Can guinea pigs eat potato?
Can guinea pigs eat potato? No I am afraid not! It is best to keep your pet guinea pigs well away from potatoes. Whilst potatoes are fine for us humans they are actually toxic to our furry little friends. You should also avoid the leaves from potato plants too.
So why can’t guinea pigs eat potato?
As a member of the Nightshade family of plants potatoes contain a chemical called Solanine. Solanine causes gastro-intestinal illness and neurological symptoms leading to death if eaten in sufficient quantities. When older potatoes start to turn green it means that the Solanine levels are greatly raised so that part of the potato would be extremely dangerous for your guinea pig to eat.
What to do if your guinea pig accidentally eats potato?
If your feeding your kitchen scraps to your pet guinea pigs and they accidentally get a small piece of potato first thing to do is not panic! It’s best to ring your vet and ask for advice. Your furry friend might be ok with a small amount of potato but as prey animals guinea pigs can hide signs of ill health very well and once they start to show symptoms it can become much harder to treat them.
If your vet advises you to monitor your guinea pig rather than go in for an immediate consultation be careful to look for signs of tummy upset, being off their food or sitting with their head in the corner. These are signs that your pet is particularly unwell and needs quick treatment.
What about sweet potato though?
Sweet potato is actually a different species of root vegetable to a normal potato so it is fine to feed occassionally and in moderation. As with us guinea pigs need a balanced diet.