Last Updated on 08/20/2021 by Veronica Jones
Kale is a vegetable that’s common knowledge in the human world. On the other side, guinea pigs like to munch due to their largely-growing teeth and their playful nature.
However, is kale safe for guinea pigs to eat? What are the considerations if they are to be fed kale?
To help you out in figuring your pet’s diet plan, we wrote this article. After all, we, as pet owners, cannot be too sure if one food is okay for one pet and not for the other.
Just like humans, certain foods should be taken in moderation for guinea pigs, and some foods are just a no-go for them.
So, do you want to know whether guinea pigs can eat kale? Let’s find out more with the information we listed below. This will help you plan the next meal course (or training food) for your guinea pig.
- Information about Kale
- Can guinea pigs eat kale?
- Do guinea pigs like kale?
- Is kale harmful for guinea pigs?
- Can guinea pigs eat kale stems?
- What about curly kale?
- Baby guinea pigs and kale: safe or not?
- How much kale can I feed to my guinea pig?
- How to serve guinea pig kale treats
- What are the alternatives to kale for guinea pigs?
Information about Kale
Filled with vitamins such as A, C, and K, kale is a veggie that belongs to the green and leafy family, alongside cabbage and broccoli. Kale has a similar look to romaine lettuce but kale has significantly high fiber content.
Moreover, kale is known to be low in sugar and fat, just like the majority of vegetables out there.
Kale also has different varieties to choose from. For instance, some variants have curly leaves, some have a different color, and so on. However, all varieties of kale share the same kind and amount of nutritional value.
Along with many other leafy greens, kale is easy to grab from your local supermarket or wet market. Just make sure if you buy them, pick one that is fresh and from a reputable source.
Can guinea pigs eat kale?
The short answer is yes – in moderation. We’re all aware that guinea pigs eat (and burrow) Timothy hay as their main diet. In general, only about 10% of their diet should be based on veggies and fruits, which includes kale.
Because of herbivore features, guinea pig’s tummies cannot process meat products. That’s why you should only feed them vegetables and fruits alongside their regular hay supply.
However, kale is one of those types of foods that are only meant to be occasional treats for your pet. That’s because guinea pigs are a little extra sensitive to the new food.
Here are a couple of reasons why kale is okay for guinea pigs:
- They are rich in healthy vitamins. As mentioned above, kale is filled with vitamins A, C, and K so they are healthy for your guinea pig. These vitamins will help boost their vision, immune system, and their health overall.
- Kale is easy to digest for guinea pigs. Because guinea pigs are vegetarians, their tummies are only meant for fruits and veggies. Kale is a vegetable, so it’s no surprise that guinea pigs can eat kale just fine.
- Vegetable supplements are good for your pet. It is okay to give your pet a couple of veggies as a side dish to their main Timothy hay. That’s because they are filled with vitamins that will help support their health.
- Guinea pigs need vitamin C. To keep their immune system in check, guinea pigs need vitamin C. Veggies are a common source of such vitamin, and kale, for sure, isn’t short of vitamin C.
- A varied diet will keep your pet entertained. Many pets can get picky if they eat the same food every single day. Try to imagine if you have eggs one day after another – you’d get bored as well. If your guinea pig doesn’t feel like eating their Timothy hay, perhaps adding a touch of kale would help them get interested in their food once more.
Do guinea pigs like kale?
That depends on whether they’re used to the taste when they were young or if they just like tasting different foods.
Some guinea pigs are picky eaters and it is either a natural trait, something that runs in the family or based on how you raised them. Usually, a guinea pig doesn’t become a picky eater if you try giving them various options for food while they’re still young.
If you find that your guinea pig isn’t munching up on that kale you gave them, chances are, they are picky eaters or they just didn’t get used to different kinds of foods during their younger age.
Therefore, if you do want your guinea pig to like the taste of kale, it should start from their childhood and to adulthood.
Is kale harmful for guinea pigs?
Strictly speaking, no – guinea pigs can be fed with kale just fine. However, that depends on the way you prepare the kale. Here are possible situations in which kale might harm your guinea pig, causing digestive upsets:
1. Old and moldy kale
Mold is a no-no for any human, let alone pets. We’re all aware that veggies and fruits easily spoil and the maximum time that they can stay inside your pet’s cage is about 24 hours.
Therefore, when a day has passed by and your guinea pig didn’t eat their kale, it should be thrown away so that it won’t cause harm to them.
2. The kale is not properly washed
Anything could have happened to your kale before you buy it from the supermarket/grocery or the wet market. It could have been sprayed with chemicals such as pesticides or non-organic fertilizers.
Whichever it was, kale that has not been properly washed could pose a threat to your pet’s health due to the possible toxic chemicals on its surface.
