Everyone knows what is lavender. And everyone likes it too! This gorgeous blue-purple flower is famous for its nice smell which creates a relaxation effect. We use lavender scents all the time; simply look at your cosmetics, sprays, perfumes, fabric softeners, lotions! But, can this flower be food for our herbivore guinea pigs? Let’s find out below.
Can guinea pigs eat lavender? Yes, guinea pigs can eat lavender. This flower is edible, and humans can consume it too, not just pets. The lavender has a specific flavor and its scent is quite calming, so it can even be useful during times of stress. The guinea pigs can also feel stressed or anxious, so lavender would be a useful treat for them too. If this is a new food for the cavy, introduce it slowly in the diet until it gets used to it over time.
So far it seems that lavender is a perfect flower; it relaxes, releases a nice smell, and is edible too! However, before we feed the guinea pig some lavender, let’s see all the pros and cons, and some other facts too. In the sections below, you will find useful information about this flower.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Lavender
Lavender is famous for the calming effect from the scent. For this purpose, lavender is mostly used in tea, balms, and lotions, as essential oil – the options are limitless. But, lavender also has a calming effect even when it’s consumed – the guinea pig would smell the lavender before it starts chewing it, and this is a win-win situation!
Lavender has an astonishing 100 complex compounds, such as antioxidants and phytochemicals. The most famous compound is the limonene, and it stimulates the enzymes in the stomach and in the liver. This process detoxifies the whole body on the inside.
Healthy Cardiovascular System
Lavender has zero cholesterol and this is a good thing. Cholesterol damages the blood vessels because it builds up in them. This increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Luckily, lavender consuming won’t damage the cardiovascular system or the blood vessels.
This flower is low in calories and in fat. This means eating lavender will not create fat tissue all over the body, and there isn’t an excess of calories that must be burnt afterward. Lavender has just 2 calories per 1 teaspoon.
Lavender also contains vitamin C. This vitamin is crucial for the overall health of the guinea pigs, but sadly, they don’t produce it naturally and can’t store it either. The guinea pig benefits from any food with vitamin C, or from supplements. Without this vitamin, guinea pigs get scurvy which has awful symptoms: internal bleeding, rough coat, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and swollen joints.
Lavender may be low in calories, but this still counts as an energy source. Just like any food item, lavender has carbs and proteins which are the main energy sources that warm up the body.
There is also iron in lavender. This nutrient is extremely important because it fights anemia and keeps the blood healthy. Without enough iron, the blood is not in optimal health and there are risks of fatigue, iron-deficient anemia, getting sick often, and looking pale all the time. If untreated, the symptoms will be worse over time.
Nutrition Facts of Lavender
Lavender flower usually lasts a few days, unlike other fresh items that spoil easily. This is good because at first you surely wouldn’t feed the guinea pig lavender every day. This long shelf-life lets you experiment with different foods in the meantime, so no worries about lavender spoiling fast.
Here is the nutritional information per 1 tsp of lavender:
- Low in calories – 2 g. This is a really low amount and it will not make your guinea pig gain weight.
- Low in fat – 0.1 g. Because lavender is low in fat, cardiovascular health will not be damaged. The blood vessels will not be clogged, so there is less risk of coronary diseases or risk of stroke and heart attack.
- Carbs and proteins – 0.6 g carbs and 0.1 g protein. These amounts might not be a lot, but it is enough for a flower. The carbs and proteins give energy and warm up the body.
- Vitamin C – 1%. With vitamin C, the guinea pig will be healthier overall, the immunity will be improved and there will be minimal or no risk of scurvy. The scurvy disease is very dangerous for guinea pigs, and it damages them from the inside and outside too.
- Iron – 1%. The iron is the main compound of the hemoglobin, which is the main compound of the red blood cells. The hemoglobin transports the oxygen through the body. Luckily, lavender has iron too.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Lavender to Guinea Pigs
Lavender can present possible problems for the urinary tract of the guinea pig. Lavender has calcium too, 1% per 1 tsp. Calcium is needed for strong bones, but once the guinea pig is fully grown, it doesn’t need that much calcium. This mineral is useful when the guinea pigs are growing and developing. If there is excess calcium in the urinary tract of the guinea pig, it will pile up as deposits. These deposits can make urination painful, there might be blood in the urine, and also bladder or kidney stones. When this is not treated on time, it can be fatal because it leads to renal failure.
It is a good idea to always give your guinea pig just a little bit of lavender. If you serve this in moderation, just a few times per week, not daily, there is no risk of urinary problems.
Quick Facts on Lavender
- The word ‘lavender’ comes from the Latin word ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’
- Lavender and mint belong to the same plant family
- This flower was used for the mummification of pharaohs in ancient Egypt, 2500 years ago
- During the Elizabethan reign, taking baths was not a common habit. So, lavender was used as perfume to mask the unpleasant smells on the body, clothes, and linens.
- The smell of lavender will keep pests at bay; there will be no more rats, mice, mosquitoes or flies in that area
- The oil of lavender reduces anxiety, stress, soothes the muscles that ache and induces sleepiness
- Some expensive types of honey are made with the nectar of lavender
- The symbolism of this flower is: luck, success, devotion, and happiness
- Lavender is either blue or purple, but also there are varieties which are yellow and pink
How Much Lavender Can My Guinea Pig Have? How Often?
If this is a new food for the guinea pig, introduce this slowly at first. One little flower bud with the stem is enough for taste. After some time, you can give 2-3 flower buds tops, but not daily. Have a good variety of foods in the cavy’s diet, so just 2-3 times per week should be enough.
What Other Flowers Are Edible and Ok for Guinea Pigs?
Apart from lavender, guinea pigs can also eat dandelion, goldenrod, chickweed, coltsfoot, mallow, plantain, marigold, asters, sunflower, sweet pea flower and yarrow.
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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