Can Guinea Pigs Eat Broccoli Safely? Is It Good For Them? And How Do We Know When They’ve Had Enough? Let’s Find Out!
Welcome to our guide to adding broccoli to your guinea pig’s diet.
Can guinea pigs eat broccoli?
Do guinea pigs eat broccoli?
Read on to learn more about adding broccoli to your guinea pig’s diet.
It’s no secret that diet crazes come and go for humans.
And while a “balanced” diet has won out over the years, there is little doubt that the human, societal “need” for a new diet craze periodically will not fade anytime soon.
It comes as no surprise, then, that this trend will funnel down to how we feed our pets.
There are established principles for individual pets, but there is still the need to wade through new suggestions, with caution, even a bit of cynicism, to keep your precious pet healthy and happy.
Feeding Your Guinea Pigs
When it comes to guinea pigs, the focus is largely on food pellets, with other food sources as additional, not equally offered sustenance.
As the American Animal Hospital Association puts it, guinea pigs “should be fed a complete, pelleted diet made especially for guinea pigs that contains at least 16% crude protein.”
Beyond that, suggestions lean towards providing small amounts of grass hay and sources of vitamin C.
There are many vegetables suggested as dietary supplements, and they should be just that: supplements.
In fact, any food other than food pellets should keep below a cap of 10% of their full diet.
When it comes to vegetables for guinea pigs, some are more beneficial than others, and some should be avoided completely.
Which leads us to the aim question of the day – Can Guinea Pigs Eat Broccoli?
Does broccoli fall on the “yes” or “absolutely not” side of this divide?
The short answer is, yes, but there are more considerations involved.
This will make more sense after a brief discussion about the benefits of broccoli itself.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Broccoli?
Not all veggies are made equal. Just as different fruits vary significantly in terms of sugar content, fiber and general health benefits, so do vegetables.
Let’s get technical for a moment. Broccoli is considered “cruciferous” vegetable, grouped alongside veggies such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and more.
Among this group, broccoli is especially qualified to aid your guinea pig’s health.
In relation to other veggies, broccoli comes out on top with its high levels of calcium and iron, among other nutrients.
It has high amounts of vitamins B5, A, and C. That’s a pretty ringing endorsement.
How does this apply to your guinea pig’s diet?
Can guinea pigs eat broccoli all day long and stay happy and healthy?
Can Guinea Pigs Have Broccoli Safely?
Vegetables are highly recommended as dietary supplements for guinea pigs.
Along with their many health benefits, they are also good replacements for tempting, but very unhealthy, “commercial” guinea pig treats.
Many treats advertised for guinea pigs are problematic, due to the levels of artificial sweeteners.
Additionally, guinea pigs will be perfectly happy with vegetables as a treat.
So, what about broccoli specifically?
This veggie is one of many options to provide extra vitamin C for guinea pigs. Vitamin C is a hot-button issue for the little critters. The guinea pig’s chemistry makes it especially vulnerable to vitamin C deficiency; and vitamin C facilitates metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, and cholesterol.
While broccoli is generally safe and healthy for guinea pigs, there are specific ways to prepare this veggie appropriately for your little guy. Here are some considerations to guarantee the health benefits your guinea pig can get from eating broccoli.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw or Cooked Broccoli?
What is considered a good form of guinea pig broccoli?
So, if broccoli has nutritional benefits, can guinea pigs eat broccoli only raw or cooked as well?
When it comes to preparing broccoli for your guinea pig, it is important to stick to raw, not cooked broccoli.
The cooking process removes the goodness from the vegetable, so leave it raw for your piggies.
Some experts recommend you wash broccoli and similar veggies before turning them over to your hungry guinea pig, to avoid exposing your guinea pig to possible bacteria and other health dangers.
Broccoli for guinea pigs is best fresh, fresh, fresh!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Broccoli Stems?
When we cook our broccoli we tend to eat the leaves in preference to the stems. Although the stems are still perfectly edible.
So can guinea pigs eat broccoli leaves or stems in equal measure? Is there a difference?
Fortunately, the answer is no. Guinea pigs can eat the whole broccoli plant perfectly safely.
Great news if you want to give them the raw off cuts before you cook some up for your own dinner!
Can You Feed Guinea Pigs Broccoli Every Day?
So we know the answer to can guinea pigs eat broccoli is yes. But can they do so every day? Also, yes!
However, broccoli is a supplement to a healthy guinea pig diet, not a food staple.
A tablespoon a day each will suffice.
And probably shouldn’t exceed ten percent of their daily rations.
One possible issue for excess leafy greens the potential to cause gas in your guinea pig.
Here’s one final caution before jumping into a broccoli-enhanced diet. If your guinea pig is not already accustomed to eating broccoli, you need to be careful about not giving too much too fast.
Any diet should be modified slowly so as not to put your piggy off.
This quirk in guinea pigs’ general personality might make it difficult to add broccoli to your pet’s diet.
But, if you can pull it off, there is no doubt your pet will be both healthier and happier with the addition of broccoli.
Guinea Pigs and Broccoli
Today, veterinary experts agree that a guinea pig’s diet should have healthy vegetables to supplement the standard food pellet staple. However, some vegetables are more useful than others, and some shouldn’t be considered at all!
It turns out broccoli falls on the safe side of this line. Broccoli is one of the best vegetable supplements to provide an important boost of Vitamin C for a guinea pig’s diet. And while the idea of eating raw broccoli is less than popular among humans, guinea pigs will gladly eat this vegetable as a tasty snack. Go guinea pigs!
We hope this post has been informative and helpful in considering how broccoli can benefit your guinea pig’s diet. We wish your furry friend’s happiness and good health!
References and Further Reading
- Axelson, Rick. “Guinea Pigs—Feeding.” VCA Hospitals, 12 Dec. 2008.
- Fraser, Amanda. Pocket Nutrition Guide to Fruit & Vegetables. BookBaby, 2014. Google Book Search.
- “Guinea Pig Care.” The American Animal Hospital Association.
- “Guinea Pig Feeding.” The Humane Society of the United States.
- Judah, Vicki, and Kathy Nuttall. Exotic Animal Care and Management. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Cenage Learning, 2017. Google Book Search. Web. 19 Oct. 2017.
- Vanderlip, Sharon Lynn. The Guinea Pig Handbook. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2013. Google Book Search. Web. 14 Oct. 2017.