In this article, we will talk about a very unique vegetable, the parsnip. Parsnip is a veggie that looks like a carrot, but it’s quite longer than a carrot, and it has a white color. This is a root veggie, and it belongs in the same group as parsley and carrots. Now, let’s see is parsnip safe for guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat parsnips? Guinea pigs can eat parsnips, but only in moderation. The parsnip is a veggie that has many benefits for the guinea pig’s health. It is packed with many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants beneficial for them. There aren’t many problems related to parsnips which makes them a good food for guinea pigs.
Many owners have claimed that their guinea pigs dislike parsnips because of the aroma and taste. On the other side, some owners claimed their guinea pigs like to nibble on the parsnips a lot. It is up to you to see if your guinea pigs are going to like parsnips.
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, risks, as well as the nutrients of this veggie.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Parsnips
Prevention of Scurvy
One 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 and causes symptoms such as internal bleeding, rough fur, no appetite, and loose stool.
Since guinea pigs don’t produce this vitamin naturally, they need to get it from supplements or food. So, the vitamin C in parsnips will keep your guinea pig healthy and safe from scurvy.
Healthy Cardiovascular System
The cardiovascular system of the guinea pigs will be healthy due to the copper, iron, vitamin K, potassium, and low amount of fat in parsnips. Also, Vitamin K is very important for healthy blood clotting. With the help of vitamin K, the body makes a protein named prothrombin, which is important for blood clotting.
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 forms the red blood cells and helps the body absorb iron. This means that with enough copper in the organism, the body will be less prone to anemia or similar blood-related problems.
This veggie is a part of the same family as carrots and parsley. This means parsnip is packed with vitamins which play an important role in maintaining free radicals that damage cells and helps to ensure that all body parts function properly.
There are 75 calories in parsnips. This is not too much, and it will not affect the weight of your guinea pigs, which means parsnip is not fattening for them.
Parsnip has a good amount of carbs and protein. The carbs will give the guinea pigs instant energy and the proteins a slow release of energy during the day.
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.
Nutrition Facts of Parsnip for Guinea Pigs
The nutritional information for 100 g (3 oz) of parsnips:
- Energy – 75 kcal
- Protein – 1.2 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.3 g
- Carbs – 18 g
- Dietary fiber – 4.9 g
- Sugars – 4.8 g
- Calcium – 36 mg
- Iron – 0.59 mg
- Magnesium – 29 mg
- Phosphorus – 71 mg
- Potassium – 375 mg
- Sodium – 10 mg
- Zinc – 0.59 mg
- Copper – 0.12 mg
- Manganese – 0.56 mg
- Selenium – 1.8 µg
- Vitamin C – 17 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.09 mg
- Vitamin E – 1.49 mg
- Vitamin K – 22.5 µg
- Thiamin – 0.09 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.05 mg
- Niacin – 0.7 mg
- Folates – 67 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Parsnips to Guinea Pigs
There is calcium in the parsnip, which can be a problem. 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 or kidney stones, blood in the urine, painful urination, and even frequent urinary infections.
There is sugar in parsnip 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. The digestive system of guinea pigs does not react well to sugars of any kind, especially in high amounts.
Serving Size and Frequency of Parsnips for Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Have Parsnips Every Day?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat parsnips every day. Avoid providing them only parsnips in their diet to avoid stomach problems. As a treat, however, once in a while, it won’t hurt them. So, two times per week of parsnip is more than enough for our guinea pigs.
How Much Parsnips Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Parsnips can be quite bad for guinea pigs, so they should only eat a small amount of these vegetables. Just give them a few pieces of parsnip at once, and there won’t be any digestion problems for them.
The good idea is to mix the parsnip with another veggie, like a salad. If your guinea pigs dislike the taste, try to serve it mixed with lettuce, bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, or kale. Be creative with their diet! The most important thing is that this veggie is a safe food for the guinea pigs!
More Information About Guinea Pig and Parsnip
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsnip Leaves / Parsnip Greens?
There is much information on the internet that parsnip leaves are toxic to humans and pets. On the other hand, some people say that they eat parsnip greens without any problems. Well, we can say that guinea pigs can eat parsnip leaves, but it is not recommended. Parsnip leaves can in large quantities be toxic to guinea pigs and make them sick or cause allergies. It’s probably best if you don’t let your pet eat parsnip tops.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsnip Skin / Parsnips Peel?
Guinea pigs can eat parsnip skin or parsnip peel. Before giving parsnip peels to guinea pigs, make sure to wash the parsnip peel thoroughly with water. This will help take off some of the dirt and chemicals on the outside of the parsnip skin.
However, parsnip skin is safe for guinea pigs. For instance, parsley peel may be an excellent source of vitamin C and has a higher level of iron.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Parsnips?
When feeding your guinea pig with parsnips, make sure you only give it small amounts of raw parsnips and never cook any type of vegetable because this will alter the nutrients and vitamin content. Guinea pigs can’t digest cooked parsnips, cooked food can upset their stomach and cause some symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.
Remember that you should always check with your vet before introducing any new foods to your pet’s diet!
Quick Facts on Parsnips
- The parsnips originated from Asia and Europe and were introduced to 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 introduced. 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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List of Sources
Norman, R., Wills, A. P., An Investigation into the Relationship between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus), Animals: an open access journal from MDPI, 2016.
National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition, Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995., Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1995.
Witkowska, A., Price, J., Hughes, C., Smith, D., White, K., Alibhai, A., Rutland C. S., The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science, 2017.