Guinea pigs can eat lots of fruits and vegetables. It is important that they have variety in their diet because they cannot rely purely on hay and pellets. However, guinea pigs have sensitive tummies, so you need to be careful with what food you give them. So, can guinea pigs eat asparagus? Let’s find out…
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat asparagus. Asparagus can be a great weekend treat for guinea pigs because it contains a lot of nutrients and water. However, guinea pigs can only have raw white or green asparagus. Therefore, it will not replace the guinea pig’s daily vegetables.
Guinea pigs can only have about ¼ of a cup of asparagus a week. Owners can feed that to their piggies throughout the week. However, too much asparagus can be bad for piggies because it contains lots of water and calcium. Additionally, too much asparagus can make a cavy gassy.
Health Benefits of Asparagus
Vitamin C is a vitamin that all guinea pigs need because they cannot make their own vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, which can cause skin, joint and bone problems. Asparagus does not have that much vitamin C, but it can help supplement a cavy’s daily requirements on occasion. However, it will not be able to replace a piggie’s other foods that are higher in vitamin C.
Asparagus has a lot of vitamin A that is great for boosting eyesight. Guinea pigs do not have great eyesight, so vitamin A can help prevent their eyesight from getting worse. Therefore, foods rich in vitamin A, like asparagus, are a great addition to a guinea pig’s diet.
Asparagus contains antioxidants which are essential for health. These antioxidants can prevent certain illnesses in guinea pigs, like cancer and urinary tract infections. Antioxidants can also fight free radicals that damage the body’s cells. Therefore, it could potentially slow down the aging process in guinea pigs.
Asparagus has flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties. It could also help decrease blood pressure. In some cases, flavonoids have anticancer and antiviral effects.
Asparagus has tons of water, which is a great way to keep a piggie hydrated on hot days. Guinea pigs do not always drink enough water, so giving them foods with high water content is ideal. However, that does not mean pet owners should overdo it. Too much water can cause diarrhea and tummy aches in piggies.
Asparagus is low in calories, meaning it is a great treat for overweight piggies. One spear tip of asparagus (about 2 inches or less) only has one calorie, so a guinea pig can snack on it without gaining weight! Again, that does not mean guinea pigs can have more asparagus than recommended. Asparagus will not replace the foods in a cavy’s daily diet because it is only a treat.
Asparagus also has fiber to keep its digestive tracts healthy. Fiber is essential to help a cavy absorb nutrients and pass food through its systems. Fiber could also control blood sugar levels. Fiber can slow down how quickly a body absorbs sugar, improving the overall blood sugar levels. Therefore, it can reduce a cavy’s risk of developing diabetes.
Asparagus can help boost a cavy’s overall immune system. A strong immune system helps guinea pigs fight off disease and infection. Asparagus contains many vitamins, minerals and nutrients that work together to keep their health strong. A guinea pig’s immune system is strong when they have enough nutrients.
Asparagus can also keep a piggie’s bones strong. It contains magnesium and vitamin K. These nutrients are responsible for strong bone growth. It is especially important for aging guinea pigs.
Negative Effects of Asparagus
New foods can trigger diarrhea in piggies. A cavy has a sensitive digestive system. Even if a food is not bad for them, it can cause diarrhea if they try new food like asparagus. Therefore, it would be best to give a small amount of asparagus to a guinea pig and see how they react. If nothing bad happens, they can keep eating asparagus as a treat.
Certain veggies, including asparagus, can cause bloating. Veggies like asparagus contain a complex sugar called raffinose, which causes bloating. Bloating is not a big issue for piggies. However, excessive and constant bloating is not healthy for a guinea pig. Therefore, avoiding gas-inducing foods like asparagus and cabbage in excess would be ideal.
Asparagus contains calcium, which can be good for guinea pigs. However, too much calcium can be bad for piggies. Too much calcium can form bladder stones and kidney stones in piggies. Stones can make it difficult for a cavy to urinate, or it may block the passage completely. Therefore, asparagus cannot be a daily treat because of its calcium content.
Asparagus could also contain pesticides that can harm a guinea pig. Built-up pesticides in a cavy’s stomach can lead to issues like discomfort. Therefore, it would be best to wash the asparagus well before giving it to a piggie. However, it would be ideal to purchase organic asparagus instead to avoid pesticides altogether.
What Kinds of Asparagus Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
There are many kinds of asparagus, such as green, white, purple, wild, etc. The most common kinds of asparagus found in markets are white and green asparagus. Guinea pigs can eat white and green asparagus. However, it would be best to give them organic asparagus. Non-organic asparagus can contain pesticides that can harm a cavy’s stomach.
