Guinea pigs are adorable and budget-friendly pets. Every owner of a guinea pig can say these animals are vegetarians and that they can consume most foods as humans, except pastries, sugars or meats. Almost every fruit and veggie is a favorite of the cavy, but there are some fruits and veggies that are not good or tasty for the cavy. Some of them are even toxic and unhealthy. The beetroot, for example, is a very beneficial veggie, with many health benefits. It is important to know whether this veggie is good for the guinea pig. However, owners of guinea pigs must research every food item before they feed their pets. It must be clear whether beets are good for cavies before you feed them with it.
Can guinea pigs eat beetroot? The answer is yes, guinea pigs can consume beetroot, but only in small moderate servings. This veggie is good and tasty for them, but it needs to be given in moderation, and not as an everyday food item. The beets contain certain amounts of phosphorus and calcium (which in excess makes bladder/kidney stones), also some fats and sugar which can be unhealthy for the cavy. This is why it should be given in moderation. Otherwise, it is healthy for the guinea pigs.
Beetroots are not exactly healthy in all aspects, due to some items it contains. Still, it can be eaten by cavies when given in moderation and rarely. Before you give your cavy beet for the first time, it is important to learn everything there is to know about the benefits or damages of consuming beetroot. Remember, the cavies may eat almost everything we eat, but it doesn’t mean they should consume the same amounts. Now let’s talk about if you should cook the beet or not, or feed the cavy all of it or some parts of the beetroot. Let’s go through all these unanswered questions about the beetroot and guinea pigs.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Beetroot
The beetroot is a veggie with many health benefits. We even refer to it as a superfood because for us humans it boosts the overall health, but mostly it helps those with anemia and weak blood health. Guinea pigs luckily also have certain benefits from beets, after all this is a veggie and guinea pigs love veggies, we’ll go through this in details below.
Overall, the beet is a superfood because it contains plenty of dietary fibers for amazing digestion, antioxidants for protection of free radical damage and premature aging, and vitamins + minerals for balanced immunity and health.
The beet has no fat, no cholesterol, and this is great because it does not clog the blood vessels.
The greatest benefit for guinea pigs is that beet has lots of vitamin C. Guinea pigs need vitamin C in abundance because they don’t make it themselves. They also cannot store this vitamin, so any additional source of vitamin C is good for the cavy. With enough of this vitamin, the guinea pig prevents getting scurvy and all vitamin-deficit related problems.
Some ingredients in the beet may limit you to feeding the cavy with this just 2-3 times per week. These are the calcium and phosphorus – which create bladder stones if consumed in excess by rodents. Still, beet is ok when given in moderation. There is a trick to get the most of the beetroot or to get the most of its vitamin C. It is best to eat it raw because cooked beets lose nutrients during the exposure to sun, heat or similar.
The beetroot should be peeled, and leaves with the stalk must be removed. Then, slice the beet and cut it into small chunks. Larger chunks make it hard for the cavy to bite into them. So, it would be better to slice the beet in thin pieces, or even better, grate it. The cavy will enjoy the grated beet much easier.
The cavy will also get enough iron from the beets. Just remember iron is beneficial only when combined with vitamin C. Luckily, beetroot has both iron and vitamin C which complement each other perfectly. With this, the cavy will have a strong immunity. To sum it all up, the beet is not a life changer for cavies. You can offer beets only as a treat to the cavy. You need to focus mostly on other foods that guinea pigs should eat on daily basis.
As long as you avoid the stalk or leaves which are toxic, the beet itself is good for the guinea pig. As always do extensive research before you introduce a new vegetable – sometimes just parts of the veggie can make a huge problem!
Nutrition Facts of Beetroot
The beets have a lot of water, even 87% which means they are good for hydrating. Per one cup of beets (136 g), there is:
- 43 calories total
- 6 g protein (for long-lasting energy)
- 6 g carbs (fast energy spike)
- 8 g sugar (not the healthiest thing for guinea pigs, serve in moderation because of this)
- 8 g fiber (for better digestion)
- 2 g fat (for warmth and energy)
- 78 mg sodium (for balanced electrolytes in the body)
- 1% vitamin A (an antioxidant that protects all tissues and organs from free radical damage)
- 2% calcium (for lactating mothers, and nutritional benefits)
- 4% iron (for healthy pups, healthy blood and good oxygen transport in the blood)
- 8% Vitamin C (for many benefits; healthy teeth and mouth, healthy organs and bones too)
When the beet is consumed in moderation, it can be very good for the cavy. Usually, the normal serving of beets for guinea pigs is maximum of 2 times weekly, 3 tops, at most. More than this and their belly will have problems. A small cube of beet is a good serving, not more than this.
The beets have many beneficial nutrients inside, like folate B9, potassium, manganese, iron, and vitamin C too, so beets shouldn’t be completely avoided, only served sparingly and rarely.
The grated beet is commonly more accepted by cavies, as opposed to sliced or chunked beets. This is because grated beet tastes less acidic and cavies love neutral or naturally sweet-ish tastes.
One interesting way of introducing beets to guinea pigs is to grate it and add it with lettuce for example. They will have to try the beet when it’s right next to the lettuce parts. The cavy will be pleasantly surprised with the new taste mixed in with its veggies or lettuce.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Beetroot to Guinea Pigs
Beetroot is a snack and not a real part of the diet for your guinea pig. But even when given rarely it can cause some discomforts or health problems. Digestive problems are sometimes expected after the cavy eats bets because some nutritive parts disturb the digestive system of the cavy. A large amount of consumed beets might make the cavy vomit, bloated, have diarrhea – be extra careful with the serving size and weekly frequency feeding with beets.
The leaves are toxic and the cavy might become very ill if consumed. Beet greens are listed among other veggie greens that are toxic for guinea pigs and other rodents. The beet greens are listed next to other toxic veggie greens like onion, rhubarb, turnip and potato. This means all such bulb greens are poisonous for cavies and may cause problems with digestion and diarrhea as well.
The calcium and phosphorus in the beet may cause bladder or kidney stones, so the cavy can just try this veggie once in a while.
Also, it is normal for the urine and stool of the cavy to become red or purple after consuming beets, but this is normal and there is no need to worry.
Quick Facts on Beetroots:
- Beet has plenty of fibers for good digestion
- There are also minerals and vitamins for overall immunity and health of the guinea pig
- No fat and cholesterol which damages blood vessels
- It prevents cancers, obesity, diabetes and heart issues
- Beet has plenty of vitamin C, useful for the cavy
- Beet has calcium and phosphorus which create bladder stones (if consumed in excess)
- Rich in iron making it good for the blood
- If eaten in excess, it causes diarrhea and can upset the stomach of the cavy
- Beet leaves and stalk are toxic for guinea pigs
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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