There are many reasons you may need a list of low calcium foods for your guinea pig. First of all, it’s crucial to balance your guinea pig’s diet. If you’re feeding a lot of nutrient-rich, leafy green foods that are high in calcium, you’ll want to balance that with a variety of lower calcium veggies.
If your guinea pig is prone to bladder stones or sludge, you’ll also want to feed them a low calcium diet. It’s also a good idea to choose vegetables that are high in Vitamin C. If you find dried white pee marks in your guinea pig’s cage, this can be a sign that they have too much calcium in their diet. To prevent stones from forming, it’s a good idea to feed low calcium veggies from this list and increase your guinea pig’s water intake.
High Calcium Foods to Avoid
If your guinea pig has too much calcium in their diet, you’ll want to eliminate or cut down on a few foods.
Most leafy greens are very nutrient-rich, including very high levels of calcium. This includes kale, arugula, beet greens, mustard greens, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, watercress, spring greens, broccoli, and bok choy.
Most herbs have very high amounts of calcium as well. This includes parsley, coriander/cilantro, thyme, oregano, mint, and others. Most fruit is low in calcium, but these should be restricted to small amounts due to their high sugar content.
If you notice some white urine marks in the cage, you should cut down on these particular foods until your guinea pig’s pee is normal again. However, it’s a good idea to re-introduce them in small amounts again later. These foods contain a high level of vitamins and nutrients, so only eliminate them permanently if it’s absolutely necessary.
21 Best Low Calcium Veggies for Guinea Pigs
Without further ado, here is a list of the best low calcium veggies you can feed your guinea pig.
1. Sweet Bell Peppers
Also known as capsicums, sweet bell peppers are an excellent vegetable for guinea pigs. They are low in calcium while providing a high source of Vitamin C. You can feed all colors of bell peppers, including green, yellow, orange, and red.
Red bell peppers are very high in Vitamin C, but they’re also highest in sugar. Because of this, it’s a good idea to feed red peppers 2-3 times a week and switch between the other colors in between. Green bell peppers are an excellent staple veggie and can be fed to your guinea pig every day.
Most types of lettuce are relatively low in calcium. Green and red leaf lettuce are the lowest, with romaine lettuce being just slightly higher in calcium. Lettuce is low in essential nutrients such as Vitamin C, so make sure you’re feeding it along with other veggies that are high in Vitamin C.
Lettuce has higher water content, so it can be good to help flush out your guinea pig’s bladder. However, this means it can also cause diarrhea if fed in excess, so don’t go overboard when feeding this one.
3. Fresh Grass
Fresh grass is great to harvest and feed to your guinea pig, as long as it is hand-picked and pesticide-free. Avoid feeding any grass clippings from the lawnmower, as these can ferment in your guinea pig’s stomach and cause bloat.
Pick grass from areas that you know are free from pesticides and not soiled by other animals. Avoid picking weeds along with the grass, as certain kinds can be poisonous to guinea pigs. Dandelion is also quite high in calcium.
You can also grow wheatgrass inside for your guinea pigs. This can be a great option in the winter months. It can also be an excellent option for apartment dwellers who don’t have a safe yard to pick their own grass. You can purchase wheatgrass seeds or buy a wheatgrass planter kit for this purpose. Wheatgrass is very easy and fast-growing, and most guinea pigs love it!
Cucumber is also low in calcium. It’s very high in water content, which can flush out the bladder and get more water in the guinea pig’s system. However, don’t go overboard, or it could cause diarrhea. Cucumber is also not the most nutrient-rich food, so be sure to supplement it with other veggies.
Tomatoes are full of nutrients without being too high in calcium. They are also a good source of Vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin for guinea pigs to get in their daily diet.
Tomatoes are high in oxalic acid, which can cause sores in your guinea pig’s mouth if fed too much. However, one cherry tomato or an equivalent amount of a full-sized tomato every other day is perfectly safe for guinea pigs. Avoid feeding unripe tomatoes and any parts of the tomato stem or leaves, as these are all poisonous to guinea pigs.
