Do you have knowledge about toxic plants for guinea pigs ? Guinea pigs are a lot like chefs by nature and they are able to savor so many different flavors in their diet. You want to make sure that you’re doing all you can to provide your little pals with lush green grass as well as a variety of nuts and seeds which combine health, happiness and taste. By doing this, you’ll be creating a world where your pets feel right at home.
Guinea pigs possess excellent olfactory senses. Any odoriferous plants that have strong fragrances are not good for guinea pigs. Plants like marigold (Calendula officinalis L.) or catmint (Nepeta cataria L.) have strong scents that can be harmful to our pets. Other plants such as pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), yew-leaves from a certain yew species and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.) are also toxic because of their leaves and stems which contain poisonous alkaloids.
In order to keep them healthy, we have to make sure that guinea pigs eat the right foods. Their metabolism is slow and their bodies can’t exactly process what’s not meant for them, so if something toxic accidentally goes into their system, they are in real danger.
17 Beautiful looking Plants that are Toxic and Dangerous for Guinea Pigs
Here are 17 plants found inside our home and in our yard that are very dangerous for guinea pigs. Please avoid planting them at your own place.
Crown of Thorns
The scientific name of the crown of thorns is Euphoria milii. It grows natively in dry woodland or grassland throughout South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar. You may also find it in parts of Australia where it has been introduced.
It’s a woody succulent plant with large flat topped green leaves, small yellow flowers surrounded by red and yellow bracts, which are followed by black and white sharp spines which grow long enough to protect its water-storing branches and stems from animals. One legend says that the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus Christ was made from stems of this plant.
The crown of thorns is considered as an ideal house plant. You may, however, want to think twice about growing them in your home if you own a pet guinea pig or a small child.
These plants contain a white milky sap that generates latex. Latex can cause sneezing, wheezing, breathing problems and irritation. If ingested it can cause gastrointestinal issues.
The wildly popular Crown of Thorns plant also contains an extremely toxic chemical commonly found in chrysanthemums. This poison, also called phorbol esters, has been shown to be a danger to guinea pigs and should not be handled.
Ageratum is a flowering plant that has many species. Ageratum houstonianum is the most common type of ageratums. They are often found growing naturally in Mexico and some parts of the Southern United States.
Ageratum is a beautiful type of flower. It’s most common color is blue but they are often found in pink, purple, white and red hues as well. They grow up to thirty-six inches tall and six to eight inches wide, then they bloom during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
Ageratum is very toxic to our guinea pigs. This deadly plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that cause liver damage and many other health issues. Pyrrolizidines also put you guinea pig at risk for lung disease and liver cancer. When allowing your furry friends to roam outside, remember to keep them as far away from this noxious veggie as possible!
Pot marigold (scientific name Calendula officinalis), also called common marigold, Scotch marigold, garden marigold has many uses.
There are varieties of pot marigolds that grow as annual plants in warm climates and others that grow as perennial plants in colder places. They can grow up to thirty-one inches long.
Pot Marigold is one of the many natural ingredients that can have health benefits but also come with a few problems in regards to our guinea pigs. It’s an herb used primarily for its potent anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to help heal minor cuts and scrapes.
Snapdragon flowers are also known as dragon flowers because their unique petals curve like a dragon’s mouth opening and closing.
These flowers are native to several continents, including Europe and the USA but do not grow in Africa. Their scientific name is Antirrhinum majus and they are smaller plants that can grow up to three feet high.
Snapdragons are generally harmless. Guinea pigs will not have any negative side effects of eating this plant. However, it can lead to a lot of issues when it is affected by fungus or viruses. If the snapdragon is already affected by fungus and viruses, consuming it can lead to serious health issues to guinea pigs.
Alyssum is a lovely flowering plant that comes from the Greek “Alysso”. The meaning behind this word is “curing madness”, implying that Alyssum may be able to help ease one of the many symptoms of madness; for example, intoxication or unnecessary fear.
Alyssum flowers are edible. They are sweet and spicy in flavor and grow year-round. You can easily add these pretty little pink cakes to a green salad or serve them as an appetizer topped with goat cheese.
Alyssum flowers are small and come in a variety of colors. The stalks can grow up to one foot in height. Their flowers have short stems, with five petals and blooming into pretty pin cushion-shaped clusters that dangle off the stalk.
These plants are beneficial as they contain essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. They also function as diuretics to prevent water retention in the body which helps eliminate edema and ascites, but they can be bad for guinea pigs due to their potential allergic reaction which cause skin irritation, nausea, or difficulty breathing.
