More and more people are choosing to add guinea pigs to their family as a household pet with each passing year with their popularity having seen almost exponential growth over the last three years or so. Judging by the amount of questions that we see people asking about guinea pigs with each passing month, we doubt that that popularity is going to slow down any time soon and predict that the number of people who have a guinea pig as a per will only increase.
Due to being such a popular pet, we constantly see questions based around things such as “What can guinea pigs eat?” we have noticed more and more people specifically asking questions based around using fresh fruit and vegetables for your guinea pig, specifically carrots so we have decided to dedicate today’s article to using carrots as a staple food for guinea pigs. We are hoping that our article will be able to help as many people as possible and help people introduce a great little treat to their guinea pigs food to break the monotony of regular store-bought dry food.
Our regular readers will likely know that we often recommend fresh fruits and vegetables to our readers as they offer a ton of benefits for guinea pigs and carrots are most definitely included in that list. Rather than feeding your guinea pig carrot every day though, we would only recommend that you use it one or two times a week and that you make sure you are using them as a treat for a well rounded larger diet.
This should ensure that your guinea pig is having all of its nutritional requirements met and allow it to lead a long and healthy life. Now, due to carrots being such a popular option to use as a treat for guinea pigs we will not be taking a more in-depth look at exactly what carrots have to offer your guinea pig if you allow your pet to eat them as a treat once a week or so. Our hope is that we will be able to convince more of our readers to use carrots as a supplement to their guinea pigs diet and as a quick and easy way to boost their nutritional intake.
Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Carrots
Just like the vast majority of other fruits and vegetables, especially the fresh vegetables that people tend to use to supplement their guinea pigs diet, carrots are absolutely jam-packed with various vitamins and minerals making them a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet. Although they are not a nutritionally complete guinea pig food, using them as only a small part of a varied diet is an easy way to make sure that your guinea pig is getting everything it required. This is why we only recommend that you use carrots only a few times a week rather than every day.
Anyway, when it comes to the vitamin content of a carrot, it offers some essentials as well as some supplementary vitamins as shown below:-
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin B1
- Pantothenic Acid
As you can see, there is some solid vitamin content in there with Riboflavin and Thiamin being included that can be hard to find in other foods that are not only safe for your guinea pig but are also enjoyed by the animal too. On top of this, the vitamin C in carrots is found in such high amounts that we have a dedicated section about it later in the article as it is one of the main reasons that carrots make such excellent treats for guinea pigs.
When it comes to the mineral content of carrots, they come jam-packed with the following:-
Again, the vegetable offers you some solid vitamin and mineral content that is excellent considering that the majority of guinea pigs seem to really enjoy eating carrots too. Just like with the vitamin content that we mentioned above, carrots are an excellent source of both Copper and Manganese that can be hard to add to your guinea pigs diet due to them being found in so few foods in large amounts that your guinea pig will actually eat.
Considering that carrots are such a cheap option and that they offer you all of the vitamin and mineral content covered above as well as all of the additional benefits that we have covered below, it definitely makes sense to try and add them as a regular treat in your guinea pigs diet. To date, we have not seen any reports of guinea pig owners saying that their pets refuse to eat carrots as we have with some other popular treats making them a nutritionally dense option with plenty of bang for your buck.
Great Source Of Vitamin C
As we touched on earlier, we actually decided to make a dedicated section for the vitamin C content of carrots as it is definitely one of the highest quantities in a food that guinea pigs eat regularly. A single serving of carrot can offer around thirteen percent of your pets required vitamin C alone with all of the additional vitamins and minerals covered above all in addition to this.
Vitamin c is essential to help keep your guinea pigs immune system up to scratch to help defend against some of the common bugs and illnesses that guinea pigs can suffer from. On top of this, the older that your guinea pig gets, the more important vitamin c is in our opinion due to older guinea pigs tending to be more susceptible to infection and other issues. Although the vast majority of commercial guinea pig foods and treats on the market do have some vitamin C in them, they are usually closer to the five percent of the recommended daily allowance mark.