What Parts of the Asparagus Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
A guinea pig can eat almost all the parts of asparagus. Guinea pigs can eat the ends of asparagus without issues. In fact, a cavy may enjoy the ends more because the ends are fibrous. The fibrous texture allows guinea pigs to use the asparagus ends as chew toys.
The asparagus tips are probably a cavy’s favorite part of the asparagus. The tips have the most flavor to guinea pigs, so they will likely favor this part. However, it should be washed thoroughly before giving them to a guinea pig. Additionally, tips that change in color should not be fed to guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs also love the asparagus stems. The stems are safe for them to eat. Plus, piggies often enjoy the stems because they like to chew. Chewing is good to keep a guinea pig’s teeth from growing too long, so asparagus stems can benefit their body’s health and their dental health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat a Whole Asparagus?
Ideally, asparagus should be cut up before giving it to a guinea pig. Guinea pigs can easily choke on food and since they cannot vomit, it will be difficult for them to stop choking. Therefore, the asparagus should be cut before serving it to piggies.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus Stalks?
Asparagus stalks are very chewy, which most piggies will enjoy. A guinea pig’s teeth never stop growing. Therefore, they need to chew constantly to avoid letting their teeth get too long. So, the asparagus stalks can be a fun “chew toy” to help wear their teeth down.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Asparagus?
Yes, a guinea pig can eat raw asparagus. Raw foods are always the best and only foods that a guinea pig should eat. A cavy did not have access to cooked foods in the wild, so a domesticated cavy cannot handle cooked foods either. Therefore, raw asparagus is the best type to give to a piggie.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus Fruits?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat asparagus fruits. Asparagus fruits are very poisonous, especially to guinea pigs. The fruits can make a piggie have diarrhea. Guinea pigs are sensitive, so it could lead to more issues than diarrhea. Therefore, a cavy should not eat asparagus fruits.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Asparagus?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat cooked asparagus. As mentioned earlier, a guinea pig’s stomach cannot handle cooked food. Additionally, cooking food usually involves onions, oil, seasonings, etc., which are bad for guinea pigs. Plus, boiling asparagus will remove a lot of nutrients, so it would be best to serve asparagus raw to piggies.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Asparagus?
No, guinea pigs cannot have canned asparagus. Canned asparagus is normally cooked before it gets canned, so it will not be good for piggies. Additionally, canning food often involves adding preservatives like salt, which guinea pigs cannot handle. Some canned asparagus will also have chemicals that will have negative effects on their health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Asparagus?
No, a guinea pig cannot have frozen asparagus. Before freezing the asparagus, manufacturers usually add preservatives to the asparagus. That way, the asparagus will be ok when they freeze it. However, these preservatives can do a lot of damage to a cavy’s health.
How Much Asparagus Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
Guinea pigs can eat ¼ of a cup of asparagus at a time. They can eat that amount once a week. However, pet owners may halve that amount and serve asparagus to their piggies throughout the week. Ideally, a pet owner should mix the asparagus with other foods, like bananas and kale.
How to Give Guinea Pigs Asparagus
Select organic asparagus that does not have different colors. It should also not have any rotting parts. Wash the asparagus well (even if it is organic) to remove excess dirt and debris. Cut the asparagus to pieces. The piece should be small enough for a cavy to pick up and bite.
Guinea pigs should only try a small amount of asparagus before eating it regularly if they never had asparagus before. Try to give a guinea pig only a small piece of an asparagus tip first. Observe them for about 10 hours. If there are no negative symptoms, then a guinea pig can eat asparagus once a week.
Can a Baby Guinea Pig Eat Asparagus?
No, baby guinea pigs cannot eat asparagus. Baby piggies will rely on their mother’s milk for some time. Eventually, they will start to munch on other foods like hay. However, they should not try treats until they fully wean from their mothers and only eat solid foods. Therefore, a guinea pig should not try asparagus until they are 7-8 months old.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Asparagus?
Many guinea pigs enjoy asparagus, especially the harder parts, because they like to chew. However, they will also enjoy the softer parts. Keep in mind that it is possible that a guinea pig will not enjoy asparagus. Each guinea pig is unique, so certain piggies may not like asparagus.
Overall, asparagus can be a fantastic treat for guinea pigs. It is full of nutrients, and most asparagus parts are chewy to help wear down a cavy’s teeth. However, it should only be fed in moderation. Asparagus should not be a part of a guinea pig’s daily diet.
- Mayo Clinic, ‘Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet’, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983, Accessed – 10 May 2021
- Guinea Lynx, ‘Bladder Stones And Sludge’, https://www.guinealynx.info/stones.html, Accessed – 10 May 2021