The guinea pigs are the cutest vegetarian pets in the world! We all love guinea pigs because of their adorable way of munching and chewing foods, right? Well, now we will discuss the butternut squash as possible food for cavies. Even though cavies are vegetarians, this doesn’t mean they can eat everything that grows in nature. Yes, they like fresh produce all the time, veggies, fruits, even roots, and herbs. But, sometimes, we like to introduce new foods to the cavy. And, 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? Absolutely, yes. Guinea pigs can and they really love to eat squash. In fact, they like both types of squash; summer and winter squash. This fruit is beneficial for the cavy because it has some crucial nutrients the guinea pigs need for good health. They like the same parts of the squash as humans – the edible fleshy parts inside. However, as with any produce or healthy food, squash must be given in moderation. After all, it has certain ingredients which are not good for cavies – if consumed in excess.
The main comparison of squashes is between the acorn and butternut squash. The butternut squash is the softer and creamier of the two – but what else should we know about it?
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Butternut Squash
The butternut squash has many benefits. This fruit is not just tasty, but healthy too. 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 faster digestion of foods. The squash has plenty of fibers!
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, the one and only thing they need all the time. 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. Then, the vitamin A and the manganese too – both very strong antioxidants that protect from many diseases. Iron and magnesium, for healthy blood, strong heart, and muscles. The benefits are too many to mention – butternut squash is an amazing fruit!
Nutrition Facts of Butternut Squash
This giant orange-color fruit is a real treat – cavies like it, but we humans like it too! It’s a pear-shaped, yellowish-golden or orange on the outside and inside too. The butternut squash is the most commonly cultivated and bought out of all squashes.
And here are the values for the nutrients in 3 oz (100 g) of butternut squash:
- Total of 45 calories (not high in calories)
- 6 g carbs (source of fast release energy)
- 1 g protein (for slow release energy)
- 1 g fat (this amount of fat is good because too much of this and the cardiovascular system suffers)
- 0 mg cholesterol (no cholesterol means healthy blood vessels and cardiovascular system)
- 2 g fiber (for healthy and good digestion)
- 7% folate (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)
- 354% vitamin A (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)
- 35% vitamin C (the essential vitamin for cavies and their optimal best health)
- 10% vitamin E (this vitamin keeps the skin and tissues in good health. Also, keeps the heart healthy, the immunity good, stops inflammation, keeps eyesight good too, prevents cancers)
- 1% vitamin K (for healthy bones)
- 4 mg sodium (a good low amount of salt, more than this will affect the cardiovascular system or blood pressure)
- 352 mg potassium (prevention of stroke, hypertension, kidney and heart problems, keeping muscles strong and healthy, metabolism works well, there is electrolyte balance and nerves are healthy too.
- 5% calcium (this mineral is crucial for healthy bones, but for cavies, an excess of this mineral causes urinary stones. The calcium level here is too high for cavies)
- 9% iron (for healthy blood)
- 9% magnesium (for healthy bones, prevention of diabetes, healthy heart, healthy muscles, relieving pains, and aches)
- 1% manganese (the strongest antioxidant of them all. It fights free radicals, prevents damage of cells in the body and prevents many illnesses)
- 5% phosphorus (not good for guinea pigs)
- 1% zinc (for fast healing of wounds, good immunity, good metabolism, and growth)
The normal frequency of butternut squash for cavies is few times per week, not more, not every day for sure. This should be easy to remember; 2-4 times per week is the golden rule.
And 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, and 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 are NOT given to the guinea pig.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Butternut Squash to Guinea Pigs
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. This sounds strange, right? Well, the butternut squash has calcium and phosphorus. These two work together, and they bind to each other, 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, and these same remains 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.
Quick Facts on 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 also has 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; but 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 (diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, etc)
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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