them a healthier option out of the root vegetables listed above.

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!


Nutrients In Turnips

So, let’s look at the nutritional composition of turnips and how they can benefit guinea pigs.

Based on the information provided by USDA, every 100 grams of turnips contains the following;

  • Water – 91.9g. There are many benefits to giving your guinea pig water. It can help with digestion, keep them hydrated, and help their coat stay healthy.
  • Calories – 28Kcal. Guinea pigs that eat turnips aren’t likely to get fat because there are not many calories in turnips.
  • Protein – 0.9g. It’s important for muscles, cartilage, bones, and skin. Protein will also help repair worn-out tissues.
  • Carbohydrate – 6.43g. They provide energy to the different parts of our body like the brain, heart, and nervous system.
  • Fiber – 1.8g. Improves digestive health and provides the triggers satiety in obese pigs to facilitate weight loss.
  • Sugar – 3 8g. Not a lot, so as long as you keep the portions small, it shouldn’t be too bad.
  • Fats – 0.1g. Low fat is an awesome thing since it can help reduce the risk of obesity.
  • Vitamin C – 23mg. This antioxidant will help protect guinea pigs from free radical damage, help them build up their body’s defense system, and prevent scurvy. It will also do other important things for them.
  • Calcium – 30mg. Important for developing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. However, it can also lead to the development of bladder stones in high doses (don’t’ overfeed them).
  • Iron – 0.3mg. It’s not much, but it’ll go a long way to help guinea pigs make more blood cells. That helps maintain a healthy blood level and helps stop them from getting anemia.
  • Sodium – 67mg. A small amount of it is helpful in maintaining fluid balance, keeping the lungs, heart, brain, and joints healthy – but too much can be a major problem for your piggies.
  • Potassium – 191mg. It removes excess amounts of sodium and benefits the nervous system and cardiovascular.
  • Magnesium – 11mg. It’s a significant compound for healthy bone formation, better cardiovascular health, reducing anxiety, and other roles in the body.
  • Phosphorus – 27mg. Essential for the manufacture genetic material, repair of worn-out tissues, manage energy usage and keep their bones and teeth in a healthy state.
  • Zinc – 0.27mg. This mineral helps in the immune system function, the healing of wounds, and keeping your pig’s senses of taste and smell sharp.
  • Manganese – 0.134mg. The mineral has strong antioxidant properties that can protect against free radicals, heart diseases, and cancer (which is just what you want for your fur babies, right?).
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.09mg. Guineas can’t produce Vitamin B6 and need to get it from foods such as turnips. This vitamin is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
  • Niacin – 0.4mg. Need a skin and brain health boost for your piggies? Then this is what you need.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Turnips Everyday?

No, guinea pigs can’t eat turnips every day. Turnips are too high in sodium and calcium, so they can cause serious health effects when offered as an everyday treat.

It is important not to give your pet too much sodium because it can cause heart problems. Too much calcium combined with oxalates can lead to kidney and bladder stones. And too much sodium can also cause dehydration.

That’s why it’s best to offer turnips as an occasional treat rather than part of their regular, everyday diet.

How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Turnips?

Guinea pigs can eat turnips up to 2 to 3 times a week, with at least 2 days between feedings. That way, your guinea pig will get the benefits of eating turnips without developing any negative side effects.

Offering your pet turnips will depend on what else you offered it. Avoid giving them turnips the same day that you offer other veggies that are high in calcium or sodium whenever possible.

That way, you can make sure your guinea pig gets all the nutrients it needs without overloading on any particular type of nutrient.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Turnips?

No, it’s not safe for guinea pigs to eat canned turnips. Eating canned turnips will cause guinea pigs health issues. The canning process brings in preservatives, salts, and other additives. None of these compounds is safe for guinea pigs, even in smaller amounts.

Generally, avoid feeding guinea pigs – or any other pet – canned foods. These foods are safe for humans but not cavies. Canning is dangerous, especially for foods already containing high amounts of sodium, for instance, turnips.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Turnips?

No, don’t give guinea pigs cooked turnips.  They are indigestible to them and can cause health issues. As such, when offering turnips to piggies, keep them raw.

