Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Summer is Coming! Plant Safety for Guinea Pigs

Summer is coming and with that comes fresh green grass and other plants our guinea pigs love to eat. Actually, there isn't likely to be a plant they won't eat!  That's the reason for this post.  Guinea pigs can be mistakenly poisoned when the good intention was to give them fresh air and plants.  Let's stop these preventable losses.

First, make sure the lawn you're taking your guinea pig onto is NOT treated with any pesticides.  If you rent your home, you will want to check with the property owner to find out if they treat the lawn.  It's possible it was sprayed when you were not home to notice.  It is also wise not to have them near any roads - not only is it dangerous if your guinea pig gets spooked and runs into traffic, but the exhaust from the cars is a pollutant.  You should bring a pen with you to put around your guinea pigs in case they become scared, it would be awful to have them take off in two separate directions!  Please note, a playpen around your guinea pigs isn't a substitute for your watchful eye.  Large birds of prey will see them as an easy meal. (More about outdoor safety here.)

THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LIST OF SAFE OR POISONOUS PLANTS.  If you do not know if something is safe, DO NOT let your guinea pig eat it.  Only feed safe plants you have identified.  Their lives depend on it.

Here are some common plants and flowers that are safe for guinea pigs (not all of these are safe for cats/dogs):

  • Day lilies 
  • Chamomile
  • Roses (no thorns)
  • Petunias
  • Marigolds
  • Pansies
  • Clover 
  • Dandelion
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Chickweed
  • Apple tree twigs (these make great chew toys!)
  • Plantain
  • Lavender
Here are some plants and flowers that are POISONOUS for guinea pigs:
  • Pine Needles
  • Rhubarb
  • Buttercup
  • Ivy
  • Elder
  • Bluebell
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Poppy
  • Tulips and similar bulb plants
  • Lily of the Valley

I encourage you to do additional research and identify any plants or trees around where you may have your guinea pigs graze.  You may want to find a website or get a book to help you identify those iffy plants. 
We're wishing you and your piggies many sunny days with fresh air, pretty flowers, and green plants!

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