Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ginger?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ginger

What’s the most adorable vegetarian and herbivore pet you can think of? It’s the guinea pig, of course! Perfect size for holding, fluffy and furry, and incredibly sociable. But, the trick with cavies is that they eat only vegetarian foods or foods that grow in nature. Also, this doesn’t mean all foods from nature. The cavies eat most veggies, fruits, roots, herbs, and flowers too, but not all of them. One healthy food, for example, is ginger. We will talk about ginger in this article. This root-like vegetable is very good for humans, but is it the same for cavies? We will offer more details below.

Can guinea pigs eat ginger? The short answer is no. Ginger as food for cavies depends on the cooking method – pickled or raw. Pickled foods are not allowed for cavies, as for the raw ginger, it would be literally ‘too much’ for the little cavy. How so? The taste of raw ginger is too spicy, bitter, and hot, so of course, cavies would not be too enthusiastic to keep on eating it. The ginger by nature has a really strong taste, it is never consumed raw or as a whole without other foods.

Ginger is not toxic for guinea pigs, but it’s extremely unpalatable for them.

 So, now we have a starting point for ginger, at least the basics. This root-veggie has a very strange taste, we can all agree, right? This is why all recipes with ginger include other fruits or veggies, to mask the strong aroma. There must be people who like ginger plainly, but that would be a great surprise! That aside, ginger has tons of health benefits, at least for humans. For us, it’s food and medicine at the same time. Is it possible for the cavy to get some of those benefits as well? Let’s see everything there is to know about ginger and guinea pigs.

Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Ginger

One of the benefits is small amounts of fat in ginger and zero cholesterol. This means ginger won’t damage blood vessels. There are also carbs which will give an immediate release of energy, for any activity after the feeding time. And the proteins will give slow-release energy.

With the contained fibers, there will be improved and faster digestion of consumed foods. Fibers keep the gut flora healthy. Ginger has vitamin C – the most important vitamin for guinea pigs and their overall health. Then, iron for healthy blood, B6 for growth and good mood, vitamin E for less inflammation.

Also, copper for red blood cells production, manganese for fighting off diseases, potassium for fewer aches, and zinc for a healthy DNA.

Nutrition Facts of Ginger

In a serving of 3 oz (100 g) ginger root, raw, there is:

  • Total of 80 calories
  • 1% fat (small amount of fat, which is generally ok)
  • 0 mg cholesterol (this is great because cholesterol is known to damage blood vessels and the heart)
  • 13 mg sodium (the average amount of salt for a veggie)
  • 18 g carbs (quick energy)
  • 2 g fiber (for good and fast digestion of foods)
  • 7 g sugar (moderate amount of sugar, but precaution is still recommended here)
  • 8 g protein (for slow release of energy)
  • 8% vitamin C (essential vitamin for the overall health of guinea pigs)
  • 2% calcium (the mineral for healthy bones, but larger quantities are sadly bad for cavies because it makes urinary stones)
  • 3% iron (healthy blood)
  • 8% vitamin B6
  • 1% vitamin E (slower aging, prevention of heart problems, better immunity, less inflammation, better eyesight, and less risk of cancer)
  • 10% copper
  • 11% magnesium (for healthy bones, prevention of diabetes, healthy heart)
  • 11% manganese (strongest antioxidant, it fights many free radicals that cause diseases)
  • 3% phosphorus (for healthy and strong bones, but phosphorus is same as calcium – creates urinary problems in cavies)
  • 9% potassium (prevention of stroke, high pressure, kidney problems, heart problems)
  • 2% zinc (for fast healing of wounds, fast healing of ulcers too, and healthy DNA cells)

As we mentioned, ginger is not toxic for cavies, but the taste is very distinctive and not palatable. We all can admit that the taste is too strong, even for us humans! That’s why we always find ways to mask the hot and spicy-bitter aroma.

Risks to Consider When Feeding Ginger to Guinea Pigs

One of the risks is that ginger contains sugar. It is not an enormous amount of sugar, but it should be a sign of precaution.

Another risk is calcium. It’s a scientific and proven fact that calcium together with phosphorus binds and makes healthy and strong bones. But, for rodents, in this case, guinea pigs, these nutrients are not healthy. If there is excess calcium and phosphorus, the cavy might get urinary stones (in bladder or kidneys).

Quick Facts on Ginger

  • Ginger has a very strong and unpleasant taste (hot, spicy and bitter)
  • Pickled ginger is bad for cavies
  • Ginger has no cholesterol
  • Ginger offers carbs, proteins, fibers, and most importantly – vitamin C!
  • Mix fresh or powder ginger with other foods for the cavy – to mask the unpleasant natural aroma
  • Ginger contains sugar
  • Ginger also has calcium and phosphorus (both make urinary stones in cavies)

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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Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.