It’s no secret that our guinea pigs love gnawing on a good veggie. Your little squeaker can have all kinds of veggie goodness, from leafy greens to yummy carrots. These food items are just supplementary, of course, to their standard, balanced commercial diets.
So, can guinea pigs have broccoli? Yes, guinea pigs can eat broccoli! In this article, we’ll let you know all the benefits of this baby tree-like green and how to portion it for your piggies—because, remember, moderation is key! Too much broccoli can cause unwanted effects.
Guinea Pigs Can Eat Broccoli
Broccoli is generally safe for your piggy and can supply them with much-needed nutrients. Guinea pigs can munch on broccoli as a scrumptious addition to their regular diet, permitting you’re very careful with portions. Of course, you will want to appropriately ration because too much of anything is a bad thing!
However, all parts of broccoli are non-toxic to our piggies—stems, leaves, and florets. You can feed freshly washed, raw broccoli in suitable portions without too much trouble.
Broccoli Nutrition Facts
Broccoli also contains very low amounts of sugar, and next to no oxalates1. These traits are desirable in foods being offered to guinea pigs.
The Importance of Vitamin C for Guinea Pigs
Broccoli is extremely high in vitamin C, which (like humans) your little pal can’t produce on their own.
Rather than the body manufacturing its own vitamin C, your guinea pig must absorb this nutrient from the food they consume.
If your guinea pig lacks vitamin C in their daily diet, it can lead to a whirlwind of health issues that could be very dangerous for your piggy.
While many guinea pig pellets are often fortified with vitamin C, the vitamin unfortunately doesn’t stay stable for very long and can naturally degrade in a matter of a few months once the package is opened. The same is true for vitamin C powders added to water to enrich it. This is why vegetables are important for your guinea pig – they can ensure your guinea pig receives the vitamin C they require. The vitamin C requirement of guinea pigs is around 10 mg vitamin C/kg body weight daily for maintenance and up to 30 mg vitamin C/kg body weight daily for pregnancy.
What Are the Negatives of Broccoli for Guinea Pigs?
If you feed your broccoli in moderation, all will be well. However, too much broccoli can lead to problematic and painful health issues
Broccoli is naturally high in compounds known as goitrogens. These compounds disrupt the production of thyroid hormones. Prolonged exposure to goitrogens prompts the body to increase the size of the thyroid gland to compensate for the low amounts of thyroid hormones. This can eventually lead to goiter.
If you think your guinea shows signs of health issues at any time, be sure to contact your vet immediately to make an evaluation appointment.
Broccoli can also cause gas buildup in the system. This can cause discomfort and gastrointestinal distress. Just make sure that you introduce broccoli slowly and give appropriate amounts to avoid any upset.
Guinea pigs are herbivores that do best on a pelleted diet made specifically for them, and an unlimited amount of high-quality hay. Examples of appropriate hay for guinea pigs include timothy, orchard, grass, and oat hay. Hay in conjunction with pellets should form the overwhelming bulk of their diet (approximately 80-90%).
In addition, they require a daily serving of fresh leafy vegetables. Some veggies are non-toxic to guineas but not super nutritionally beneficial. Broccoli tends to teeter on the line—and it really depends on who you ask or what you read.
How to Serve Broccoli to Your Guinea Pig
- It is best to feed your guinea pig fresh, raw broccoli. It needs to be as fresh as possible to prevent your pet from ingesting any spoiled or rotten food.
- Wash the vegetable thoroughly to get rid of all the unnecessary compounds—such as insecticides and preservatives—brought on by packaging and handling.
- Soak the broccoli in a bowl filled with cold water before feeding. This will help separate the dirt and insects that aren’t removed through standard washing.
- Cut the broccoli leaves and florets into smaller, more manageable pieces about 1 x 1 cm in size (roughly ⅖ of an inch).
It would be best if you only gave them a few small pieces roughly 2 to 3 times per week.
Always make sure that you never feed your guinea any seasoned or cooked broccoli. They need all veggies washed and raw!
So now you understand that broccoli is a perfectly acceptable vegetable for guinea pigs and moderation. But like anything else, this veggie has to be perfectly portioned to avoid health issues associated with this vegetable.
As with anything else that you introduce to your guinea pig, give smaller portions initially to make sure that their bodies can handle it. And who knows? Your guinea pig might not really care too much for this particular snack.