Parsley is an aromatic herb that we use as a spice in many of our meals. This herb is extremely versatile, and we can use it in almost anything, for example, in salads, soups, as a garnish, and much more. On the other hand, our guinea pigs are herbivores, but we still need to know if parsley safe for them.
Can guinea pigs eat parsley? Guinea pigs can eat parsley. However, even though parsley is safe for the guinea pigs, it shouldn’t be fed very often because it contains a lot of calcium. On the other hand, there are vitamins in parsley, such as vitamin C, which are very beneficial to guinea pig’s immune system and overall health.
Not every food that guinea pigs can eat is healthy for them. If you pay attention to how often you feed the guinea pigs with certain foods, you can prevent some of the possible health risks.
In the following sections, we will discuss why parsley is healthy for guinea pigs, learn more about possible risks, and if parsley is poisonous to guinea pigs in some situations. Let’s begin!
Is Parsley Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
Parsley is low in calories, carbs, and fat which means guinea pigs won’t get chubby and won’t be at risk of obesity. Still, your guinea pigs will get the energy they need for the whole day. Also, the low amount of fat will maintain a healthy weight, and keep blood vessels unclogged.
Healthy Cardiovascular System
Vitamin K, zinc, potassium, and iron are good for a healthy cardiovascular system. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting because it helps create the prothrombin, the protein that cloths the blood in case of injuries. The zinc helps with faster healing of the wounds, and it benefits the metabolism and immune system as well.
The potassium normalizes or balances the blood pressure because it balances the ratio of electrolytes (salts) and water in the body. The blood of the guinea pigs will stay healthy with no risk of anemia due to enough iron in the body.
Parsley has fibers that contribute to good digestion and bowel movements. Also, the amounts of carbs and protein are enough for balanced energy and good digestion.
In most cases, digestive and stomach problems appear due to huge amounts of fiber and sugar in certain food. Moreover, there isn’t that much sugar in parsley, so it will not damage the guinea pig’s digestion.
Parsley is rich in vitamin A, one of the most powerful antioxidants for the body. It keeps the lungs, heart, kidneys, vision, skin, and boosts the immune system. Also, parsley has another very strong antioxidant called manganese. It fights free radicals that can cause many different diseases.
Parsley also has vitamin C. Without this vitamin, your guinea pigs are at great risk of getting the fatal disease called scurvy. Symptoms of this disease are rough coat, no appetite, diarrhea, internal bleeding, fatigue, and so on. This is why it’s very important to feed parsley and other foods rich in vitamin C to guinea pigs to prevent scurvy disease.
Protects Eye Health
Vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin in parsley will help to keep guinea pig’s eyes healthy. The lack of these ingredients may cause dry eyes and other eye problems in guinea pigs.
Nutrition Facts of Parsley for Guinea Pigs
The following are the nutrition facts for 100 g (3 oz) of parsley:
- Energy – 36 kcal
- Protein – 2.97 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.79 g
- Carbs – 6.33 g
- Dietary fiber – 3.3 g
- Sugars – 0.85 g
- Calcium – 138 mg
- Iron – 6.2 mg
- Magnesium – 50 mg
- Phosphorus – 58 mg
- Potassium – 554 mg
- Sodium – 56 mg
- Zinc – 1.07 mg
- Copper – 0.149 mg
- Selenium – 0.1 µg
- Vitamin C – 133 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.09 mg
- Vitamin A – 421 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.75 mg
- Vitamin K – 1640 µg
- Thiamin – 0.086 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.098 mg
- Niacin – 1.313 mg
- Folates – 152 µg
- Carotene, beta – 5054 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 5561 µg
Is Parsley Bad for Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks
Problems in the Urinary Tract
Parsley is rich with beneficial nutrients, but sadly, it has a lot of calcium too. Calcium is beneficial for the guinea pigs only while they are young.
However, excess of calcium in adult guinea pigs creates urinary stones accompanied by the following symptoms such as blood in the urine, painful urination, and infections in the urinary tract.
The other possible risk of feeding parsley to guinea pigs is a disturbed stomach. This may happen if you feed too much parsley to them.
You will know if the guinea pig has a disturbed stomach when you notice the following symptoms: diarrhea, dehydration, stomach pains, gases, vomiting, and no appetite.
So, it would be best if you regulate the intake of parsley for guinea pigs. Also, wash the parsley thoroughly with water to remove any possibility of residual pesticides, dirt, and pests in parsley that may be very harmful to guinea pig’s stomach.
Serving Size and Frequency of Parsley for Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley Everyday?
Guinea pigs can’t eat parsley every day mainly because of the calcium content. Also, guinea pigs need a rich diet; there are many other foods you can give to them.
Giving parsley twice a week is enough for the guinea pigs, and the amount should be moderate. There is no need to feed them parsley every day, and it would be better for their health if they get beneficial nutrients from different foods.
How Much Parsley Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs can’t eat too much parsley because large serving sizes isn’t good for their stomach and digestion. They are small animals, and they don’t need huge amounts of food every day.
Their daily diet needs to consist primarily of hay and water. So, a few leaves of parsley with the stem is a good amount for guinea pigs. Always remember that fruits and vegetables are given to guinea pigs as a treat and not as a main food source.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Parsley?
Most guinea pigs like parsley. This herb is very delicious to them, and they enjoy eating it. In fact, they love to eat other similar herbs, but not all.
