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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yellow Squash? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Jordyn Alger

By Jordyn Alger


Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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Guinea Pigs are true herbivores and are only meant to eat plant matter. While many Guinea Pigs may develop food preferences, making them pickier about what they eat, ensuring that your pet is fed a well-balanced diet that suits their needs is vital. Not all fruits and veggies are ideal for your Guinea Pig, but yellow squash is an excellent summer squash to feed your Guinea Pig.

There are many benefits to feeding yellow squash to your pet, and they can eat it as part of their regular diet. To learn how to serve yellow squash to your Guinea Pig, keep reading below.

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Benefits of Feeding Yellow Squash to Your Guinea Pig

Yellow squash is one of the many squashes lumped into the summer squash category. Yellow squash is considered the healthiest option for your pet compared to other summer squashes.

This is because yellow squashes typically contain more vitamin C than other summer squashes, which is an essential vitamin for your Guinea Pig’s health. Yellow squashes also contain less calcium than other summer squashes. An excess of calcium can contribute to health issues in your Guinea Pig. There is however more that needs to be taken into account, and that is the calcium to phosphorus ratio. Ideally, there should be more calcium than phosphorus and this is not the case in yellow squash. Therefore it should be fed in moderation and not exclusively.

Squash Name Calcium Phosphorus Vitamin C
Winter Squash 48 mg 33mg 21 mg
Yellow Squash 21 mg 32mg 19.3 mg

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103378/nutrients and https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169295/nutrients

In addition, yellow squashes contain a large amount of water, which can keep your Guinea Pig hydrated.

yellow summer squash
Image Credit: Isaiah N Lilly, Shutterstock

What Makes Up a Healthy Guinea Pig’s Diet?

Yellow squash is good for your Guinea Pig, but only in moderation. It should not be the main part of your Guinea Pig’s diet.

The most important part of your Guinea Pig’s diet is grass hay. Grass hay should make up 75% to 80% of your pet’s diet, and should be available at all times. Good examples of grass hay to feed your Guinea Pig include Timothy, orchard, meadow, brome, and oat hay. Veggies come next and it is recommended that an adult guinea pig have around a cup of mixed vegetables daily. The yellow squash can form part of this mixed vegetable ration but should not be given every day. Variety is key to a healthy diet. Commercial Guinea Pig pellets will be needed at around 1 egg cup full per day as they are an important source of fiber and vitamin C. If your vet recommends vitamin C supplements then these can also be given. As for fruits or other sugary foods, only 5% of your pet’s diet should go to such treats.

Importance of Providing Vitamin C for Your Guinea Pig

There are many nutrients that benefit your Guinea Pig, but in the case of vitamin C, it is absolutely required for their health. Guinea pigs are incapable of synthesizing vitamin C within their bodies; therefore, they must receive it from their daily dietary intake. Vitamin C plays a vital role in several areas of the body, but most notably, it is necessary to create collagen. Without adequate vitamin C in their diets, Guinea Pigs will become susceptible to severe health conditions.

Vitamin C in foods does degenerate and so it is not recommended to buy a huge bag of Guinea Pig food to last for 6 months as the vitamin C will have degraded. In general the vitamin C stays fresh for 2 months and by 3 months will not be at adequate levels.

One of the medical conditions that your Guinea Pig may fall victim to without enough vitamin C is hypovitaminosis C, known in humans as scurvy. Guinea pigs suffering from this condition may show signs such as:

  • Patchy or rough coat
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Failure for wounds to heal
  • Poor teeth, possibly leading to pain
  • Diarrhea, possibly with bloody stools
  • Significant weight loss
  • Insufficient bone density (may lead to fractures)
  • Arthritis or swelling of joints
  • Sepsis
  • Progressive paralysis
  • Respiratory failure

In the most severe and prolonged cases, Guinea Pigs can die from hypovitaminosis C. If you notice any of the signs above, contact your vet immediately.

To prevent this from occurring, it is vital that you provide your pet with a healthy amount of vitamin C in their diet. Yellow squash is a good source of vitamin C, but it shouldn’t be your pet’s only source. Keep reading below for ideas on other foods rich in vitamin C to feed your Guinea Pig.

guinea pigs in an enclosure
Image Credit: Aija Freiberga, Shutterstock

Foods That Are Rich in Vitamin C

Yellow squash provides a good amount of vitamin C for Guinea Pigs, but that doesn’t mean it is the best source available. Other fruits and veggies with high levels of vitamin C include:

  • Kale
  • Red peppers
  • Parsley
  • Mustard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberry
  • Green pepper
  • Red cabbage
  • Snap peas
  • Peas
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Clementines

Be sure to feed these foods to your Guinea Pig in healthy moderation, especially in the case of fruits. Too much sugar (fructose) can be bad for your Guinea Pig’s health.

Guinea pig eating an orange
Image Credit: Lost_in_the_Midwest, Shutterstock

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Zucchini?

Just like yellow squash, zucchini is a safe and healthy food for your Guinea Pig to munch on. It contains about the same balance of vitamin C and calcium as yellow squash does, making it a decent source of vitamin C.

How Often Can You Feed Yellow Squash to Your Guinea Pig?

Yellow squash should be fed to your Guinea Pig in a rotation of other veggies. It should only take up a small part of your Guinea Pig’s weekly diet since a variety of vegetables is important. Generally, feeding yellow squash to your Guinea Pig around twice a week is fine.

Of course, not all Guinea Pigs will be eager to eat yellow squash this often. If your Guinea Pig isn’t interested in squash, don’t force them to eat it. There are plenty of other veggies with vitamin C that you can feed to your pet. Furthermore, when introducing new food to your Guinea Pig, start slowly and watch for any signs of an adverse reaction.

How to Prepare Yellow Squash for Your Guinea Pig

Yellow squash is simple to prepare for your Guinea Pig. Start by washing the squash to ensure that all bacteria and pesticides are removed from the veggie. After, remove the stem of the plant and throw it away. Leave the skin on the squash since the skin contains nutrients that will boost your Guinea Pig’s health. Plus, the texture of the skin is typically enticing to Guinea Pigs.

Chop the yellow squash into thin slices or small cubes. You should remove the seeds from the squash, as they can make a mess when your Guinea Pig is eating. There is also a chance that a seed may present a choking hazard to your pet, so it is best to keep the seeds away from your Guinea Pig just to be safe.

Do not add any seasonings or flavors to the yellow squash. Seasonings are unhealthy for your Guinea Pig, and your pet will prefer it plain.

sliced yellow squash
Image Credit: LifetimeStock, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Yellow squash is a great veggie to add to your Guinea Pig’s regular rotation of vegetables. While it is a healthy snack for your pet, make sure it does not comprise most of their meals due to the calcium:phosphorus ratio. Grass hay should be the primary part of a healthy Guinea Pig’s diet and available to them at all times, so feed yellow squash and other vitamin C-rich foods in moderation. If you want more guidance to ensure you provide your Guinea Pig with the best diet possible, do not hesitate to contact your vet.

Featured Image Credit: Hiram Rios, Shutterstock

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