Most owners feed their pets with the same foods they eat. And this raises the question if we can or can’t feed certain pets with our ‘human’ foods. For guinea pigs, most of the fresh produce we eat is also good for them. Of course, there are several food items we eat and that guinea pigs cannot, but most of the fresh produce is a real healthy treat for them. The cavies love to eat veggies and fruits, and also herbs and leafy foods, but before you feed your cavy some of your favorite veggies, let’s look at one vegetable first. The famous, notorious, healthy and well-known: broccoli.
Can guinea pigs eat broccoli? The answer to this is: yes! The cavies absolutely love broccoli, and this veggie is in fact, both tasty and healthy for this pet. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, which the cavy needs for optimal health of the body and also the mouth of the cavy which is prone to dental issues. On the other hand, broccoli must be given to guinea pigs in moderation, because it is rich in oxalates, and this might cause kidney stones, bladder stones or crystals if consumed excessively or too often. Lastly, broccoli must be given to guinea pigs raw, and not cooked – they eat fresh and raw produce.
Unlike most of us humans, the cavies could munch on broccoli like it’s their favorite vegetable, all day long. This food item is affordable, and it doesn’t even have to be prepared in a special way for the cavy to love it. Some veggies and fruits are not recommended for guinea pigs because they have the wrong nutrients for them or they are toxic. Broccoli is not one of them, and it even offers many benefits for the cavy, but only if given in moderation. Many would like to know what makes broccoli so special for guinea pigs when compared to other veggies? Let’s have a look at all the aspects about this vegetable and your adorable cavy.
Benefits of Guinea Pig Eating Broccoli
There is one major benefit among other benefits, and that is the high amount of vitamin C. The guinea pigs don’t make vitamin C enough to be healthy naturally and to meet all their daily requirements linked to this vitamin. And luckily, this vegetable is abundant in this essential vitamin.
Well, why do guinea pigs need vitamin C so much? The cavies get scurvy when they have a very serious deficit in vitamin C. The cavies are not capable to synthesize and keep the vitamin C in their organisms, so with broccoli you will give your beloved pet exactly this – C. This is why the guinea pigs need oral supplements, but these can be skipped most of the time, if you feed them broccoli (and other vitamin C rich foods).
With this veggie, the cavy will have healthy blood vessels and enough collagen in the body. This is needed for healthy bone formations and healing of wounds. Also, the dental health of cavies will be flawless too; healthy gums and mouth tissue. Other benefits are also fewer hemorrhages inside the mouth, and also the muscles, skin, and internal organs.
The guinea pig will no longer suffer from abnormal formations in bones, ribs, and joints that swell.
Remember that it takes 2 weeks to make or break a habit, or to improve or worsen the health of the guinea pig. If you give it proper and good nutrition (with broccoli) for 2 weeks, your cavy will be happy and healthy too. Who knew one of its favorite veggies is also healthy as well!
So, basically, the vitamin C in the broccoli is a powerful antioxidant that keeps any organism healthy against the damages of free radicals, which age the organism faster than usual. Also, your cavy will get enough fibers for a healthy digestive system and intestine work, but if eaten in excess these fibers will disturb the cavy’s digestive system.
Overall, the guinea pig will have healthy mouth, bones, skin, organs – full health package.
Only, remember, do not overfeed the cavy with broccoli because it might get bloated, gassy, or even get bladder stones.
Nutrition Facts of Broccoli
Broccoli is a highly nutritive vegetable. It is known how many benefits it has; from protection against diseases to healthier organism and organs to better digestion…
However, what exactly is in the broccoli? How often should it be given? Is it eaten as a whole or just some of its parts?
