There are many plants that you can grow in your own garden that your guinea pigs can enjoy. These include fennel, carrots, parsley, and many others. Fennel is a plant that has been used in many recipes across different cultures all over the world because of its unique flavor. It is a flowering plant that comes from the carrot family. Fennel has a really strong aroma that some people don’t like, but what about our cute little guinea pigs?
Can guinea pigs eat fennel? Guinea pigs can eat fennel. This herb is an excellent choice for guinea pig’s food menu because it has a wide range of nutrients (such as vitamin C) that are appropriate for them. Unfortunately, guinea pigs cannot eat fennel seeds because they cannot break them down into energy easily, and they also present a choking hazard. Despite this, you can still use the leaves from the fennel plant to feed your guinea pigs.
The good thing is that the fennel doesn’t have sugars that are harmful to guinea pigs. Also, fennel has moderate amounts of fat, oxalates, and phosphorous that can affect the well-being of your guinea pig. For these reasons, you need to regulate the intake of this herb for your pet guinea pig.
Now, let’s take a look at the reasons why you should feed your guinea pig with fennel, and possible risks that may arise due to the feeding process. Let’s begin!
Is Fennel Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
Vegetables usually have so many benefits, so they are considered a healthier option for guinea pigs than fruits. Fennel isn’t any different from the other herbs and veggies. It has a vast number of benefits such as:
It Helps to Lower the Blood Pressure Levels
Fennel’s effect on blood pressure has been studied in laboratory conditions on both animals and humans. This herb has anti-clotting properties that reduce the risk of hypertension and have been known to help prevent heart attack too. Extracts of this herb can be used to lower blood sugar and therefore control diabetes.
Fennel Helps With Bone Growth
This plant has mineral and vitamin content that will ensure the guinea pigs will develop healthy bones. Fennel helps with this process by improving blood circulation to the body’s bones and muscles, ultimately enhancing bone growth.
Most of the nutrients found in fennel are actually antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in our body that cause damage to cells. Free radicals are created when the body is stressed or under a burden, and they can cause considerable damage, including those to bone tissue.
It Improves Heart Health
In addition to being a tasty and beneficial food for guinea pigs, fennel has also been shown in clinical studies to aid heart health. Fennel helps lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels and supports healthy circulation by reducing inflammation and heart disease risks.
Good for Digestion
Fennel is an excellent source of dietary fiber. This helps to ease digestion processes and even promote natural bowel movement. Fennel will improve guinea pig’s digestion if eaten in normal serving sizes and remedy digestive problems such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, indigestion, and even constipation.
The Fennel Boosts Immunity
Guinea pigs naturally don’t have sturdy immunities, and that is why boosting their immunity will contribute positively to their overall health. Fennel contains different compounds that help fight diseases and infections.
Fennel Helps to Reduce Inflammation
Different diseases cause swelling (inflammation), which can be reduced by feeding fennel to your guinea pigs. Choline that is readily found in fennel, aids in the reduction and prevention of inflammation.
Fennel Is an Ideal Weight Control Option
Dietary fiber is a useful agent for bulking and satiety. When you feed your guinea pig with sufficient amounts of the fennel, it will feel full most of the time, and this will limit the amount of food that it can take in. Fennel can be an ideal weight loss option for your guinea pig.
It Helps to Increase Iron Absorption
We all know that iron is important for red blood cell production and that low iron levels can lead to anemia. Luckily, fennel can help your guinea pigs to absorb the iron from different veggies.
Nutrition Facts of Fennel for Guinea Pigs
Fennel is a potent nutrient plant and it is rich in various nutrients. Per 100 g these are the nutrition facts:
- Energy – 31 kcal
- Protein – 1.24 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.2 g
- Carbs – 7.3 g
- Dietary fiber – 3.1 g
- Sugars – 3.93 g
- Calcium – 49 mg
- Iron – 0.73 mg
- Magnesium – 17 mg
- Phosphorus – 50 mg
- Potassium – 414 mg
- Sodium – 52 mg
- Zinc – 0.2 mg
- Copper – 0.066 mg
- Selenium – 0.7 µg
- Vitamin C – 12 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.58 mg
- Vitamin K – 62.8 µg
- Vitamin A – 48 µg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.047 mg
- Thiamin – 0.01 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.032 mg
- Niacin – 0.64 mg
- Folates – 27 µg
- Carotene, beta – 578 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 607 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Fennel to Guinea Pigs
There are some risks associated with fennel. Most of them are controllable, and all you need to do is to regulate the intake of fennel in the guinea pig’s diet.
