Zucchini is a summer plant that grows during the same time as melons and cucumber. It is classified as a fruit botanically, but many people think that zucchini is actually a vegetable, which it isn’t. Zucchini is also known as courgette (British name for a zucchini). Now after this brief introduction we are going to talk about our guinea pigs and if they are safe to consume zucchini.
So, can guinea pigs eat zucchini? Guinea pigs can eat zucchini and they really love their taste and texture. Zucchini is packed with plenty of nutrients and some of them like vitamin C are ideal for the health of your little guinea pig pet. This is why zucchinis can be introduced into guinea pig’s diet without any problems.
The only thing guinea pigs don’t like about zucchini is the skin. Try to feed them the skin of zucchini and if they don’t like it just avoid it in the future and peel the zucchini next time you feed them. Zucchini contains a low amount of sugar, salt, and sulfur, this is why it poses no concerns for your guinea pig.
With all of this in mind, it is safe to say that zucchini can be used as a frequent treat for your guinea pigs. Still, like with every type of food you should never go crazy with the frequency and serving sizes. You can supplement it with other fresh fruits and vegetables to implement a variety of different food tastes. If you want to know more about zucchini and guinea pigs, read the following sections below and find out more about zucchini benefits, risks, nutrition facts, and so on. Let’s start!
Is Zucchini Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
The following are the main health benefits that guinea pigs can gain from eating zucchini:
Free radicals can cause massive damage to cells and eventually lead to diseases/infections. Zucchini has antioxidants that counter the presence of free radicals in the guinea pig’s body. Some of these antioxidants include zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene. Note that the skin of the zucchini has the most antioxidants. You should not remove it while feeding your pet but as we previously said some guinea pigs really don’t like the skin of zucchini.
Healthy Digestive Process
Zucchini has both soluble and insoluble fiber, which have separate beneficial roles in the guinea pig’s body. Their digestive processes are going to be healthy.
Optimal Levels of Blood Sugar
Dietary fiber helps to increase the sensitivity of insulin and with that, it stabilizes the blood sugar levels.
Contributes to Bone Health
Helps With Weight Loss
Regularly feeding your guinea pig with zucchini may help it lose some weight. Zucchini is filled with water and has a low-calorie density which leads to satiety. This will reduce the intake of other foods since your guinea pigs will feel full more often. Dietary fiber will also contribute to weight control since it reduces hunger or appetite for food. Also, the low-level sugar content in zucchini contributes to weight control as well.
Boosts Sight and Vision
Beta-carotene and vitamin C found in zucchini can help with improving the sight of your guinea pig. Besides, antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein accumulate in the retina, and with that, they improve eyesight. Aside from that, these nutrients also help to reduce the occurrence of eye-related diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
A diet with high fiber content is a solution for heart-related complications according to various studies. Pectin is a soluble fiber that is known to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
Nutrition Facts of Zucchini for Guinea Pigs
Zucchini is filled with many nutrients, per 100 g these are the nutrition facts:
- Energy – 17 kcal
- Protein – 1.21 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.32 g
- Carbs – 3.11 g
- Dietary Fiber – 1 g
- Sugars – 2.5 g
- Calcium – 16 mg
- Iron – 0.37 mg
- Magnesium – 18 mg
- Phosphorus – 38 mg
- Potassium – 261 mg
- Sodium – 8 mg
- Vitamin C – 17.9 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.163 mg
- Vitamin A – 10 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.12 mg
- Vitamin K – 4.3 µg
- Carotene, beta – 120 µg
- Folate – 24 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 2125 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Zucchini to Guinea Pigs
Zucchini is relatively safe for guinea pigs, and there aren’t many risks for them except the following:
Some guinea pigs tend to be allergic to certain fruits and vegetables, and this is where you should be careful. In case you notice anything unusual with your pet when feeding it zucchini, it is advisable to stop the feeding process and provide sufficient water to the guinea pig. Allergic symptoms are usually diarrhea or vomiting. If the symptoms get worse, visit a qualified vet for medical advice.
If you feed too much zucchini to guinea pigs, there is the possibility of forming bladder stones because of calcium content in zucchini. Calcium is good for guinea pigs but only in small amounts, so it’s important to feed guinea pigs with foods that are low in calcium.
Diarrhea and Stomach Problems
There is also one another risk of feeding guinea pigs with too much zucchini. If they have any food in excess they will get diarrhea and stomach problems. Guinea pigs have a very sensitive digestive system and they sometimes don’t know when to stop eating. In short, huge amounts of zucchini can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, or gases in guinea pigs.
There is a toxin called cucurbitacin that zucchinis produce naturally and in that way becomes more bitter in taste. Cucurbitacin can be very poisonous to guinea pigs and cause diarrhea, vomiting, or even death. So it’s very important to give them only fresh zucchini and only the one that you have tasted before. If it’s bitter in taste, don’t give it to guinea pigs, and you shouldn’t eat it as well. Cucurbitacin is also toxic to humans, can cause even death, and the higher amount of cucurbitacin the more bitter zucchini is.
Serving Size and Frequency of Zucchini for Guinea Pigs
Now you know guinea pigs can eat zucchini, naturally with some risks, it’s important to know how to feed zucchini to guinea pigs, can guinea pigs eat zucchini every day and how large should the serving sizes be. This is exactly what we are going to talk about in the following sections below. Let’s begin!
Can Guinea Pigs Have Zucchini Every Day?
Guinea pigs can eat zucchini every day, but we recommend to feed them zucchini 3 or 4 times per week. Zucchini has many health benefits for guinea pigs, a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants, but because of calcium and guinea pig’s sensitive digestive system, it’s better if you feed them zucchini only a few times per week. Also, there are many other vegetables and fruits that guinea pigs enjoy eating and also it’s important to provide them with diverse nutrition.