Globethistle is also known as echinopsis and pale globe-thistle. Its scientific name is Echinops Sphaerocephalus, and it belongs to the sunflower family.
Globe thistle is an herbaceous perennial plant known to be a non-native species that can grow up to twenty to forty inches in height. It’s stems are hairy, gray and wrinkled while it’s leaves are sharp, soft, and green depending on the season.
Globe thistle have beautiful spiky flowers that can live for up to eight weeks. Their blooming time is mainly in the summer, and they come in blue, purple, and white color.
Globe thistle plants can have adverse effects on guinea pigs; it could affect their digestive portions causing sores, irritation and discomfort etc. Besides this, the plant has the ability to cause other issues like bladder stones, kidney problems and constipation.
Geraniums are beautiful annual plants with a unique and soothing fragrance. The flowers have pretty petals, intricate ribs on the leaves, and fanciful colors.
They are native to southern Africa but are also grown indoors in temperate climates or as container-grown houseplants.
Geraniums can cause an array of health issues to guinea pigs due to their toxic compounds related to lilaeopsis and taprobane, et cetera. Their disease symptoms include skin irritation as well as diarrhea.
Wormwood is a herbaceous perennial plant, usually growing to about two to three feet tall. It is native to Eurasia and North Africa, but it was spread across Canada and into the midwestern U.S.A by Europeans who used it in medicine and in alcoholic beverages such as absinthe. It has fibrous roots, with both greenish-grey leaves above the ground and white leaves below the soil surface.
Wormwood is known for its use as a flavoring agent in liqueurs and vermouth, and for its medicinal purposes – known for the treatment of dyspepsia.
Besides this, it also contains toxic compounds like thujone. Thujone is lethal to guinea pigs as it can lead to cardiovascular issues, kidney failure, restlessness etc. So, if you’re going to plant it in your garden, just make sure no guinea pigs are around!
People might be surprised to learn that the Shirley poppy is actually a type of poppy, Papaver rhoeas. It was named after an area of Croydon within a town in Surrey, which is a county in Great Britain.
Shirley Poppy is a red flower that belongs to the poppy family. It can grow up to 3 feet tall and its flower can grow up to two to four inches. Shirley Poppy has straight stems, and it is heat intolerant.
Shirley poppies are seasonal and can sometimes be grown in domestic gardens. They contribute to many health benefits for humans, including alleviating respiratory problems, providing natural relief from coughing and colds, and help with sleep disorders.
Poppy plants, like Shirley Poppies, are considered beneficial in certain parts of nature. They’re used a lot in landscaping and are pretty, but it’s important to note that they can cause extreme harm to your pet! Just a bit of poppy fruit or one of their seeds can be extremely poisonous to your guineas.
These fruits contain rhoeadine alkaloids which sounds nasty all on its own let alone inside of your animal. When you consume this flower or fruit it causes diarrhea, bone marrow suppression, liver behavior abnormality and unconsciousness in guinea pigs.
Potatoes are tasty underground veggies that humans eat because they’re healthy and taste great!
Potato leaves are edible but harmful to our furry friends. They contain compounds that makes them poisonous for guinea pigs, just like stinging nettles or rhubarb leaves would be for our own health. That’s why you should never feed these potato leaves to your pet rat or guinea pig!
Potato leaves produce solanine which induces a number of symptoms in humans like nausea, diarrhea and drowsiness. Respiratory problems can also occur if one is exposed to large quantities of the toxin.
Lantana is a beautiful shrub with strong vines. It can grow in many places such as gardens or pots. First cultivated in the southern parts of American, Africa and Asia, these shrubs are annual flowers that bloom during summer.
Lantana plants can grow to six feet tall and eight feet wide. They usually bloom in blue, red, orange, white, and yellow. Lantana consists of blooms arranged showily on tall spikes (stems with flowers or fruits that arise from the base).
Lantana, beautiful though it may be, is quite harmful to guinea pigs. It contains toxic elements which cause irritation and respiratory issues, diarrhea and other problems that can prove to be fatal! If you let your little friends run around freely in the garden you need to keep a close eye on them so that they don’t go near it or refuse to eat any of the plants growing abundantly in your yard.
Pepper plant is a woody-stemmed climbing plant, that produces peppercorns. It’s best known for being used as a flavoring agent in cooking.
Pepper plants can grow up to five millimeters tall. They originated in Asia.
Peppers, and other peppers plants, are not safe for guinea pigs to consume. This is because they can have solanarium pseudocapsicum in them that can cause a variety of health problems for guinea pigs. Solanine poisoning can result in nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, sore throat burning, and other unknown long-term side effects.
