Guinea pigs can eat lettuce but not all lettuces are recommended. Different types of lettuce contain different amounts of vitamin C, fibre and other vitamins and minerals so let’s take a look at the various types of lettuce and how good they are for guinea pigs.
Romaine, Cos and Little Gem lettuces all belong to the same lettuce variety and can all be eaten by guinea pigs. In fact, Romaines are the most nutritional lettuces, and contain a lot more vitamin C than other types of lettuce.
“Cos” is just another name for “Romaine” and one that is more common in the UK whereas Romaine is the name used in North America. Little Gems are small versions of the Romaine/Cos lettuce and their leaves tend to be more compact.
Romaine lettuces are longer in shape than the round Butterhead variety and if you buy them from the supermarket they are often sold as “Romaine Hearts” which means they have had the darker outer leaves stripped.
Iceberg lettuce is very low in nutrients compared to other varieties such as Romaine, Butterhead and Red & Green Leaf lettuces but much higher in sugar content. Iceberg also has a higher water content than other lettuces.
Too many watery foods can cause diarrhoea and as Iceberg lettuces don’t give your guinea pigs the nutritional benefits that other lettuces offer, we advise you avoid feeding Iceberg lettuce to your guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs can eat Butterhead, Boston, Bibb, red leaf, green leaf as well as other types of lettuce and salad greens such as rocket (arugula) and lambs lettuce. These all have varying amounts of nutrition and we’ve included some of the popular lettuces in our comparison table near the end of the article.
Lettuce is a favourite food of guinea pigs and you’ll find that your guinea pigs will eat the lettuce before the rest of the veggies that are in their food bowl.
As lettuces contain a sedative you should be careful not to give huge amounts but these salad vegetables can contribute to a good amount of your guinea pig’s regular diet.
As with any fruit or vegetable, you should always give a good rinse through with clean tap water before feeding to your guinea pigs.
Below is a comparison table showing the nutritional value per 100g of lettuce for Romaine, Red Leaf, Butterhead, Green Leaf and Iceberg lettuces.
|Romaine||24 mg||33 mg||30 mg||2.1 g||1.2 g|
|Red Leaf||3.7 mg||33 mg||28 mg||0.9 g||0.5 g|
|Butterhead||3.7 mg||35 mg||33 mg||1.1 g||0.9 g|
|Green Leaf||18 mg||36 mg||29 mg||1.3 g||0.8 g|
|Iceberg||2.8||18 mg||20 mg||1.2 g||2 g|