The little gem lettuce is a smaller version of the romaine lettuce and we use it in various salads. But, we also need to know if it’s good for our guinea pigs. This is a veggie, and guinea pigs love veggies, but as owners, we need to double check – even for veggies.
Can guinea pigs eat little gem lettuce? Yes, guinea pigs can eat little gem lettuce. Many owners feed their guinea pigs little gem lettuce almost every day, but it is best to give this in moderation only a few times per week due to the calcium it contains. Out of all lettuce types out there, the iceberg lettuce is the only one that is incredibly risky for guinea pigs, because it has just water and no more than a few nutrients. Some salads are not good for the cavy, such as the iceberg salad – it can cause diarrhea or other health problems for the guinea pig. But, don’t worry about little gem lettuce – this lettuce is alright as food for the cavy if given in moderate servings.
So, below you will see all the details for the little gem lettuce as food for the guinea pig. There are some pros and cons of course – every fresh produce is different for the digestive system of guinea pigs. Nevertheless, if you still don’t have this lettuce in the fridge, hurry and buy it, because the cavies love it! You can try to introduce this veggie in the diet plan of your lovely pet, so in the following sections, you will see some beneficial facts about this lettuce as food for guinea pigs.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Little Gem Lettuce
So, here are some of the benefits from little gem lettuce:
- Healthy weight of the guinea pig – this lettuce is not very caloric and it isn’t a fattening type of food. So, if the cavy eats this often, don’t be worried about his weight.
- Cardiovascular health – little gem lettuce is low in fat. This is good because fat is known to be harmful to cardiovascular health. The blood vessels are clogged when too much fat is consumed, so reducing the fat in foods keeps the heart and blood vessels healthy.
- Strong and relieved muscles – because there is potassium in this lettuce, the guinea pig will get enough potassium for the daily needs. This mineral relieves aching muscles and strengthens the heart muscles too.
- Energy – little gem lettuce is a good plant source of carbs and proteins, which warm up the body and give it energy.
- Scurvy prevention – the best part about little gem lettuce is that it has vitamin C. when guinea pigs have a deficit of vitamin C, they get a disease called scurvy. But, when they have enough vitamin C, the appetite is normal, weight is healthy, the fur is shiny, there is no fatigue or any signs of disease.
- Antioxidants – little gem lettuce also has vitamin A which is an antioxidant. This vitamin forms strong bone tissues and keeps the immunity in great health.
Nutrition Facts of Little Gem Lettuce
In a serving of 100 g (3 oz) little gem lettuce, there are quite a few nutrients.
- Low in calories – only 16 calories which means it is a light meal that won’t make your guinea pig chubby.
- Low in fat – just 0.6 g of fat. The excess of fat damages the cardiovascular system and also causes obesity.
- Potassium – 247 mg per serving. The potassium relieves the muscles and keeps the heart muscles in great shape too.
- Carbs and proteins – with 1.7 g of carbs and 1 g of protein, the guinea pig will have enough energy after eating. The carbs give energy quickly, and proteins provide energy slower, but it lasts longer.
- Vitamin C – 6.3 mg vitamin C. The cavies need vitamin C because they can’t make it naturally and store it in the body. But, more importantly, they need vitamin C because, without it, they get the disease scurvy. The symptoms are a rough coat, loss of appetite, internal bleedings, and diarrhea.
- Vitamin A – There is 174% of vitamin A. This vitamin helps with the formation of bones and teeth. Also, it creates soft tissues and white blood cells. Vitamin A is a strong antioxidant that keeps immunity in good health overall. This antioxidant also protects from free radical damage – free radicals cause premature aging and diseases.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Little Gem Lettuce to Guinea Pigs
Urinary stones and infections
Little gem lettuce has 30 mg of calcium. This mineral is very important for bone formation, but guinea pigs cannot consume it in large amounts. If there is an excess of calcium in the body of the cavy, this will pile up as a mineral deposit in the urinary tract. So, the guinea pig could be at risk for getting kidney or bladder stones. You need to consult the veterinarian about resolving this problem because if this is not cured, it can be fatal. The symptoms of related to the urinary tract are painful urination, frequent urinary infections, blood in the urine and if uncured, the final stage is renal failure.
Quick Facts on Little Gem Lettuce
- This lettuce has a crisp and crunchy texture, and the aroma is sweet.
- Little gem lettuce is like a mini-version of the romaine lettuce; it is half the size of romaine, 5 inches length, 3 inches width on average
- The peak season is during spring, but you can find this lettuce in markets all year round. The blooms are best from March to October.
- Little gem lettuce was a combination of romaine lettuce and butterhead lettuce.
- Another name for the little gem is ‘sucrine’ (this means ‘sugar’ in French)
- The darker this lettuce is, the more nutrients it has
- This lettuce was first cultivated by the Egyptians, back in ancient times
- More varieties of this lettuce grew in Holland between the 16th and 19th century.
How often can I feed the cavy little gem lettuce, and how much?
This lettuce contains some calcium, so it is not recommended to feed this in large amounts and daily. If you want your guinea pig to eat this on a daily basis, then serve this lettuce in minimal amounts. Otherwise, a handful is a normal serving, but just a few times per week, not more. Remember, it’s important for the guinea pig to have a balanced diet, so you can switch between salads. Always have a good variety of veggies available to mix up the diet routine of your pet.
What other lettuce types can guinea pigs eat?
It is good to know what else can guinea pigs consume, out of all the salads or veggies out there. This will also give you some good ideas when you want to prepare a nice meal for your guinea pig. Well, you can use some of the following: arugula, beet tops, kale, chard, radicchio, cilantro, red leaf lettuce, butterhead, green leaf, or romaine lettuce.
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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