Guinea pigs are adorable pets that are relatively easy to take care of. The only thing you need to give more attention to is their diet. As a current or future guinea pig owner, it is essential to know what to feed it. As you may already be aware, guinea pigs generally feed on vegetables and fruits. In this case, we will take a detailed look at Brussels sprouts and their potential role in the guinea pig’s diet.
So, can guinea pigs eat Brussels sprouts? Guinea pigs can eat Brussels sprouts because they are an excellent source of vitamin C. Brussels sprouts are in the same family as cabbage (Brassica oleracea), and they can be given to your guinea pig with moderation. You shouldn’t feed them the Brussels sprouts daily due to possible problems with digestion.
These veggies are quite beneficial with a lot of nutrients and can help your guinea pig lead a better and healthier life. Now that you know this, it is time to learn how to feed guinea pigs Brussels sprout and some more vital information about guinea pigs and Brussels sprouts. Let’s start!
Are Brussels Sprouts Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
Brussels sprouts have a wide range of advantages that guinea pigs can benefit from. The following are just some of the benefits your guinea pig will gain from eating Brussels sprouts.
Rich in Vitamin C
Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C, which is vital for guinea pigs. They will help boost the health of your pet. You might be wondering why there is so much emphasis on vitamin C for guinea pigs? Guinea pigs can’t produce this vitamin on their own, so they need it from an external source. There are so many diseases that can affect your guinea pig if it lacks vitamin C in its diet.
One of the diseases that can affect your guinea pig is called scurvy. This is why you need to increase the intake of foods that are rich in vitamin C so that the pet doesn’t suffer from a deficiency.
Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants that help the immune system of your pet. It’s essential to feed guinea pigs with food rich in antioxidants because they help with different inflammations, improve heart health, and the overall immune system.
Helps in Digestion
Since Brussels sprouts are rich in dietary fiber, they help with the digestion of food. Guinea pigs have a very sensitive digestive system, and there are many different types of foods that they can’t eat. So, feeding them with Brussels sprouts in proper serving sizes is very good for their digestion.
Since it has vitamin K, this veggie is beneficial for the growth of your guinea pigs, especially when it comes to bone growth and development. Vitamin K and some other vitamins are not only essential for guinea pigs at an early age when they grow the most. Their bones develop during their whole life, so it’s recommended to incorporate Brussels sprouts and other food rich in vitamin K in their diet. Besides, this vitamin also plays an important role in blood clotting and lowering blood pressure.
Sometimes you may wonder why it is taking so long for your guinea pig to heal from a wound or injury. This can happen due to a lack of vitamin C. This vitamin also helps in the formation and reparation of tissues in the body, which is very important for your guinea pig.
Easy to Incorporate Into the Guinea Pig’s Diet
Brussels sprouts can easily be incorporated in the guinea pig’s diet. Also, they are quite tasty, and your little piggies will be more then happy to try them.
Nutrition Facts of Brussels Sprouts for Guinea Pigs
When it comes to nutritional content, Brussels sprouts are quite nutritious veggies. They are leafy and look like tiny cabbages. The following are some of the nutrients that can be found in 100 g (3 oz) of Brussels Sprouts:
- Energy – 43 kcal
- Protein – 3.38 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.3 g
- Carbs – 8.95 g
- Dietary Fiber – 3.8 g
- Sugars – 2.2 g
- Calcium – 42 mg
- Iron – 1.4 mg
- Magnesium – 23 mg
- Phosphorus – 69 mg
- Potassium – 389 mg
- Sodium – 25 mg
- Zinc – 0.42 mg
- Vitamin C – 85 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.219 mg
- Vitamin A – 38 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.88 mg
- Vitamin K – 177 µg
- Thiamin – 0.139 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.09 mg
- Niacin – 0.745 mg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 1590 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Brussels Sprouts to Guinea Pigs
There is nothing that doesn’t come with some risks. Brussels sprouts also have a fair share of potencial risks that can be harmful to your guinea pigs. The following are some of them.
First of all, when trying to analyze the potential risks of your guinea pig eating Brussels sprouts, we will need to go back to the nutritional content. In that section, notice the presence of calcium and sodium. These two are somewhat harmful to your guinea pigs when taken in large amounts.
Calcium and sodium can cause bladder or kidney stones in guinea pigs. So, it’s very important to give them Brussels sprouts only in moderation to avoid urinary complications. Bladder and kidney stones can be very harmful to your guinea pigs and even lead to death.