Along with the parsley, they like to consume coriander, thyme, cilantro, dill, mint, endive, fennel, basil, and rocket. However, there are some reports from guinea pig owners that their pets don’t like parsley. That’s completely normal because every guinea pig has its own unique taste preferences.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley?
Baby guinea pigs shouldn’t eat parsley. At first, they only need their mother’s milk. After a few weeks, you can introduce them to hay and pellets.
It’s recommended to feed them alfalfa hay because it is rich in calcium and newborn guinea pigs need calcium for healthy growth. Later, you can slowly introduce them to fresh foods rich in vitamin C, such as parsley.
Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley?
Pregnant guinea pigs can eat parsley, but still, it’s recommended to take advice from your vet who knows your pregnant guinea pig’s health condition. Some research show that parsley may be bad for pregnant animals because parsley can cause potential health risks if consumed in large amounts, so you need to be careful.
However, guinea pigs need more calcium and vitamin C during pregnancy. Calcium is important for young guinea pig’s growth.
More Information About Parsley and Guinea Pigs
In the following sections, find out what type of parsley is good for guinea pigs and what parts of parsley they can eat.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fresh Parsley?
Guinea pigs can eat fresh parsley. However, only fresh parsley is good for guinea pigs. Never give to them dried parsley that we use as a spice for our food.
It’s essential for guinea pig’s health to provide them only fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You can store parsley in a glass of water to keep it fresh for some period.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley Stems/Parsley Stalks?
Guinea pigs can eat parsley stems or parsley stalks, and they are completely safe for them. Parsley stalks have even more flavor than leaves, especially the bitterness.
Some of your guinea pigs won’t maybe like parsley stems. If that is the case, give them leaves. Parsley stems in normal serving sizes are good for guinea pig’s digestion due to the fiber content.
They will also provide your guinea pigs with a good amount of vitamins and minerals.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley Leaves?
Guinea pigs can eat parsley leaves, and that’s their favorite part of parsley. Parsley leaves are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Still, it would be best to be careful with parsley leaves’ serving sizes and give them to guinea pigs only in moderation. Also, be sure to wash parsley leaves well with water and give them leaves only when they are fresh.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley Flowers?
Guinea pigs can eat parsley flowers but only in moderation. These flowers are white to yellow in color and appear during the plant’s second year of growth. They have a similar flavor as parsley leaves, with traces of lemon and sweetness.
There are also many other flowers that guinea pigs are allowed to eat. Be sure to feed them parsley flowers only occasionally as a treat.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley Flakes?
Parsley flakes are dried parsley that people use as a spice. Guinea pigs can’t eat parsley flakes because they can be very harmful to their stomach. Parsley flakes can contain some additives.
Because of the drying process, parsley loses its nutrition value. Also, parsley flakes are higher in calories, fat, and calcium, which is very bad for guinea pigs. As we have said above, guinea pigs can eat only fresh parsley.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley Root?
Guinea pigs can eat parsley root or Hamburg root. This is a type of parsley that is grown for its taproot rather than its leaves. However, its leaves are also edible.
Parsley root looks like a cross between parsnip and carrot, with light beige color and rough texture. Its taste is between parsley, celery, and carrot.
Parsley root has many benefits for guinea pigs. It’s low in calories and loaded with many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C. Parsley root is also a powerful antioxidant.
Still, due to the calcium content, you need to be careful with the frequency and serving sizes of parsley root for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Italian Parsley?
Guinea pigs can eat Italian parsley, but it shouldn’t be given daily and in huge amounts. Italian parsley is flat-leaf parsley with a fresh and clean taste, with hints of citrus, clove, and nutmeg.
Moreover, it has many benefits for guinea pig’s overall health. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
This flat-leaf parsley is good for boosting guinea pig’s immune system, bone, and heart health and may improve guinea pig’s eyesight.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Curly Parsley?
Guinea pigs can eat curly parsley. This type of parsley has a different look and flavor than the Italian parsley. So, the curly parsley has a less strong taste than its flat-leaf counterpart and thicker “curly” leaves with bright green color.
Guinea pigs like to eat curly parsley, and they will really enjoy it. Curly parsley also has many vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to guinea pigs. Still, due to the calcium content, feed them curly parsley only in moderation.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cow Parsley?
Guinea pigs can eat cow parsley. This herb is also known as wild chervil or wild beaked parsley. Cow parsley has a sharper flavor than the garden chervil, with a hint of carrot. It can be found in the wild, with a long stem, fern-like leaves, and white flowers.
However, it would be best if you were very careful because cow parsley’s leaves are very similar to poison hemlock. So, if you’re not completely sure about their difference, you should probably give to guinea pigs only the regular parsley.
Quick Facts on Parsley
The following are some interesting facts on parsley:
- Parsley originates from the Mediterranean region (Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Malta, Tunisia, and Algeria).
- This herb was cultivated for over 2,000 years.
- A legend says that parsley grew where serpents murdered a Greek hero (Archemorus); the spot where his blood was spilled is where the parsley appeared.
- Greeks also made parsley crowns for the winners of sports games.
- The term ‘parsley’ comes from the Greek word ‘petroselinon,’ or ‘rock celery.’ This is because parsley used to grow the best on rocky areas.
- Parsley is one of the most popular herbs in the world.
- Parsley is used in the cosmetic industry as well.
- Pregnant women should not consume parsley because it is a uterine stimulant and may induce premature labor.
With food, you should be careful what to choose. If you are not sure what to feed them but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats, check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas.
List of Sources
Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition
The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig
Antioxidant, Pro-oxidant and Cytotoxic Properties of Parsley