Broccoli, per 100 g. (3 oz) has:
- Only 34 calories, so the cavy won’t get excess calories
- No fat and cholesterol, which will keep its blood vessels healthy
- Sodium 33 mg and potassium 316 mg – the latter is beneficial if the cavy lacks Magnesium (the mineral which protects the heart and muscles)
- Fibers 2.6 g – for amazing digestion
- Carbs 7 g – for a healthy source of energy
- Protein 2.8 g – for healthy weight and energy too
- Vitamin A 12% – for good vision and immune system
- Vitamin B6 10% – for healthy brain and also for good mood hormones (the cavy will benefit a lot)
- Vitamin K, Folate, Omega-3 fats, Zinc, Selenium and more….
It is enough to feed the cavy broccoli 2-3 times per week, not more. This is enough for proper nutrition with this veggie. The cavies can eat the whole plant; even the flowers (head) and leaves too. If the stem seems too thick and massive, chop it up or slice it lengthwise before you give it as a treat.
Just imagine, one cup of broccoli (300 g) has a total of 135% vitamin C! No need to say this is too large a serving, but you get the idea of how rich is this veggie with C.
We mentioned broccoli has fibers which are good for the digestion of the cavies, but too much broccoli may have the counter effect like bloating, gas and diarrhea. When you feed the leaves to the cavy too, give them sparingly because they have a lot of vitamin A which can build up in excess. And we all know, anything in excess, even good foods, can cause undesired effects.
As a good example to remember, you can feed the cavy leaves one day and heads with stem another day – this gives variety, and you can divide the broccoli better when you plan the meals with broccoli for the week.
The recommended serving of broccoli for a guinea pig is ½ floret with the whole stalk underneath. If you like, you can peel the stalk so that the guinea pig enjoys munching it better – the outer stalk layer is rubbery and a bit rough.
Why shouldn’t broccoli be cooked for the cavy? Simply because they digest cooked foods very slowly and not so good, unlike us humans.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Broccoli to Guinea Pigs
The most serious risk of eating excess broccoli for guinea pigs is that they can get bladder and kidney stones very often. Why is this? Well, broccoli is very abundant in oxalates. The oxalates can often create stones in the urinary tract of cavies, and sadly broccoli contains the so-called creators of urinary stones.
These crystal stones are made of calcium salts and these appear mostly in the urethra and bladder of guinea pigs. So, if a cavy has bladder stones, it is most likely overfed with broccoli (among other things like pellets and deficit of hay).
There are certain symptoms of possible urinary stones; small and straining urinations, incontinence, blood in urine, inflamed genital skin, weight loss, and lethargy. This is not hopeless and can be addressed in time with a change of diet, proper exercise and hydration. In some cases, surgery is needed and proper resting afterward with good nutrition. Foremost, good hydration is the key to prevention, and also no more than 2-3 times broccoli per week.
The other risk of feeding the cavy too much broccoli is disturbed digestive tract and diarrhea. So, too much broccoli can trigger this problem. The symptoms are dehydration and lethargy, belly pain and no appetite, loose stool, fur becomes coarser and rougher. With proper hydration and cutting the broccoli intake per week, this can be improved.
Quick Facts on “Broccoli and Guinea Pigs’
- Broccoli is abundant in vitamin C, which is most beneficial for cavies
- Too much broccoli can cause bladder stones in cavies
- Cavies also get diarrhea from too much broccoli
- Cavies cannot eat cooked broccoli and they digest it better raw
- It can be given a maximum 3 times per week
- A substitute for broccoli can even be cauliflower, with the leaves and raw
- Guinea pigs need from 10 to 30 mg of vitamin C daily
- Cavies love the flowers, head and stalk parts, but their favorite is the leaves around the broccoli (these are given in moderation too, due to the vitamin A in them)
- A normal serving is half a floret with the stalk underneath it, and on another day the leaves separately
As you can see, broccoli is very healthy, not just for us humans (even though some of us dislike this healthy veggie), but for cavies too. They especially need this for the vitamin C which keeps them in perfect health overall. So, buy that broccoli and give it 2 or tops 3 times per week to your lovely pet cavy!
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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