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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cilantro? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

May 17, 2021

Cilantro is also known as coriander in many parts of the world… You’re here because you’re wondering if you should share the herb with your guinea pig. They can eat it, and it has some nutritious value like vitamin C that is good for guinea pigs.

Let’s look at some of the herb’s benefits and how to serve it to your cavy.

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What’s in Cilantro?

Cilantro or, as you’d have it, coriander is a herb that is mainly used to spice up stews all across the world. It has an array of nutrients and vitamins like:

Materials
  • Lutein + Zeaxanthin
  • Potassium
  • Sugar
  • Fiber
  • Low amounts of fat – 0.52 per 100 grams
  • Water
  • Vitamin C
Tools
  • Carotene
  • Phosphorous
  • Carbs
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Magnesium
cilantro plant
Image Credit: Pixabay

How to Prepare Cilantro for Your Guinea Pig

The preparation process needs to be executed carefully. First, you need to get fresh produce from the market. Overstayed cilantro has no nutritional value for your hairy little friend.

Thoroughly wash the plant to eliminate the pesticide that was sprayed on it. Washing also takes out the grime from its leaves and stem. Sprinkle bits of water on the cilantro to keep the guinea pig hydrated while they chew.

Chop them into small parts and feed the cavy, either by hand or put in a bowl. You can spice it up by adding carrots and cucumber or explore other options.

How Much Cilantro Should a Guinea Pig Consume?

Guinea pigs do not need too much cilantro in their diet. For the older ones, around 10-20 sprigs per serving are enough. Also, feed them in small quantities because they have a delicate digestive system that can be affected by overfeeding.

How Often Should Guinea Pigs Eat Cilantro?

Guinea pigs can consume cilantro almost every day. It generally has no negative impact on them so long as the intake is moderated. You can, however, take a break a few times in the week and give it other foods. This may spice up the guinea pig’s diet.

Ensure you monitor the piggy’s when you introduce cilantro to their diet. Everything should run smoothly, but just be on the lookout for the first few days to monitor their reaction.

guinea pig eating cilantro
Image Credit: Sharon Snider, Shutterstock

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Benefits of Cilantro to Guinea Pigs

The immense health benefits associated with cilantro qualifies it for daily consumption. Here are some of the benefits that cilantro has on cavies:

1. Lowering Cholesterol

Since cilantro has fiber, the dietary aspect of this plant maintains a good level of cholesterol. It also means you can reduce the chances of heart failure and heart diseases for your guinea pig.

2. Improves Eyesight

Cilantro is rich in vitamin A, which promotes good vision.

3. Helps with Proper Physical Growth

When it comes to body growth, the only worry most people have is putting up excess weight. But failure to have proper body growth may be fatal for your guinea pig. There are some minerals in cilantro that help with this aspect of your sweet pet and also encourage healthy weight gain.

  • Vitamin A ensures healthy tissue formation and proper function in the guinea pig’s body.
  • For your cavy’s bone density and structure, Vitamin K in cilantro can help. It also helps in keeping the teeth clean.
  • Vitamin K also ensures your guinea pig’s bones don’t break.

4. Repairing Tissue

Like any other body, a guinea pig also experiences wear and tear from cell and tissue degeneration. And these tissues need to be repaired at the rate at which they are worn out. With Vitamin A and C, new tissues can be built.

two guinea pig inside cage with cilantro
Image Credit: Janna Polyarnaya, Shutterstock

5. Prevention of Scurvy

Scurvy is a fatal disease that can snatch away the life of your cavy. It starts off with rough fur, and then there can be diarrhea, and lastly, bleeding and discharge. This can be prevented when you feed your furry friend with cilantro.

Guinea pigs need vitamin C to curb this disease. Since they cannot produce the vitamin independently, they rely on vitamin C-rich foods like cilantro.

6. Prevents Health Issues

The minerals in cilantro can help keep some diseases away. For example, the presence of antioxidants can help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress.

The plant also carries low sugar levels, which help maintain the cavy’s weight. There’s no risk of your guinea pig being overweight, [obesity] when it consumes cilantro.

Cilantro can also prevent food poisoning as you’ll know exactly what your furry friend has consumed.

The herb can prevent kidney stones in your guinea pig since it is rich in manganese, which helps control such ailments.

7. Stimulation

If you have a lazy guinea pig or one that has been sick recently, you can boost their energy levels by feeding them with cilantro. Stimulating your cavy can also be a way to find out if it is sick or just lazy.

8. Boosts the Immune System

There are many vitamins and minerals found in this herb, which can help boost the immune system. Your cavy will be able to fight off some diseases thanks to a robust immune system.

cilantro in a bowl
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Risks Involved with Eating Cilantro for Guinea Pigs

While some great benefits come from eating cilantro, for your cavy, there are some risks too. If not done in moderation, here are some of the side effects:

1. Bladder Stones

Some minerals in cilantro can cause bladder stones in cavies since it contains small amounts of oxalate and calcium. This situation can occur, especially when you overfeed them.

2. Irritations

In rare cases, some guinea pigs can be allergic to the herb. Watch their behavior keenly when you first introduce cilantro. Some of the red flags to look out for include rashes and itching.

These are some of the reasons why you need a vet’s input before introducing cilantro or any other foodstuff to their diet.

cilantro hyroponics
Image Credit: Pixabay

3. Digestion Difficulties

When you overfeed your guinea pig with cilantro, it runs the risk of getting bloated or experience stomach upsets. Remember that your cavy has a sensitive and delicate digestive system, and even a favorable herb as cilantro can upset it.

4. Diarrhea

With digestion problems, you can expect your guinea pig to experience diarrhea too. If there’s any trace of diarrhea or loose stool after introducing cilantro, you should stop. At times diarrhea can be severe and may cause dehydration.

Note: some guinea pigs are allergic to cilantro, and displaying side effects is their way of asking you to remove it from their diet. Also, see a vet as soon as possible, as it can indicate an underlying health issue for your cavy.

cilantro leaves close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Other Veggies?

Of course, guinea pigs can eat all forms of veggies, and they are vegetarian, after all. Other than cilantro, they can eat bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, and zucchini, among others.

What About Cilantro Stems?

Amazingly, guinea pigs can consume all parts of cilantro, the stem included. Wash the stem appropriately before you serve it. It would also help if you chopped the stem into small parts to make it easy for consumption-and since cavies love to have something to chew on all the time, cilantro stems will work well for them.

two guinea pigs eating cilantro
Image Credit: Sharon Snider, Shutterstock

Types of Guinea Pigs That Can Eat Cilantro

All adult guinea pigs can chow on cilantro with ease. Though in small portions and with a careful eye. Even the pregnant ones can munch some to get Vitamin C from the herb.

However, a baby guinea pig should comfortably survive without having cilantro in its system.

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Conclusion

Guinea pigs, most of them at least, like munching on cilantro, and it is okay to include it in their daily diet. However, you need to monitor the intake and switch up the diet every so often. Also, look out for any warning signs when you first serve the cavy with cilantro, just in case yours is not a fan.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

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.