Parsley is an aromatic herb that we use as a spice or fresh in many of our meals. This herb is so versatile, we can use it in almost anything – salads, soups, as a garnish, and much more. In this article, we will talk about parsley as food for the guinea pig. Since our guinea pigs are herbivores and vegetarians we can just assume they can eat parsley, but let’s be sure and explore this in detail.
Can guinea pigs eat parsley? Yes, guinea pigs can eat parsley. In fact, they can eat other similar herbs as well, but not all of course. Along with the parsley, they can also consume coriander, thyme, dill, mint, endive, fennel, basil and rocket too. However, even though parsley is allowed herb for the guinea pig, it shouldn’t be fed very often because it contains a lot of oxalates. These compounds, the oxalates, can make your guinea pig gassy and cause urinary problems like the bladder stones. Giving parsley twice a week is enough for the guinea pig, and the amount should be moderate, given sparingly. A few leaves with the stem of parsley is a good amount.
Not every allowed food for the guinea pigs is extremely healthy for them. Of course, if you pay attention to how much or how often you feed the cavy certain foods, you can prevent the risks for your guinea pig that can come from eating that food. Below, we will discuss the details about parsley as food for the guinea pig, like its benefits, risks, and interesting facts.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Parsley
- Healthy weight and cardiovascular system – Parsley is low in calories and low in fat. The cavy won’t get chubby and won’t be at risk of obesity. Also, the low amount of fat will maintain a healthy weight, and keep blood vessels unclogged.
- Good digestion – Parsley also has fibers that contribute to good digestion and bowel movements.
- Antioxidants – vitamin A and manganese will fight the free radical damage that causes weak immunity and many diseases.
- Scurvy prevention – Vitamin C in the parsley prevents the scurvy disease in guinea pigs (symptoms are: rough coat, no appetite, diarrhea, internal bleeding, fatigue).
- Anemia prevention and healthy blood clotting – The blood of the guinea pig will be healthy, with no risk of anemia due to the iron, and the blood clotting will be fast due to the vitamin K.
- Faster wound healing – In case of injuries, the zinc will help with faster healing of the tissues.
Nutrition Facts of Parsley
For 100 g (3 oz) of parsley:
- Low in calories – 21.6 of calories. Parsley is very low in calories.
- Low in carbs and proteins – In parsley, there are 3.8 g of carbs and 1.8 g proteins. For a herb, these amounts are not too bad and it will still give your guinea pig the energy it needs for the whole day (along with other foods as well).
- Fiber – 2 g. Fibers are crucial for healthy bowel emptying and good digestion.
- Sugar – 0.5 g. Parsley is a herb that we use as a veggie, but it still has some sugar in it. However, this amount is not too high and it is not very dangerous for the guinea pig.
- Low in fat – 0.5 g. Another good thing about parsley is that it has a low amount of fat. This will not clog the blood vessels, so the cardiovascular system will be in good health.
- Vitamin A – 101 %. Parsley is rich in vitamin A, one of the most powerful antioxidants for the body. It keeps lungs, heart, kidneys, vision, skin, brain healthy and overall boosts the immunity too.
- Vitamin C – 133 %. An astonishing amount of the most needed vitamin for guinea pigs! Without this vitamin, your guinea pig is at great risk of getting the scurvy (a fatal disease).
- Vitamin K – 1230 %. Who would have guessed that parsley is so rich in vitamin K? This vitamin is important for blood clotting because it helps with the creation of the prothrombin, the protein that cloths the blood in case of injuries.
- Pantothenic acid – 2 %. Also known as vitamin B5. The B5 creates blood cells, but also it converts every food into energy.
- Calcium – 82.8 mg. Parsley is rich with beneficial nutrients, but sadly, it has a lot of calcium too. This mineral is harmful to the urinary tract of guinea pigs, and they need it only when they are young – to form strong bones.
- Iron – 21 %. When there is enough iron in the body, there is less fatigue and less risk of anemia.
- Potassium – 9 %. The potassium normalizes or balances the blood pressure because it balances the ratio of electrolytes (salts) and water in the body.
- Zinc – 4 %. The zinc helps with faster healing of wounds, and it benefits the whole metabolism and immunity overall as well.
- Manganese – 5 %. A very strong antioxidant, even more powerful than vitamin A, and just as beneficial. It fights the free radicals that can cause damage to the immune system and cause many diseases.
Also, parsley contains oxalates which are posing a risk for the health of the guinea pig. See the ‘Risks’ section below for more details on oxalates.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Parsley to Guinea Pigs
- Problems in the urinary tract due to calcium and oxalates – The parsley herb contains calcium. The calcium mineral is beneficial for the guinea pigs only while they are young. Then they form strong bone tissues with the help of calcium. However, excess of calcium in grown guinea pigs creates urinary stones in bladder and kidneys, or there is blood in the urine, painful urination and infections in the urinary tract as well.
Also, parsley contains oxalates. What does this mean? The oxalates are acids found in many herbs, like the parsley, and when these acids accumulate in the body, the risk of urinary stones is higher. So, the excess of these acids combined with the calcium is a serious health risk for your guinea pig.
Quick 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 a Greek hero (Archemorus) was murdered by serpents; 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’ – because parsley used to grow the best on rocky areas
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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