Carrots also contain many great nutrients. They have some calcium, but not very high amounts. Still, if you are strictly cutting out calcium, you may want to skip this one. Carrots are high in Vitamin A, beta carotene, and fiber while also providing some Vitamin C.
Most guinea pigs love carrots as well. Carrots can be fed frequently but in small amounts. They are relatively high in sugar compared to other vegetables. This can cause guinea pigs to put on excess weight.
This round, red cabbage-looking vegetable is quite popular with some guinea pigs. Radicchio also has a reasonably small amount of calcium content. However, it is a pretty insignificant source of Vitamin C, so it should be fed alongside other veggies that are high in Vitamin C.
It does contain other nutrients, such as Potassium and Vitamin K. It’s also high in fiber and water content. In addition, it has a low calcium-phosphorus level, which is excellent for stone-prone guinea pigs. Overall, it’s a good veggie to feed your guinea pig a couple of times a week.
Apples are a delicious snack for guinea pigs. They aren’t a great source of Vitamin C, but they still contain many other nutrients. Since they are fruit, apples are best fed once a week or less. Feed one thin slice at a time.
You can also give apple skin peels to your guinea pig, but make sure the apples are either organic or have been thoroughly washed to remove any pesticides. Apple seeds contain a toxin that is poisonous to guinea pigs, so be sure to remove all seeds before giving your guinea pig a piece of apple.
Strawberries are another yummy fruit for guinea pigs. They are chock full of nutrients and very healthy. They also contain lots of Vitamin C while being comparatively low in calcium.
Guinea pigs can also eat strawberry tops, which are lower in sugar and have many great nutrients. Strawberries contain comparatively less sugar than other fruits. However, they still contain quite a bit in relation to a guinea pig’s small size. Because of this, it’s best to feed only about one strawberry a week. Overall, strawberries are a healthy addition to your guinea pig’s diet in moderation.
Watermelon is another common fruit that guinea pigs can eat. Watermelon is not overly high in calcium or Vitamin C. It does contain lots of potassium, which helps to regulate fluid in the body. This can be a beneficial nutrient for guinea pigs that are prone to bladder stones.
Guinea pigs can eat both the fruit of the watermelon and the rind. You can also give them rinds with a small amount of red fruit, so they get a taste of the watermelon without as much sugar. Be sure to wash it thoroughly and remove seeds first. Like all fruits, watermelon should only be fed in small amounts, once a week or less.
Red and green grapes can be given to guinea pigs as an occasional treat. They are high in sugar and an insignificant source of Vitamin C, so they’re best fed in small amounts. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove pesticides, and remove seeds if there are any.
Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a healthy vegetable to feed your guinea pig. Zucchini is a type of summer squash. This veggie provides a decent amount of Vitamin C while being low in calcium. It’s also a good source of Vitamin A. The nutritional benefits, combined with low levels of calcium and sugar makes zucchini a great staple veggie in your guinea pig’s diet.
13. Honeydew Melon
Honeydew melon is similar to watermelon. It has high water content and a significant amount of sugar. Guinea pigs can eat both the rinds and the flesh, but be sure to remove the seeds first. Offering your guinea pig a rind with a small amount of flesh is a good way to give them a taste of the melon without too much sugar. This fruit can be fed once a week max due to the sugar content.
Blueberries have a ton of health benefits. They are full of antioxidants, which help protect the body against all kinds of health problems. They have low calcium content while providing a great source of Vitamins C, K, and manganese. Like all fruits, they should be fed sparingly. 1-2 blueberries once or twice a week is a good amount for guinea pigs.
Cranberries can be fed to guinea pigs in small amounts. They have many health benefits, including high levels of Vitamin C, fiber, and manganese.
Cranberries also have high levels of antioxidants proanthocyanidins (PACs), which discourage bacteria from sticking around and growing in your guinea pig’s bladder. Because of this, cranberries can be beneficial for guinea pigs with UTIs or other bladder problems.
