Vegetables make a large portion of a guinea pig’s diet. Guinea pigs can love to eat veggies and they are extremely healthy and nutritious for them. But there are some vegetables that should be avoided in the diet of a guinea pig.
Vegetables are a healthy food source for guinea pigs, as they are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and fiber. Guinea pigs should consume veggies on a regular basis to keep them fit.
Thoroughly wash the vegetables before offering them to your guinea pig as they may contain residues of insecticides and pesticides on their surface. These residues are highly toxic for guinea pigs and can lead to illness. Large vegetables should be chopped into small chunks for easy consumption by the guinea pig.
If you have recently bought a guinea pig and want the best diet choices for your guinea pig we are here to tell you that. Read on to discover all the answers related to veggies for your guinea pig from a vet here!
What Are The Benefits Of Vegetables For Guinea Pigs?
Vegetables are an essential part of the daily diet of a guinea pig and they provide a lot of benefits to guinea pigs which include the following;
- Some veggies are a good source of vitamins especially vitamin C
- Provide necessary minerals to guinea pigs
- Maintain their gut health by providing them with a daily dose of fiber
- Help maintain the cholesterol level in the body
- Reduce inflammation in the body
- Provide antioxidants
- Promotes heart health and decreases the chance of circulatory diseases.
But don’t depend on vegetables alone. Guinea pigs need a balanced diet to remain healthy and enjoy their life to their fullest.
How Often Do You Feed Vegetables To Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs should be fed vegetables on a daily schedule. But most vegetables are not a staple food source for cavies so it is important to keep changing them daily or after every two days.
Guinea pigs should eat veggies at least once per day depending upon the vegetable. Some veggies are safe to be consumed even in large quantities while others should be fed only in limited proportions otherwise health issues can arise in guinea pigs.
Which Vegetables Are Best For Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs can consume a wide variety of vegetables, some of these are listed below;
Juicy fresh asparagus is what guinea pigs crave. Asparagus can be fed to guinea pigs routinely. Asparagus is sweetish in taste and is a vital source of vitamins and minerals for a guinea pig. You can feed a quarter cup of finely sliced asparagus to your guinea pigs multiple times a week. Asparagus can help with vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs. It is also good for digestion, blood pressure, and kidney health.
Similar to cilantro, basil is a very healthy and nutritious veggie for guinea pigs. It is low in fat and sugar which makes it an ideal choice for guinea pigs who have obesity and weight gain issues. Basil should be offered in low proportions once or twice a week due to high levels of calcium which can contribute to bladder stones. Benefits of basil for guinea pigs include improved digestibility, boosted immune system, healthy skin and coat, strong bones, and detoxification of the body.
All parts of a beet are edible for guinea pigs and they love to consume it. Beets are full of fiber and vital minerals. The only disadvantage of eating beets is the increased calcium quantity. So small portions should be consumed by the guinea pig once a week. Beets have anti-cancerous qualities, are low in fat, promote brain health, help reduce inflammation in the body, and many more.
- Bell peppers or capsicum
These are one of the favorite vegetables of guinea pigs. They chow on these veggies with joy and happiness. It is one of the best sources of vitamin C for guinea pigs and can make a staple part of their daily diet. Bell pepper of any color is good for guinea pigs.
Thinly chop the bell pepper into bite-size pieces and remove its core before offering them to your guinea pig. The antioxidant properties of bell peppers help resist ailments and encourage cardiovascular health. They are also a rich source of vitamin A and fiber.
Broccoli is a healthy vegetable to be added to the daily diet of a guinea pig. Broccoli helps reduce inflammation in the body of your guinea pig, lower blood sugar level, and provides certain vitamins and minerals. All parts of the plant can be consumed by guinea pigs.
Crispy cabbage can be a good addition to your guinea pig’s food. Guinea pigs love too munch on fresh cabbage either red or green. Cabbage is good for heart health, provides vitamin K and C, is rich in fiber, and lowers the risks of some cancers. However, cabbage can upset the stomach of a guinea pig so it is best to experiment with small amounts initially before feeding bulk quantities.
