Guinea pigs are among the most adorable and low maintenance pets out there. Small, fluffy and well-behaved, they make ideal house pets. All you have to do is make sure that their cage is clean and that they are healthy, happy and well-fed. Which takes us to the next point: what do guinea pigs eat? Are they allowed to eat everything? Can guinea pigs eat fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens? Yes, they can! But what kind? Can guinea pigs eat kale?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat kale if given moderately and occasionally. Kale can be a wonderful treat for guinea pigs and can be given once or twice a week. Fresh, healthy and nutritious, there is no reason why you wouldn’t allow your beloved pet to indulge in kale. However, you do have to be careful to the amount of kale given to your guinea pig. Too much kale may lead to diarrhea or upset stomach.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Kale?
Cooked kale is not recommended for cavies. Guinea pigs cannot digest cooked food. Raw kale is best for them. Just make sure to rinse it off before feeding it to them. This way you will wash off any pesticides it may contain.
Health Benefits of Kale
First of all, kale contains high quantities of vitamin C, which guinea pigs need in order to thrive. Guinea pigs cannot make synthesize their own vitamin C. Generally, it’s good to look for foods that are also rich in vitamins and nutrients. Otherwise, the food would just be a chewing material; but that’s what hay is for. Therefore, the actual food your piggies need should have some nutritional value.
A valuable thing to remember is that kale should not be the entire diet of your guinea pig. A guinea pig cannot survive and thrive on just one type of food, no matter how high its nutritional value is. Moreover, kale does have a content of calcium and phosphorus, as well as oxalate, which means that this food item should not appear on the menu with excessive frequency. Feeding kale to your guinea pigs on a daily basis is not recommended.
What About Other Vegetables and Fruits? What Restrictions Apply to Them?
Both fruits and vegetables are acceptable meal choices for guinea pigs. Of course, they aren’t allowed to eat just any kind of fruits or vegetables, but there are plenty of them that are healthy and good for your pets. Apples, bananas, cantaloupes, pears and others can occasionally be consumed, but not every day. As for vegetables, carrots, broccoli, romaine lettuce, watercress, celery etc. can also be fed to your pet in varying quantities, depending on the specific vegetable.
Leafy greens, in particular, can be eaten more often and in higher amounts than fruits and vegetables. The latter should only be occasionally fed, as a kind of treat, in addition to your guinea pig’s usual food. Another thing to keep in mind, especially when it comes to fruit, is that you should look for fruit that has a low sugar content. Too much sugar can harm your guinea pig. High water content (like in watermelon, for example) can also cause health issues, such as diarrhea, so it’s better to be kept to a minimum.
What Else do Guinea Pigs Need in Order to be Happy and Healthy?
Hay is a very important component; grass hay, especially. Because they are grazing animals, guinea pigs require hay every single day and in generous quantities. Hay is not only great for chewing, but it also helps with digestion. In addition, hay helps to keep their teeth from growing. There is no limit to the amount of hay you can provide to your guinea pig as this is an essential component of their overall well being. Generally, timothy hay is used.
The other benefit of hay is that guinea pigs can eat it non-stop, in large quantities, without gaining weight. Hay and pellets are what is needed for guinea pigs to strive. Remember how other food can cause them diarrhea, if it is over-eaten? With hay, that risk does not exist. Therefore, you can “overload” your pigs on hay. Hay is okay.
Coming back to the original question, yes guinea pigs can eat kale in moderation. All in all, kale is a food product with many benefits, both for humans and our friend guinea pigs. Its high content of vitamin C makes it a great treat to feed them. However, you do have to exercise caution because the content of calcium means it’s dangerous for everyday consumption. However, kale remains an excellent food item to serve occasionally and as a little snack. Guinea pigs love the taste of it and it also offers nutritional value. As long as you don’t feed your piggies too much kale or too often, it can be a great treat for them from time to time.
Additionally, make sure you introduce any new foods gradually and in small amounts, including kale. Observe your pet carefully after feeding it kale. If you notice any digestive discomfort or diarrhea, stop feeding kale to your cavy immediately. However, if your cavy doesn’t show any unusual behavior or loose stools, you can continue adding kale to your furry friend’s diet. Moreover, if you are unsure of specific foods you want to feed it to your cavy, consult with your local veterinarian first.