3. Your guinea pig has a very sensitive tummy
While it is true that guinea pigs only live to eat veggies, fruits, and hay, certain guinea pigs just have a more sensitive tummy compared to others.
If you find that your guinea pig gets allergic reactions to most food, you could ask your vet if they are okay to be fed with kale, just to be sure. After all, no one likes their cavy friend suffering from digestive upsets.
4. You only depend on kale as their main food
Guinea pigs should only take Timothy hay as their main food, alongside guinea pig-appropriate food pellets. Other than that, everything else should only make up about 10% of their daily diet.
Don’t give them excessive kale and certainly don’t give them kale alone.
A guinea pig will only get the right nutrition from the food that they were made for, which is hay. Veggies like kale should only be given as treats since they are slightly unconventional for your guinea pig to digest compared to Timothy hay.
5. Kale that has additional salad dressings
While we, humans, can eat kale as part of a salad, guinea pigs should only eat kale in its raw and washed format.
Anything else that you’ve added to the kale, such as oils, seasonings, and salad dressings, might not go well with your guinea pig when it comes to their tummy sensitivity.
Not to mention, most salad dressings are on the sour side so they will cause acidic reactions to your pet’s stomach.
Can guinea pigs eat kale stems?
With the warnings clear and out of the way, let’s ask the other important questions, such as: can guinea pigs eat kale stems?
The direct answer is yes, kale stems are safe for guinea pigs.
You might wonder why so because when we cook kale for human consumption, stems go out of the dish because of how brittle they are. While they are not toxic, we just don’t like the idea of eating them due to their toughness.
However, guinea pigs are a different story. If you’ve dealt with rodent-type pocket pets before, you’ll know that they’ll love anything that is chewable and will improve their dental health.
Therefore, it is okay to put kale stems in your pet’s lunch or dinner plate, provided that it is prepared in the same manner as the kale leaves. Make sure they are thoroughly washed and are freshly-bought or picked to avoid causing digestive upsets to your pet.
What about curly kale?
Curly kale is a different variant of regular kale. If you’re wondering if this kind of kale is okay for guinea pigs then you’re right. After all, all kale is the same in terms of nutritional value so they are roughly all okay for a guinea pig.
If you chance upon curly kale, you can give them to your cavy friend just fine. As with regular kale, make sure that they are properly washed and kept fresh within 24 hours to give your guinea pig the best nutrition.
And of course, kale can be served with other types of veggies and should not be the only food of your guinea pig.
Baby guinea pigs and kale: safe or not?
If you have baby guinea pigs at home, you may sometimes wonder: is it okay to feed them kale? The short answer is yes, they are okay with kale, so long as they eat moderately.
Giving kale and other kinds of veggies at a young age is a great way to stimulate their taste preferences. This will help them to be less picky when they grow into adults.
Being used to different kinds of food will also exercise your cavy’s tummy so they won’t easily develop food allergies or reactions once they reach adulthood.
Guinea pigs are still sensitive pets when it comes to any new food, nonetheless. Therefore, if you are unsure, you can still ask your vet for advice, especially if you wonder whether your guinea pig is old enough for feeding such veggies.
How much kale can I feed to my guinea pig?
The maximum amount of kale that you should give is about 2 to 3 times a week. It should only be served as a side dish of whatever their main course is, such as Timothy hay.
You can also put it together with other veggies and fruits to make a sort of variation for your guinea pig. After all, if you feed your cavy friend the same food every single day, they can get uninterested.
How to serve guinea pig kale treats
As frequently mentioned, kale is meant to be a supplemental food for your guinea pig. It should be more of a treat and less of staple food.
You can give them the whole leaf so they can munch on it. Or, you can also mix regular kale and curly kale to see if they like it as well. The appearance might be different but all kale is the same.
Aside from kale, there should also be other veggies (and/or fruits) with their daily diet.
What are the alternatives to kale for guinea pigs?
If your cavy friend simply doesn’t like kale, here are other alternatives that you can try:
A bitter yet nutritious vegetable, spinach is best known for being Popeye’s secret food that gives strength. In the real world, spinach is filled with vitamin C, K, and minerals such as iron and calcium. It is also low on calories so it is safe for your pet.
Yet another bitter yet nutritious veggie, broccoli is a tree-shaped treat that you can give to your pet. Cavies will enjoy the hard texture of broccoli plus they will also marvel at its unique design.
If your vet recommended that your guinea pig should get more vitamin C, tomatoes are also a great vegetable to complement your pet’s diet. Guinea pigs do have sensitive tummies and tomatoes are a little on the acidic side, so make sure to consult your vet and only give them a few to avoid digestive upsets.
Overall, kale is okay and safe for guinea pigs but they should be given in moderation. Since they are filled with vitamin C and other nutrients, kale is a great addition to their diet.
However, kale should not replace any staple food that your guinea pig depends on, such as Timothy hay or pellets.