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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Arugula? What You Need to Know!
We all know that vegetables like carrots and cucumber are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals for guinea pigs, but what about arugula? Humans love this leafy green, but is it safe for guinea pigs? The short answer is, yes, arugula is safe for guinea pigs as long as it’s offered in moderation. We’ll go over everything you need to know to add this tasty vegetable to your guinea pig’s diet safely.
Is Arugula a Good Source of Vitamins for Guinea Pigs?
It most certainly is! Arugula, like many leafy green vegetables, is packed with vitamins that are both essential and healthy for your guinea pig. Arugula provides a good amount of vitamin A and vitamin C.
According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin A promotes healthy vision, a strong immune system, and reproductive health. Vitamin A is essential for your guinea pig’s health, and arugula is a great source.
As many guinea pig owners are acutely aware, and as experts at the Spruce Pets explain, guinea pigs cannot synthesize vitamin C naturally, so they must get all of the vitamin C they need from their diet. Although it contains a lower concentration than vitamin A, arugula is still a great source for vitamin C that you can add to your guinea pig’s diet.
What About Essential Minerals?
Yes! In addition to the vitamins it provides, arugula is also a great source for both calcium and iron, both of which are healthy and necessary for your guinea pig.
While too much calcium can be a concern, pet health experts at Small Pet Select note that calcium is a necessary mineral for guinea pigs. They state that calcium deficiency can cause major issues with bone and teeth frailty, among other issues.
Lastly, arugula supplies iron to your guinea pig, which is another essential mineral for healthy living. WebMD states that iron is essential for proper oxygen transportation in the blood, which directly affects tissue health. While this article directly speaks about humans, guinea pigs are no different!
Are There Any Risks Involved?
As with all foods including fruits and vegetables, too much of a good thing isn’t healthy. While small amounts of arugula are very unlikely to cause any issues for your guinea pig, there are risks involved with over-feeding some of the vitamins and minerals above.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that, if it is consumed in excess, any amount that goes unused will be stored in fat and not leave your guinea pig’s body. Healthline.com explains that too much vitamin A can lead to liver and brain malfunction as well as bone and vision issues. Arugula does have a high vitamin A content, so the volume you feed your piggy should be limited.
There is a wealth of information regarding too much calcium in a guinea pig’s diet, so over-feeding calcium is probably most owners’ main concern when offering their guinea pigs arugula. Research done by North Carolina University warns that too much calcium can lead to stones in the urinary tract, so this is another reason why arugula should be limited in your piggy’s diet.
How Often Can My Guinea Pig Eat Arugula?
To ensure that your guinea pig doesn’t consume too much of a good thing, consider offering small pieces of arugula to them along with other vegetables. Two or three leaves will offer wonderful nutritional benefits without going overboard on vitamins and minerals.
You should also take care not to feed arugula to your guinea pig too often. Plan to include it with their other food about once a week but no more often, just to be safe.
How Can I Feed My Guinea Pig Arugula?
Humans often eat arugula in salads or cooked in some way. As with most vegetables, the nutritional benefits of arugula are most abundant when they are consumed raw. When feeding your pig arugula, give them raw leaves only, and never prepare arugula like you would for yourself. Dressing and toppings may sound great to you, but they aren’t healthy for your guinea pig.
The Bottom Line
Arugula can be a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet, as it offers vitamins and minerals that your pet needs to maintain its health. However, you should be careful not to overfeed them arugula. Those same nutrients can be detrimental if your guinea pig consumes too much of them. It’s perfectly safe to feed your guinea pig just a few leaves of arugula about once a week or so, but make sure that you always offer raw leaves that haven’t been cooked or prepared in any way.
Featured Image Credit: timlewisnm, Flickr
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.