Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsnips – A Full Nutritional Breakdown!

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The popularity of guinea pigs is increasing with each passing month as more and more people are deciding to add a guinea pig to their family to keep as a pet. That said though, we are pleased to report that we are also seeing a large increase in the number of people who we see reaching out with each passing month with various questions based around ensuring they are able to offer the best possible care to their pets. The vast majority of the questions that we see asked usually fit into the category of “What do guinea pigs eat?” but this is a very broad term.

Thankfully though, we see a large number of people reaching out with various questions about food for guinea pigs and one of the more popular ones that we have noticed over the last few months is based around the question “Can guinea pigs eat parsnips?“. As this is a much more specific question we have decided to make it the main focus of today’s article as we have seen a surprising number of people reaching out and asking about it.

Before we go any further into the article, we just want to confirm that yes, guinea pigs can eat parsnips but they should be used in moderation as more of a treat food or as something to help keep the diet of your pet guinea pig interesting and help prevent it from becoming stagnant. Offering parsnip once or maybe twice a week at most is fine and many guinea pigs enjoy it but it should always be used in conjunction with a good primary option for your guinea pigs food.

As the various veggies that can be used as treat food for your pet guinea pig always offer some excellent nutritional goodies as well as a number of health benefits, we are now going to be taking a more in-depth look at exactly what parsnip has to offer when added to the diet of your guinea pig. Just keep in mind, it should be used in moderation and as a treat food option rather than a primary food source.

Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Parsnips

Fruits and vegetables are usually the best way to provide your pet guinea pig with the essential vitamins and minerals that it requires to lead a healthy life. Although the primary food options for guinea pigs are usually good for the basics, many of them are often lacking in their nutritional profile and are based around hay. This is why so many people use a high-quality guinea pig multivitamin with their pets, even in addition to adding fresh fruit and veggies to ensure that they are getting the nutrients the require.

Parsnips offer some solid vitamin and mineral content though and they offer the following to your piggies in solid amounts:-

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Choline
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium

As you can see, parsnips have a ton of nutritional content but as we mentioned back at the start of the article, we would only recommend that you use them as a treat food option rather than a main food source. One a week is usually recommended but some people do use them as a treat twice a week but try to keep at least one day between uses. Most people usually cycle fruits and veggies such as parsnips in and out of their guinea pigs diet as required and we will be going over some other popular alternative food options later in the article.

One of the best benefits of adding parsnip to your guinea pigs’ diet is that parsnips are almost five percent fiber. This is one of the best sources of dietary fiber that most guinea pigs seem to enjoy eating. Although you may already know that fiber is essential for healthy digestion in your guinea pig, it also helps to prevent both constipation and impaction occurring in your pet. Although constipation is common, it is usually a temporary issue that will pass, impaction, on the other hand, can be potentially fatal.

The older that your pet guinea pig gets, the higher the risk of impaction is and the more serious the issue too. This is why we always recommend that our readers start to add a high-quality fiber suppliment to their pet guinea pigs diet in their later years. Our recommended fiber supplement for guinea pigs is the market leader too and has managed to earn itself an excellent reputation with a large number of great independent reviews from other guinea pig owners.

How Much Parsnip Should You Give Your Guinea Pig

We would only recommend that you offer and adult guinea pig parsnip and even then, as we keep saying, only as a treat food once a week. Whn it comes to the actual amount of parsnip that you should give to your pet guinea pig, we usually recommend that you dice it up and then fill a tablespoon with it and that will give you the average serving size for an adult guinea pig. Use this measurement for each adult guinea pig you plan to feed the parsnip to and it should make a nice treat to help keep their diet interesting.

How To Prepare Parsnips For Your Pet Guinea Pig

The high fiber content in parsnips can make them a little tough to eat but this will not be an issue for your guinea pig. We would highly recommend that you dice the parsnip into little cubes that are at least half an inch or smaller. We have seen some people report that they cook the parsnip and then leave it to cool prior to feeding it to their pet guinea pig to help soften in up.

Although this is not essential, this can be a nice step to take if you have an older guinea pig or a pet that has issues with its teeth, jaw, or throat the allow it to eat its meals easier. Younger guinea pigs will likley be found with the uncooked parsnip and cooking the veggie can sometimes reduce the amount of nutrients that it is able to get into your guinea pigs’ diet.

Due to parsnips being root vegetables, they rarely have chemicals and pesticides on them but some people prefer to be safe rather than sorry and wash the parsnip before feeding it to their pet guinea pigs too. If you do want to do this then washing it for around thirty seconds under a cold water tap should be fine and remove any chemicals that may end up doing any harm to your pet.

The majority of people will then add the parsnip to their pet guinea pigs food bowl and then go about their daily business but you can hand feed your pet if you wish. If your guinea pig is new and yous are still in the bonding phase then hand feeding your pet can be a great, easy way to bond with it and build up the trust levels too.

When preparing the parsnip for your guinea pig, keep an eye out for any signs that the vegetable has gone bad or has issues and if you do see any problems, discard it or at least cut around the issues that have the problems. That is pretty much it when it comes to preparing parsnip for your pet guinea pig as it is a really straight forward food type to prep.

Alternatives To Parsnips For Guinea Pigs

There are an absolute ton of suitable alternatives to parsnip for your pet guinea pig making it very easy to add to a varied diet allowing you to keep adding delicious treat food options to your guinea pigs diet and keep getting additional nutrients into your pet’s diet. Although there are a large number of suitable alternatives, some of our favorites are broccoli, green beans, carrots, apple, pear, and strawberries. Those six alone including parsnip should easily be able to ensure that you can add a healthy, nutrient-dense treat food to your pet guinea pigs diet each day of the week while keeping to only one serving per week for your pet.

Conclusion

That brings our article going over the question can guinea pigs eat parsnips to a close. We hope that you have found it helpful and as we mentioned above, the high vitamin and mineral content, as well as the excellent fiber content, make parsnip an excellent treat food option for your pet guinea pig that is well worth supplementing your guinea pigs regular diet with at least once per week. Just keep in mind, it should not be the option and should only be used as a small portion of your pets total calorie intake for the day with the bulk of its food being a suitable guinea pig food that you can buy online or from the pet store.