One other thing that you should know about Brussels sprouts is that they can also cause bloating, diarrhea, and gases. This may happen if you give them too many Brussels sprouts or if guinea pig already has digestion problems or allergies. When feeding your guinea pig with Brussels sprouts, in case you notice any of the symptoms we mentioned above, you need to stop giving them to your guinea pigs immediately and provide them with a sufficient amount of water.
Serving Size and Frequency of Brussels Sprouts for Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Have Brussels Sprouts Every Day?
Generally, we can say that Brussels sprouts are safe for guinea pigs. This, however, doesn’t mean that you are supposed to feed them the Brussels sprouts on a daily basis. It would be best if you still regulated the intake in order to limit the consumption of calcium and sodium. This is why giving this vegetable to your guinea pig pet on a daily basis isn’t a great idea. You can plan and create a schedule for their diet, which is balanced and not based only on the Brussels sprouts.
Once or twice a week you can give your guinea pigs Brussels sprouts and then balance it out with other vegetables or fruits during the same week. This will help balance or eliminate the potential risks that would instead escalate due to the excess intake of Brussels sprouts.
How Many Brussels Sprouts Can You Feed to Guinea Pigs?
It’s recommended to feed one or two small Brussels sprouts to one guinea pig. Too many Brussels sprouts aren’t good for them and can cause some health problems we’ve mentioned above, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or gases. Also, because of the calcium content, you need to be careful with serving sizes.
Provide them other foods as well, such as different fruits or vegetables like kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, and so on. If you carefully follow all of these instructions, your little pet won’t have any health problems.
Do Guinea Pigs Love Brussels Sprouts?
Most guinea pigs love Brussels sprouts, but just like us humans, they have their own taste preferences. So, it’s normal if some of your guinea pigs avoid eating Brussels sprouts. That means they don’t like the taste and smell of this vegetable. Usually, guinea pigs enjoy eating almost every green leafy vegetables, and you need to offer them different fruits and vegetables in order to find out what they like the most.
More Information About Brussels Sprouts and Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Brussels Sprout Leaves?
Guinea pigs can eat Brussels sprouts leaves because they are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Still, because of calcium content, be careful with serving sizes of Brussels sprouts leaves for guinea pigs. These leaves are similar to cabbage in appearance and have a sweet and mild flavor. Brussels sprouts leaves are tasty to guinea pigs, but the problem with them is that they are very hard to find in grocery stores.
Also, small Brussels sprout leaves on the top of the stalk are extremely delicious. So, can guinea pigs eat brussels sprout tops? Guinea pigs can eat brussels sprout tops as the leaves on the top are full of nutrients that are beneficial to them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Brussels Sprout Stalks / Brussels Sprout Stems?
Guinea pigs can eat brussels sprout stalks or stems, but also only in moderation. Brussels sprout stems have a lot of fiber, so if consumed in large amounts, can lead to diarrhea and loose stools in guinea pigs. These stalks can be beneficial for guinea pig’s teeth. They will enjoy chewing on Brussels sprout stalks. Also, give them only green and fresh Brussels sprouts stalk rather than ones that have stayed for a long time.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Brussels Sprouts?
Guinea pigs can eat raw Brussels sprouts, and that’s the only way you can feed them with Brussels sprouts. They can’t eat cooked Brussels sprouts or any other cooked or processed foods. They are herbivores, and their digestive system is made to digest only fresh and raw food. Also, raw Brussels sprouts have more vitamins and minerals than cooked ones, and because of that are healthier for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Brussels Sprouts?
Never feed cooked Brussels sprouts to guinea pigs as they are unable to properly digest cooked foods. Most people who don’t know much about guinea pigs assume that they can feed with cooked food. On the contrary, guinea pigs do not eat cooked food. Whether it is the veggies they love or the fruits they adore, you are not supposed to give them any type of processed food.
Apart from the fact that the piggies themselves don’t like cooked food, the process of cooking destroys vital nutrients found in the veggies, thus killing the potential content to be gained by the guinea pig. For instance, when you cook Brussels sprouts, a substantial amount of vitamin C is lost. Remember that this is an essential vitamin needed by the guinea pig.
Quick Facts on Brussels Sprouts
You may already be aware of some amazing facts about Brussels sprouts, but still, we suggest taking a look at your 5 amazing facts as well.
- Brussels sprouts are in the same family as cabbages.
- Contrary to other fruits and vegetables, Brussels sprouts can be eaten before they are ripe.
- Brussels sprouts became popular in the 16th century.
- These veggies originated from Brussels in Belgium, and thus the name Brussels sprouts.
- These veggies have a peak season, which is usually from late September to February.
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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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.
Kmiecik W, Lisiewska Z., Effect of the variety and size of fresh and frozen brussels sprouts on the vitamin C level, Annales of National Institute of Hygiene, 1989.