Strawflowers are actually daisies and they’re also annual flowers which belong to the Gnaphalieae group. They are often referred to as golden everlasting daisies or paper daisies, but they are commonly known as everlasting flowers because they don’t die once cut.
Straw flowers are an Australian flower that have a crisp, almost petal-like, appearance about them. They have tiny florets and grow up to 3 inches high. They come in orange, pink, purple, white and yellow varieties. Unfortunately guinea pigs are allergic to this type of flower!
Salvia, otherwise known as Salvia Divinorum, is a variety of mint that grows in Southern Mexico and Central and South America.
Salvia is a shrub, which are perennials and aromatic. The leaves of the plant are arranged oppositely along the stem, that are square in cross-section.
Salvia is a plant with beautiful white, yellow, blue, or red flowers that are shaped like a table and their buds are commonly referred to as incense sticky. They have multiple names including –
- Hierba Maria
- Lady Salvia
- Sage of the Seers
- Magic Mint
- Hierba Maria
- Leaf o Prophecy
- Incense Sticky
- The Female
- Lady Sally
- Diviner’s Sage
- Purple Sticky
- Shepherdess’s Herb
- Ska Pastora
According to the Journal of Anthropomorphic Medicine, guinea pigs have experienced some side effects due to consuming salvia leaves.
Salvia contains hallucinogens that cause visual distortions and a sense of uneasiness when consumed. It also causes severe health problems in guinea pigs, such as nausea, dizziness, and immobility.
Cleome is a flowering plant and belongs to the cleomaceae family. Cleomes tend to be grown in many gardens because of their vivacious color and the ease with which they can be grown from seed. A native of North America.
It tends to grow one to five feet tall, one to two feet wide or, when in bloom up to three or four feet tall and seven inches wide.
Cleome is known as a medicinal herb that has various uses including its ability to treat bronchitis and also promote pain relief. Just like their excellent benefits, they also have some side effects that could be harmful to guinea pigs such as it could cause swelling in its stomach.
Catnip is an herb. It is also known as catwort and catmint. This herb belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It is native to Southern, Central, and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and China. The scientific name for this plant is Nepeta Cataria.
Catnip is not your average plant. They are perennial and aromatic herbs. Catnips’ height range from 1ft to 2ft tall. You can use them for flavoring oils, sauces, stews, soups, or even in herbal tea!
Catnips are beneficial for a lot of digestive issues such as menstrual cramps! Sadly though, they can be harmful to guinea pigs—you will have to stop giving them nip if they suddenly start having stomach pains or headaches!
Wax Begonia, or begonias, are perennial plants that have fibrous roots. There are three main varieties of this plant: white, pink, and red blossoms.
Begonia can grow in the garden and in a pot. They require full sunlight to grow properly, and they are best suited to warm temperatures.
Despite Wax Begonia’s beautiful look, this plant can be toxic to guinea pigs. These plants cause swelling or redness around your guinea pig’s mouth, and also force them to spend time in the hospital for swallowing issues after consuming it.
What to do if Guinea Pig ate Toxic Plants?
Guinea pigs forage and eat things like fruits, vegetables, grasses as well as grains. They are curious creatures so be sure to make it a rule to allow them access to a large play area where they can roam free.
While guinea pigs are generally healthy animals if you spot any signs of irregular behavior or sickness one should seek medical treatment at once which will entail the services of a local veterinarian.
It would be a good idea to have your guinea pig examined by the veterinarian so they can determine what is wrong. If you know what kind of plant they were exposed to, let the vet know so they can begin treating them right away.
After checking the health of your furry friends, always remember to feed them and follow the instructions on their medicine labels.
Symptoms / signs of poisoning in guinea pigs
When a guinea pig eats any poisonous plant, they will most likely succumb to discomfort in the body.
As guinea pig owners, it’s best to always be aware of the signs that our furry friends show when they’re not feeling well.
Here are some signs of illness they show –
- Shows Depressed behavior (i.e., like going away from you)
- Internal bleeding
- External bleeding
- Pain in abdomen
- Respiratory issues
- Constipation or improper bowel movement
- Slow heartbeat
- Decreased body temperature
- Redness and swelling in the mouth
- Avoiding food
If you notice any of these symptoms, you must immediately seek a veterinarian.
We hope that this article has helped you to be well informed about the plants that are toxic to guinea pigs. Knowing this information can help you to protect your guinea pig from any dangers that could befall it.
If you would like to see more of our articles, please let us know in the comment section below. And we will bring more content for you in future. Till then, keep our furry friend happy, healthy and safe. If you have any questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact us.