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Yes, we can definitely eat fresh grass. In fact, fresh grass provides us with vitamin C. However, this doesn't mean you can just turn us loose on just any patch of grass you find and assume it's healthy for us. There are some other considerations you must take into account:
- Avoid grass that has been treated with chemicals like herbicides and pesticides.
- Avoid grass that is close to roads, as car fumes can pollute the grass.
- Avoid areas with mold, mildew and fungus.
- Avoid areas that other animals (such as dogs) frequent; their poop can spread parasites.
- Make sure you have identified the plants in the area as safe.
- If we're not used to eating fresh grass, we might get a stomach ache if you let us eat too much to start with.
- Be aware that if you bring us outdoors, you'll want to get a pen of some sort so you don't lose us.
- Also be aware that it is possible for us to pick up fleas and ticks from the outdoors.
As you can see, there's a lot to consider before you turn your guinea pigs loose outside somewhere. Taking your guinea pig to a pignic is a good way to pick a safe place for your guinea pig to graze since organizers specifically choose locations with untreated grass.
You could also just cut some grass and bring it indoors for us to eat if you're sure it's safe; however, we've heard that you shouldn't use a lawn mower to bring us grass since it can cause the grass to ferment, which can cause stomachaches and bloating. Alternatively, you can probably find fresh wheat grass at your local pet store, which is a healthy option for your piggies. Some people have even grown their own wheat grass for their piggies.
If you want to be safe, feed us lots of dried hay instead. Guinea pigs should have unlimited access to hay, and when you think about it, hay is just grass that has been dried to use as animal food. As we explained in an earlier installment of Ask A Guinea Pig, timothy hay is the most common type of grass hay that guinea pigs eat, but there are several other types, such as oat hay and orchard grass. (Legume hay is another category of hay that includes alfalfa, lespedeza and clover; unlike grass hays, legume hays are high in calcium, and can cause health problems.)