Guinea pigs love eating hay. This is a fact already known by most guinea pig owners, but can we add a bit more color to their diet? What leafy greens can they eat? Can guinea pigs eat spinach, for instance? Here is one interesting topic we can focus our attention to! To give you answers which are as accurate as possible, we researched the matter and reached the conclusion. What was the final result of our research? Keep on reading to find out!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Spinach?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat spinach. Spinach is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. Its leaves are either flat or ruffled a bit. In the beginning, their color is a bright green, as they grow older and older, they will change their color into a more intense tone of green.
Spinach has a bitter flavor and this is why there are two categories of feelings towards it, very clearly defined: love it or hate it. Those who love it are using it in their salads, or they cook it. Spinach can be found throughout the year but its best shape is from spring till early fall.
So, to get back to our topic, can our guinea pigs eat it? Not only can they eat it but it is also one of those super-foods for them. You can feed it regularly because it is extremely high in nutrients.
Nutritional Value of Spinach
Since everyone knows how healthy this leafy green is, we thought that it would be great to take a look and see exactly the contents that are making it so great for the body. We made a list with what we believe that are the most important nutrients, so feel free to check it out.
To start with, you should know that spinach is extremely rich in vitamin A, including lutein and beta-carotene. It also has large amounts of potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B9 or folate and vitamin B12 or riboflavin. It includes various other important vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin B3 and vitamin B1. When it comes to minerals, spinach is definitely the winner, as it contains zinc, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and its share of proteins. It is also rich in water, and the good news is that this leafy vegetable is extremely low in fat and carbohydrates. 1 cup of raw spinach has only 7 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrates. So, it can be safely consumed.
As we mentioned before, spinach is a great meal for these little fluffy pets and they should be able to eat it on a regular basis. As you have already seen, it is extremely rich in minerals and vitamins, particularly vitamin C. At the same time, it contains little to no sugar at all. It’s a great nutritional combination for these small creatures.
What to Watch Out for?
As expected, there is also a downside to this food. The negative aspect is that it contains plenty of oxalates. These are tiny compounds that can form stones when combined with calcium. This is the reason it’s best to limit spinach consumption to once or twice a week only.
Another thing to take into consideration would be the fact that guinea pigs cannot eat spinach stalks, so it would be better to eliminate them right from the moment when you start preparing this meal for your guinea pigs. They are not recommended for your piggies, so it would be best to keep those away.
What Kinds of Spinach Can Guinea Pigs Consume?
As you may know by now, there is not only one particular type of spinach. You will be able to find many varieties of spinach at the local supermarket.
So, what varieties of spinach can guinea pigs have? We will start by saying that they will definitely enjoy baby spinach, but the amounts should be quite small since it contains large quantities of calcium. Baby spinach has small leaves and a very sweet taste, so your pet will most likely love it. However, make sure to always feed raw spinach to your cavy friends. Cooked spinach is not recommended for guinea pigs. In fact, guinea pigs cannot properly digest any cooked foods. Also, skip the frozen spinach, as these pets are not allowed to eat any frozen foods and spinach makes no exception.
It’s best to feed your cavy spinach leaves that look vibrant and are fully alive. These deep green and vibrant leaves have bigger concentrations of vitamin C than leaves that are yellow or pale. Spinach leaves should look tender and fresh, and not be bruised or wilted. Stay away from leaves that have a slimy coating since this is an indication of decay.
Don’t wash spinach before storing it. When spinach gets wet, it encourages spoilage. Store the spinach in a plastic bag and wrap it tightly, squeezing out the excess air. Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Coming back to the original question, yes guinea pigs can eat spinach. However, guinea pigs can eat spinach once or twice a week. It is highly recommended by vets but pay a lot of attention to the amount of leafy green your pet takes in. You wouldn’t want to cause any damage to your pet’s health.
Additionally, always observe your pet after feeding him any new foods. If you notice any unusual behavior or discomfort such as tummy problems and diarrhea, you should stop feeding spinach to your cavy.