Although carrots can make a solid dent in the vitamin C requirement for your pet guinea pig, many guinea pig owners do decide to start adding additional vitamin C suppliments to their guinea pigs diet in their later years. This helps ensure that your pet has all of the vitamins it needs in its diet and helps to prevent it from becoming ill. Our recommended vitamin C supplement has a large number of great reviews from the community too that you can read if you wish.
A Great Source Of Fiber
Another great reason that carrots should be used to supplement your pet guinea pig’s diet is that they are an excellent source of dietary fiber and are around three and a half percent fiver. This brings them in ahead of the average two and a half percent fiver content of most other fresh vegetables that are on the market too and are in one of the easiest food options that guinea pigs eat.
Although fiber is essential in guinea pigs anyway to promote healthy digestion and to help keep them regular, both constipation and impaction are both relatively common in guinea pigs, especially when they get older and although fiber does not guarantee these issues will not occur in your pet guinea pig, it does reduce the chances. This is why we would always highly recommend that you try to meet your guinea pigs recommended daily fiber intake as often as possible.
If you are a guinea pig owner who usually uses a high-quality commercially available guinea pig food then this will likely not be much of an issue as they come with plenty of fiber in them. One the flipside of this though, if you tend to make as many of your guinea pigs meals at home from scratch as possible, carrot can make an excellent source of essential fiber that is cheap and easy to actually get your guinea pig to eat.
An Easy Way To Increase Water Intake
Although the vast majority of a guinea pig’s diet should be fine anyway, some guinea pigs with certain health issues can struggle to drink as much water as they require on a daily basis. This is where getting your guinea pig to eat foods that are high in water content a few times a week comes in to help ensure that your guinea pig will not be suffering from dehydration.
If your guinea pig seems a little dizzy or is struggling to hold its balance, it could be a sign of dehydration and implementing more guinea pig friendly foods that have a large amount of water in them can definitely be the way forward. That said though, there are a few issues that may cause them same symptoms and require assistance from your local veterinarian. If your guinea pigs condition does not improve within a day of trying to increase its water intake then seek veterinary assistance.
How Much Carrot Can I Give My Guinea Pig?
The majority of guinea pigs eat pretty much anything that is in front of them if they find it tasty and this can be a total pain when it comes to portion control. Baby carrots are usually an option as the majority of adult guinea pigs should be find with a serving size of two baby carrots once or twice per week but regular carrots can be a pain. Our usual advice is to try and cut regular carrots into two-inch chunks and then take two of these chunks and cut them into eight again and offer them to your guinea pig.
Although each guinea pig owner will have their own method, we feel that this is probably the best option as it makes it easier to track. With carrots having such a long shelf life, you can basically cut a carrot down to a large number of two inches chunks and then add them as required after cutting the two-inch chunks into quarters. These are usually small enough for your guinea pig to eat without issue while being enough carrot to offer your pet all of the health benefits possible out of the treat.
How Should I Prepare Carrot For My Guinea Pig?
Although we have covered the majority of how to prepare carrots for your pet guinea pig above, there is some debate about leaving the skin of the carrot on or removing it prior to offering it to your guinea pig. In our opinion, it is fine to leave the skin of the carrot on and this helps to keep the fiber and vitamin content of the food as high as possible due to many of the benefits being found in the skin of the carrot.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrot Tops?
We often see people asking about feeding their pet guinea pig carrot tops too so just wanted to quickly add it to this article rather than to have a dedicated article on this subject. Although guinea pigs can eat carrot tops, many of them tend to not enjoy the taste of them so will leave them in favor of other food but this is going to come down to your own guinea pigs’ personal preference.
Although carrot tops can offer some solid nutritional value, the actual carrot itself tends to be the better option anyway with guinea pigs tending to prefer the carrot itself over the actual carrot tops. Feel free to offer your pet some of the tops if you have them available but don’t be surprised if it shows no interest in them and we would not recommend that you go out of your way to source them as there is a high chance they will not be eaten anyway.