If you just purchased your first guinea pig, you are probably excited to learn more about it, and one of the most important things to understand is how to provide them with a well-balanced diet that will keep them healthy so they can live a full life. Guinea pigs like to eat grass and Timothy hay, but they also like to eat various vegetables. We’ve compiled a list of safe vegetables to feed your pet to help speed up the process and minimize the risk you might give them something unhealthy. We’ll provide you with an image of each food as well as a short description explaining what makes it good. Join us while we look at the several vegetables that you can feed your guinea pig so you can feel good about the dinners you provide.
The 17 Best Vegetables for Guinea Pigs (A-Z):
Asparagus is a perfect example of a nutritious vegetable you can frequently feed your guinea pig. It’s low in sugar and provides your pet with plenty of vitamins and minerals. It’s also unlikely to cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. It’s low in pesticides, so there is less danger of health problems after washing. You can feed your pet up to ¼ cup of raw chopped asparagus several times a week.
Basil is healthy and will provide your pet with plenty of vitamin C and other nutrients, and it’s low in fat and sugar. However, it does contain a lot of calcium, so you shouldn’t give it to your pet every day. Most experts recommend limiting amounts to less than a handful of chopped basil once or twice a week.
You can feed your pet guinea pig all parts of the beet plant, including roots, leaves, and stalk. It provides plenty of vitamins, potassium, and fiber. The only downside to beets is that they have a lot of calcium which can be harmful to guinea pigs if they get too much. Most experts recommend giving your pet 1/4 cup once a week as a treat.
4. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a great vegetable to feed your pet. They contain several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C. Bell peppers are also low in sugar, so they make a perfect staple food. Cut raw bell peppers into manageable sizes and give them to your pet every day.
Broccoli is a safe food to give your guinea pig, and you can begin adding it to its daily diet. All parts of the plant are edible and will provide your pet with plenty of beneficial nutrients. Most experts recommend adding about a teaspoon of broccoli to your pet’s daily diet.
Both the red and green varieties of cabbage make an excellent addition to your guinea pig’s diet, and most experts recommend feeding it raw 2 or 3 times a week for optimal health. It has plenty of vitamins and minerals but can cause digestive issues for some guinea pigs. Start with tiny amounts to see how your pet reacts.
Carrots are a healthy vegetable that your guinea pig will love to chew on. It’s one of their favorites, so it makes a great treat. Carrots are high in sugar, though, so you can only supply them in small amounts of less than ¼ cup several times a week. Your pet can also eat the green carrot tops, which also contain a lot of nutrients, but these are high in calcium, so you should only provide them once a week.
Cauliflower is a common garden vegetable that is safe for your guinea pig in small amounts. Most pigs will prefer the leaves of the plant, which are also better for them to eat. Experts recommend providing it raw because cooking vegetables will remove the nutrients.
Celery is another nutritious food that you should only provide your guinea pig once or twice a week because it can cause diarrhea in some pets, and it also has a lot of calcium which can cause health problems. It’s a rich source of vitamin C, and guinea pigs tend to enjoy it, but you should only provide no more than ¼ stalk, along with the leaves, at a time for a treat. Adding other vegetables can also help balance the nutrients and reduce the risk of diarrhea.
10. Collard Greens
Collard greens contain a wide variety of helpful nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K. Some studies show that collard greens can help balance blood sugar due to an enzyme called alpha-lipoic acid that it contains. However, it also contains high calcium levels and water, so you should only provide less than a handful once a week to prevent diarrhea and other health problems.
Cucumbers are safe for your guinea pig to eat if you cut them into small pieces, and they contain some helpful nutrients. It’s also 97% water, so it has almost no calories and is a great way to hydrate your pet during the summer months. However, this high-water content can also lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and a bloated feeling in your pet. Most experts recommend opting for more nutritious foods except as a summertime treat or for helping with constipation.
Dandelions are extremely healthy, and you can add them to your pet’s diet every day by breaking a few up into smaller pieces. This weed grows in almost every yard, so it’s one of the least expensive options on this list. It can help reduce blood sugar, increase appetite, and help boost the immune system. Just make sure to wash the dandelions first to remove anything that could be harmful to your guinea pig.
Kale is a healthy food for humans because it’s packed with nutrients. However, it contains too much calcium to give to your pet guinea pig every day. The high moisture content can also lead to diarrhea and vomiting, so most experts recommend limiting it to less than a handful once a week.
14. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce is a large leafy green that your guinea pig is sure to enjoy eating. It has plenty of nutrients that are beneficial to your pet, and it also provides them with fiber that will help regulate their digestive system. You can give your pet romaine lettuce several times a week as long as you wash it well to remove pesticides. Cut it into 1-inch squares to make it easier to eat.
Most experts consider spinach one of the healthiest foods you can provide your guinea pig. It’s loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients to keep your pet healthy. The only downside to spinach is that the large flat leaves can get contaminated with pesticides, so it’s important to wash them off before giving them to your pet. Though your pig can eat the entire leaf, it’s usually better to cut it into 1-inch squares to reduce mess.
16. Turnip Greens
Turnip Greens are another popular vegetable with plenty of helpful nutrients but they contain too much calcium to give to your pet every day. If your pet enjoys this treat, you can chop up a small amount and give less than a handful once or twice a week.
Zucchini is a nutritious plant that will provide your pet with plenty of immune system building vitamin C and other helpful nutrients. You can add it to your pet’s daily diet as there are no harmful side effects. Cut the zucchini into small, manageable pieces and begin adding it to your guinea pig’s daily diet.
Of all the vegetables we have listed, the best ones are asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, dandelions, romaine lettuce, spinach, and zucchini. You can begin adding these foods to your guinea pig’s daily diet to help them get the nutrients they need to live long, healthy lives. Wash the vegetables in warm water to remove any pesticides and wax that might be present and cut the food into small pieces your pet can manage. Always serve vegetables raw for maximum nutritional value.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this list and found a few new ideas to try out. If we have helped you create a more varied meal plan for your pet, please share the best vegetables for guinea pigs on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Frauke Feind, Pixabay