The guinea pigs are the most adorable house pets we can have. They are the cutest when they munch on various foods. The guinea pigs are herbivores and vegetarians so this means they don’t feed on other human foods, apart from produce. The produce is the primary food for cavies and they must have it every day. By produce, we mean veggies and fruits, but also there are many other things that belong here. For example herbs, roots, and sometimes even flowers. But, can cavies eat certain herbs we use when we cook, as spice-herbs? They technically belong to things that grow from the ground. Let’s see this in details.
Can guinea pigs eat dill? Yes, guinea pigs can eat dill. In fact, dill is among many other herbs that are not harmful to the cavies. Group of good and tasty herbs for cavies are dill, parsley, mint, endive, cilantro, rocket, fennel, basil, dandelion. In fact, most of these herbs have good vitamins and nutrients for the cavy. Dill is one of them and it is known to be great for vitamin supplementation in cavies diet. In fact, this herb is not just generally healthy, but the cavy loves its taste too. All guinea pigs like to eat this herb, and most of them are crazy for dills taste! However, as with any food, even healthy foods, too much of anything is not good. Dill might be healthy and tasty for the cavy, but it also has some nutrients that might not be perfect for guinea pigs. Generally, it can be fed to the cavy almost every day in moderate amounts.
So, dill is one of the ‘good’ foods for cavies. But, as with any food, even healthy ones, there could be some tricky side effects. Just because dill is a herb it doesn’t mean that it can be given in excess. This is a very aromatic spicy herb for humans and we use it constantly in cooking. But, why is this good for cavies? Or why do they like it so much? And what could be the possible side effects of too much dill? Well, let’s find out!
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Dill
One of the benefits of dill is that it’s rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C is one of the most crucial and essential vitamins for cavies. This vitamin literally saves their lives, or in other words, keeps the health of cavies perfect. Sadly, guinea pigs do not produce this vitamin naturally in the body. And, when they do get it, they cannot store it, but instead use it up quite fast. So, it’s crucial for the cavy to get vitamin C from the supplements or food. Luckily, dill has this vitamin. Don’t overfeed the cavy with dill, it’s enough 2-3 times per week tops.
The dill also will give the cavy enough proteins and carbs as an energy source throughout the day.
Not just that, but dill also offers some fibers for good digestion. With vitamin A as an antioxidant, there is less risk of diseases. This vitamin also takes care of the heart, brain, kidneys, lungs, skin and the overall immunity too.
With the iron in the dill, the blood is healthy and strong. Iron is needed to protect from anemia and blood problems. Another powerful antioxidant in the dill is the manganese. It is the most powerful of all antioxidants for fighting diseases and illnesses. Dill sounds pretty much awesome now, right?
There is also folate in this herb. Folate is a B-vitamin that is especially needed for healthy DNA and good development and growth. This is very important for little pups or fetuses. So, if the cavy is pregnant, it will benefit from the folate in this herb.
Another nutrient that keeps DNA healthy is the mineral zinc in the dill. With zinc, the immunity is always in good shape and health, wounds heal very fast, metabolism, and it is also good for the growth and development as well.
With the other B-vitamins, such as the vitamin B6, there is a balance of the mood hormones. This B6 vitamin is crucial for the serotonin balance, or the good mood hormone. With this comes better sleep, more relaxation, less anxiety and overall less stress. Yes, even cavies need less stress!
Dill also has potassium. The potassium prevents from dangerous issues like hypertension, heart diseases, reduces stress and anxiety, relieves aching muscles, keeps muscles healthy and strong (this includes the heart muscle too!) – and also it creates a balance between electrolytes in the body.
Nutrition Facts of Dill
The dill can be fed to the cavy few times per week, up to 2-3 times tops. It is best to give new foods slowly and introduce them gradually to the cavy. If it’s not a new food for the cavy, then every other day is enough and it won’t be harmful. The serving is usually a few bites or small branches/leaves of the dill.
This herb is very aromatic and the aroma is indeed incredible, that’s why cavies love it so much!
So, let’s see the nutritional values for a serving of 3 oz (100 g dill):
- Total of 43 calories (average calories, just enough for the daily needs)
- 12 g fat (good low amount of fat, this is a healthy amount)
- 61 mg sodium (a slightly higher amount of salt)
- 7 g carbs (for fast release of energy)
- 46 g protein (for slow release of energy)
- 1 g fiber (for good and healthy digestion in the stomach)
- 154% Vitamin A (strong antioxidant, fights inflammation, keeps brain, kidneys, heart, skin, and lungs healthy. Also, keeps the immunity in good shape.
- 142% Vitamin C (essential and crucial vitamin for cavies to be perfectly healthy)
- 21% calcium (for healthy and strong bones and bone tissues, but for cavies this mineral is not that healthy)
- 37% Iron (good for blood)
- 150 mcg folate (a B-vitamin crucial for a healthy DNA, development, and growth. This is good for the pregnant cavies and the development of their pups before birth)
- 9% Vitamin B6 (for good balance of the hormone serotonin – good mood and less stress)
- 7% copper (for making red blood cells and also keeping the immunity good)
- 14% magnesium (for healthy bones, prevention of diabetes, healthy heart, strong muscles)
- 63% manganese (the strongest antioxidant and good for the overall health of the guinea pig)
- 7% phosphorus
- 16% potassium (prevention of stroke, hypertension, good for metabolism and water balance too)
- 6% zinc (keeps the immunity good as well as the DNA formations)
Risks to Consider When Feeding Dill to Guinea Pigs
One of the risks of eating dill for guinea pigs is the amount of calcium and phosphorus it contains. These nutrients are needed in organisms to create healthy bones and strong bone tissues. That is why people say that eating dairy is good for calcium and for the bones! But, in cavies, the calcium and phosphorus create problems. These two items work together. The phosphorus is not independent fully, and it has to bind with the calcium.
So, in other words, excess calcium with phosphorus creates kidney stones and bladder stones. This goes especially for rodents like the guinea pigs. Their urinary tract is fragile with excess calcium, and those urinary stones can even lead to renal failure if they are not cured in time. Otherwise, before it gets fatal and dangerous, the first symptoms are pains during urination, changes to the volume of the urine, or change in the color – even blood in urine sometimes.
Also, even though dill is a herb that is fit for vegetarians and herbivores, too much of it can disturb the belly of our pet guinea pig! We mentioned how dill contains fibers, but eating too much fibers (even from healthy food) is not a good idea. The symptoms of excess fibers are pains in the stomach, bloating, flatulence, and loose stool.
Quick Facts on Dill and Guinea Pigs
- Cavies can eat dill safely and in moderate servings
- Dill has great nutrients for the guinea pigs (with some exceptions)
- Dill has vitamin C (essential vitamin for guinea pigs and their overall health)
- The normal serving frequency of dill is 2-3 times per week
- Normal serving is a few bites (or a few leaves/small branches)
- Dill also contains many antioxidants to fight off diseases
- The iron in dill keeps their blood strong
- The B vitamin takes care of the mood hormones and it is good for the DNA as well
- Dill has calcium and phosphorus (because of this it must be given in moderation)
- Too much dill can disturb the belly of the cavy with excess fibers (gas, flatulence, loose stool)
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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