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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Butternut Squash? Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Butternut Squash

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Athena Gaffud

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re looking for a new snack to add to your Guinea Pig’s fresh foods menu, butternut squash might be on your list of things to check out. Butternut squash can make some pretty delicious recipes for people, but is it also healthy for Guinea Pigs?

Squash is certainly non-toxic to your Guinea Pig. However, you should limit the portions due to certain components found in the fruit. Here, we will discuss all the correct portions and other considerations when feeding butternut squash to your Guinea Pig.

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What Is Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash is a winter squash that is well-loved in the culinary community. It has an interesting, sweet flavor and texture that is delectable in certain recipes. You might know it as other names if you are from areas like New Zealand or Australia – butternut pumpkin or gamma. Butternut squash is technically a fruit although it is thought of by many as a vegetable and tends to be prepared in culinary ways as a vegetable.

Butternut squash is revered because it is high in potassium and fiber. But is it beneficial in any way when it comes to a Guinea Pig diet? It can be beneficial as a very infrequent snack. Below we will discuss the impact of oxalates on your Guinea pig system and how it relates to butternut squash.

Butternut Squash
Image Credit: webdesignnewcastle, Pixabay

Butternut Squash Nutrition Facts

Amount Per: 1 cup

  • Calories: 63Kcall
  • Potassium: 493 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 16.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.8 g
  • Sugar: 3.1 g
  • Protein: 1.4 g
  • Vitamin C: 29.4 mg
  • Iron: 0.98 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.22 mg
  • Magnesium: 47.6 mg
  • Calcium: 67.2 mg

 

First, the Bad

It is difficult to find the exact oxalate content of butternut but most resources list it as medium to low in content. This is relatively low compared to other fruits but excessive consumption is not recommended.

If Guinea Pigs have high levels of oxalic acid in their body, it can lead to health issues like bladder stones. Therefore, Guinea Pigs should only have squash in moderation. A rough guideline recommendation is that your Guinea Pig has 1 tablespoon of squash only a couple of times a week.

Too much oxalic acid can form bladder stones in your Guinea Pig.

Signs of bladder stones include:
  • Bloody urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Hunched posture
  • Teeth grinding

So even though you can still feed your Guinea Pig squash, you will have to carefully measure portions to prevent potential consequences.

a cute guinea pig in the enclosure
Image Credit: Dev_Maryna, Shutterstock

Do Guinea Pigs Like Butternut Squash?

Like anything else, your Guinea Pig may or may not like the taste of butternut squash. Some enjoy the texture and sweet flavor, while others prefer to stay completely clear of these veggies.

The only way you can tell for sure is to offer your Guinea Pig a piece and see how they react. If they seem to enjoy this new veggie, it’s something that you can add to their food dish, along with a wide range of other yummy goodies.

If they don’t, it’s of no consequence. There are plenty of other nutrient-rich vegetable and fruit selections that can surpass the butternut squash’s benefits for your Guinea Pig.

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Benefits of Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has tons of health benefits.

Here are some components of this amazing veggie and what it can do for your guinea body.
  • Protein: Protein is important for Guinea Pigs. It is a daily essential as your Guinea Pig needs roughly 16 to 18% protein in their diet.
  • Fiber: Guinea Pigs highly depend on a large amount of fiber in their diets. Fiber helps them regulate their digestive tract to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A strengthens vision, creates healthy bones, improves immune function, and regulates cell growth.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is essential for Guinea Pigs because they cannot make their own. They require 100% of their vitamin C intake to be in their diet. Adding butternut squash can give them a boost of vitamin C, which strengthens immunity and is responsible for critical bodily functions.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects your Guinea Pig’s body against free radical damage. It also improves the skin and coat.
  • Niacin: Niacin is a B vitamin (B3) that protects the nervous system and keeps the digestive system running smoothly. It can also improve your Guinea Pig’s skin.
  • Folate: Folate is another B vitamin (B9). This particular B vitamin is used to make DNA and other genetic material.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium helps your Guinea Pig’s body regulate muscle and nerve function, maintain blood sugar levels, and produce protein, bone, and DNA.
  • Potassium: The main goal of potassium is to regulate proper fluid levels inside of the cells of the body. It also can regulate heartbeat and proper muscle and nerve function.
  • Manganese: Manganese assists your Guinea Pig’s body with calcium absorption, production of connective tissue, bones, and proper blood clotting. It also plays a vital role in the proper production of sex hormones.
Butternut Squash
Image Credit: webdesignnewcastle, Pixabay

How Often Should Your Guinea Pig Eat Butternut Squash?

Your Guinea Pig should be able to consume butternut squash approximately 2 to 3 times per week in moderation. When you serve them this type of squash, it is best to cut it into small pieces and serve it with a mixed bowl of other fresh foods.

Never feed your Guinea Pig the hard exterior of the butternut squash. It can create the potential for a choking hazard that can be completely avoided. Cut into the soft flesh of the fruit and dice up a few pieces for them to enjoy.

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Final Thoughts

Now you understand that butternut squash can be a decent snack for your Guinea Pig in moderation. However, due to the oxalic acid content in butternut squash, it’s best to only serve in moderation along with a plentiful amount of suitable raw fruits and vegetables.

Remember that every Guinea Pig is different. Some of them will enjoy the taste of butternut squash, while others prefer to avoid it. It is just a trial-and-error situation, and you can serve or discard according to their reaction.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: webdesignnewcastle, Pixabay

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