When it comes to vegetables, some of us like them, some don’t. With some pets, it’s a bit different. For example, guinea pigs love veggies, and they eat most of them. For them, different vegetables mean different treats. Of course, some vegetables are not healthy for guinea pigs, even though they like them. Sometimes we think any veggie is healthy for our fluffy friend, but some of those veggies are toxic and unhealthy for the cavy. But, there is a very unique leafy veggie here, and it’s called the arugula. The arugula is also known as ‘rocket’ or ‘rucola’ and it is unique for its specific taste. For humans, the taste is not the best in the world, but this veggie is very beneficial. You surely wonder if such veggies like arugula are good for the guinea pigs. Or at least if guinea pigs like arugula.
Can guinea pigs eat arugula? The answer is yes. Guinea pigs can safely eat arugula, and they even love the leafy texture. However, cavies don’t really love the arugula too much because of its specific taste. This veggie is peppery, a bit bitter and this is why cavies don’t binge this veggie as other favorite foods. Cavies can safely eat arugula a few times during the week. It is best recommendable to mix it with other leafy greens or veggie leaves. This mix of veggies will create a bigger serving and will add neutral flavor to the tangy arugula.
Now we know that our lovely cavy pets can safely eat the arugula but in small amounts. The serving of arugula must contain other greens or veggies as well because the taste of arugula is very strong. It must be combined with another veggie when you feed the cavy because other veggies can ‘mask’ the strong bitter-peppery taste of arugula. Still, we have to research more and find out if cavies like this veggie, or if they have benefits and risks from eating arugula. Let’s find out.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Arugula
One of the benefits of arugula is that it’s a vegetable. We all know vegetables are useful and nutritious, 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. If you feed the cavy arugula 2-4 times weekly, this will create a good variety in the cavy’s diet. Also, don’t give arugula more than 4 times per week. And on other days, you can feed the cavy some other veggies and mix up the foods.
The arugula also has a good amount of carbs, enough for the health needs of the cavy. In other words, the carbs give off a fast release of energy during the day. Luckily, arugula has some amount of carbs, and this should be enough for the cavy.
This veggie also has fiber, and fiber is essential for good digestion (in both humans and cavies). Also if we compare foods, this is vegetable-fiber and is much healthier than bread fibers for example. A natural and healthy way to work up the stomach and digestion!
Arugula also has a small amount of proteins. The arugula proteins make a slow-release of energy and warmth for the muscles and the body. This is an excellent protein source when you compare it with high protein foods like meats and animal products.
The vitamin A in arugula is very useful for the cavy. This vitamin is an antioxidant and protects all organisms from illnesses and free radical damage. This means if your cavy eats arugula a few times per week, it will have a great immunity. Not just that, there will be fewer inflammations, healthy brain, kidneys, heart, skin, lungs, good vision and a strong immunity overall.
The vitamin K in this veggie protects the bones of the cavy. Since cavies cannot consume calcium or calcium supplements in excess, vitamin K is the best protector of their bones.
Also, if the cavy has some injuries, wounds would heal much faster with this vitamin.
The mineral magnesium in arugula is essential for healthy bones and healthy muscles, including the muscle of the heart. It can also prevent diabetes (this is good if you sometimes give sweet treats to the cavy). And also, magnesium stops any pains and tremors.
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 needs of the cavy. This vitamin is essential for the good health of guinea pigs. If the cavy has a deficit of vitamin C, it is prone to illnesses like scurvy (rough coat, no appetite, oral problems, losing weight, stiff joints…). Luckily, even though arugula has calcium (problematic for cavies), it has even more vitamin C.
Nutrition Facts of Arugula
Let’s see all the nutrients and ingredients in the arugula.
Per 3 oz of arugula, there is:
- Total of 25 calories
- 7 g fat (low level of fat won’t cause cardiovascular problems in blood vessels)
- 27 mg sodium (this could be more than normal, but it is still fine for the guinea pig)
- 7 g carbs (for fast release of energy)
- 6 g fiber (for good digestion)
- 1 g sugar (not too much or too sweet for the cavy)
- 6 g protein (source of slow releasing energy)
- 25% vitamin C (the essential vitamin for guinea pigs and overall health)
- 47% vitamin A (an antioxidant that prevents illnesses and damage of free radicals, good for skin, immunity, vision, brain, heart, lungs)
- 16% calcium (a higher level of calcium than recommended – this is risky for guinea pigs and causes stones in the urinary tract)
- 8% iron (for healthy blood)
- 136% vitamin K (faster healing of wounds, healthy bones, healthy blood clotting)
- 12% Magnesium (healthy bones and muscles, prevention of diabetes, less pains all over, and for a healthy heart)
The arugula as we see, has many health benefits, both for humans and guinea pigs. The only tricky part is that this veggie has calcium, and calcium is not so crucial for cavies as it is for humans. It is even harmful to their bladder and kidneys. So, serve sparingly.
Arugula shouldn’t be given to the cavy every day. A normal frequency of serving is only a few times per week. Let’s say, a normal serving of arugula is 2-4 times per week.
Also, it is a great idea to combine arugula with another veggie the cavy likes. For example, you can mix it with green lettuce to ‘mask’ the strong taste of arugula. Other good veggies for mixing with arugula are broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, parsley or even spinach. On the plus side, the cavy would get enough nutrients from 2 or more veggies in one serving. It will be fuller for a longer time and it would be a real treat to give your cavy a salad of mixed veggies!
Risks to Consider When Feeding Arugula to Guinea Pigs
One minor risk of the arugula is the salt amount. This amount is a bit higher than it should be, and the risk of this is related only to more thirst. The cavy could be thirstier for water if it consumes more arugula frequently. So, if your cavy doesn’t drink enough water, you can stimulate the thirst for water with this vegetable.
Another risk of too much arugula is the calcium buildup in the cavy’s body. The calcium is an essential mineral, but for cavies, it can create health problems. If there is excess calcium in the cavy’s system, there will be complications like spasms of the muscles, weight loss and less appetite, frequent convulsions, dehydration and even depression! The most serious complication is bladder stones or kidney stones. So, be careful with the serving and frequency of serving arugula. In some occasions, too much calcium can even be fatal for the guinea pig.
Another minor ‘risk’ is the tangy and specific taste. Guinea pigs like arugula, but they are not crazy about its taste. The taste is a mix of peppery flavor, bitter, tangy and even pungent aroma. If there is no water nearby or other veggies mixed with arugula, the taste itself could be strong for the cavy.
Quick Facts on Arugula and Guinea Pigs
- Arugula is safe for guinea pigs and they like it but in moderation.
- Guinea pigs are not crazy for the bitter-tangy taste of arugula.
- It is best to serve arugula mixed with other veggies to mask the tangy taste.
- Arugula should be given 2-4 times per week.
- This vegetable contains fiber for good digestion.
- Arugula also has enough proteins and carbs for the cavy.
- There is also vitamin A and K (antioxidants and protection of the bones).
- Arugula has the essential vitamin C (crucial for the health of cavies).
- Consuming arugula can make the cavy more thirsty for water (good if your cavy doesn’t drink enough water).
- The arugula has calcium (this mineral causes bladder/kidney stones in cavies) and must be given in moderation.
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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