Our guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they like fresh vegetables and fruits. They get very excited when they see you carrying a veggie towards their cage, especially some type of green leafy vegetables like endive. Of course, even in nature, some fruits and veggies are not good for the guinea pigs, or in some cases maybe even toxic. In this article, we will explore the option of including endive into guinea pig’s diet.
Can guinea pigs eat endive? Guinea pigs can eat endive, this vegetable is safe for guinea pigs, but it needs to be regulated due to higher amounts of calcium. Endive is also packed with important vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to guinea pig’s health such as vitamin C and vitamin A.
Endive is a green leafy vegetable with a bitter-like taste and similar to lettuce in appearance. In the following sections, we have provided more information about proper serving sizes and frequency of endive for guinea pigs. You will also find some health benefits and possible risks that come with guinea pigs eating endive. If you are interested, let’s begin!
Is Endive Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
Endive contains strong antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin K, and manganese. Antioxidant protection from endives will help to neutralize free radicals and prevent chronic diseases. Vitamin A is a strong antioxidant that prevents illnesses and also keeps skin, heart, kidneys, brain, lungs, and eyesight healthy. Manganese also neutralizes free radicals which cause cell damage and different diseases.
Most importantly, there is vitamin C. This vitamin protects guinea pigs from the scurvy disease. The symptoms from this disease are rough coat, internal bleeding, oral problems, no appetite, and swollen joints. Also, vitamin C is important for boosting the immune system in guinea pigs, which means that providing them foods rich in vitamin C is the best you can do for your pet’s health.
Healthy Blood and Cardiovascular System
In endive, there is almost no fat and zero cholesterol. This is great because the guinea pigs will get the needed fat from other foods during the day, and no cholesterol means no damage to blood vessels. There is some iron for healthy and strong blood. Vitamin E is important for slowing down the aging process, prevention of heart problems, and reducing inflammation.
Good for Digestion
Endive is also a source of carbs, proteins, and fibers. The three main factors for energy and good digestion. Since this veggie is low in sugar, the guinea pigs won’t suffer from damaged gut flora as sugars are not healthy for them.
Endives are low in calories, fat, and sugars, making them an excellent food for maintaining a healthy weight. Guinea pigs love to eat, and sometimes they don’t know when to stop eating. If you feed them with fattening foods, they may get a lot of weight, which shortens their lifespan. This is why endives are a great option.
Supports Good Vision
This vegetable is also beneficial for good vision and eye health of guinea pigs due to the presence of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A plays an important role in preventing eye diseases. Beta-carotene in endives is important for improving their eyesight.
Endive is also a good source of vitamin K, which is very beneficial for bone health. Also, vitamin K is important for reducing the urinary excretion of calcium. Vitamin B6 and magnesium are essential for healthy development, growth, and relaxation of bones and muscles.
Nutrition Facts of Endive for Guinea Pigs
The following are the nutrition facts per one serving 3 oz (100 g) of endive:
- Energy – 17 kcal
- Protein – 1.25 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.2 g
- Carbs – 3.35 g
- Dietary fiber – 3.1 g
- Sugars – 0.25 g
- Calcium – 52 mg
- Iron – 0.83 mg
- Magnesium – 15 mg
- Phosphorus – 28 mg
- Potassium – 314 mg
- Sodium – 22 mg
- Zinc – 0.79 mg
- Copper – 0.099 mg
- Manganese – 0.42 mg
- Selenium – 0.2 µg
- Vitamin C – 6.5 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.02 mg
- Vitamin A – 108 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.44 mg
- Vitamin K – 231 µg
- Thiamin – 0.08 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.075 mg
- Niacin – 0.4 mg
- Folates – 142 µg
- Carotene, beta – 1300 µg
- Cholesterol – 0 mg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Endive to Guinea Pigs
One of the risks with endive is that it contains calcium and sodium. Otherwise, these nutrients can cause bladder and kidney stones, or even failure of the urinary system. In general, this veggie is not dangerous for guinea pigs in small amounts and in combination with food that is low in calcium.
Digestion Pains and Diarrhea
If you feed your guinea pigs endive that is not well washed with water or not fresh, it can cause serious stomach problems. This is because of the possible presence of pesticides, pests, and dirt. Also, if you feed too much endive to them, they can get stomach pains, diarrhea, gases, or vomiting.
Serving Size and Frequency of Endives for Guinea Pigs
Can I Feed Guinea Pigs Endives Daily?
Endives are healthy for guinea pigs, and they absolutely go crazy for the taste, but guinea pigs shouldn’t eat endives every day. As we have mentioned above, there is some calcium in endives, which is not good for guinea pigs because it causes kidney or bladder stones. So, it’s best to give endive to the guinea pigs every other day or 2 to 3 times per week as the best option. Endive is a bit pricey, and there are many other foods for a healthy and versatile diet.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Endive in Huge Amounts?
Guinea pigs can’t eat endive in huge amounts because they can get stomach pains, diarrhea, gases, or even start to vomit. It’s important to always regulate the intake of guinea pig’s food. For the serving size of the endive, we recommend a few leaves of this veggie per one guinea pig. This is enough for a guinea pig to get all the healthy nutrients and to avoid any risks. You should also combine endive with other veggies, such as asparagus, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers. zucchini, and others. Your guinea pig would be extremely happy!
More Information About Guinea Pig and Endive?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Curly Endive?
Curly endive is the type of endive that has green, narrow, and curly outer leaves. This endive is also known as chicory endive. Guinea pigs can eat curly endive, but only in moderation. You need to be careful with the serving size of curly endive because this type of endive usually has more calcium and sodium than regular endive. Calcium and sodium can cause kidney or bladder stones, so feed them curly endive only occasionally.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Belgian Endive?
Guinea pigs can eat Belgian endive but also only in small amounts and not every day. Belgian endive is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and many other antioxidants and minerals, but contains calcium as well. So, it would be best if you fed guinea pigs with Belgian endive only in moderation. Belgian endive has smooth white leaves with yellow-colored leaf edges. It’s slightly bitter in taste, and guinea pigs will enjoy this food.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Escarole Endive?
Escarole endive is another type of endive with broad, pale green leaves. Guinea pigs can eat escarole endive, and they will enjoy it because escarole endive is less bitter in taste than other endive varieties. It’s also known as Bavarian endive and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Escarole endive is low in calories and fat, contains vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C. But, due to calcium content, it’s recommended to feed guinea pigs with escarole endive only 2 times per week.
Quick Facts on Endive
- Endive has a slightly bitter taste, and it is a leafy-green veggie.
- There is no fat and cholesterol and almost no sugar in endive.
- Endive contains good nutrients for health (protein, fiber, carb, antioxidants, minerals).
- This veggie produces pale blue flowers on top of its stem.
- Endive is beneficial when it comes to the prevention of many diseases.
- Endive can be cultivated as an annual (one year) or biennial plant (2 years).
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.