If you’ve ever owned a guinea pig, you know that they are constantly eating – pellets, grass, hay, greens, and the occasional fruit. But since you’re here, you’re probably wondering – can guinea pigs eat cucumber?
Sometimes, it seems like these little creatures are just made to eat!
With this insatiable appetite, however, comes the responsibility to feed your guinea pig the correct foods.
So, can guinea pigs eat cucumbers? And if so, are there any health benefits to feeding your tiny guinea pig this yummy vegetable?
Cucumbers, while relatively unharmful, are not the number one snack that you should be offering your furry friend. While they do have some nutritional benefits, there are healthier alternatives.
A little of this juicy snack can be a great way to hydrate your little pet on a hot day. However, over-consumption of cucumbers can cause an upset stomach in guinea pigs.
Read on to find out under what circumstances can guinea pigs have cucumber, and what you should avoid.
Are Cucumbers Safe For Guinea Pigs?
While the bulk of a guinea pig’s diet should consist of hay, pellets, and water, it is pretty common for owners to provide them with treats of various kinds!
Guinea pigs (also known as cavys), if offered, will eat nearly anything. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they should!
You’ve likely come here to find out can guinea pigs eat cucumbers safely.
The answer is that cucumbers are, in general, safe for guinea pigs. However, there are some points to note before you fill up your guinea pig on juicy cucumbers.
Guinea Pigs and Cucumbers
It is very tempting to offer your furry friend a few treats of veggies and fruits!
But are all veggies okay to give to your pet? What about cucumbers specifically? Let’s look at the nutritional facts about the cucumber.
Facts About Cucumbers
Cucumbers were one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. Originating from India, there are actually many different varieties of cucumbers.
The one consumed most commonly today is the Cucumis sativus.
Over half of today’s cucumbers are grown in China, with small amounts grown in Turkey and Russia. Very few cucumbers are actually produced in the USA.
Cucumbers are about 97% water. This means they do not contain a very high density of nutrients. However, at the same time, they are very low in fat, sodium, and calories. Half a cup of sliced cucumber is only eight calories!
Despite their low nutrient density, cucumbers are still a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Potassium.
They also contain small amounts of Vitamin A, fiber, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese, just to name a few important nutrients!
Guinea Pig Health
Vitamin C is actually one of the most important vitamins a guinea pig needs. Just like people, guinea pigs cannot create this vitamin on their own, and therefore need to obtain it from an outside source.
If guinea pigs do not regularly consume Vitamin C, it can quickly lead to a health condition called scurvy! This is the same disease that sailors on long voyages used to get when they did not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables.
Symptoms of scurvy include a lack of energy, slow wound healing, loss of appetite, weight loss, and diarrhea.
Furthermore, if the guinea pig also has other deficiencies, more serious symptoms can occur, such as skeletal muscle death. Sadly, if this condition is left untreated, it is often deadly.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your guinea pigs, it is important to take them to the vet right away. Your vet can recommend and prescribe dietary changes to remove the deficiency.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Cucumbers?
So, after all this talk about the safety concerns of guinea pigs and cucumbers, let’s consider if guinea pigs actually enjoy eating cucumbers.
Well, one thing is for certain, this little guy certainly does!
Guinea pigs usually prefer foods that are crunchy and juicy, think carrots, celery, leafy greens, and dandelion stems. Cucumbers definitely fall into this category, so you can bet safely that your little guy or gal will enjoy cucumbers, too.
Are Cucumbers Bad For Guinea Pigs?
As mentioned above, cucumbers have a very high water content. Because of this, excessive consumption of cucumbers can cause diarrhea and vomiting in guinea pigs.
Eating too much can make your little friend feel bloated, which can cause digestive problems and stomach upset.
Also, cucumbers contain a small amount of calcium, which guinea pigs do not benefit from. In fact, excess calcium intake can lead to bladder stones in guinea pigs, which is painful and dangerous.
Instead of cucumbers, the bulk of your guinea pig’s supplemental food calories should come from treats of leafy greens, which are a particularly good source of Vitamin C.
On the other hand, a small amount of cucumber will be a lovely, refreshing treat on occasion. And most importantly, this veggie isn’t toxic for guinea pigs.
Are Cucumbers Good For Guinea Pigs?
Cucumbers do contain some Vitamin C, which is an important vitamin for guinea pigs. However, their vitamin content is very low when you compare cucumbers to other vegetables, like kale and spinach.
Being mostly water, cucumbers are not the best snack you can provide for your guinea pig in terms of nutrient content.
Still, cucumbers can be helpful in increasing your guinea pig’s water intake, especially on a hot day! Nevertheless, cucumbers should only be an occasional treat offered on a hot day or when your guinea pig has been particularly active!
Can Guinea Pigs eat Cucumber Peels?
Because cucumbers in general are safe and non-toxic to guinea pigs, there is no reason why your furry friend shouldn’t be able to eat cucumber peels.
In fact, they will likely enjoy the extra crunch of the skin, and the roughage can help prevent diarrhea.
However, always make sure that the cucumbers you buy are pesticide-free. Pesticides can cause many issues for your chubby pet if they consume too much. Pet nutrition experts recommend feeding your guinea pig organic fruits and vegetables.
If you cannot buy organic cucumbers, make sure that you wash them thoroughly before giving them to your pet.
If you want to be extra careful, you can peel off the skin and only give your piggie the light green inside and seeds. However, the peel does contain the most nutrients, and guinea pigs tend to like the peel the best!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Seeds?