Unlike humans and several other pets, guinea pigs should never eat any cooked food, leave alone turnips. Their digestive system just doesn’t support anything cooked.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Turnips?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat frozen turnips. Typically, frozen turnips don’t offer the same nutritional value as the fresh variety, will difficult for piggies to chew, and your little friends might get their tongue stuck on one if they’re cold enough.

(Uhhh, yeah, so can’t eat those).

And since their digestive systems are delicate, eating frozen turnips might cause health problems like bloating and gas. So, if you have any turnips that are about to go bad, it’s best to just throw them out rather than feed them to your guinea pig frozen.

Do your piggies a favor and only offer them fresh, raw turnips. That way, they can enjoy all the nutritional benefits this vegetable has to offer without any of the negative consequences.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Turnip Skin or Peel?

Yes, turnip skin is healthy for guinea pigs. But be careful – the outer part can carry pesticides and other harmful substances. As such, wash turnips thoroughly to remove all these compounds.

If you’re thinking of giving your pet turnips, they should be okay as long as you wash them well. But, you can also buy organic turnips to ensure there are no harmful chemicals on the skin.

Can Guinea Pigs With Bladder Stones Eat Turnips?

No, guinea pigs with bladder stones should not eat turnips at all. The high calcium content in turnips will make the bladder stones and kidney stones worse, which will make your pet even more uncomfortable.

If one of your piggies is suffering from bladder stones, you’re going to need to switch up their diet . Talk to your vet about what kind of food would be best for them, and make sure to avoid giving them foods high in calcium.

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Turnips?

Yes, baby guinea pigs can eat turnips after they’re weaned. Guinea pigs need a lot of calcium for their bones and teeth, so turnips are a great food choice.

Baby guinea pigs depend on the mother’s milk for the first four weeks. After this time, they are ready and can eat vegetables like turnips.

But you have to stick to the correct way of doing things. For instance, cut the vegetable into tiny pieces unlikely to cause choking. Again, begin with a small piece (introduced slowly) and increase it over time if all seems to be okay.

Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Turnips?

Yes, pregnant guinea pigs can eat turnips. Turnips are a good source of Vitamin C which helps keep pregnant guinea pigs from getting scurvy, and will help keep their immune system strong.

You might know that pregnant guinea pigs need more vitamin C than other pigs. That’s why it’s a good idea to give them treats that are rich in vitamin C.

Just make sure you keep in mind the possible dangers of these treats so that everything stays safe.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Turnips?

Guinea pigs have different likes and preferences. So, the answer may vary from one guinea pig to another. Some piggies love the slightly peppery taste of turnips while others can’t stand it.

However, what we can say is that turnips are good for guinea pigs and you should consider adding them to their diet. After all, they offer plenty of essential nutrients that your furry friend needs to stay healthy.

So, if your guinea pig hasn’t tried turnips before, why not give it a go? You might be surprised at how much they enjoy this crunchy, nutritious treat.

How To Introduce Turnips To Guinea Pigs

a tip that says that guinea pigs can eat turnips or anything else usually as long as you introduce the food slowly

It’s pretty simple, really. Just like any other vegetable you’re introducing to your guinea pig, start by giving them a small piece of turnip to see how they react.

Watch them carefully for bad reactions like bloat or diarrhea (for at least 24 hours). If everything seems fine, you can gradually increase the amount of turnip you give them until they’re up to a full serving – a small slice or a one inch cute.

How To Keep Turnips Fresh For Your Guinea Pigs

You can keep turnips fresh for your guinea pigs by putting them in a refrigerator. This will keep them fresh for a longer amount of time, but it won’t change the nutritional value of the turnips.

However, as we mentioned earlier, don’t offer turnips that you just took out of the fridge. They will have lost some of their vitamins and minerals if you wait too long.

What Kinds Of Other Root Vegetables Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

There are other types of root vegetables that guinea pigs can eat. These include carrots, jicama, celery root, parsnips, and rutabagas. As always, make sure to give them only a small amount and not too often to be safe.


Carrots are a good source of vitamin A, which is important for your pet’s eye health. They also contain other vitamins and minerals, making them a healthy occasional treat for guinea pigs. But keep the amount you give them small since they’re high in sodium, calcium, and sugar.


Jicama is a good food for guinea pigs with digestive problems, because of the high fiber content. Guinea pigs need fiber, but too much fiber can be bad for their stomachs. So, offer only a small amount as an occasional treat.