Cauliflower is a pretty high source of Vitamin C. It contains some calcium but comparatively less than many other vegetables. Guinea pigs can safely eat both the cauliflower florets and the leaves. Cauliflower is a bit of a gassy vegetable that can cause bloat if fed too much. For this reason, feed cauliflower to your guinea pig sparingly and introduce it slowly into the diet.
Asparagus is low in calcium. However, it also does not contain a significant amount of Vitamin C. For this reason, it shouldn’t be a staple veggie in your guinea pig’s diet. Asparagus can also cause a bit of stomach upset at first, so be sure to introduce this food into your guinea pig’s diet slowly.
Pears make a tasty and sweet treat for guinea pigs. They are a source of nutrients such as Vitamins C, K, and potassium. They also contain antioxidants which help protect the body from countless ailments. Pears have a good amount of fiber and relatively high water content.
It’s best to feed a small slice in moderation to avoid overdosing your guinea pig on sugar. Remove any seeds, and wash the fruit thoroughly to remove any traces of pesticides before feeding it to your piggy.
19. Belgian Endive
Endive looks similar to lettuce, but it contains more nutrients. It’s low in sugar and high in antioxidants. Endive has relatively low amounts of calcium and phosphorus when compared to most other leafy greens.
This vegetable also contains Vitamins C, A, K, and manganese. Endive can be fed pretty frequently. It makes a great and healthy staple veggie in your guinea pig’s diet.
Peaches are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants while being low in calcium and phosphorus. They also contain Vitamins E, K, potassium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and more.
These fruits make a great occasional snack for guinea pigs, with a ton of health benefits. Because of the sugar and acidity in peaches, they should be fed sparingly. Guinea pigs can also eat peach skins, but be sure to buy organic peaches or wash them thoroughly to rinse away any pesticides.
Pumpkin contains Vitamin A, beta carotene, fiber, potassium, and a bit of Vitamin C. It has a bit of sugar but not much calcium. Guinea pigs can eat pumpkin flesh, as well as the rind.
Pumpkin is quite high in Vitamin A, which can cause liver damage if consumed in excess. Since guinea pigs are so small, this is a valid concern for them.
Make sure you remove any pumpkin seeds before feeding them to your guinea pig. Pumpkin seeds are big enough to get caught in your guinea pig’s teeth or throat and pose a choking hazard. Due to the high Vitamin A content, pumpkin should be fed in very small amounts, very occasionally. A tiny chunk every few weeks is more than enough.
Eggplants are safe for guinea pigs to eat. However, as with anything in the nightshade family, you need to be cautious. Eggplant leaves and unripe eggplants contain high levels of solanine and are very poisonous to your guinea pig. Make sure the inside of the eggplant is completely free of any green as well.
As long as the eggplant is fully ripe and has leaves removed, they make a great snack for guinea pigs. However, eggplants aren’t a super nutrient-rich food for guinea pigs. For this reason, it’s best to feed it occasionally and give healthier veggies precedence in your guinea pig’s diet.
Low Calcium Hay
Luckily, most grass hay for guinea pigs is pretty low in calcium. This is essential because 80% of a guinea pig’s daily diet should consist of hay. Orchard hay is the lowest in calcium, followed very closely by timothy hay. Either of these types of grass hays is excellent to feed your guinea pig daily.
Make sure you avoid alfalfa hay at all costs if your guinea pig is on a low calcium diet. If you buy bales of hay from a farmer, double-check that it contains no alfalfa. Alfalfa is commonly mixed in with horse hays.
So there you have it! 22 fruits and vegetables you can feed your guinea pig that are low in calcium. I hope this helped you and your piggy, whether you’re balancing your piggy’s diet, fighting bladder stones, or trying to prevent them in the first place.
Make sure you introduce any new foods slowly to avoid diarrhea and stomach aches for your guinea pig. It’s also a good idea to feed veggies high in Vitamin C to ensure that they get enough of this essential nutrient. Check out our article on the highest Vitamin C foods for guinea pigs to see which ones overlap with this list.