Guinea pigs love veggies, and they can eat most of them. Owners usually think that any veggie is healthy for their guinea pigs, but in reality, some of those veggies are toxic and unhealthy for them. In this article, we are going to talk about a very unique leafy veggie called arugula. The arugula is also known as “rocket” or “rucola”, and it is unique for its specific taste.
Can guinea pigs eat arugula? Guinea pigs can eat arugula as it is a good source of vitamins and minerals. They really love the leafy texture of this vegetable but due to a higher amount of calcium and its harmful effect on guinea pig’s urinary system, you have to feed them arugula only in moderation.
Now we know that our lovely pets can safely eat the arugula but only in small amounts. If you are interested to learn more information about guinea pigs and arugula such as specific benefits, risks, and nutrition facts, we suggest that you stay with us till the end. Let’s begin!
Is Arugula Healthy for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
This veggie has a good amount of fiber, and fiber is essential for good digestion in both humans and guinea pigs. Feeding arugula to guinea pigs is a natural and healthy way to work up their stomach and digestion. Also, there is not too much sugar in arugula, which is also good for their digestive system.
The vitamin A in arugula is also beneficial for the guinea pigs. This vitamin is an antioxidant and protects from illnesses and free radical damage. This means that if your guinea pig eats arugula a few times per week, it will have better immunity. Not just that, there will be less inflammation and better health when it comes to kidneys, heart, skin, lungs, and good vision.
Healthy Bones and Muscles
The vitamin K in this veggie protects the bones of the guinea pigs. Since they cannot consume calcium or calcium supplements in excess, vitamin K is the best protector of their bones. If the guinea pig has some injuries, the wounds will heal much faster with this vitamin.
Also, the mineral magnesium in arugula is essential for healthy bones and muscles, which includes the heart’s muscle. Magnesium also stops any pains and tremors. Arugula also contains some protein.
The best part is that arugula has plenty of vitamin C. Other foods might have even more, but the amount of vitamin C in arugula is enough for the guinea pig’s needs. This vitamin is essential for the optimal health of guinea pigs. If the guinea pig has a deficit of vitamin C, it becomes prone to illnesses such as scurvy ( this disease has the following symptoms: rough coat, no appetite, oral problems, losing weight, stiff joints, etc).
Healthy Cardiovascular System
Low levels of fat in arugula won’t cause cardiovascular problems. Also, there are minerals such as iron and potassium that are beneficial for their cardiovascular system. Iron is good for blood and preventing anemia. Potassium is important for regulating guinea pig’s blood pressure. Vitamin K, besides being good for muscles and bones, it is also good for improving blood clotting.
The arugula has a good amount of carbs, enough for the guinea pigs’ health needs and a healthy weight. In other words, the carbs give off a fast release of energy during the day. Luckily, arugula also has a small amount of sugar and fat and no cholesterol, which means that this veggie will prevent your guinea pigs from getting obese.
Nutrition Facts of Arugula for Guinea Pigs
Now, let’s see all the nutrients that are contained in arugula. Per 100 g (3 oz) of arugula, there is:
- Energy – 25 kcal
- Protein – 2.58 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.66 g
- Carbs – 3.65 g
- Dietary fiber – 1.6 g
- Sugars – 2.05 g
- Calcium – 160 mg
- Iron – 1.46 mg
- Magnesium – 47 mg
- Phosphorus – 52 mg
- Potassium – 369 mg
- Sodium – 27 mg
- Zinc – 0.47 mg
- Copper – 0.076 mg
- Selenium – 0.3 µg
- Vitamin C – 15 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.073 mg
- Vitamin A – 119 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.43 mg
- Vitamin K – 108.6 µg
- Folates – 97 µg
- Thiamin – 0.044 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.086 mg
- Niacin – 0.305 mg
- Carotene, beta – 1424 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 3555 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Arugula to Guinea Pigs
Bladder and Kidney Stones
One risk of eating arugula is the calcium content. Calcium is an essential mineral, but for guinea pigs, it can create health problems. If there is excess calcium in their system, some complications can occur like muscle spasms, weight and appetite loss, frequent convulsions, dehydration, and even depression. The most serious complication is bladder stones or kidney stones. So, be careful with the serving sizes and frequency of arugula. On some occasions, too much calcium can even be fatal for the guinea pigs.