Celery Roo

Feeding your guinea pigs celeriac a couple of times a week is a good way to give them vitamins and minerals. Celeriac can be mixed in with other leafy greens and vegetables to give them a balanced, nutritious diet.

Celery offers a good balance of vitamins and minerals to guinea pigs; however, it has a quite a bit of calcium and sodium.

If you must give your piggie a celery root treat, try to make it a special occasion instead of giving them one every day. Also, don’t give them a lot of treats right before or after they’ve had one that’s high in sodium and calcium.


Parsnips are a root vegetable that is safe for guinea pigs. Parsnips contain Vitamin C, which helps keep guinea pigs from getting scurvy, and they also promote cardiovascular health . Not only that, but parsnips can also help with weight management because they’re low in calories and high in fiber.


This low-fat root vegetable is slightly high in acidic content and phosphorus. It also contains a little sugar and calcium, meaning that it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat but only in small amounts. “Small” in this case means you only offer your little friends a slice or two at most twice a week.

What Root Vegetables Can Guinea Pigs Not Eat?

Some of the vegetables that guinea pigs cannot eat include onions, garlic, and potatoes. In addition, you should avoid giving your pet any other vegetables that might cause some serious problems.

Potatoes contain toxins that can harm your guinea pig if they eat them. Onions and garlic should also be avoided because they contain a compound that damages red blood cells.

What Foods Can Guinea Pigs Eat Everyday?

Guinea pigs can eat Timothy hay (or any other low-calcium hay) and a small amount of grass pellets pellets. The hay part should go with 80% of their daily food requirement. But a tablespoon of pellets

But besides hay and pellets, also ensure that your guinea pig gets fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. That will help boost their vitamin C intake.

Adding fresh herbs and flowers like marigolds, fennel, lavender, parsley, and roses (in safe amounts) to your piggies’ diet will help boost their system with health minerals, too.

What Foods Are Bad For Guinea Pigs?

a reminder that guinea pigs shouldn't eat junk foods eating turnips is actually better

Bad foods for guinea pigs don’t end at potatoes, onions, and garlic. We have several other options that should never come into your pet’s diet.

They include:

  • Avocado
  • Dairy products
  • Meat
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Other pet food
  • Gassy vegetables
  • Green tomato parts

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!


Things To Remember About Turnips and Guinea Pigs

With everything we’ve said, here is a quick summary of what you need to keep in mind:

  • All guinea pigs can eat turnips except those with bladder and kidney stones.
  • Turnips can cause urinary stones, high blood pressure, and digestive problems if too many of them are eaten or if they are eaten in conjunction with other high-sodium or calcium foods.
  • Usually, piggies can eat turnips 2 to 3 times a week…unless they have underlying health conditions like bladder stones.
  • When introducing, start low and slowly grow the amount
  • Never offer canned , frozen, or cooked turnips to guineas.

Fard MH, Naseh G, Lofti S, Hosseini SM, and Hosseini M. Effects of aqueous extract of turnip leaf (Brassica rapa) in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar-Apr; 5(2): 148–156.

Hess L (n.d.). Feeding Guinea Pigs.

Higdon J, Drake VJ, Delage B, & Traka M (2017, April). Cruciferous Vegetables. Oregon State University.

Lang, A (2019, November 22). All You Need to Know About Turnips. Healthline.

New Plymouth District Vet Group. (2019, December 18). Care Of Pregnant Guinea Pigs.

PetMD Editorial. (2010, July 22). Inflammation of the Lungs in Guinea Pigs.

PetMD Editorial. (2010, July 22). Vitamin C Deficiency in Guinea Pigs.

The Humane Society of The United States. (n.d.). Guinea pig feeding: How much to feed.

U.S. Department Of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Carrots, Raw.

U.S. Department Of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Rutabagas, Raw.

U.S. Department Of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Turnips, Raw.

U.S. Department Of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Yambean (jicama), Raw.

Vet JC. Renal failure in a guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) following ingestion of oxalate-containing plants. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2006 Aug; 47(8): 787–789.

Watson M, (2021, July 28). What Are Turnips? The Spruce Eats.

Keep these in mind and your little friends will enjoy turnips just fine. Most piggies will love the taste, and you’ll love knowing that they’re getting the nutrition they need. And as always, if you have any questions, be sure to ask your vet.

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