The guinea pigs are the cutest vegetarian pets in the world! They like fresh produce all the time, veggies, fruits, even roots, and herbs. Sometimes, we like to introduce new foods to the cavy. With new foods, it is good to do some research before we give that food to the lovely cavy. So, let’s see more about the butternut squash.
Can guinea pigs eat butternut squash? Guinea pigs can eat butternut squash. This fruit is beneficial for the cavy because it has some crucial nutrients the guinea pigs need for good health. However, as with any produce or healthy food, it must be given in moderation. After all, it has certain ingredients which are not good for cavies, if consumed in excess.
In this article, we’ll discuss more information about butternut squash, including its benefits and risks to guinea pigs.
Are Butternut Squash Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
The butternut squash has many benefits. This type of squash has a good amount of natural carbs and proteins. This means a slow and fast source of energy throughout the day.
Also, the butternut squash has fibers. The fibers are essential for good and healthy digestion. They work up the intestines and help with the faster digestion of foods.
The butternut squash has no cholesterol! This is amazing because cholesterol is the main reason for hypertension, unhealthy heart, and bad blood vessels. Without cholesterol, there are no dangers for the heart.
The most important benefit is vitamin C. This vitamin is everything for cavies. It’s the life-saver. Without vitamin C, the cavies are prone to scurvy.
The deficit of vitamin C and scurvy shows signs like a rough coat, skipping, nose and eye discharge, lethargy, fatigue, no appetite, stiff joints, pain in limbs. Because the cavies cannot produce this vitamin or store it in their bodies, they need it from supplements or food. Luckily, butternut squash has this vitamin.
Another benefit is that butternut squash has many other vitamins and minerals that are essential for great health. For example, vitamins K and E for healthy bones, good immunity, and healthy skin.
Moreover, it has vitamin A and manganese. Both are very strong antioxidants that protect from many diseases. Also, iron and magnesium for healthy blood, a strong heart, and muscles.
Nutrition Facts of Butternut Squash
The butternut squash is the most commonly cultivated and bought out of all squashes. Here are the values for the nutrients in 3 oz (100 g) of a butternut squash:
- Calories — 45 calories. It is not high in calories.
- Carbs — 6 g. It is the source of fast release energy.
- Protein — 1 g. For slow release energy.
- Fat — 1 g. This amount of fat is good because too much of this, cardiovascular system suffers.
- Cholesterol — 0 mg. No cholesterol means healthy blood vessels and cardiovascular system.
- Fiber — 2 g. This is for healthy and good digestion.
- Folate — 7%. A type of B vitamin that is essential for good development of fetuses, and prevention of defects before birth. This is good for pregnant cavies.
- Vitamin A — 354%. A strong antioxidant that removes free radical damage and inflammation. Also, it keeps kidneys, lungs, heart, skin, brain, sight healthy. It keeps immunity in great shape, too.
- Vitamin C — 35%. The essential vitamin for cavies and their optimal best health.
- Vitamin E — 10%. This vitamin keeps the skin and tissues in good health. Also, it keeps the heart healthy, the immunity good, stops inflammation, keeps eyesight good, and prevents cancers.
- Vitamin K — 1%. This is for healthy bones.
- Sodium — 4 mg. A good low amount of salt. More than this will affect the cardiovascular system or blood pressure.
- Potassium — 352 mg. It can prevent stroke, hypertension, kidney and heart problems. Also, it maintains the muscles strong and healthy, the metabolism running smoothly, the electrolytes in balance, and the nerves in good working order.
- Calcium — 5%. This mineral is crucial for healthy bones. However, for cavies, an excess of this mineral causes urinary stones. The calcium level here is too high for cavies.
- Iron — 9%. This is for healthy blood.
- Magnesium — 9% . This is for healthy bones, prevention of diabetes, healthy heart, healthy muscles, relieving pains, and aches.
- Manganese — 1%. The strongest antioxidant of them all. It fights free radicals, prevents damage of cells in the body and prevents many illnesses)
- Phosphorus — 5%. This value is not good for guinea pigs.
- Zinc — 1%. For fast healing of wounds, good immunity, good metabolism, and growth.
Are Butternut Squash Bad for Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks
The butternut squash may have tons of benefits, but it has some side effects too. The side effects come from eating excess squash or too often. Cavies benefit from this fruit, but you need to give it to them in moderation.
One of the risks is urinary problems. The butternut squash has calcium and phosphorus. These two work together in order to make bones healthy. The phosphorus is always working together with calcium to make bone tissues stronger and healthier.
But, for cavies, these two elements are often the number one reason for urinary problems. In rodents, especially cavies, excess calcium gets somewhat stuck in the urinary tract.
There are deposits of the remains from these elements that create stones in the bladder or kidneys. If not cured in time, this could make urinating painful, or even worse, lead to renal failure. The latter is fatal.
Serving Size and Frequency of Butternut Squash for Guinea Pigs
Butternut squash is often consumed by cavies a few times each week, not every day. This should be easy to remember; 2-4 times per week is the golden rule.
The serving can vary. But as a rule, less than a handful or almost a handful of the fleshy-meaty part inside. This serving would look like a few chopped cubes from the squash. This is even more than enough. Your cavy will be thrilled!
Only the fleshy-meaty part is given to cavies, just the orange part inside. Anything else is not food for the cavy. The stem, stalk, or seeds should not be given to the guinea pig.
More Information About Butternut Squash and Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Butternut Squash Seeds?
Vitamin C is abundant in butternut squash seeds. Some vets consider that it should be eaten. However, we recommend that butternut squash seeds should be avoided.
A guinea pig is a little creature. Normally, their digestive system isn’t very robust. As a result, the seeds of butternut squash will create digestive difficulties in guinea pigs. Its seeds can potentially become trapped in your guinea pig’s airways. This can result in your guinea pig’s death.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Butternut Squash Peel?
Butternut squash peels are usually safe for guinea pigs to eat. However, it is not recommended that you offer it to your guinea pig.
We are all aware that pesticides are sprayed on every fruit and vegetable to keep them pest-free, which is commonly seen on the fruit’s top. If you unintentionally give your guinea pig the peel of butternut squash, your guinea pig will have gastrointestinal issues. This may cause them to die.
Quick Facts on Butternut Squash and Guinea Pigs
The following are some facts about butternut squash and guinea pigs:
- Cavies can eat butternut squash, but in moderation.
- The butternut squash is the softer and tastier when compared to acorn squash.
- This squash has enough natural proteins and carbs.
- Also, this squash has no bad fats or cholesterol which can damage the cardiovascular system.
- There is vitamin C in butternut squash. This vitamin is essential for cavies and their health.
- The butternut squash has also many other essential vitamins and minerals for countless benefits.
- Normal frequency of serving is 2-4 times per week.
- Normal serving is a few cubes-chunks or less than a handful.
- Only the fleshy-orange part inside is eaten. The stem, seeds, stalk are not eaten.
- Butternut squash has calcium and phosphorus. These create bladder and kidney stones.
- Excess of this squash can upset the digestion or the stomach, such as diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, etc.
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.
List of Sources
Evaluation of Bioactivity of Butternut Squash (Cucurbita Moschata D.) Seeds and Skin
Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition