As we have mentioned a few times now, the popularity of guinea pigs as a pet is steadily increasing after seeing a large bump a few years back and seeing solid, constant growth with each passing month since then. Due to more and more people getting their own pet guinea pig, we have also noticed a correlating spike in the number of questions that we have noticed people reaching out to us about regarding a number of things all guinea pig-related.
Over the last four to six weeks, we have noticed a large increase in the frequency that we see people reaching out and asking questions based around “Can guinea pigs eat broccoli?”. We have actually noticed so many people reaching out about this question that we have decided to make it the feature of its own dedicated article to try and help as many of our readers as possible who may be in this exact same situation. Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible and help get a healthy, tasty food source added to your guinea pigs diet.
So, without going any further forward, we just want to say that you can definitely feed your pet guinea pig broccoli as a part of a balanced diet and that the majority of guinea pigs do seem to enjoy broccoli and will eat it willingly provided they are not full from other foods. Although broccoli does offer a large number of essential nutrients for your guinea pig, broccoli alone does not offer a complete nutritional profile so should only be used to supplement a balanced diet of multiple food sources to help ensure that your guinea pig is getting everything that it requires from its diet to live a long and healthy life.
Another point that we want to quickly make is that if you choose to, you usually can offer your guinea pig small amounts of broccoli on a daily basis without having any issues at all. Unlike some other popular fruits and vegetables that we have seen guinea pig owners reaching out about, broccoli has no real major downsides that restrict its use to one or twice a week as a treat. We have actually noticed a number of reports from guinea pig owners who often use broccoli as a diet supplement for their guinea pig in addition to a more traditional guinea pig food and are seeing a number of benefits that we will not be taking a more in-depth look at.
Great Fiber Content
One of our favorite things about feeding your guinea pig broccoli on a regular basis is that it is jam-packed with fiver that is very easy for your guinea pigs digestive system to process and help keep your pet regular. Brocolli is just over twenty percent fiber with much of the fiber in broccoli actually being actionable rather than unactionable for your guinea pigs system such as the fiber in apple skin.
Although not a major risk for most guinea pigs, especially the younger one, older guinea pigs can definitely be at risk of impaction that may end up resulting in serious injury or unfortunately, even death. Impaction is essentially a blockage in the intestines that blocks the guinea pigs system up and prevents it from passing waste naturally, it can be very hard to diagnose but thankfully is not as common in guinea pigs as it is in some other pets.
Although ensuring that your guinea pig gets plenty of fiber is not a guarantee that it will not suffer from impaction, it definitely can help. This is why some veterinarians may recommend that you move your pet guinea pig over to a high fiber guinea pig food in its later years to help minimize the risk of these problems occurring. Although broccoli will not provide all of your guinea pigs recommended fiber intake, it definitely puts a large dent in it with the rest easily being made up of other foods and treats.
Vitamins And Mineral Content
Many people actually class broccoli as a super vegetable due to it actually being absolutely jam packed with various essential vitamins and minerals that help your pet guinea pig lead a long and healthy life and are essential for its well being. On the vitamin side of things brocolli offers plenty of:-
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B1
On the mineral side of things broccoli is an excellent source of:-
As you can see, the title of super vegetable is well earned by broccoli as there are few other vegetables going that are so nutrient-dense while also having plenty of the vitamins in minerals contains in the food in large amounts too. On top of this, some of the minerals in broccoli are actually hard to source in sufficient quantities to meet your guinea pigs recommended daily intake. This is why some commercial guinea pig foods on the market will actually have dried broccoli in them as part of their ingredients to help match the nutritional requirements for your guinea pig.
We know that some guinea pig owners prefer to try and make as much of their guinea pigs food at home as possible meaning that broccoli can be an essential part of their diet due to its high vitamin and mineral content. That said though, as we mentioned earlier in the article, even though broccoli is packed with goodies, it is not nutrient complete and does lack some essential things that your guinea pig needs from other fruits and veggies too. This is why we only recommend broccoli as a part of a well rounded, balanced diet made up of multiple food groups if you are trying to make all of your guinea pigs food at home rather than just offer broccoli as a treat of food to add variety.
Great Water Content
Thankfully, the vast majority of guinea pig will drink plenty of water without issue and usually be able to easily get their recommended daily water intake. That said though, if your guinea pig is sick then it may not drink as much as it should but broccoli can serve as a quick and easy way to help top up your guinea pigs water intake. Most parts of broccoli are over eighty percent water and although the structure of broccoli is pretty rigid, this is usually due to the high fiber content in it that we touched on earlier in the article.
Anyway, if your guinea pig is off its water for what ever reason, the taste and texture of broccoli can often entice your guinea pig to eat the broccoli and end up consuming the high water content of the vegetable in the process. This is common for many fruits and a decent number of vegetables too but but one thing that we would like to point out is that although some other treat options for your guinea pig do have a higher water content, none are as nutrient dense as broccoli helping get essential vitamins and minerals into your pet at the same time.
Keeping your guinea pig hydrated offers a number of benefits ranging from a better coat, healthier skin, improved cognitive function, and better eye sight. As we mentioned above, it is rare for a healthy guinea pig to not drink plenty of water of its own free will but if your guinea pig is sick, broccoli can be used to try get some fluids into your pet as well as a bunch of vitamins and minerals that may aid in the recovery process.
Close To Zero Fat
As guinea pigs have evolved to be strict herbivores, they have a very small fat requirement in their diet that can easily be met by fruits and vegetables. In fact, too much fat in their diet can actually end up resulting in health issues and is one of the main reasons we keep telling people not to offer their guinea pig pigs milk, especially cows milk. Anyway, broccoli, just like most other vegetables has a very low fat content so removes the risk of you accidentally spiking your guinea pig’s fat intake and accidentally causing any health risks.
Ideal Carbohydrate Content
One of the few weaknesses of broccoli for guinea pigs is that it is very low in carbohydrates that should be your guinea pig’s main macronutrient intake for a healthy diet. Only around seven percent of most parts of broccoli are actually carbohydrates but in all honesty, due to the large number of other benefits that broccoli offers your pet guinea pig, we feel that it is well worth the trade-off.
There are a ton of other sources of carbohydrates that you can offer your guinea pig as a treat or as a staple in their diet and the majority of reputable guinea pig foods on the market have plenty of carbohydrates in them for your guinea pig anyway. As you may have guessed from the previous sections above, it is often much easier to find an alternate source of carbohydrates for your guinea pig than it is to find a food that offers all of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that broccoli does all in one food.
Ideal Protein Content
Although older guinea pig may need a slightly higher protein intake, the majority of guinea pigs really don’t require much protein at all with around twenty percent of their daily calorie intake usually being the recommended protein intake for the average guinea pig. Although broccoli is slightly lacking in this department coming in with around seven percent of broccoli being made up of protein, we find our selfs in a similar situation to the carbohydrates covered above.
The majority of commercial guinea pig foods on the market are easily able to meet your guinea pigs protein requirement and although the majority of food are nutrient complete, some of the minerals that broccoli contains are harder to source and include in ideal quantities, even if the commercial food contains small amounts of broccoli in it. It is much easier to find something else to get the protein requirement into your guinea pig than it is to
How Should I Feed Broccoli to My Pet?
There are a number of different ways that you can offer broccoli to your pet guinea pig but most grown guinea pigs will be able to handle the florets as is without having to have anything done to them to make them easier to eat. Due to the high fiber content of the broccoli stem, we would recommend that you chop it into smaller pieces to make it easier for your guinea pig to eat it with ease.
That said though, we have seen some reports from guinea pig owners who have boiled or steamed the stems of broccoli, left it to cool and then offered it to their guinea pigs without issue. Although steaming the broccoli will keep more of the nutritional value in the vegetable for your guinea pig, both methods can easily soften the broccoli stem to a level that your guinea pig should easily be able to eat away at it as it likes without issue.
Although you can also offer your guinea pig the leaves that grow from the broccoli stem as is without having to process them, it seems many guinea pig will not eat them if there are other food sources available. Although we are not sure why this is, we would guess that it may be due to the leaves of broccoli having a different texture or taste to the florets and stem that guinea pigs seem to prefer as part of their meals.