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Guinea pigs are a popular pet for kids and adults alike. They are adorable and come in a variety of colors, patterns, and can have short or long hair. Guinea pigs are surprisingly clean and take care of themselves with grooming and cleaning. Feeding guinea pigs is also very easy as they are herbivores, meaning they eat only greens, fruits, and vegetables. However, can guinea pigs eat spinach?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat spinach! In fact, spinach is one of the healthier leafy greens your guinea pig can eat. Spinach is considered a “superfood” for humans due to its low-calorie count and ample nutrients. However, while spinach is healthy for guinea pigs, you have to remember that they are small animals and can get too many nutrients.
With that said, spinach is healthy for your guinea pigs, but you should not feed your guinea pig spinach regularly. Instead, hay should make up a large portion of your guinea pig’s daily diet, around 80%. The other 20% should consist of a mix of veggies and leafy greens like spinach. You can also give your guinea pig a piece of fruit as a treat once every few days.
As you continue to read this article, we will go in-depth about the health benefits and risks of feeding your guinea pig spinach. Furthermore, we will also discuss your guinea pig’s daily diet and what you should be feeding them. Finally, we will give you a shortlist of foods that are safe to feed your guinea pig and a list of foods to avoid.
Guinea Pigs And Spinach
Spinach can be a fantastic food to feed your guinea pig. Spinach is packed with tons of essential nutrients that your guinea pig will need to stay happy and healthy. Some of the more essential nutrients that come with spinach are;
All of these nutrients are important for your guinea pig. However, spinach comes jam-packed with these nutrients. Because spinach has high amounts of these nutrients, you should feed spinach sparingly to your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are small animals and have small organs, so feeding your guinea pig too much high nutrient foods like spinach can overload their system with nutrients. In addition, if your guinea pig has too many nutrients, they can experience issues in their digestive system, liver, and kidneys.
For example, a study done in 1977 shows that too much calcium in your guinea pig’s diet can lead to bladder stones forming. Although spinach has a large amount of calcium in it, while calcium helps strengthen your guinea pig’s bones, too much calcium can be detrimental to its health.
Another example is the high amounts of potassium in spinach. Potassium is excellent for your guinea pig because it helps boost the effectiveness of their kidneys. However, too much potassium in your guinea pig’s diet can lead to their kidneys not being able to filter excess potassium. This can lead to kidney stones, make your guinea pig sick, and even be fatal.
With all of that said, you should not be afraid to feed your guinea pig spinach. Spinach is exceptionally healthy for your guinea pig, but only in small amounts. It is perfectly fine for you to buy a bag of spinach from the grocery store and feed your guinea pigs a few spinach leaves once every few days. While spinach is not as tasty and sweet as fruit, spinach should be treated as fruit and be given as a treat.
When feeding your guinea pig spinach, only feed your guinea pig raw spinach with the stems cut off. Be sure to rinse the spinach off entirely in cold water. Limit your guinea pig to two to three spinach leaves a week to avoid over-stuffing them with nutrients.
Guinea Pig Daily Diet
Guinea pigs are relatively easy to care for when it comes to feeding them. Their daily diet should include 80 to 85% hay or grass, with the remaining 15 to 20% consisting of veggies, leafy greens, or fruit. Hay or grass is vital to your guinea pig’s diet because they require fiber for their digestive system to work properly. With that said, fiber should be available for them to eat at all times.
An excellent choice of hay for guinea pigs is Timothy hay. Timothy hay is high in fiber while also being very low in protein. Timothy hay also has high energy content, making it easily digestible for your guinea pigs. The best way to feed your guinea pig hay is to take a handful or two and scatter it throughout your guinea pig’s cage. This makes it easily accessible, and whenever your guinea pig is hungry, they can have something to nibble on.
Hay will also help keep your guinea pig’s teeth healthy. Chewing on hay will help wear down your guinea pig’s teeth, which never grow.
Be sure to also have water available to your guinea pig at all times. Guinea pigs will usually drink 200 to 400 milliliters of water per day and can easily get dehydrated if they don’t have water in their cage for more than a few hours.
Veggies You Can Feed Your Guinea Pig
You should feed the veggies listed below to your guinea pig sparingly. Like spinach, most of the veggies on this list are high in nutrients, and too much can make your guinea pig sick.
Each of these veggies should be fed raw. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly before feeding them to your guinea pig.
- Cucumber (can be fed daily and is an excellent source of water during the summer months)
- Zucchini (can be fed daily and is an excellent source of water during the summer months)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
- Spring Greens
- Green Beans
- Cauliflower leaves
Veggies You Should Not Feed Your Guinea Pig
Below is a list of veggies you should avoid feeding your guinea pig. Some of these veggies are toxic for your guinea pig, while others are not good for their diet and can make your guinea pig sick.
- Nightshade Plants, including leaves (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, spicy peppers)
- Alliums (onions, scallions, garlic, leeks, chives, shallots)
- Dock leaves
- Any house plants
Feeding Your Guinea Pig Fruits
Fruits can be a pleasant and tasty treat for your guinea pig. Fruits have plenty of fiber and healthy nutrients that your guinea pig will need to stay healthy. However, fruits are also packed with natural sugar. Much like spinach, too much sugar can lead to a slew of unhealthy side effects.
That said, you should not feed fruits to your guinea pig every day, even fruits low in natural sugars. Instead, you can feed your guinea pig one or two strawberries per week or a slice or two of apples. Of course, you can also not feed your guinea pig any fruits. Your guinea pig can gain all of the nutrients from eating any fruit by eating veggies. Either way, we have a list of fruits that are safe to feed your guinea pig.
- Passion fruit
Fruits You Should Not Feed Your Guinea Pig
Just like veggies, there are some fruits that you need to avoid when feeding your guinea pig. Some of these fruits are toxic for guinea pigs, while others will make them sick.
- Any Citrus Fruits
- Fruit cores, seeds, pits, and stones
Guinea Pigs And Nuts
Nuts are another food that should be avoided when feeding your guinea pig. Nuts are high in carbohydrates and fat, which is the complete opposite of what your guinea pig needs to stay healthy. Guinea pigs need a diet with low amounts of carbohydrates and fat while also having high levels of fiber.
When it comes to feeding your guinea pigs, you should always do some research when you are thinking of feeding them something new. For example, spinach is a fantastic source of nutrients for your guinea pigs. However, the high levels of nutrients in spinach mean that spinach should be fed sparingly to your guinea pigs. When feeding your guinea pig spinach, make sure it is raw, clean, and stemless. To avoid overstuffing your guinea pigs with nutrients altogether, only feed them two to three spinach leaves a week.