Guinea pigs need a variety of fruits and veggies in their diets to stay healthy, as well as the usual guinea pig pellets and hay. However, guinea pigs have sensitive bodies, so pet owners should always make sure make sure that they only give their cavies food that is safe for them.
A popular veggie that people like to give guinea pigs is cucumbers, but newbie cavy owners may not know if this veggie is safe to feed their piggies all the time. To help guinea pig owners learn more about this vegetable, here is a quick guide.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumbers?
Yes, Guinea pigs can eat cucumbers as a great treat to supplement their diets. Cucumbers are full of water and nutrients to keep guinea pigs hydrated and healthy. Guinea pigs can eat a slice of cucumber a few times a week as a snack, especially during the summer.
Cucumbers are a great treat to give to guinea pigs a few times a week. While cucumbers are not part of a guinea pig’s daily diet, they are a great treat for almost any kind of guinea pig, especially overweight piggies.
The Health Benefits of Cucumbers
The best thing about cucumbers is that they are 95-97% water. Guinea pigs can enjoy a bit of cucumber on a hot day to stay hydrated and feel refreshed. That is why many pet owners love to give their piggies a slice during a heatwave. While they should not eat too many, it can be a healthy treat to keep a guinea pig cool.
Cucumbers are low in sugar, which makes them a great treat for any guinea pig, but especially good for overweight guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are smaller than humans, so they are more sensitive to sugar. Cucumbers are a great alternative to sugary snacks like grapes for overweight piggies.
Cucumbers are a great treat for overweight guinea pigs because they are low in calories, too. ½ a cup of cut cucumber only contains 8 calories. While a guinea pig cannot eat that much cucumber, that little calories means that an overweight piggy can fill up with a fun treat consuming too many calories. Plus, cucumbers are low in sodium and 0% fat.
Cucumbers contain vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs, like humans, cannot store or create vitamin C, so they need to consume vitamin C in their diets. Vitamin C deficiency, also called scurvy, is common in guinea pigs, and guinea pigs need at least 10-30 mg daily, while unhealthy piggies need about 100-200 mg every day.
Vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs can cause loss of appetite, rough fur, diarrhea, slowed wound healing, joint swelling, etc. While cucumbers do not contain a lot of vitamin C, cucumbers can add a small boost to a cavy’s diet when they have a weekly treat. Remember, guinea pigs can benefit from other veggies more than cucumbers for vitamin C, like parsley, but cucumbers can help.
Cucumbers have fiber that can improve a guinea pig’s digestive system. Plus, fiber can help guinea pigs maintain or lose weight and lower blood pressure. However, cucumbers are a relatively low source of fiber, having only 0.5 grams of fiber every 100 grams, so a guinea pig may only be able to consume 0.1 gram of fiber. Therefore, it would be best that a cavy relies more on other veggies for fiber, but cucumbers can be a great, small boost to their daily fiber intake.
Cucumbers have a relatively high potassium content, boasting about 41 mg of potassium. Potassium is crucial for growing and developed guinea pigs. Plus, potassium can help lower blood pressure, which is ideal for overweight guinea pigs.
Cucumbers also contain vitamin K to keep your guinea pigs strong. Cucumbers have low amounts of magnesium, vitamin A, pantothenic acid, manganese, and phosphorus. Cucumbers contain about 0.2 grams of protein, but that is good for guinea pigs because too much protein can lead to weight gain. Cucumbers also have about 16 mg of calcium, which is ideal since excessive calcium consumption can cause bladder stones.
The Side Effects of Cucumbers
Guinea pigs should stay hydrated, but they should not be overhydrated. Guinea pigs that eat too many watery fruits or veggies, like cucumbers, can experience stomach and digestive issues. They can experience abdominal pain. Plus, too much water in a cavy’s stomach will make them too full to consume their more nutrient-dense foods.
Since cucumbers contain a lot of water, it can make guinea pigs feel bloated and lethargic if they eat too many cucumbers. Excessive cucumber consumption in guinea pigs can also cause diarrhea. Therefore, guinea pig owners should not overfeed their guinea pigs cucumbers.
