Every guinea pig owner should know that these animals are herbivores which means that they are able to consume only fruits and veggies. Even though guinea pigs are herbivores, that does not mean that they can eat every fruit or vegetable out there. Some fruits and veggies are not good or tasty for them while others are even toxic and unhealthy. The beetroot, for example, is an important veggie for humans, with many health benefits. But, what about our guinea pigs?
Can guinea pigs eat beets or beetroots? Guinea pigs can consume beets, but only in small serving sizes. This veggie is both good and tasty for them, but it needs to be given in moderation due to sodium and calcium (which in excess can create bladder/kidney stones). Otherwise, beet is healthy for guinea pigs as it contains important antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Before you give your guinea pigs beet for the first time, it is important to learn everything there is to know about the benefits or risks that come from implementing it into the guinea pig’s diet. Additionally, also learn more about exact serving sizes and the frequency. Let’s begin!
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Beetroot
Healthy Cardiovascular System
The beetroot is a veggie with many health benefits. We even refer to it as a superfood because, for us humans, it boosts overall health. It is famous for helping those with anemia. Luckily guinea pigs can also get certain benefits from beets. There is iron in beetroots which enables healthy blood, good oxygen flow in the blood, and prevents anemia.
Beets are good for blood vessels because they have no cholesterol, a low amount of fat, and vitamin K, all of this helps blood vessels to stay healthy and unclogged. There is also less risk of heart problems due to a low amount of fat and cholesterol. One more important mineral for a healthy cardiovascular system is potassium, which regulates guinea pig’s blood pressure.
Beetroots contain different antioxidants that protect against free radical damage and premature aging. Vitamin A is one of the most important antioxidants for guinea pigs that fights inflammation and helps your pet stay healthy.
The greatest benefit for guinea pigs is that beet has a lot of vitamin C. Guinea pigs need vitamin C in abundance because they don’t make it themselves. They cannot store this vitamin, so any additional vitamin C source is good for the guinea pigs. With enough of this vitamin, the guinea pig will be protected from scurvy disease and all vitamin-deficit related problems.
Boost the Immunity
As we have said, guinea pigs will also get enough iron from the beets. Iron is beneficial only when combined with vitamin C. Luckily, beetroot contains both iron and vitamin C, which complement each other perfectly. With this, the guinea pigs will have a strong immune system.
Overall, the beetroot is a superfood because it also contains enough dietary fibers responsible for proper digestion. If you feed beets to guinea pigs in adequate amounts, they can improve digestive health and prevent constipation and other digestive disorders in guinea pigs.
Beet has several nutritional properties that make it a veggie good for weight loss. The first one is that beetroot is low in fat and calories. Next, it has a lot of water, protein, and fiber to promote fullness and reduce appetite. That’s very good because we all know that guinea pigs love to eat, and sometimes don’t know when to stop eating. Beets can certainly help with this problem.
Nutrition Facts of Beetroot for Guinea Pigs
The beets have a lot of water (87%) which means they are good for hydrating. The following are the nutrition facts for 100 g of beets:
- Energy – 43 kcal
- Protein – 1.61 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.17 g
- Carbs – 9.56 g
- Dietary fiber – 2.8 g
- Sugars – 6.76 g
- Calcium – 16 mg
- Iron – 0.8 mg
- Magnesium – 23 mg
- Phosphorus – 40 mg
- Potassium – 325 mg
- Sodium – 78 mg
- Zinc – 0.35 mg
- Copper – 0.075 mg
- Selenium – 0.7 µg
- Vitamin C – 4.9 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.067 mg
- Vitamin A – 2 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.04 mg
- Vitamin K – 0.2 µg
- Thiamin – 0.031 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.04 mg
- Niacin – 0.334 mg
- Folates – 109 µg
- Carotene, beta – 20 µg
Is Beetroot Poisonous to Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks
Digestive problems are sometimes expected after the guinea pigs eat bets because some nutrients can disturb their digestive system. It’s interesting that beetroots contain a lot of sugar (for a veggie). A large serving size of beets might make the guinea pig vomit, bloat, have diarrhea, so be extra careful with the serving size and weekly frequency of beetroots for guinea pigs.
