It is feeding time for the guinea pigs! In this article, we will talk about a very unique vegetable, the parsnip. But, many of us don’t know what parsnips are. Well, the parsnip is a veggie that looks like a carrot, but it’s quite longer, slightly similar to the shape of a carrot, and it has a white color. This is a root veggie and it belongs in the same group as parsley and carrots.
Can guinea pigs eat parsnips? Yes, guinea pigs can eat parsnips. The rule of thumb is to feed them this veggie two times per week tops. However, many owners have claimed that their guinea pigs dislike parnsips because of the aroma and taste. Also, some owners claimed their guinea pigs like to nibble on the parsnips a lot. The riper the parsnip is, the sweeter the taste, so you might wonder why the guinea pig would dislike this veggie – but it all comes down to taste preferences. A good idea is to mix the parsnip with another veggie, like a salad. If your guinea pig dislikes the taste, try to serve it mixed with lettuce, bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, or kale with parsley too. Be creative with their diet! Most important thing is that this veggie is a safe food for the guinea pig!
The parsnip is a veggie that has many benefits for the health of the guinea pigs. It is packed with many nutrients; vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidants, so it boosts the health overall. This is a safe food for the guinea pig – even though the aroma might not be the best one your guinea pig has ever tried. Now, let’s see all the benefits and risks of this veggie, as well as the nutrients it has.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Parsnips
- Prevention of scurvy – The vitamin C in parsnips will keep your guinea pig healthy and safe from scurvy. In other words, no more risk of rough coat, bleedings, diarrhea or bad appetite.
- Healthy blood and blood clotting – The blood will be healthier, less prone to anemia and will clot easy and fast too, due to the copper, iron, vitamin K and pantothenic acid in parsnips.
Nutrition Facts of Parsnips
The nutritional information for 100 g (3 oz) of parsnips:
- Low in calories – there are just 75 calories in parsnips. This is not too much and it will not affect the weight of your guinea pig, which means parsnip is not fattening at all.
- Carbs and proteins – 18 g carbs and 1.2 g of protein. These are the main sources of energy for the organism, and parsnip has a good amount of them. The carbs will give the guinea pig instant energy, and the proteins a slow-release of energy.
- Sugar – 4.8 g. The amount of sugar could be too high for the guinea pig, and this is not very good for the cavy. The digestive system of guinea pigs does not react well to sugars of any kind, especially in high amounts. So, parsnip must be fed in moderation.
- Low in fat – 0.3 g. Such a low amount of fat is great news. The cardiovascular system will be in good health because the blood vessels will be unclogged. Also, a low amount of fat means less weight changes for the guinea pig.
- Vitamin C – 28 %. Another great thing about parsnips is that they have lots of vitamin C. Without this vitamin the guinea pigs are prone to the disease called scurvy which is fatal for them (internal bleeding, rough fur, no appetite, and loose stool.). Since the guinea pigs don’t produce this vitamin naturally, they need to get it from supplements or foods.
- Vitamin E – 7 %. This vitamin is essential for healthy skin, but it also prevents heart problems, reduces inflammation, keeps the eyesight in great shape, reduces the risk of cancer and boosts the immunity too.
- Vitamin K – 28 %. Vitamin K is very important for healthy blood clotting. With the help of vitamin K, the body makes a protein named prothrombin – the most important one for clotting the blood.
- Vitamin B6 – 4 %. The B6 vitamin prevents anemia, so it keeps the blood healthy.
- Pantothenic acid – 6 %. This is also known as the vitamin B5 which is crucial for creating blood cells. Also, the B5 converts fats, carbs, and proteins into energy.
- Calcium – 36 mg. Calcium is vital for the formation of strong bone tissues, but this is beneficial only if the guinea pig is still young and in development. Otherwise, this mineral can cause many urinary problems for fully grown guinea pigs.
- Iron – 3 %. Iron is crucial for the red blood cells and their optimal functioning.
- Magnesium – 7 %. With the magnesium, the muscles will be strong and healthy, it removes aches all over the body and keeps the heart muscle in great shape too. Also, it reduces anxiety and the risk of diabetes as well.
- Potassium – 11 %. The potassium keeps the cardiovascular system healthy since it contributes to a good balance of water and electrolytes in the body. This also means the blood pressure will be at healthy levels at all times.
- Copper – 6 %. This nutrient is the one that forms the red blood cells and helps the body absorb iron well. This means that with enough copper in the organism, the body will be less prone to anemia or similar blood-related problems.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Parsnips to Guinea Pigs
- Urinary problems – There is calcium in the parsnip. We mentioned how this mineral is important for the formation of strong bones and bone tissues. But, this is good only for young guinea pigs, not adult ones. Otherwise, it piles up in their urinary tract and makes bladder/kidney stones, blood in the urine, painful urination and even frequent urinary infections.
- Digestion problems – There is sugar as well. It is not an amount that’s too high, but still, it should be fed in moderation because of it. Too much sugar causes the guinea pigs to have painful digestion or loose stool.
Quick Facts on Parsnips
- The parsnips originate from Asia and Europe and were introduced in America back in the 17th century.
- In Scotland, the parsnip is known as ‘white carrot’
- In Europe, parsnips used to be a sweetener for cakes and jams, before sugar was produced. Also, the parsnip was used for bread making in the 16th century.
- The ancient Romans thought parsnip was an aphrodisiac
- The parsnip is related to the carrot, dill, celery, parsley, and cumin too.
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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