While cucumbers are great for guinea pigs, cucumbers are not ideal for a guinea pig’s daily diet. Cucumbers have nutrients and high water content to cool off guinea pigs during hot days. However, there are better foods pet owners can give guinea pigs every day that have more nutrients than cucumbers. Cucumbers are low in nutrients compared to other veggies, so they are not ideal for a cavy’s daily diet. Plus, too many cucumbers can make a guinea pig’s stomach upset.
What Kind of Cucumbers Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Most kinds of cucumbers are usually non-toxic and safe for guinea pigs. However, it would be best to buy pesticide-free cucumbers to avoid chemicals in a guinea pig’s body. Ideally, pet owners should get organic cucumbers to feed their guinea pigs.
If pet owners cannot grab organic cucumbers, they can wash the cucumber thoroughly before serving it to their guinea pigs. Some cucumbers may have a thin layer of wax on them, so guinea pig owners may peel off the skin if they want to stay on the safe side or wash them very well. However, the peel contains most of the nutrients, so opting for pesticide-free cucumber would be best.
How Many Cucumbers Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Most healthy adult guinea pigs can eat a ½ inch slice of cucumber. They can eat that amount about 2-3 times a week, but not more than that. It may be tempting to feed a guinea pig another slice, but a ½ inch piece of cucumber is more than enough for most piggies for a few days.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumbers?
Yes, a baby guinea pig can eat cucumbers. However, it is important to remember that baby guinea pigs are smaller than adults, so it would be wise to give them less than adults. Additionally, it would be ideal to introduce this new veggie to baby piggies before giving cucumbers to them every week. You can introduce a quarter of a ½ inch slice of cucumber to a baby guinea pig. If there are no issues, they can eat half a ½ inch slice of cucumber.
However, guinea pigs that still drink their mother’s milk should not have cucumbers. Baby guinea pigs will nurse from their mothers for the first 3-6 weeks of their lives. After the first week, they will eat some greens and grass, but they are not ready for cucumbers yet. Baby guinea pigs can only eat cucumbers when they eat a completely solid diet and are fully weaned from their mothers.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Peel?
Given that the cucumber gets washed well and is free from pesticides and other chemicals, guinea pigs can eat cucumber peel. In fact, the cucumber peel contains most of the nutrients in a cucumber, while the flesh inside is mostly water. Therefore, it is actually preferable to feed a cavy cucumber with the peel. Plus, many guinea pigs love the crunchiness of cucumber skin, and the roughage can prevent diarrhea.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Seeds?
Guinea pigs can eat small amounts of cucumber seeds. Most cucumber seeds are very thin and small, so most guinea pigs will not experience any issues from cucumber seeds. However, that does not mean they can eat a lot of cucumber seeds. They can eat the seeds in the slice that they get, but not more than that. Additionally, if the seeds in the cucumber look larger than normal, it may be best to remove them before giving them to a cavy.
How to Feed Guinea Pigs Cucumber
Firstly, wash the fresh cucumber well. If there are oddly large seeds, remove them (thin, small seeds are ok to leave). If the cucumber is not pesticide-free or there is still wax, peel the skin. If it is an organic, pesticide-free cucumber, keep the skin. Cut a slice about ½ inch thick. Cut the cucumber slice to quarters, then serve.
Cucumbers are a relatively healthy source of nutrients and water for guinea pigs. They are a great treat for overweight piggies, and they are great snacks on a hot summer day. However, cucumbers are only a treat that they can eat 2-3 times a week. Cucumbers are not a part of a guinea pig’s daily diet.\
- AZEAH, ‘VITAMIN C RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GUINEA PIGS’, https://azeah.com/guinea-pigs/vitamin-c-recommendations-guinea-pigs, Accessed – 7 May 2021
- The Spruce Pets, ‘Feeding Guinea Pigs’, https://www.thesprucepets.com/feeding-guinea-pigs-1236840, Accessed – 7 May 2021
- Sage Journals, ‘Importance of Potassium and Magnesium in Nutrition of the Guinea Pig’, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3181/00379727-71-17092, Accessed – 7 May 2021