Can Guinea Pigs Eat Arugula?


The American Cavy Breeding Association (ACBA) recognizes thirteen different breeds of guinea pigs. Do you know what makes them all the same? Their eating habits! They want to eat all the time and nearly everything that we provide them!

On that note, some of you have probably asked yourself: “Can guinea pigs eat arugula?”, are there any consequences in doing so?

I’m glad to inform you that arugula makes a perfect snack for your beloved cavies! Although we eat arugula in all forms, be it raw or cooked, guinea pigs can’t eat it in the same way we do.

Why is that? Are there some limits as to how much arugula leaves can be given at a time to cavies? Can they eat the raw and cooked version of arugula?

There is no need to panic. All of your worries will disappear as I will go into heavy detail regarding the topic at hand. Grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride!

Implementing Arugula In Guinea Pigs’ Diet

Arugula represents an edible plant that has a peppery flavor native to the Mediterranean region. People mainly use it as a leaf vegetable that enriches salads with its bitterness. There are many speculations as to what gave humans an idea to offer some arugula to cavies.

Legend says that there has been some kind of an accident in the past where someone dropped a single leaf on the ground. By the name of Marco, a guinea pig, minding its own business, was gently struck by the falling arugula leaf. As it smelled the plant, it took a single bite and, in an instant, has grown fond of its flavor.

Not all cavies are like Marco; some of them might not like that taste. As I’ve mentioned before, arugula possesses a unique peppery flavor that links directly to guinea pigs’ taste buds. So be considerate when offering them some for the first time. 

Here are some tips on how to introduce arugula to guinea pigs for the first time:

  • First and foremost – always make sure to clean the arugula leaves before serving them. They grow on the surface-level ground, making them susceptible to dirt and insects. Dip them in a bowl filled with cold water and wash them thoroughly.
  • Baby guinea pigs should meet arugula at the age of three months. When they are that young, a constant need for highly nutritious food is required to undergo rapid growth.
  • When you offer them some arugula for the first time, pay close attention to their behavior. Guinea pigs know what is best for them. They will first sniff the leaves, and past that point, they will decide whether to eat it or not.
  • If they accept the plant, they will start to munch on the arugula. But, if they don’t, that is a clear sign of disinterest towards the plant. Remove the arugula from their cage to prevent it from going bad after some time.
  • Never force them to eat food that they just refused. Making cavies eat it against their will can prove detrimental to their mental health. Some guinea pigs have shown interest in arugula after some time. So be patient and offer them a small amount every once in a while!
  • You should stick to serving them only one small leaf no more than twice a week.

You might notice that some cavies take an interest in arugula only from time to time. There is no need to worry as it’s not a sign of a steady growing disinterest. Guinea pigs sometimes pass on arugula because they aren’t in a mood for its bitter taste.

In the early days, that happened to some of my furballs, and I’ve found an ideal solution for that. By mixing arugula with other vegetables, you will partially mask that peppery smell and taste. I recommend serving arugula alongside some carrots, tomatoes, and cucumber. 

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Baby Arugula?

When arugula is harvested in its early stages, we get something called baby arugula. I’ve often stumbled upon the question, can guinea pigs eat baby arugula. I’m glad to inform you that they definitely can; most of them even prefer baby arugula more than a mature one!

Baby arugula differs from mature arugula regarding its taste, offering a milder touch of bitterness and more delicate leaves for them to munch. As with regular arugula, one small leaf is enough for cavies as it has high calcium content.

On the other hand, when arugula is growing, it releases sprouts. Even those sprouts are safe for guinea pigs’ consumption. They are tiny, heart-shaped leaves that resemble baby arugula as it has the same mild pepper taste. 

Correct me if I’m wrong but, when you cook, I bet that you, from time to time, put some arugula leaves inside the pot. We are all guilty of that act; the bitterness of arugula brings a specific taste to some meals. That probably piqued your interest as to whether cavies can eat cooked arugula.

