Most owners feed their pets with the same foods they eat. And this raises the question if we can feed our pets with ‘human’ foods. For guinea pigs, most of the fresh produce we eat is also good for them. Of course, there are several food items that we can eat and that guinea pigs can’t, but most of the fresh produce is a real healthy treat for them.
Now let’s take a look at one very popular vegetable, the famous, notorious, healthy and well-known: broccoli. We will explore if our guinea pigs can eat this delicious vegetable.
Can guinea pigs eat broccoli? Yes, guinea pigs can definitely eat broccoli. The guinea pigs absolutely love broccoli, and this veggie is in fact, both tasty and healthy for them. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, which the guinea pigs need for optimal health of the body and also it is good for the mouth of the guinea pigs 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 can only eat fresh and raw produce.
Unlike most of us humans, the guinea pigs can munch on broccoli like it’s their favorite vegetable, all day long. Broccoli is very affordable, and it doesn’t even have to be prepared in a special way for the guinea pig to love it.
Some veggies and fruits are not recommended for guinea pigs because they have the wrong nutrients or they could be toxic for them. This is why you should always research a certain food if you plan to give it to your guinea pig.
Would like to know what makes broccoli such special food for guinea pigs when compared to other veggies? Let’s have a look at all of the aspects of this vegetable and your adorable guinea pig.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pig Eating Broccoli
- There is one major benefit for guinea pigs eating broccoli and that is the high amount of vitamin C. The guinea pigs don’t make vitamin C and luckily, broccoli is abundant in this essential vitamin. Well, why do guinea pigs need vitamin C so much? The guinea pigs can get a disease called scurvy when they have a very serious deficit in vitamin C. The guinea pigs are not capable to synthesize and keep the vitamin C in their organisms, so with broccoli you will give your beloved pet exactly this – vitamin C. This is why the guinea pigs need oral vitamin C 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 guinea pigs 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 guinea pigs will be flawless too; healthy gums and mouth tissue. Other benefits are also fewer hemorrhages inside the mouth, and also healthy muscles, skin, and internal organs.
- The guinea pig will no longer suffer from abnormal formations in bones, ribs, and joints that swell.
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 guinea pig will get enough fibers for a healthy digestive system and intestine work, but if eaten in excess these fibers will disturb the guinea pig’s digestive system.
Overall, the guinea pig will have a healthy mouth, bones, skin, organs – full health package.
Just remember not to overfeed the cavy with broccoli because it might get bloated, gassy, or even get bladder stones.
Nutrition Facts of Broccoli
What exactly is in the broccoli? How often should it be given? Is it eaten as a whole or just some of its parts?
First, let’s see the nutritional facts of broccoli per 100 g. (3 oz):
- Only 34 calories.
- No fat and cholesterol, which will keep guinea pig’s blood vessels healthy.
- 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.
- Sodium 33 mg and potassium 316 mg.
- Vitamin B6 10% – for a healthy brain and also for good mood hormones.
- Vitamin K, Folate, Omega-3 fats, Zinc, Selenium and more….
It is enough to feed the guinea pig with broccoli 2-3 times per week, not more. This is enough for proper nutrition with this veggie. The guinea pigs 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!
We mentioned broccoli has fibers which are good for the digestion of the guinea pigs, but too much broccoli may have the counter effect like bloating, gas and diarrhea. When you feed the leaves of broccoli to the guinea pig, give it 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 guinea pig 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 whole 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 can’t digest cooked foods, unlike us humans.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Broccoli to Guinea Pigs
- The most serious risk for guinea pig caused by eating too much broccoli is that they can get bladder and kidney stones. Why is this? Well, broccoli is very abundant in oxalates. The oxalates can often create stones in the urinary tract of the guinea pig. These crystal stones are made of calcium salts and these appear mostly in the urethra and bladder of guinea pigs.
- 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 of 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, the 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 the most beneficial vitamin for the guinea pigs.
- Too much broccoli can cause bladder stones in guinea pigs but when combined with similar foods.
- Guinea pigs can also get diarrhea from too much broccoli.
- Guinea pigs cannot eat cooked broccoli and they digest it better when it is raw.
- It can be given to guinea pigs a maximum of 3 times per week.
- A substitute for broccoli can even be cauliflower.
- Guinea pigs need 10 to 30 mg of vitamin C daily.
- Guinea pigs 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 high levels of 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 guinea pigs too. They especially need broccoli because of vitamin C which keeps them in perfect health overall.
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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