Sprouts are a known power-food that are rich in fibers, vitamins and they also have antioxidant properties. They are widely recommended to be included in a balanced diet and can be used to feed animals. But what are they exactly? Well, they are germinated seeds. Curiously, there are several types of sprouts that include broccoli, clover, Alfalfa, wheat, soybean, radish, onion, pea and many more. They are not only cheap to grow but can also boost nutritional values in diets.
With this in mind, I began to wonder whether they could be suitable food for our furry friends, in particular, guinea pigs. Here’s a fun fact: guinea pigs are herbivore mammals that originate from the area of South America. They are not originally from Guinea nor are they related to actual pigs.
With this information at hand, can guinea pigs eat sprouts? Yes, guinea pigs can eat sprouts. They are healthy food for guinea pigs because sprouts are filling and rich in antioxidants, mineral and vitamins, particularly vitamin C. This vitamin is very important for guinea pigs and they also very much enjoy the taste of sprouts!
Sprouts are definitely safe and nutritious food for guinea pigs. Not only that, they are easy to grow or purchase in stores and they can be kept in cool conditions making the feeding process easy and relaxing. Guinea pigs can benefit from fresh and healthy food and sprouts have a green thumb of approval from guinea pig!
The following sections will elaborate on benefits, risks, how to prepare and feed sprouts to your pet.
Table of Content
Health Benefits of Feeding Sprouts to Guinea Pigs
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and proteins – These nutrients ensure the proper and healthy functioning of guinea pigs. They, in particular, need Vitamin C as they cannot produce it by themselves and this is especially vital for pregnant and young guinea pigs. A vitamin C deficiency could cause illnesses such as scurvy. Minerals are vital not only for development but also to maintain functions such as regular heartbeat and balancing hormones. Proteins also play an important role not only with hormones but also with muscle, cartilage, blood and bone repair.
Improved digestion – The dietary fibers contained in the sprouts can help the guinea pig with their digestion and prevent bloating. Daily amounts of sprouts can help guinea pigs with indigestion and constipation by clearing out their bowels. Broccoli sprouts, in this case, can be the most ideal food to feed your guinea pig in order to improve digestion.
Scurvy and damage prevention – With the lack of Vitamin C your guinea pig could suffer from illnesses such as scurvy. It’s symptoms? Sudden weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea, changes in hair coat, swollen joints, bruised skin, bleeding gums. Sprouts can prevent scurvy and its symptoms from developing. A Vitamin C deficiency can also slow down tissue repair in guinea pigs when they get hurt.
Better growth – Sprouts like Alfalfa contain vitamin K, which is important for all humans and animals to grow and develop. Vitamin K promotes growth and healthy bone development. Guinea pigs would benefit from this vitamin as it would stimulate their development and make healthier bones.
Diabetes prevention – Although rich in mineral, proteins, and vitamins, sprouts are low in sugar content. This means that by feeding your pet this type of food you are ensuring that they have a controlled blood sugar level and as a result, it will be preventing diabetes.
Nutrition Facts of Sprouts
Although small and leafy, when looking at the nutritional values of sprouts, they are packed with benefits and should be integrated into a guinea pig’s diet. They also ensure the correct and normal functioning of the guinea pig’s organs and life. The following are nutrients found in sprouts:
The following nutrients collectively promote development, bone growth, healthy living, illness prevention, better digestion, and improved immune response in the guinea pig.
Risks of Feeding Sprouts to Guinea Pigs
Any food consumed in excess can have its risks. Sprouts can also create issues if their consumption is not monitored and as a result, they can harm your guinea pigs. So, what are the possible risks?
Gas – The presence of phosphorus and oxalate acid can overstimulate the gasses in your guinea pig’s stomach and create flatulence issues. Make sure to regulate the quantities of sprouts in order to avoid complications. If this food is new to your pet, try to introduce it slowly in their diet to avoid further complications.
Tummy pain – Sprouts are rich in fibers, which can give relief but also create problems if consumed in excess. This is a common problem with newly introduced foods. The solution is to slowly feed your guinea pig with small handfuls a couple of times every week, alternating with other foods. Because of the amount of fibers in sprouts, allow your pet to slowly adjust to the new food.
Urinary issues – Calcium may be important for stronger bones but it can cause complications if too much of it is consumed. This mineral can form stones in the kidney and bladder and block their normal function and cause damage in guinea pigs. Infections and lacerations can be dangerous and it can be painful for your pet to pee with these problems, so watch out!
Tips on How to Feed Sprouts to Guinea Pigs
Can you feed guinea pigs cooked sprouts?
You probably assumed that guinea pigs can eat both raw and cooked fruits and vegetables. This is sadly a myth because they cannot eat cooked foods. Guinea pigs have very delicate stomachs and cannot process cooked meals. Also, by cooking sprouts you are losing valuable and important nutrients such as vitamin C. Be careful when feeding your pet and remember that vitamin C is vital for them!
Can you feed guinea pigs frozen sprouts?
As discussed above, guinea pigs cannot be fed cooked foods as it would not only harm their digestive system but also impoverish their meals. What about frozen foods then? Again, this is not recommended for your guinea pig for the same reason as above. This means that cavies can tolerate only food when it is in its natural raw state. Therefore, do not feed guinea pigs frozen or cooked sprouts.
Quick Facts About Sprouts
Sprouts contain a special enzyme, which is a chemical that makes proteins digestible and improves the absorption of nutrients.
The most commonly grown sprout is the soybean. Other types include alfalfa, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils, onions, radish, peas, wheat, white beans, and clover.
During the Second World War, bean sprouts were recommended as an alternative to meat because they are high in protein. This also because the meat was less available.
Sprouts have anti-histamine properties and can protect from allergies. This is thanks to diamine oxidase, which is an enzyme that fights histamine naturally.
Sprouts have been a dietary staple in Asia for thousands of years. The Chinese would consume them believing they could rejuvenate skin and heal from negative environments and diseases. This would also explain their presence in many of their dishes!
Although sprouts can usually be eaten raw without consequences, uncooked bean sprouts can cause concern as they can carry food-borne diseases. This can include nausea and general sickness. Try to avoid feeding it to your guinea pig as it may create health problems. Remember also that guinea pigs cannot eat cooked foods!
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