There is a possibility of your guinea pigs suffering from allergies due to the fennel. In case you notice any form of allergy (maybe a change in behavior of the guinea pig) you should stop feeding it right away. As first aid, you can offer them plenty of water and wait. If the symptoms get worse, you can always visit a vet for further assistance.
Too much calcium can lead to kidney stones in guinea pigs. This is why you need to regulate the amount of fennel that you give to your guinea pig. If your guinea pig has kidney stones, it will typically produce an excessive amount of urine. Other signs that your pet may be developing kidney stones include difficulty urinating, difficulty controlling urine flow, or bloody urine.
If you notice these signs in your pet, contact a qualified veterinarian to determine the severity of your animal’s condition and if further treatment is necessary for recovery from kidney stones.
Serving Size and Frequency of Fennel for Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Have Fennel Every Day?
Guinea pigs have a hard time digesting fibers which can cause them to get diarrhea. When guinea pigs eat too much of the fennel, it can lead to malnourishment. Guinea pigs should not eat fennel every day but they’re able to get some extra nutrition from eating small amounts of it on some occasions.
So, how to feed fennel to guinea pigs? For starters, 2 to 3 times a week isn’t a bad option. It would be more than enough for guinea pigs. There are also many other vegetables that you can feed to your guinea pigs during the week, such as basil, arugula, beetroot, cauliflower, endive, and many others.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat the Whole Fennel?
Guinea pigs should not eat the entire fennel. Some parts of a fennel plant might be too strong for guinea pigs to handle.
When you’re giving your pet guinea pigs a fennel, limit it to about an eighth of a cup per day (approximately 2-3 pieces of fennel for one guinea pig). You shouldn’t give your guinea pig more than a few green leaves from this plant per day.
More Information About Guinea Pigs and Fennel
In this section, you will find more about what part of the fennel can guinea pigs eat. Let’s see!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel Leaves or Fennel Fronds?
Fennel fronds are leafy and green parts on the top of the fennel plant. Guinea pigs can eat fennel leaves or fennel fronds but they should only be given in limited amounts. If eaten in moderation, as a result they will not experience health issues. Fennel is a very high-fiber herb and will give your guinea pig diarrhea if your pet overdoses itself on fennel leaves.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel Bulb?
Now we know that fennel tops are good for guinea pigs, but what about fennel bulbs? Is fennel bulb safe for guinea pigs? Fennel bulb is safe for guinea pigs, and guinea pigs can eat fennel bulbs in small quantities. This bulb may be toxic to guinea pigs if eaten in large quantities. Potential side effects from eating too much fennel bulb include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
But, in normal amounts, it is a good option for their health, as it can boost their immunity significantly. Fennel bulbs can provide many great nutrients for these little pets. The best way to feed them this part is to cut it into small pieces.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel Seeds?
If you do some research on the internet there seem to be mixed opinions on whether or not these seeds should be consumed by our fur friends.
Unfortunately, guinea pigs do not eat seeds, as they can be a potential choking hazard to them. That is why you are not supposed to feed the guinea pigs with fennel seeds. Just because they are excellent for digestion, it does not mean you should give them to guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Wild Fennel?
Guinea pigs can eat wild fennel, but this fennel should be given to a guinea pig in moderation as it can be very toxic in large amounts. However, it is important to note that some guinea pigs may be allergic or sensitive to wild fennel. If they’re eating it with no problem at first and then suddenly start displaying signs of allergy, then the chances are that the wild fennel has caused it.
Quick Facts on Fennel
- In the whole world, India leads in the production of fennel.
- The plant is perennial and can last more than two years.
- A sugar-coated seed of the fennel plant is chewed in India and Pakistan to eliminate bad breath and ease digestion.
- The leaves of the fennel plant have a stronger taste than the bulb.
- The plant propagates through seeds.
- Fennel is a flowering plant from the carrot family.
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.
Badgujar, S. B., Patel, V. V., & Bandivdekar, A. H., Foeniculum vulgare Mill: a review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology, BioMed research international, 2014.