Carrots can be fed to guinea pigs a few times a week. Finely chop them before feeding to your guinea pig. Due to their sweetish taste, they can be given as treats to your piggies. Vision improvement is not limited to humans carrots also improve the vision of guinea pigs by dosing them with vitamin A. Eating carrots can make the bones of your guinea pig strong, provide calcium, and supply beta carotene, and vitamin K to the guinea pigs. Dont over feed carrots to your guinea pigs as they can get vitamin A toxicity in such cases.
Celery is a healthy food choice for guinea pigs but only in a limited amount. Although they love to consume it, celery can cause diarrhea in some guinea pigs. Due to high amounts of calcium, it is not good for heart health. It is best to feed a quarter cup of celery once a week to your guinea pig to be on the safe side. Celery provides vitamin C, K, and A. Along with that, it is a good source of potassium and folate.
Guinea pigs can eat cauliflower in small portions. Some guinea pigs prefer the thick leaves of cauliflower rather than the main body. Feeding it once a week is a healthy option. Cauliflower can help obese guinea pigs lose weight, it is also a good source of fiber and antioxidants.
Cucumbers are an ideal choice of vegetable in the summer months. Due to 97% water cucumbers keep guinea pigs hydrated and provide them with electrolytes. It can also help fat guinea pigs lose some weight. Cucumbers provide minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients to a guinea pig. Cucumbers can help relieve constipation in guinea pigs. Consuming too many cucumbers can result in diarrhea and vomiting in guinea pigs so it is best to feed them in a limited quantity and thinly chopped.
Zucchini can be fed to guinea pigs daily because of no known side effects. Zucchini is extremely healthy and full of different nutrients. Zucchini is an excellent source of vitamin B6. It also helps to lower blood glucose levels, promotes digestion, and improves eye health. The best thing is guinea pigs can eat it daily.
Which Vegetables Should Be Avoided In The Diet Of A Guinea Pig?
Although vegetables are very healthy for guinea pigs still there are some which cause illness. These veggies include the following;
- Onions, leeks, and chives
Onions are considered highly toxic for guinea pigs. A few compounds in onion can be fatal for a guinea pig if it accidentally consumes one. Onion can also cause hemolytic anemia in guinea pigs which is the destruction of red blood cells. Guinea pigs can pass bloody urine after eating an onion.
Garlic is also not a safe choice for guinea pigs. Parts of the garlic plant should also be avoided. They can cause problems similar to eating an onion.
- Green beans
These can cause bloat in guinea pigs which is the accumulation of gas in the GIT tract. It can be very painful for guinea pigs and can even disturb their ability to breathe.
- Unripened tomatoes
Parts of the tomato plant contain large amounts of oxalic acid which can aid in the formation of bladder stones in guinea pigs. Feeding unripe tomatoes to guinea pigs can pose similar dangers.
Potatoes are high in starch so they are not recommended for guinea pigs. High starch promotes obesity and can increase the weight of guinea pigs. The other reason why potatoes should not be fed to guinea pigs is the presence of “solanine” in them. Solanine can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nervous signs, itching, and dizziness in guinea pigs. It can even be fatal if consumed in large quantities. Potatoes either cooked, fried, baked, or raw should never be fed to guinea pigs.
- Iceberg lettuce
It is best to avoid iceberg lettuce in the diet of a guinea pig because it has little to no nutritional value.
Article Sources & Research
- Cosgrove, N. (2022, July 22). 17 Best Vegetables for Guinea Pigs. Pet Keen. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://petkeen.com/best-vegetables-for-guinea-pigs/
- The U.S., S. P. S. (n.d.). 15 Things Guinea Pigs Shouldn’t Eat. Small Pet Select U.S. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from https://shop.smallpetselect.com/pages/15-things-guinea-pigs-shouldnt-eat