The Guinea Pig (Cavia porcellus), also known as the cavy is one of the best animals to keep as a pet. They are very handy and do not require as much responsibility as it does to raise a cat and a dog. However, Guinea pigs live long lives because of their hardy nature. While they are prone to a few diseases like bladder stones and dental problems, the occurrence of these diseases can be prevented to a certain extent by good nutrition and regular medical checkups. This makes them a great pet option for your kids. The average life span of a guinea pig is between 6 to 7 years.
For your pet to live a long, healthy life, you have to be intentional with what you feed your guinea pig. There is so much to for you need to focus on. For instance, they need a lot of fiber in their diet. They also cannot manufacture their own vitamin C so they need to eat stuff that contains this vitamin. You also have to make sure they get a lot of water.
Vegetables like Tomato, Lettuce, Bell peppers, Cucumber, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Celery, Parsley, Kale, Green beans and Chards. They will provide a lot of the different nutrients, vitamins, and minerals necessary for their growth. However, in this article, we will be focusing on whether or not guinea pigs can eat asparagus.
Asparagus(Asparagus officinalis), also known as the sparrow grass is a perennial flowering plant. This vegetable has so many nutritional benefits but can be a tad bit expensive. If you want to feed your guinea pig this vegetable, it is best if you know whether it will eat or not. The reason is that Guinea pigs can be really picky animals. You have to be sure that your investment in their feeding does not go to waste.
In this article, we will focus on whether the asparagus is a great choice of food for guinea pigs. We will also be taking a look at some of the other feeding options you can choose from.
What Nutrients Have to Be in Guinea Pig Food
Before we go on to answer the question, ‘Can guinea pigs eat asparagus?’, we must know what nutrients, minerals, and vitamins are essential for the health of the Guinea Pig.
After this, we will take the nutritional value of the Asparagus and decide whether it is good enough to be used as guinea pig feed.
Here are some of the nutritional requirements of guinea pigs. They must be fed these nutrients occasionally to survive.
Fiber: Guinea Pigs need high fiber content. It is essential for the maintenance of a balanced bacterial flora in the gut. Also, it aids the stimulation of gastrointestinal motility. Fiber also helps in maintaining the ideal length of teeth FOR the animal.
This is why you should always feed your guinea pig hay. It should be made available to them at all times. While hay has high fiber content, it will not give your Guinea pig all the other nutrients that are essential for its survival.
Vitamin C: Unlike rodents like rabbits and like human beings, guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. Unfortunately, your guinea pig will be affected by scurvy if they do not have enough vitamin C in their system.
Vitamin C is also necessary for the maintenance of the guinea pig’s joints, muscles, and gums. It also plays a major role in the healing of wounds. These are a few of the many reasons why they need a dietary source of vitamin C.
Vitamin A: Guinea Pigs also need to be given feed that contains a considerable amount of Vitamin A which like Vitamin C is deficient in their system.
Low Calcium: Guinea pigs are more likely to develop urinary tract problems if they eat food with a high calcium content.
Water: Water is very essential for the Guinea pig. In fact, they can die if they become very dehydrated. This is why you should make sure that their water bottles are not only always full but also easy to reach.
Nutritional Content of Asparagus
Asparagus is very popular for its many nutrients though it has very low-calorie content. It can be consumed when it is cooked and raw. In this section, we will be taking a look at some of the nutrients and vitamins present in asparagus.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A plays an integral role in making the body function properly(both guinea pigs and humans). More specifically, it helps the heart, liver, and lungs function properly. It can also help consumers maintain good eyesight. Asparagus has a lot of vitamin A.
Vitamin K: Asparagus also has a high level of Vitamin K. This vitamin helps quicken the recovery of injury and wounds.
Vitamin C: Another Vitamin in this vegetable is Vitamin C. Though it is in decent amounts, it is still enough to help in the maintenance of the body’s immunity against diseases. It also makes it easy for the body to absorb essential nutrients in the body like Iron.
Folate: Folate is a vitamin needed for a lot of functions. Asparagus contains a considerable amount of Folate in it. Basically, Folate is used by the body for the creation of red blood cells.
Anthocyanin & other antioxidants: Enzymes like Anthocyanin can help prevent some serious diseases like cold and urinary tract infection. Asparagus has a lot of these antioxidants in it.
Fiber: Asparagus has Great Fiber Content. Fiber can play a huge role in preventing urinary tract infections. It is essential for the maintenance of a balanced bacterial flora in the gut. Also, it aids the stimulation of gastrointestinal motility.
Water: Vegetables are generally known to have high water content. Asparagus is about 93% water. For every 100 gram of Asparagus you consume, you get up to 86.4 ml of water. That is a lot!
