Guinea pigs are adorable pets, easy to take care of, and incredibly sociable. The trick with guinea pig’s diet is that they eat only plants, fruits, and vegetables. But even when it comes to vegetables and fruits you need to be careful as some of them can present problems for their fragile digestion. In this article, we will talk about ginger. This root-like vegetable is good for humans, but what about our guinea pigs? Is ginger safe for them?
Can guinea pigs eat ginger? Guinea pigs can’t eat ginger because the taste of raw ginger is too spicy, bitter, and hot for guinea pigs. Ginger can cause stomach problems for guinea pigs but also the nutritional value of ginger is not favorable for them due to high amounts of calcium. Even pickled ginger is not good because they can’t eat processed food.
Ginger root is not toxic for guinea pigs, but it’s extremely unpalatable for them. This root-veggie has, by nature, a really strong taste. It is never consumed raw or as a whole without other foods. Now we have a starting point for ginger, at least the basics. In the following sections, we will explore everything related to ginger and guinea pigs. Let’s begin!
Nutrition Facts of Ginger
A serving of 3 oz (100 g) ginger root (raw) has the following nutrients:
- Energy – 80 kcal
- Protein – 1.82 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.75 g
- Carbs – 17.77 g
- Dietary fiber – 2 g
- Sugars – 1.7 g
- Calcium – 16 mg
- Iron – 0.6 mg
- Magnesium – 43 mg
- Phosphorus – 34 mg
- Potassium – 415 mg
- Sodium – 13 mg
- Zinc – 0.34 mg
- Copper – 0.226 mg
- Manganese – 0.229 mg
- Selenium – 0.7 µg
- Vitamin C – 5 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.16 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.26 mg
- Vitamin K – 0.1 µg
- Thiamin – 0.025 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.034 mg
- Niacin – 0.75 mg
- Pantothenic acid – 0.203 mg
- Folates – 11 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Ginger to Guinea Pigs
Eating too much ginger can cause serious stomach problems in guinea pigs due to ginger’s strong and spicy flavor. Some of these problems are diarrhea, heartburn caused by stomach acid, bloating, and gases. Also, another risk is that ginger contains sugar. It is not an enormous amount of sugar, but it should be a sign of precaution because sugar can cause stomach aches.
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 are excess calcium and sodium, the guinea pigs might get urinary stones (in the bladder or kidneys).
As we mentioned, ginger is not toxic for guinea pigs, but the taste is very distinctive and not palatable. So, some of the symptoms of guinea pigs having ginger irritations are burning in the mouth and heartburn. Their mouth may even start to itch, and these irritations may be harmful. We can all 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 of ginger.
There are some reports that high doses of ginger may aggravate heart conditions and even lead to irregularities with the heartbeat. Also, ginger may increase the risk of bleeding. So it’s better to avoid feeding ginger to guinea pigs, especially if they have had some heart problems. Ginger may only make heart conditions worse.
Lack of Vitamins
There are some nutrients in ginger such as vitamin C, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, and vitamin K but the amount of vitamin C is too low because guinea pigs need much more of this vitamin during the day. If guinea pigs don’t get enough vitamin C daily, they can get a disease called scurvy. Also, there is no vitamin A in ginger, which is an important antioxidant for guinea pigs. This vitamin protects guinea pigs from free radical damage and improves their eyesight.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ginger Greens?
Guinea pigs can’t eat ginger greens or ginger leaves. These leaves have spicy, bitter, and hot flavors as well. This flavor isn’t too intense as the ginger root, but it’s enough for guinea pigs to get diarrhea, vomiting, or gases. So, it’s better to avoid feeding ginger greens to guinea pigs. There are many other leaves your guinea pigs can eat and enjoy, such as dandelion leaves and apple leaves.
Quick Facts on Ginger
- Raw ginger has a very strong and unpleasant taste (hot, spicy, and bitter) for guinea pigs.
- Ginger is native to southeastern Asia.
- Ginger can be cultivated all year round.
- In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a pound of ginger was equivalent to a sheep’s cost.
- Ginger is also used as folk medicine.
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.
If you found this post useful, would you mind helping out by sharing it? Just click one of the handy social media sharing buttons below so others can also learn about guinea pig food and diet!
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.