This is where we hit a wall as it’s not wise to offer them cooked arugula. When food is cooked, it often loses most of its essential nutrients that guinea pigs require. Diarrhea and bloating are some of the side effects that happen to cavies when they consume cooked arugula. Avoid it at all costs!

Fresh and raw arugula is the only type you should consider giving to your beloved cavies!

How Guinea Pigs Benefit From Eating Arugula?

Guinea pigs should have a diverse diet where nearly every part needs to be perfectly balanced for them. Juggling between commercial pellets, hay, vegetables, and fruits might seem sometimes troublesome, but with patience, it’s doable. 

Arugula comes in handy regarding the cavies’ diet, as it provides numerous healthy nutrients.

To illustrate just how much, take a look at its macros:

Calories25
Water91.7 g
Protein2.6 g
Sugar2 g
Fiber1.6 g
Fat0.6 g
Vitamin A119 μg
Vitamin C15 mg
Vitamin K108.6 μg
Potassium 369 mg
*nutritional values per 100 grams of arugula

As you can clearly see, with so little sugar and fat, arugula can be a phenomenal asset in guinea pigs’ diet. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I can go on talking for days about the health benefits that this snack provides. I’ll keep the list short by pinpointing the crucial ones.

Weight Management

Guinea pigs are energetic by nature – making them ideal pets for owners who tend to use most of their free time to play with them. Unfortunately, to maintain optimal weight, it’s not enough to just be on the move and exercise from time to time.

The main part originates within a proper food regime. Cavies sometimes overeat, and there is a thin line between being lean and fat. With a low content of sugar and fat, arugula represents an ideal snack for your beloved furballs.

Optimal Energy Source 

Without good fuel, guinea pigs can’t appropriately play all day long as they should and love to do. Their diet has all the necessary nutrients required for every obstacle that they stumble upon. Guinea pigs sometimes like to challenge themselves by doing something above their physical limit. 

And to do so, they need to have that extra bite that gives them more energy. Arugula hits just the spot with its healthy calories and proteins. 

Blood Pressure Regulation

A strong heart isn’t just for loving someone; its primary role is to keep us alive by pumping blood throughout the body. Guinea pigs tend to have cardiovascular problems, and to prevent them from occurring, implementing arugula in their diet will do the trick. It ensures the well-being of blood vessels.

Proper Digestion

Voracious by nature, cavies will eat everything that they find. Wild guinea pigs don’t have the luxury of a proper food regime that we, their owners, provide for them. On some occasions, there will be days when they lack some fruit components if they can’t find some. 

To eat only vegetables isn’t necessarily bad, but continuously doing so may lead to stomach problems. They often resort to eating some arugula leaves as they are rich in fiber which is a beneficial solution for proper digestion.

Solid Bones

Who said that just because guinea pigs are so small that that necessarily means that they are weak? If cavies could speak, I think that they would like to have a word with those people! As restless as they are, they are in constant need of fuel and vitamins.

Arugula, being rich in Vitamin K, will prove beneficial towards protecting the bones of guinea pigs. They cannot consume calcium in massive amounts, so Vitamin K is the best alternative for producing solid bones!

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Arugula? – Final Thoughts

I believe that every dilemma you had regarding can guinea pigs eat arugula is indefinitely terminated. With low fats and sugar present in arugula, it represents a perfect treat for your cavies.

Mother nature rarely puts effort into making such an optimal plant that has so much useful health-related stuff. And oh boy, did she outdid herself this time around! Arugula may have a bitter taste, but that doesn’t prevent it from being so delightful.

Possessing fiber as a means for proper digestion, Vitamin K for maintaining solid bones, and healthy calories to sustain your cavies. What more could you possibly want? Your only job is to remember to give one leaf no more than twice a week!

And always avoid cooked arugula – no one likes diarrhea, especially guinea pigs.

Raw and fresh variants only! Try offering some to your cavies; they will be grateful to you!

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