Because lots of cucumber can give a guinea pig an upset stomach, you might be wondering can guinea pigs have cucumber seeds? The answer is yes, in small quantities.
Guinea pigs can eat every part of the cucumber, including the peel and seeds, as long as it is pesticide-free or thoroughly washed.
Just like with cucumber peels, there is nothing overly dangerous about giving your guinea pig cucumber seeds. In fact, they will benefit most from eating as much of the denser parts of the vegetable as possible.
But remember, this snack should only be given as a very occasional treat. Too much cucumber can lead to a not-so-happy tummy and bloating.
My Guinea Pig Ate Cucumbers. What Should I Do?
As mentioned above, small amounts of cucumber should not cause any problems for your guinea pig.
However, if your little friend has just munched his way through an entire cucumber, there may be trouble brewing.
You should monitor your guinea pig for signs of bloating, discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Usually these symptoms will pass on their own, but you may need to consult your vet if your guinea pig does not recover, particularly if they continue to experience vomiting or diarrhea. Extreme diarrhea can lead to dehydration in guinea pigs.
Can Cucumbers Treat Dehydration?
While it is likely that cucumbers can help to hydrate your guinea pig, there is no evidence to support that cucumbers can treat severe dehydration.
If you suspect that your guinea pig is suffering from dehydration, try giving them water to drink, or if necessary, from a syringe. You should also consult your vet in case your guinea pig needs intravenous fluids.
Can Cucumbers Treat Scurvy?
Similarly to dehydration, Vitamin C deficiency, though helped by vegetables, should not be solely treated with diet.
Although cucumbers do contain a trace amount of certain vitamins, including C, they do not contain enough to satisfy your guinea pig’s needs.
Vitamin C deficiency can be fatal for guinea pigs, so consult your vet if they present symptoms.
Can Cucumbers Treat Urinary Tract Stones?
Unfortunately, cucumbers may contribute to urinary and bladder stones.
It is best to avoid cucumbers if your guinea pig has either. Instead, opt for lots of water and other leafy greens.
As always, if you are concerned that your guinea pig is suffering with an ailment, please contact your vet.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumbers?
Baby guinea pigs will get the best start in life if they have access to their mother’s milk.
So can guinea pigs eat cucumbers when they are pups?
Particularly for the first three to six weeks, the baby guinea pig will nurse and there is no need to try and feed your pup cucumber.
However, after the first week, baby guinea pigs will be able to munch on some grass or small pieces of leafy greens.
Until your guinea pig is eating a full, solid diet, it is best to avoid giving them cucumber in case they suffer from an upset stomach.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat cucumbers Every Day?
They make a delicious treat and they are relatively inexpensive to buy, but can guinea pigs have cucumber every day?
If you decide to give your guinea pigs a cucumber treat, whether it is on a hot day or because they have been very active, there are a number of things you should do to ensure that they consume them safely. Because they are very watery and can cause digestive issues if not eaten in moderation, it is suggested not to give your guinea pig more than a slice or two a couple times a week.
Furthermore, avoid giving your guinea pig all watery treats more than four times a week.
Guinea Pig Cucumber Treats
When it comes to veggies and guinea pigs, fresh is always best! Here are some suggestions for how to treat your guinea pig to some fresh cucumbers.
- Fresh chunks of cucumber
- A mini guinea pig salad of cucumber, carrots, kale or cabbage
- Add some small pieces to your guinea pig’s water source for flavour and nutrients
Alternatives to Cucumbers for Guinea Pigs
Just like people, guinea pigs can grow tired of eating the same thing day in and day out. Therefore, providing them with some sort of treat can be a nice way to mix things up!
However, it is still important to ensure that your guinea pig is eating a healthy diet.
There are a variety of commercial treats marketed for guinea pigs. But these are usually loaded with artificial sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup, fructose or sucrose.
Furthermore, they provide very little nutritional value!
If commercial treats are a no-go, then what treats should you give your guinea pig? Why, many of the same healthy fruits and veggies that you would eat, of course!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumbers Summary
So, can guinea pigs have cucumber? In summary, though cucumbers are not outright toxic for guinea pigs, they are not the best veggie you can provide as a treat.
Guinea pigs need lots of Vitamin C to fend off disease, particularly scurvy.
There are many more nutrient-dense veggies you could provide your guinea pig with other than cucumbers, such as leafy greens and squash.
However, cucumbers are okay to give to your guinea pig as a rare treat, especially on a hot day!
What are your guinea pig’s favorite treats? Do they like cucumbers? Tell us in the comments below!
References and Further Reading
- Renner SS, Schaefer H, Kocyan A. “Phylogenetics of Cucumis (Cucurbitaceae): Cucumber (C. sativus) Belongs in an Asian/Australian Clade Far from Melon (C. melo).” BMC Evolutionary Biology. 2007.
- US Department of Agriculture. “Cucumber, with Peel, Raw.” National Nutrient Database. 2018.
- Hill KE, Motley AK, May JM, et al. “Combined Selenium and Vitamin C Deficiency Causes Cell Death in Guinea Pig Skeletal Muscle.” Nutrition Research. 2009.
- The Humane Society of the United States. “Guinea Pig Feeding.” 2019.
- Oglesbee BL. “Vitamin C Deficiency (“Scurvy”) in Guinea Pigs.” Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal, Second Edition. 2011.
- Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital. “Giving Fluids.” AZEAH.com. 2019.
- Smith K. “Feeding Guinea Pigs – What’s Good and What’s Not.” Backyard Chicken Coops. 2017.
- Karr-Lilienthal L. “Bladder Stones in Guinea Pigs.” eXtension. 2014.