Is Asparagus Good for Guinea Pigs?
The quick answer is yes! Guinea Pigs can eat asparagus. In a previous section, we talked about some of the necessary nutrients that should be present in guinea pig food. Based on the previous section, everything checks out. The vegetable contains all the nutrients that are necessary for the well-being of your guinea pig.
However, guinea pigs should be fed asparagus in moderation. Your guinea pig can face a lot of health issues if they eat too much asparagus. Some of them include:
Stone formation: Asparagus has high calcium content. Calcium is not a mineral that guinea pigs should eat in excess. The reason is that they lead to the formation of bladder stones in guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs find it difficult to pass out bladder stones. The accumulation of calcium can really bad for them. However, pairing asparagus with low calcium food is a better choice.
Bloating: While bloating is not that much of an issue in guinea pigs, it can have some negative impact on your guinea pig’s health. To be safe, limiting their asparagus intake is a great idea.
Diarrhea: This is a very major health issue among guinea pigs. This is as a result of their sensitive digestive system. This is why you should avoid making a drastic change to their diet. This can easily trigger diarrhea in guinea pigs.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus?
It is best if you only feed your Guinea Pigs Asparagus once in a while. Do not feed them asparagus more than twice a week. As stated earlier, overfeeding can cause harm to their health.
Also, spread it out evenly. Feed them Asparagus every two to three days. If you feed them, asparagus on Saturday, the next time you should feed them the vegetable should be on Monday.
Later in this article, I will suggest some other vegetables other than the asparagus that you can feed your guinea pig.
How Much Asparagus can Guinea Pigs Have?
Keep in mind that: Asparagus may contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the wellbeing of guinea pigs. However, too much of it can have a negative impact on them.
Only serve a quarter cup of asparagus at a time to your guinea pig. Remember to always serve asparagus with a side dish of other healthy vegetables.
Can Guinea Pigs eat Asparagus Stalks?
Guinea Pigs can eat asparagus stalks. The crunchy and rough stem will do a lot to maintain the dental health of your guinea pig by keeping its molar teeth from overgrowing.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus Tips?
You can feed your guinea pig asparagus tips, However, they have to be washed properly. Also, make sure that they eat it moderation so that you can avoid going to the vet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus Raw?
Guinea pigs can eat asparagus raw. In fact, that is the only way to feed them. When asparagus is cooked, a lot of the nutrients and vitamins are lost. Also, cooked food can cause an imbalance in your guinea pig’s digestive system.
All in all, cooked asparagus is a no-no. This is why you should make sure that you serve only raw asparagus.
How to Prepare Asparagus for Guinea Pigs?
Though cooked asparagus is not an option on the table, a lot of preparation has to go into your guinea pig’s asparagus meal. The process of preparing asparagus for your guinea pig can be a bit confusing. This article will show you some steps that will help.
- Break off the woody end. To do this, snap the asparagus in from the lower end.
- Thoroughly wash the asparagus. It may have traces of chemical attached to it. This is why having an organic variant of the asparagus is important. Cleaning the asparagus is a way to ensure the wellbeing of your guinea pigs.
- Chop the asparagus into tiny bite-able pieces. Do not serve your guinea pigs more than 30 grams of asparagus (which is about a quarter of a cup).
- You can give your guinea pigs half of the recommended portion during the day and the rest at night. This will make sure that your guinea pigs get a good meal during the day. The night portion is so that they do not disturb you at night. (Guinea Pigs can be really noisy at night. The extra portion of asparagus would keep their mouths busy so that you can have a good night’s rest).
- Do not forget to remove leftover asparagus from the cage. this will prevent the cage from being infested by cockroaches and other rodents.
Conclusion: Are There Better Options?
In this article, we have answered the question, ‘Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus?’. To find a satisfactory answer, we took a look at the many different nutrients necessary for the well-being of the Guinea Pig. Then, we made a comparison between the nutrient profile of the asparagus and the nutrient needs of the Guinea Pig.
We discovered that to a certain extent the nutrient needs of the guinea matched the nutrient profile. However, overfeeding guinea pigs asparagus can have toxic effects on their health. We discussed which of the several parts of the asparagus is edible and how to adequately prepare them. The reason why cooked asparagus is a bad choice was also discussed.
All in all, we established that it is almost harmless if guinea pigs eat asparagus,. However, we know that serving it with a side dish of other vegetables is a much better option.
Now, you may be wondering, ‘apart from asparagus, what can guinea pigs eat?’ I will conclude this article by giving a list of vegetables that guinea pigs can eat.
- Tomato (not the leaves though)
- Carrots (only as treats)
- Dandelion (Only in small amounts)
- Cauliflower leaves and stalks
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you have gained something that will help you raise your furry little friend.