The calcium and some other minerals such as sodium and phosphorus in the beet may cause the development of bladder or kidney stones. It would help if you were careful, especially with beetroot greens, as they have a higher amount of calcium than beetroot. Bladder and kidney stones are common occurrences in guinea pigs, this is why it is better to focus their diet on food that is lower in calcium. It is also common for the guinea pig’s urine and stool to become red or purple after consuming beets, but this is normal, and there is no need to worry.
Serving Size and Frequency of Beetroot for Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Have Beetroot Every Day?
Guinea pigs can’t eat beetroot every day. Due to some nutrients in the beet, you have to limit the frequency of beets to only two to three times per week. As we have said above, these nutrients are calcium and some other minerals, which create bladder stones if consumed in excess by guinea pigs. Still, beet is safe when given in moderation. Offer beets only as a treat to the guinea pigs. Focus their diet mostly on other foods that guinea pigs should eat on a daily basis.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Whole Beetroot?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat a whole beetroot because that quantity is too much for these little pets. Usually, the normal serving of beets for guinea pigs is one or two slices of beetroot. More than that is dangerous, and their belly will have problems with the larger serving size. When the beet is consumed in moderation, it can be a perfect food for guinea pigs.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Beetroot?
Most guinea pigs like beetroot, but if some of them refuse to eat this veggie that’s normal because raw beetroots have an earthy flavor that they may not like. One interesting way of introducing beets to guinea pigs is to grate it and combine it with lettuce for example. They will definitely try the beet when it’s right next to the lettuce parts. The guinea pigs will be pleasantly surprised with the new taste mixed in with different veggies, such as cauliflower, kale, parsley, endives, radishes, carrots, and so on.
More Information About Guinea Pigs and Beetroot
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Beetroot Leaves / Beetroot Greens?
As always, do extensive research before you introduce a new vegetable – sometimes just parts of the veggie can make a huge problem! The beet itself is good for our little pets, but what about beetroot tops for guinea pigs? Are beetroot leaves poisonous to guinea pigs? Beetroot leaves or beetroot greens aren’t poisonous to guinea pigs, and these leaves are edible for them, but you need to be careful with serving sizes of these greens. Beet greens contain a huge amount of calcium, and as we have learned before, this mineral can cause kidney or bladder stones in our guinea pigs.
Although beet leaves contain vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals beneficial to guinea pigs, it’s better to avoid feeding these leaves to them very often. There are many other foods with vitamin C and a smaller amount of calcium that you can provide to your guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Beetroot Skin?
The first thing we want to know before giving beets to guinea pigs is, do we need to peel them? So, can guinea pigs eat beet peel? Guinea pigs can eat beetroot peel or skin. This skink is perfectly safe for them in moderation and if you clean it properly. Due to the possibility of pesticide residue and dirt, it’s important to wash beetroot skin thoroughly with water.
Beetroot skin has many beneficial nutrients for our guinea pigs, and usually, most of the nutrients are actually in the skin which applies to many of the vegetables and fruits. Also, we recommend feeding them baby beets because their skin is tender and less thick than older beets. If your guinea pigs refuse to eat beets with peel, next time, try introducing them to peeled beetroots.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Beetroot Stalks / Beetroot Stems?
Guinea pigs can eat beetroot stalks or beetroot stems. These stems are actually part of the beets’ tops, and since they can eat beetroot leaves, stems are also edible for them. Just be careful with the serving sizes. Stalks contain a huge amount of calcium, which can be bad for their urinary system. Also, there is a lot of fiber in the beet stalks, so if eaten in large serving sizes, it could cause stomach problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and gases.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Beets?
Guinea pigs can eat raw beets, and that’s the only way you can feed this veggie to them. This is very important to have in mind because guinea pigs shouldn’t eat cooked, dried, or pickled beetroots. We will write about this in more detail below.
Prepare for them only fresh and raw beetroot, wash it well with water and then chop the beet and cut it into small pieces. Larger pieces make it hard for the guinea pigs to bite into them. So, it would be better to slice the beet into thin pieces or even better grate it. The guinea pigs will be able to eat and enjoy the grated beet much easier.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Beetroot?
