June 15, 2020

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Celery?

Risks and Benefits

Fact checked by Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

Nature designed cavies to eat grasses, leafy green vegetables, and fruits. Given free rein, guinea pigs will eat lots of things, even those they shouldn't.

As a pet owner, you can choose what to feed to keep your furry friend healthy.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Celery?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat celery. Celery is a low-calorie vegetable with vitamins and a fibrous texture to support dental health. Still, it is important to follow our feeding instructions, as the calcium and oxalates in celery may cause guinea pigs bladder stones. Overfeeding celery may also cause other health issues like diarrhea.

A moderate amount of celery can be very beneficial for your guinea pig. Many guinea pig owners wonder if the hard, crunchy stalks are palatable to their pets. The answer is yes, as are the leaves, and most guinea pigs love them. You can cut the tough celery stalks up into smaller pieces for your pet to nibble on. Celery packs a lot of nutrients into your pet's diet.

Hay is the most critical part of your guinea pig’s diet. Because 80% of their daily food intake consist of hay, quality and freshness are essential. Learn more about choosing the best hay possible for your piggie.

Health Benefits: Is Celery Good for Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs can safely eat the leaves and stalk of this vegetable. Rich in  nutrients and minerals, celeryis also low-calorie.

Celery provides a lot of vital nutrition for your pet without the calories.

It's a good source of several nutrients vital to a guinea pig's health; including vitamins A, K, and C, and many antioxidants. However, it is also high in calcium and so should not be fed daily.

Guinea pigs will readily eat celery roots, but please do not let them. The roots have a high starch content, which is not good for your pet's health. Try feed organic as many vegetables  may also contain traces of fertilizer and pesticides.

The green leaves of celery

Celery Has Plenty Of Vitamins

Guinea pigs cannot manufacture or store vitamin C in their bodies. They need to consume it regularly in order to maintain good health. Celery contains some vitamin C, so it makes an excellent addition to your pet's diet.

Celery is also a relatively good source of vitamin A, otherwise known as beta-carotene. This vitamin is essential for maintaining good eyesight.

Guinea pigs, unfortunately, are prone to degenerative eye conditions. Serving them foods rich in vitamin A helps in slowing down the process, and maintaining good sight for longer.

A Chewy Immunity Booster

Feeding your guinea pig celery can also help in preventing inflammation. Celery contains lots of anti-inflammatory vitamins and antioxidants. A strong immune system will help keep your guinea pig in good overall health.

The rough, fibrous texture of celery stalks is also great for your pet's teeth and digestion. Guinea pigs have ever-growing teeth that need constant grinding down. Their teeth will grow too long and cause discomfort without sufficient fiber to chew.

The Verdict

Fed in moderation, celery tops are a great addition to your guinea pig's diet. They provide a lot of vital nutrition for your pet without the calories. The stalks make for a tasty, fibrous chew that your pet will appreciate. Your pet will equally love the softer, aromatic leaves.

Health Risks: Is Celery Bad for Guinea Pigs?

As we've already said, celery is a nutritious, low-calorie food with plenty of benefits for your guinea pig. But it can cause serious health problems if fed improperly. It's important to pay attention to serving size and frequency. Eating celery is altogether not recommended for guinea pigs with certain pre-existing health conditions.

It can cause serious health problems if fed improperly.

Celery Can Cause Bladder Problems

When fed excessively or too frequently, celery can affect your guinea pig's health. Bladder stones are a common problem in guinea pigs. Celery contains high quantities of calcium and oxalic acid.

Both of these can lead to the formation of bladder stones when fed in excess. They have also been linked to urinary tract issues in guinea pigs. This vegetable should be fed in small portions to avoid these risks.

And if your pet already has a history of bladder or urinary illness, you should avoid celery altogether. A healthy guinea pig will benefit from eating the leaves and stalks both, but only in moderation. It should be served regularly, but in small quantities to avoid developing health problems.

Overfeeding May Cause Diarrhea

Diarrhea is another relatively common problem in guinea pigs. It may be caused by several things, including eating food that has gone bad. But frequently, it is the consumption of foods rich in complex vitamins and minerals. Guinea pigs do not digest complex foods well.

Feeding too much celery can give your pet a bad case of diarrhea. When first introducing this vegetable to your pet, start small. Monitor your pet for a few hours to make sure everything is alright. If everything seems fine, you can gradually build up the serving size over time.

Celery tops don't really contain any substances that are outright toxic to guinea pigs. They may, however, carry traces of pesticides and other chemicals. It is best to wash the leaves and stalks thoroughly before feeding them to your pet. It will help to avoid any accidental poisoning and digestive upsets.