Other risks are stomach and digestion problems, which can appear by eating too much arugula. If you feed arugula to guinea pigs very often and in huge amounts, it can cause them stomach pains, diarrhea, bloat, gases, and so on. So it’s very important to be careful with serving sizes and frequency of arugula for guinea pigs. In the following sections, we will talk more about that so you can learn the best way to include arugula in the guinea pig’s diet.
Serving Size and Frequency of Arugula for Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Have Arugula Every Day?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat arugula every day. We all know vegetables are useful and nutritious when compared to other types of food. However, certain veggies have to be served in moderation or a few times per week, regardless of how healthy they are. So, how often can guinea pigs have arugula? A normal frequency of serving is only a few times per week. Let’s say, a normal serving of arugula is one to three times per week. On other days, you can feed the guinea pigs with some other veggies in order to mix up the foods.
How Much Arugula Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Now, it’s time to explain how to prepare the arugula lettuce for guinea pigs. Since guinea pigs cannot eat too much arugula, it’s important to provide them optimal serving sizes or better mix it with other fruits or vegetables. We recommend feeding one guinea pig with few leaves of arugula. For example, feed them two bigger or three smaller leaves of arugula. Just be sure to give them raw and fresh arugula and thoroughly wash arugula with water before feeding guinea pigs. We recommend mixing arugula with other leafy greens or veggie leaves. A mix of veggies will create a bigger serving size and add neutral flavor to the tangy taste of arugula.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Arugula?
Generally, guinea pigs like arugula, and they enjoy eating this veggie. However, some guinea pigs don’t really love the arugula that much because of its specific taste. This veggie is peppery, a bit bitter, and this is why guinea pigs don’t binge this veggie as their other favorite foods.
Due to that, it is a great idea to combine arugula with another veggie the guinea pigs like. For example, you can mix it with green lettuce to “mask” arugula’s strong taste. Other veggies that are good for mixing with arugula are broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, parsley, or even spinach. On the plus side, the guinea pigs would get more nutrients from two or more veggies in one serving.
More Information About Arugula and Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Baby Arugula?
Baby arugula is simply arugula harvested young. It’s slightly different from mature arugula because baby arugula is milder in taste and has delicate leaves, while mature arugula is spicier. Guinea pigs can eat baby arugula, and they will maybe enjoy baby arugula more than a mature one. The taste of mature arugula is a mix of peppery flavor, bitter, tangy, and even pungent aroma. Sometimes guinea pigs are not crazy about that taste, so baby arugula may be a better choice.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Arugula Sprouts?
Arugula sprouts, also known as arugula microgreens or micro arugula, have tiny, bright green, and heart-shaped leaves with small and flexible light green stems. Guinea pigs can eat arugula sprouts only in moderation. This micro arugula is also milder in taste in comparison to the mature one. Arugula sprouts are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, potassium, magnesium, and many others.
You can also grow your own arugula sprouts for guinea pigs in pots. It’s easy to learn how to sow and harvest these microgreens. This way, your guinea pigs will have fresh arugula because arugula sprouts are harvested around 14 to 25 days after sowing.
Quick Facts on Arugula
- Arugula is native to the Mediterranean area. British colonists brought arugula to America.
- This spicy vegetable was popular in Ancient Rome because of its aphrodisiac properties.
- Arugula belongs to the mustard family, and some of the common names of arugula are rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, roquette, etc.
- Today, arugula is used worldwide as a vegetable in a salad or as a spicy herb.
- Raw arugula is often added to a pizza at the end or just after baking.
- Arugula is an annual plant and has creamy-white flowers with purple veins arranged in multi-branched clusters.
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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List of Sources
Norman, R., Wills, A. P., An Investigation into the Relationship between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus), Animals: an open access journal from MDPI, 2016.
National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition, Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995., Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1995.
Witkowska, A., Price, J., Hughes, C., Smith, D., White, K., Alibhai, A., Rutland C. S., The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science, 2017.