Guinea pigs can’t eat cooked beetroot or any other cooked vegetable. Cooked beets lose nutrients during exposure to heat. Guinea pigs are herbivores and they can eat only fresh and raw foods, while cooked or processed foods can only upset their stomach and digestion.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Beetroot?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat dried beetroot for the same reasons they can’t eat cooked beets. Dried beetroots lose their nutritional value, and due to that, their benefits aren’t enough for guinea pigs. Also, branded dried beetroots or any other dried fruit or vegetable, such as dried bananas or dried apricots, have added additives and sugars. Too much sugar can be bad for guinea pig’s digestion, so it’s better to avoid dried beets and give them only fresh and raw beetroots.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pickled Beetroot?
Guinea pigs can’t eat pickled beets because in this form beetroot can be very dangerous for their digestion. Pickled beets contain many additives that aren’t good and healthy for guinea pigs, such as oil, vinegar, salt, spices, and so on. Their digestive system would have difficulties digesting all these ingredients, so you should avoid feeding guinea pigs with pickled beetroots.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Shredded Beetroot?
Guinea pigs can’t eat shredded beetroot if we’re talking about branded ones with added nutrients such as vinegar, salt, sugar, and others. Shredded beets that you can buy in the stores are dangerous for your guinea pigs and their digestion. Of course, fresh and raw beetroots that you have shredded in small pieces are completely safe for guinea pigs in moderation.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Red Beetroot?
Red beetroot is the most common type of beets, and naturally, guinea pigs can eat them. Their skin is a dark red to purple in color, and they have a mildly sweet earthy flavor. Red beets are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and others.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Golden Beets?
Guinea pigs can eat golden beets, but considering that they are a little sweeter than red beets, you need to be even more careful with serving sizes. Golden beet’s skin is deep orange to brown and gold in color, and the inside flesh is a bright yellow to gold. These beets also have some beneficial nutrients for guinea pigs, such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, beta-carotene, copper, potassium, iron, magnesium, and many others.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sugar Beets?
Guinea pigs can eat sugar beets, but it would be better to give them red or golden beets due to the sugar content in the sugar beets. These beets contain a high sucrose concentration, which is natural sugar. They are primarily used commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets have rough, cream-colored skin and green leaves. So, can guinea pigs eat sugar beet leaves? Guinea pigs can eat sugar beet leaves but only in small amounts and not very often.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Beet Oatmeal?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat beet oatmeal because it can be very caloric for them and cause weight gain. They shouldn’t eat any oatmeal other there or oats in general. But, on the other side, vets sometimes recommend feeding guinea pigs with oats or oatmeal. These are specific situations when your guinea pigs are extremely underweight and don’t have any appetite. This is done to increase weight in a short time period. So, never feed them beet oats or beet oatmeal before previously consulting with your pet’s vet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Beet Pulp?
Beet pulp is a byproduct of sugar production from sugar beets. Usually, beet pulp is used as food for horses and other livestock. We don’t recommend feeding beet pulp to guinea pigs before advising with your vet, who knows in what health condition is your guinea pig.
Quick Facts on Beetroots
- Beets have been domesticated in the ancient Middle East.
- They were grown by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
- In addition to food, beetroots were also used as a food coloring and in folk medicine.
- Beta is the ancient Latin name for beets, possibly of Celtic origin, becoming bete in the Old English around 1400.
- There are several common cultivars of beets.
- Beetroot juice helps in reducing hangover symptoms and cleans the liver.
- It’s known that Albert Einstein hated beetroots.
- The biggest beet in the world weighed over 156 pounds and was grown by a Dutchman.
- Beets can also be used for wine manufacturing.
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.
If you found this post useful, would you mind helping out by sharing it? Just click one of the handy social media sharing buttons below so others can also learn about guinea pig food and diet!
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.
Mirmiran, P., Houshialsadat, Z., Gaeini, Z., Bahadoran, Z., & Azizi, F., Functional properties of beetroot (Beta vulgaris) in management of cardio-metabolic diseases, Nutrition & metabolism, 2020.
Clifford, T., Howatson, G., West, D. J., & Stevenson, E. J., The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease, Nutrients, 2015.