Less Is Better

Celery is very rich in several nutrients vital to your guinea pig, but overfeeding can cause health problems. The high calcium and oxalic acid content are not ideal for guinea pigs.

Being a complex food, celery is also not the easiest for your pet to digest. Healthy guinea pigs can consume some celery as part of their diet. If your guinea pig has a medical history, please be sure to consult with your vet before feeding.

Serving Size and How to Feed?

Serve Together With Other Veggies

We've already seen that celery is a tasty, low-calorie treat packed with essential nutrients. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so if  you want to avoid health complications, feed celery in moderation.

A serving of celery once or twice a week is adequate for your guinea pig.

A guinea pig needs one cup of fresh vegetables daily in addition to its hay. Celery is best served as part of this mixed cup of vegetables, though not every day. It should be combined with other fresh greens that do not contain much calcium. Cucumber, cauliflower, and green peppers are examples of what you can add for a balanced variety.

Keep It Small

Please do not give your guinea pig a whole celery stalk. One-sixth of a stalk is plenty enough to provide the necessary nutrients.

Wash the celery thoroughly before cutting it into smaller pieces. It will remove any traces of dirt and pesticides that may have been present.

A serving of celery once or twice a week is adequate for your guinea pig. Feeding celery more frequently than this poses health risks to your pet. If your pet is new to celery, it's good to start with a very small piece once a week. You can then build up the serving size over a few weeks to avoid digestive problems.

Nutrition Facts

Celery packs a surprising amount of nutrition for such a low-calorie vegetable. It contains only about 14 calories per hundred grams. Low calorie counts usually come with lots of water. In fact, at 95.43 grams out of 100, celery is mostly water.

  • Low On Carbs And Sugar

At 2.97 grams out of 100, celery contains minimal carbs. It also contains only 1.34 grams of sugar for the same 100. It is great for guinea pigs, who don't do well on high carb and high sugar foods. The fat content is also insignificant, with only 0.17 grams out of 100. It is also good, as foods containing a lot of fat are not ideal.

  • Some Fiber And Vitamins

Guinea pigs need lots of fiber. Celery does provide some at 1.6 grams out of 100. As this is not quite enough on its own, feed plenty of hay too. Vitamin C is also an absolute must for your pet, and celery contains 3.1 grams out of 100. It can be topped up by providing a variety of vegetables and fruits.

Celery contains about 494 IU of vitamin A and 32.2mcg of vitamin K per 100 grams. It also has some folate (vitamin B9), with 36mcg per 100 grams. There's also 260mg per 100 grams of potassium in celery. This vegetable does not contain any cholesterol.

  • High Calcium Content

The calcium content at 40mg per 100 grams is very high for guinea pigs. It is the main reason celery must be fed in moderation, or even avoided altogether in sensitive pets. The other reason is its nutritional complexity. Guinea pigs simply cannot digest too much celery in one go.

Bottom line: Can Guinea Pigs Have Celery?

Celery leaves and stalks are a great, nutrient-packed addition to any healthy guinea pig's diet. The roots are too starchy and should be avoided. However, a balanced and varied diet is the key to your pet's health.

Celery should always be mixed with other greens that have a lower calcium content. Fed properly, it will give your guinea pig plenty of valuable vitamins and minerals without excess calories.

Due to its high calcium and oxalic acid content, servings should be small. Adding celery to your pet's vegetable cup a couple of times a week is sufficient. More than this can lead to bladder and urinary problems and diarrhea.

If your pet has a history of bladder or urinary problems, avoid celery altogether. There are many other vegetables with lower calcium content that your pet will love.

Guinea Pigs And Celery - FAQ

Why can't guinea pigs eat celery?

Guinea pigs can eat celery, but only in strict moderation. Feeding your cavy too much celery may cause health problems. Because of the high calcium and oxalic acid content, offering celery too often may cause bladder stones. Diarrhea is also a risk if your pet consumes too much celery. A small piece 2-3 times a week mixed with other veggies should be acceptable for a healthy guinea pig.

Vet's Comment

High fiber celery is a tasty treat for your guinea pig while adding a little extra vitamins A, K, and B9.

Celery is also a great low-calorie addition for porky piggies, and if your guinea pig has no health concerns, you can feed celery up to 2-3 times per week.

Cavies pee contains a lot of calcium; it's what gives it that creamy/milky color. Celery is high in calcium, so it can increase the risk of forming uroliths (urinary stones) and should, therefore, be fed in moderation.

- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Dr. Edele Grey Veterinary Surgeon

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Edele Grey
DVM

Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your guinea pig's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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