Squash is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be used for many meals. Also, squash comes in many different varieties, such as zucchini, rounded, crookneck, scallop, cousa, tatume, tromboncino, acorn, buttercup, butternut, delicata, dumpling, pumpkin and this is already a lot!. You probably think your guinea pig can eat squash, because guinea pigs are vegetarians, right? Well, let’s find out below.
Can guinea pigs eat squash? Yes, guinea pigs can eat squash. Every type of squash is good for them because it has vitamin C, but as with most foods for our guinea pigs, the squash should also be fed in normal frequencies and in moderation in order to have a well-balanced diet.
The vitamin C is beneficial for guinea pigs because it protects against the fatal disease called scurvy. Also, there are other nutrients in the squash that are good for the guinea pig, such as antioxidants which are good for the overall immunity.
It is really good to know that next time we buy a squash, we can save a few chunks aside for our guinea pig. In the following sections, we will discuss in detail how good this veggie is for our adorable cavies. We will present the nutrients present in this squash, all the benefits, possible risks and also, you will find out some interesting facts about squash.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Squash
- Prevention from scurvy – vitamin C in squash will help the organism to fight off any risk of scurvy. This is a fatal disease which occurs when the guinea pig doesn’t get enough vitamin C. And the lovely furry guinea pig can only get this through food or supplements, and they can’t create it naturally. Scurvy manifests itself with a rough coat, fatigue, loss of appetite, bleedings, strange discharges, diarrhea…
- Healthy blood – the vitamin K, iron, and copper in the squash will ensure that the blood is healthy, the immunity will be kept in a good shape, and there will be less risk of anemia.
Nutrition Facts of Squash
As example, we will present the nutrients in winter squash, butternut. For 100 g (3 oz):
- Low in calories – 45 calories. The squash isn’t that much caloric, which is good. It means your guinea pig will maintain a healthy weight.
- High in carbs and moderate in protein – the squash is very rich in carbs, 11.7 g, and it has a bit of protein too, 1 g. The carbs usually can increase weight, but since you will feed squash to the guinea pig moderately, it isn’t a problem at all.
- Sugar – 2.2 g. This amount of sugar could be a bit too much for the guinea pigs, especially since this is a veggie.
- Low in fat – 0.1g. We can confirm the squash isn’t fattening type of food because it has low amounts of fat.
- Vitamin A – 213%. This vitamin is a strong antioxidant that keeps the health of skin, heart, kidneys, vision, lungs, and it also boosts the immunity as well.
- Vitamin C – 35%. Guinea pigs need lots of this vitamin to survive and to be healthy. Without it, they can get a dangerous disease called scurvy.
- Vitamin E – 7%. This vitamin improves the quality of the skin, prevents some cancers, improves the eyesight, boosts the immunity, and prevents inflammation.
- Thiamin – 7%. Thiamin is the B1 vitamin. This vitamin creates a better electrolyte flow to all muscles and nerves.
- Riboflavin – 1%. Also known as vitamin B2; it converts foods into energy, and it makes a better oxygen flow through the body.
- Niacin – 6%. Niacin is B3 vitamin and it can lower cholesterol, prevent heart diseases and diabetes. It also improves the skin elasticity.
- Vitamin B6 – 8%. The B6 vitamin reduces stress, and helps with better sleep. Also, it increases the serotonin production (happiness hormone)
- Calcium – 48 mg. There is a lot of calcium in the squash! This is not very good for the guinea pigs, because this mineral damages their urinary tract. It forms strong bones, but it shouldn’t be consumed in excess by grown guinea pigs.
- Iron – 4%. Iron is a vital mineral for the organism. It is found in the red blood cells, and its role is to give energy, remove fatigue, and prevent from anemia.
- Magnesium – 8%. Magnesium prevents diabetes and heart problems, and it makes bones stronger.
- Potassium – 10%. Potassium lowers high blood pressure and prevents kidney stone formation.
- Manganese – 10%. Manganese is another antioxidant in the squash. It reduces the risk of most diseases caused by damage of free radicals. Also, it can reduce inflammation, regulates the blood sugar and boosts the immunity.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Squash to Guinea Pigs
- Urinary problems – the calcium in the squash will severely damage the urinary tract in the guinea pigs. When they are young, they can ingest moderate amounts of calcium for strong bones. But, when the guinea pigs grow up, they shouldn’t eat foods with lots of calcium. If they do, the calcium piles up in their urinary tract and it can form kidney/bladder stones, or it can even cause infections, blood in urine, and painful urinating.
- Digestion problems – squash also has sugar. For a veggie, this amount is moderate but still, this amount is not so good for the guinea pigs. They need small amounts of sugar, otherwise, with higher amounts, there is a risk of painful digestion, diarrhea, cramps and gasses…
Quick Facts on Squash
- There is winter or summer squash. The summer squash can be pattypan or zucchini, it has thick skin and can be eaten whole (seeds and skin). The winter squash is, for example, the pumpkin and the butternut; they have thicker skin which is not edible, the flesh is rougher and seeds should be removed before consumption
- Squash is related to the melons and watermelons
- The winter squashes have a long shelf-life; in a dark and cool place, they can last even months
- Winter squashes are called like that because they are stored well during the cold, winter months! In fact, they are harvested in the fall, not winter
- The spaghetti squash has nothing to do with the pasta spaghetti! It is called that way because when it is cooked, the flesh separates and makes shapes like noodles.
- The evidence of squash cultivation dates back to 8000 BC, in Peru, Central Mexico, and USA territory
- The word ‘squash’ comes from the Native American word ‘askutasquash’, meaning ‘eaten raw and uncooked’
- In Latin America, squashes are also used for making candles
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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