Mushrooms are often regarded as a delicacy and healthy food for people. Some people may look at their herbivorous guinea pig pets and believe that since mushrooms are a plant form, they should be a suitable food for their guinea pigs. Sometimes, this logic can be flawed. Some plants may not be suitable for guinea pigs. So what is the truth – can guinea pigs eat mushrooms?
Guinea pigs can eat certain edible mushrooms. However, the problem is that mushrooms provide very few nutrients essential to a guinea pig’s diet. Eating mushrooms is not beneficial for guinea pigs and should not be included in their diet. Wild-grown mushrooms should never be fed to guinea pigs.
While many common culinary mushrooms will not harm your piggy, there are a few reasons why they don’t make the best additions to your furry potato’s diet. We’ll cover these topics below and discuss which mushroom varieties are safe and unsafe for guinea pigs.
Nutritional Data for White Raw Mushrooms
|Nutrient||Amount (per 100g)|
|Vitamin C||2.1 mg|
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms?
Guinea pigs can eat a few types of common culinary mushrooms. Mushrooms are a fungus and not a vegetable, as many people think. This classification does not make them unsafe for guinea pigs, however, as they still have a structure very similar to plants.
There is a vast array of mushroom species. Some are edible and are sold in shops for human consumption. These mushrooms are generally safe for guinea pigs and will not poison them.
What Mushrooms Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Most people feel it is safe for guinea pigs to eat white, brown, or button mushrooms cultivated for food purposes.
Should Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms?
Although guinea pigs can eat mushrooms, they probably should not. Mushrooms contain limited nutrients that benefit guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs have a gastrointestinal system designed to digest tough fibrous insoluble plant material, which is low in carbohydrates and protein. Most fermentation and absorption is done in the large intestine or hindgut.
Mushrooms have a large percentage of fiber, but most of it is soluble. The rapid digestion of soluble fiber in the stomach and small intestine releases the nutrients from mushrooms in a portion of the gastrointestinal tract, which is ill-equipped for absorption in guinea pigs.
Digesting carbohydrates in the small intestines or stomach can lead to an imbalance in a guinea pig’s natural gut flora. An overgrowth of gut bacteria can lead to diarrhea and failure to thrive. In severe cases, unbalanced gut bacteria result in endotoxemia which can be fatal to guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs have low carbohydrate and protein needs. Mushrooms contain both carbohydrates and protein. Although mushrooms do not have high levels of protein and carbohydrates, guinea pigs are tiny. The carbohydrate and protein levels may be too much for them.
Guinea pigs need to consume vitamin C-rich foods daily, or they can develop scurvy and a weakened immune system. They can get vitamin C from many plants but mushrooms are not one of them. Mushrooms contain very little vitamin C.
Although mushrooms are not generally harmful, they are not beneficial for guinea pigs either. If they fill their stomachs with mushrooms, they may not eat other beneficial foods that supply them with necessary nutrients.
Guinea pigs eating mushrooms is much like people filling themselves up with popcorn and not having room to eat other food. Due to this reasoning, most veterinarians and guinea pig experts do not recommend feeding mushrooms to guinea pigs.
Generally, mushrooms may be found on lists of what to avoid feeding guinea pigs. They are considered junk food for guinea pigs.
Vitamin D, Mushrooms, And Guinea Pigs
Mushrooms provide a good supply of vitamin D for people. Guinea pigs must be exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays to manufacture vitamin D. They cannot tolerate high vitamin D levels in food sources.
Guinea pigs can rapidly develop hypervitaminosis of vitamin D if the levels are too high in their food. This condition causes fibrosis, organ failure, pneumonia, and too much calcium absorption. This is another reason to omit mushrooms from a guinea pig’s diet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Wild Mushrooms?
Guinea pigs should never eat wild mushrooms. Some pet owners mistakenly think that animals should be able to eat any plants that grow wild. However, a large number of wild mushrooms are highly toxic.
Poisonous mushrooms are toxic to people and animals, including guinea pigs. Mushrooms can be difficult to identify correctly, and many people have been poisoned after an incorrect identification. For this reason, the rule is that guinea pigs should never eat any mushrooms picked from the garden or wild.
What Are Signs Of Mushroom Poisoning In Guinea Pigs?
If a guinea pig has eaten a poisonous mushroom, they will generally show symptoms within 30 to 60 minutes after eating the mushroom. In some mushroom species, the onset of symptoms can be even more rapid.
The guinea pig may begin to salivate. Long strings of saliva or drool will appear from their mouth. The chin area and whiskers may look wet from the excessive saliva.
The guinea pig may have tremors and an unusual gait. It may look like the guinea pig is drunk or unable to walk straight. Seizures may occur when the guinea pig falls down and shakes violently.
Diarrhea is usually seen, and there may be bloating and stomach cramping. The guinea pig’s temperature may rise or drop rapidly. The pet owner should take their guinea pig to the veterinarian immediately as this is an emergency and must be treated at once.
Some people may try to induce vomiting to rid the guinea pig of the toxin. However, guinea pigs do not vomit, and it will waste time and perhaps cause more harm to the guinea pig.
Alternatives to Mushrooms: 5 Safe Foods for Guinea Pigs
Mushrooms aren’t the best additions to your guinea pig’s diet, but there are so many more healthy options you can include! In the list below, I’ve compiled 5 great alternatives you can add to your piggy’s menu instead.
- Bell Peppers: Sweet bell peppers come in a variety of colors and guinea pigs can eat all of them! They provide an excellent source of Vitamin C and are also safe to feed daily.
- Strawberries: These berries make a great weekly treat for guinea pigs. They are a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants.
- Zucchini: Some piggies may not like this type of squash, but zucchini has some great nutrients and makes a great staple food for guinea pigs.
- Celery: A popular staple in guinea pig diets, celery provides a range of nutrients for guinea pigs.
- Dandelions: This popular green can be found nearly anywhere outdoors and piggies absolutely love them!
Guinea pigs thrive with variety in their diet, so it’s a good idea to mix up the types of foods you offer them each week. For more healthy food options, you can also check out our complete list of safe foods for guinea pigs or our detailed guinea pig food chart with info on how often to offer each food.
Guinea pigs may be able to eat some varieties of mushrooms, but they are not a beneficial food. As a result, it is best to omit mushrooms from a guinea pig’s diet. There are many other better options for treats for guinea pigs.
It’s best to keep the mushrooms for humans in the home instead. In addition, wild-grown mushrooms should not be fed to guinea pigs as many mushrooms are toxic and can kill these little pets.