Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil? Everything You Need to Know!

Many parents are getting guinea pigs for their children. Guinea pigs make for excellent pets and are relatively easy to care for. However, the main thing that guinea pig owners need to remember is that guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system and require a mix of hay, food pellets, and at least a cup of veggies and leafy greens every day. This daily meal should be primarily leafy greens like romaine lettuce, but it should also come with a few pieces of fresh vegetables too. But can guinea pigs eat herbs? For example, can guinea pigs eat Basil?

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Yes, guinea pigs can eat Basil. However, like all types of herbs, guinea pigs should only eat small portions of Basil. This is because Basil has very high levels of calcium. While some calcium is healthy in your guinea pig’s diet, too much calcium can lead to health risks like bladder and kidney stones.

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The health risks associated with feeding too much calcium to your guinea pig can be easily avoided by only feeding your guinea pig calcium-rich food in small amounts. For example, when it comes to feeding your guinea pig basil, limit them to one or two leaves of Basil per serving. Furthermore, Basil should not be fed to your guinea pig on a daily basis. Instead, skip a day or two between each meal containing Basil or other calcium-rich treats. 

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As you continue to read this article, we will be discussing the benefits of feeding Basil to your guinea pigs. After that, we will briefly talk about the potential downside of feeding too much Basil to your guinea pigs. Then, finally, we will tell you how to feed your guinea pig basil.

Guinea Pigs And Basil

Basil is a healthy herb that we humans love to use in recipes because it adds a beautiful flavor and a rich aroma. There are tons of different kinds of Basil that all belong in the mint family of herbs, and all types of Basil make for a healthy snack for your guinea pigs as well. 

Basil is packed with various vitamins and nutrients that your guinea pig will need to stay healthy throughout their day-to-day life. Here is a list of vitamins and nutrients that come in Basil, along with the beneficial factors that help your guinea pig stay healthy. 

  • Vitamin C – This is the most crucial vitamin for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs, like most mammals, do not synthesize their own vitamin C and need to get it from other sources. Vitamin C helps strengthen your guinea pig’s immune system. 
  • Vitamin A – Helps by strengthening heart and lung mussels, helps fight off inflammation, and keeps the brain and kidneys healthy. Vitamin A also helps improve vision.
  • Vitamin K – Helps by improving blood clotting and also helps strengthen bones.
  • Fiber – A guinea pig’s entire digestive system revolves around the fiber.
  • Manganese – Helps your guinea pig digest sugars and calcium.
  • Phosphorus – Helps improve bone and joint strength.
  • Zinc – Promotes growth and helps strengthen the immune system.
  • Iron – Improves the oxygen-carrying efficiency of blood cells also promotes healthy red blood cells.
  • Calcium – helps strengthen bones. Young guinea pigs will need a good amount of calcium to help their bones grow at a healthy rate.
  • Protein – Provides a source of energy that will last a long time. 

Benefits of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Basil

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Each of the vitamins and nutrients listed above plays a pivotal role in the health of your guinea pig. Some vitamins like vitamin C are essential for your guinea pig’s daily life. Vitamin C helps by strengthening the immune system, which in turn helps protect your guinea pig from getting sick. By strengthening the immune system, vitamin C can also help by reducing the likelihood your guinea pig will develop cancer.

Calcium is another essential nutrient in Basil. For growing guinea pigs, calcium is almost as important as vitamin C. Young guinea pigs need plenty of calcium to help their bones grow at a steady pace. If guinea pigs do not get enough calcium in their diet while they are still growing, they can end up being significantly smaller when fully grown. Calcium is still important for bone strength when it comes to fully grown guinea pigs. However, the importance of calcium in a guinea pig’s diet goes down drastically once they reach adulthood.

Basil has a good level of vitamin K in it. Vitamin K is a coagulant, which means it will aid in the formation of clots in your guinea pig’s blood. While blood clots are commonly seen as harmful, they actually aid in forming scabs and preventing wound bleeding. So in the unfortunate event that your guinea pig injures itself and bleeds, vitamin K will come to the rescue and aid in the faster healing of the wound.

The vitamin A in Basil also has some fantastic properties to it. Vitamin A helps by strengthening the heart muscles, which helps improve blood flow throughout the body. Furthermore, vitamin A improves brain and kidney function. 

The Potential Downsides To Feeding Too Much Basil To Your Guinea Pig

The only thing holding Basil back from being a food that you can feed your guinea pig daily is the high calcium levels. While some calcium is perfectly healthy for your guinea pig, too much calcium can cause detrimental effects. As guinea pigs grow, they will need tons of calcium to grow their bones. Growing bones have tons of room for excess calcium.

However, when guinea pigs are fully grown, they have far less room for tons of calcium. The excess calcium will be passed through the digestive system, where it will eventually reach the kidneys and bladder and then crystalize in the guinea pig’s urine. The calcium will then cause issues for your guinea pig when they need to urinate. Too much calcium in your guinea pig’s urine can cause blockages and even prevent them from urinating entirely. This can be fatal if not treated.

Furthermore, too much calcium passing through your guinea pig’s body will lead to the development of bladder, kidney, and phosphate stones. If any of these stones develop inside of your guinea pig, it can cause a significant amount of pain if not treated. 

Giving your guinea pig too much calcium in their diet is surprisingly easy. Tons of veggies and leafy greens have calcium in them, so it is easy to provide too much calcium in their daily veggie meal. Furthermore, guinea pig pellets also provide a healthy source of calcium, which can lead to an overabundance of calcium.

How Much Basil Can I Feed My Guinea Pig

If you want to feed your guinea pig basil, the best time to do it is in their daily veggie meal. When feeding your guinea pig basil, only feed them one or two leaves in total, and never feed your guinea pig basil every day. 

How Do I Serve My Guinea Pig Basil

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When you are preparing Basil for your guinea pig, all you need to do is pluck a leaf or two off and toss it in with their salad. Guinea pigs are able to eat every part of the Basil, including the leaves, stems, and flowers. You need to remember only two things when serving your guinea pig any fresh veggies, fruit, or greens. First, always wash them thoroughly, and only serve your guinea pig raw greens, veggies, and fruit.

Washing is essential because it helps remove excess dirt and chemicals left after processing. It is also crucial that you only feed your guinea pig raw foods because some food can be challenging for your guinea pig to digest after cooking them. Furthermore, cooked veggies, fruit, and leafy greens lose a large number of their vitamins and nutrients.

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs are adorable pets that require a specific diet to stay healthy. Every day you need to be sure that your guinea pig has tons of hay to chew and snack on, a cup of fresh leafy greens and veggies, and some nutrient-rich pellets to round out their diet. Basil can be a perfect addition to any guinea pig meal. However, be sure that the Basil is raw and is washed completely. Furthermore, do not feed your guinea pig basil every day, and limit them to one or two leaves every time you feed them basil.

 

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