How Much Zucchini Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
It’s also very important to know how much zucchini should you feed your guinea pig. The serving size of zucchini for guinea pigs is around 1 cup or a handful. This amount is enough for them, they are very small animals and it’s important not to overfeed them. Also, as we have said a huge amount of zucchini can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, or gases.
You can slice zucchini in smaller pieces before giving it to guinea pigs and the most important thing is to wash zucchini thoroughly because of pesticides, they can be very harmful to guinea pig’s health.
More Information About Guinea Pigs and Zucchini
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Zucchini?
Guinea pigs can eat raw zucchini and that’s the only way they should have it in their diet. Never feed your guinea pigs with cooked zucchini because they can’t eat any cooked food and their digestive system is made to digest only fresh and raw food. The same rule is applied to zucchini.
It’s very important to provide them only raw and fresh zucchini. Also, the best option is if you have your own zucchinis from the garden that weren’t treated with any pesticides or chemicals.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Zucchini?
Guinea pigs can eat green zucchini and they really enjoy it. This is the most common type of zucchini and some guinea pig’s owners have reported that their guinea pigs love green zucchinis more than yellow ones. Just be careful with serving sizes of green zucchinis, don’t give them in large serving sizes and not very often.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yellow Zucchini?
Guinea pigs can eat yellow zucchini and these zucchinis are usually sweeter than the green ones. As we have said, some guinea pigs will enjoy eating green zucchinis more than the yellow counterparts but yellow zucchinis also have many nutrients that have benefits for guinea pig’s health. One more thing to note, because they are sweeter, it is better to give them green zucchinis more frequently, or just mix both of them a few times per week in small amounts.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Zucchini Flowers?
Yellow zucchini flowers are edible for humans, but can you feed guinea pigs zucchini flowers? Guinea pigs can eat zucchini flowers and these flowers have many nutrients such as vitamin C and beta carotene antioxidants that are good for guinea pig’s health. Zucchini flowers have a very soft texture and your guinea pigs will enjoy eating them.
Before giving zucchini flowers to guinea pigs, be sure to wash them with cold water to remove possible insects, dust, or pesticides which can be harmful to guinea pig’s health. Also, because of pollen give them only zucchini flower petals and remove the inside parts because some guinea pigs can be allergic to them. Feed them only fresh zucchini flowers (occasionally) and follow the reactions of your guinea pigs if you are giving them flowers for the first time.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Zucchini Leaves?
It’s very interesting that zucchini leaves are edible even for humans, but can guinea pigs have zucchini leaves? Guinea pigs can eat zucchini leaves and they are safe for them if feed in moderation. It’s recommended to feed guinea pigs with zucchini leaves only one or two times per week in small amounts because in large serving sizes they can cause diarrhea or stomach problems in guinea pigs.
Also, it’s important to feed guinea pigs only with young leaves, avoid older leaves because they tend to have a bitter taste that comes from toxin cucurbitacin, which can be poisonous for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Zucchini Peels / Zucchini Skin?
Guinea pigs can eat zucchini peels or skin and this part is completely safe for them. Zucchini skin has many nutrients that are good for guinea pigs and it’s important to say that most antioxidants are in the skin of the zucchini. As we have said before, some guinea pigs will maybe avoid eating skin because they don’t like it and that’s okay (never force your pet to eat something it does not like).
If your guinea pigs love eating zucchini skin that will be very good for them because of fiber content in the skin which is good for guinea pig’s digestion. Just be sure to wash the skin thoroughly with water because of the possible presence of pesticides.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Zucchini Seeds?
Guinea pigs can eat zucchini seeds because they aren’t toxic to guinea pigs. But even though they are soft and small, it’s better if you can avoid feeding guinea pigs with zucchini seeds. When you prepare zucchini for guinea pigs and slice it into small pieces, just remove the bigger seeds in order to be sure that your guinea pig will not choke on them.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Zucchini Bread?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat zucchini bread because their digestive system isn’t made to digest any cooked or processed food. You should avoid feeding guinea pigs with any other type of bread or human food.
The digestive system of guinea pigs is very sensitive and zucchini bread can be very harmful to them. They are herbivores and they enjoy eating only fresh and raw fruits and vegetables.
Quick Facts on Zucchini
The following are some fascinating facts about zucchini:
- Zucchini is classified as an annual plant.
- It is highly nutritious and often prevents different nutritional disorders.
- Zucchini is an Italian phrase that came out of the word “zucca”. When translated it means squash.
- In the cosmetic industries, zucchini is used for the manufacture of soap.
- Zucchini has male and female flowers, both of them are edible.
- When the plant is exposed to high temperatures during growth, it develops a compound known as cucurbitacin.
- The dark-colored zucchini has the highest nutrient levels when compared to the other variants.
- On the other hand, small and medium zucchinis have an enhanced flavor when compared to the larger counterparts.
- Zucchini blooms early during the summer.
- It has large and lobed green leaves.
- Zucchini is a bushy plant.
- It belongs to the pumpkin family.
- Zucchini has been a part of the human diet since 5500 years B.C.
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
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.
Zilva, S. S., Vitamin C requirements of the guinea-pig, The Biochemical Journal, 1936.
Cannon, M. D., Emerson, G. A., Dietary Requirements of the Guinea Pig with Reference to the Need for a Special Factor, The Journal of Nutrition, 1939.
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.
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.
Martínez-Valdivieso, D., Font, R., Fernández-Bedmar, Z., Merinas-Amo, T., Gómez, P., Alonso-Moraga, Á., Del Río-Celestino, M., Role of Zucchini and Its Distinctive Components in the Modulation of Degenerative Processes: Genotoxicity, Anti-Genotoxicity, Cytotoxicity and Apoptotic Effects, Nutrients, 2017.