Savvy cavy owners know that guinea pigs need fresh vegetables and fruits in their diets, but can guinea pigs eat kale?
If kale is a part of your diet, then chances are you’ve considered feeding kale to your guinea pigs.
It is a good idea to do a little research before feeding any new food item to your pets.
Pocket pets like guinea pigs can be especially susceptible to a potentially toxic substances due to their small size.
We’ll look into whether or not you can feed kale to your guinea pigs, how much you should feed them, and any possible complications so that you can get back to spending time with your furry friends.
Kale – superfood for your super cavy?
Kale is a dark, leafy green vegetable.
It is part of the brassica family, along with broccoli, cabbage, and collard greens, and is often touted as a health superfood.
This is because kale is full of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C.
Kale is also a good source of fiber, and is very low in fat and sugar.
These qualities can make it a healthy choice for people and for guinea pigs too, as long as it is fed in moderation.
First, however, let’s talk about the different types of kale.
Varieties of kale for your guinea pig
If you’ve ever wandered around a farmer’s market or a grocery store with a wide produce selection, you may have noticed that there are several different types of kale out there.
This can lead to questions like, ‘can guinea pigs eat curly kale?’
There are no real nutritional differences between the different varieties of kales.
Some are reddish purple, some have curly leaves, and some Italian styles of kale look like a totally different plant, but kale is kale, as far as your guinea pig is concerned.
Can guinea pigs have kale?
Kale is one of the vegetables commonly recommended by veterinarians to supplement your guinea pig’s diet.
There is a very good reason for this.
Kale is high in vitamin C.
Like humans, guinea pigs are not able to store or make their own vitamin C.
This means they need a daily dose of vitamin C to keep them healthy.
Store bought pellets contain vitamin C when they are milled, but these pellets lose their vitamin C content the longer they sit on the shelf.
Buying smaller amounts of pellets on a regular basis can help reduce this vitamin loss, but the easiest way to keep your guinea pigs full of vitamin C is to provide them with a fresh source at home.
Can guinea pigs eat kale every day?
Kale is not only full of vitamin C and fiber, it is also low in sugar.
This gives it an advantage over certain other fruits and vegetables that are high in natural sugars, like carrots and oranges.
A handful of washed, fresh kale daily provides a delicious, healthy source of vitamin C to your guinea pigs—as long as you don’t overdo it.
Feeding kale to your guinea pig
Kale is good for guinea pigs, but it needs to be fed as part of a balanced diet.
A diet composed entirely of kale is not good for your guinea pig, and can lead to nutrient imbalances and other health problems.
So, what does a complete guinea pig diet look like?
In addition to supplemental foods like kale, guinea pigs need a constant supply of fresh grass hay and water.
You will also need to feed your cavies a commercial guinea pig pellet.
This will provide them with most of the other nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy.
It is important to wash any produce you feed to your guinea pigs before putting it in their habitat.
This helps remove harmful chemicals, and also gives you a chance to inspect the kale for freshness.
Feeding spoiled or moldy food to guinea pigs can lead to health problems.
Even if your pigs do not ingest the food, leaving rotting food in your guinea pig’s cage can cause dangerous respiratory infections that could be fatal for your pet.
Clean out any uneaten kale daily to prevent mold and bacteria, and avoid feeding your guinea pigs cooked kale or kale with seasonings, oils, or dressings.
How much kale can I feed my guinea pig?
It is important to vary your cavy’s diet on a daily basis.
Try feeding other leafy greens, like carrot tops or romaine lettuce, along with small amounts of fruits that contain vitamin C on a rotating basis in addition to kale.
This will help prevent any dangerous build-up of excess nutrients, and gives your guinea pig something to look forward to at meal-times.
It is tempting to treat our herbivorous pets as garbage disposals.
After all, we don’t want things going to waste.
So you may have wondered…
Can guinea pigs eat kale stems too?
You are not alone.
Kale stems are one of the vegetable items that gets frequently asked about on the internet.
When we’re cooking kale for ourselves, we tend to discard them because they’re tough and they don’t cook at the same rate at the leaves.
But nutritionally, those stems are just as good as the leaves, and their toughness can help keep your guinea pigs’ ever-growing teeth in tip-top condition.
A small handful of mixed kale leaves and stems is a great addition to your guinea pigs food bowl.
Kale and guinea pigs – do guinea pigs like kale?
It is important to start feeding guinea pigs foods like kale when they are young.
Guinea pigs can be picky eaters.
Some develop preferences for certain foods at a young age.
If your older guinea pig is not interested in kale, this could be part of the reason.
Can guinea pigs eat kale?
Leafy green vegetables like kale are an important part of your guinea pig’s diet.
These vegetables provide your guinea pig with important nutrients like Vitamin C, along with variety in her diet.
Offering young guinea pigs a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables will ensure that they will have plenty of options throughout their lives.
For more information about the best diet for your guinea pig, contact your veterinarian.
Do your guinea pigs eat kale?
Is it your go-to green vegetable, or do they leave it to wilt in the food bowl?
Tell us which veg your cavies are crazy for in the comments section below!
Further Reading and Resources
Quesenberry, K. DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian) et al. ‘Providing a Home for a Guinea Pig.’ Merck Veterinary Manual.
‘Guinea pig care.’ American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
‘Care of Guinea Pigs.’ Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.
‘Housing and Feeding Your Guinea Pig.’ University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine. Jan 2016.