I often consider ginies like real pigs just because they eat nearly everything! If you are like me, the question “Can guinea pigs eat asparagus?” must have crossed your mind once or twice.
To tell you the truth, they definitely can, but only some parts of that vegetable.
What are those parts? Will there be any negative side-effects regarding their health if they’ve eaten the wrong part? Should I avoid cooked, canned, and frozen asparagus when considering offering it as a treat?
I assume that these are some of the questions that must have crossed your mind regarding asparagus. Rest assured, I will ease all of your concerns regarding guinea pigs and asparagus in the following text.
Asparagus has excellent nutritional values that will positively aid in building and maintaining a healthy life for your cavy. Having nearly every kind of vitamin in itself, asparagus will help them with all sorts of health complications that may someday manifest.
Stick around and find out exactly why and how guinea pigs benefit so much from asparagus!
A General Introduction Of Guinea Pigs And Asparagus
Cavies, being cheerful pets, are in constant need of attention. Requiring lots of love is just a part of it as they also need to be adequately fed. The standard guinea pigs’ diet is easily managed with some hay and grass.
One of the guinea pig’s most proficient attributes comes in the form of its teeth. Did you know that they are in constant need of chewing something to file their teeth down? This is because their teeth are continually growing larger and larger.
When thinking about treats, it is necessary to consider what kind of snacks are adequate for them. Asparagus comes in handy here as it has beneficial traits. It is a vegetable that is rich in vitamins and minerals that are optimal for cavies’ health. (more on that later)
Asparagus has four different parts, and I will address which parts are edible and which aren’t. Out of those four parts, three are edible; those being:
- Asparagus stems
- Asparagus tips
- Asparagus stalks
These three all possess nutrients that are beneficial for your guinea pigs’ diet. Asparagus should only be served fresh and raw for your beloved pet. That means that cooked, canned, and frozen asparagus aren’t allowed to be considered in their diet.
Asparagus fruit is the fourth and final part of this vegetable, and you mustn’t give it to cavies as treats. They are highly poisonous and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
The parts that are edible need to be thoroughly washed in cold water before serving them. By doing so, you are sure to remove any dirt, pesticides, bacteria, or any other chemicals that may have been present on the asparagus.
Like every other type of snack, it is necessary to address just how much asparagus you can give to your guinea pigs. I, myself, like to keep it a maximum of one-fourth of a cup per guinea pig.
It is safe to assume that serving them asparagus one to three times per week is optimal. Any more than that won’t be detrimental to their health, but you should stick to the amount that I recommended beforehand.
How Does Asparagus Affect Your Guinea Pigs’ Health?
Guinea pigs are energetic pets. It is in their nature to run along wherever they see fit. To have the energy to be on a constant move, they need a proper food regime. It is necessary to provide them with a diet that allows them to use their excess energy supplies.
Good quality feeding hay or grass makes up nearly 80 % of their diet alongside a constant water supply. So, where does asparagus fit in all of this? Well, when added as a treat, asparagus possesses numerous health attributes that will prove beneficial for our cavies.
To be clear, I’ll dissect a few of them right now:
Prevention Of Scurvy
As with humans, guinea pigs can’t produce vitamin C on their own. The lack of vitamin C can prove detrimental for cavies as the side effects can be:
- Dry skin, dry mouth, dry eyes, and dry hair
- Frequent infections
- Bruising and bleeding easily
We can all agree that these symptoms don’t go very well with their playful nature. Luckily for them, this can be all avoided easily just but providing them with vitamin C. A great example would be asparagus, as it possesses high volumes of it.
A Beneficial Regulator Of The Immune System
Young asparagus shoots are rich in nutrients, making them an exceptional treat for your cavies.
Munching on them with their sharp teeth from time to time will make guinea pigs stronger as it will boost their immune system. Having strong immunity will come in handy whenever they start a journey that requires them to traverse over ever so present nature’s unforgiving terrain.
A Phenomenal Antioxidant
It is not a secret that guinea pigs love to eat a lot of food. Sometimes this can lead to cholesterol problems that cause them to bloat. Preventing this can be solved with ease by giving them asparagus, which is rich in Vitamin E as it lowers cholesterol levels.
Blood Pressure Control
Without a proper cardiovascular system, our hearts won’t be able to pump blood effectively and adequately. This is extremely necessary when considering the health of cavies as they require lots of care regarding blood pressure.
A moderate intake of asparagus can help with that as it possesses potassium in reasonable amounts.
Maintaining solid bones can sometimes be a gruesome task. There is no easy way to do so as bones are constantly deteriorating as guinea pigs age. To postpone that effect as efficiently as possible, you can add asparagus to their regular diet.
Asparagus, being rich in Vitamin K and magnesium, will prove beneficial towards maintaining strong bones and teeth for your cavies.
Controlling And Repairing Eyesight
Without proper eyesight, guinea pigs won’t have fun traveling throughout their living space. That can lead to borderline depression as cavies are animals that are in constant need of moving.
Asparagus can help even with that as it possesses moderate volumes of vitamin A which regulates eyesight. Cavies generally have a lousy vision, so help them out by introducing asparagus in their regular diet.
I’ll present you with a complete nutrient table to specifically address the contents of asparagus:
|Vitamin A||38 µg|
|Vitamin C||5.6 µg|
|Vitamin E||1.13 mg|
|Vitamin K||41.6 µg|
You must remember that asparagus should only be treated as snacks for your guinea pigs. Giving them more than they should eat can prove detrimental to their health.
Take a closer look at some of the negative side-effects of consuming too much asparagus:
Excess levels of calcium can cause severe urinary problems and even make them acquire kidney stones. High calcium levels aren’t present in asparagus, but it’s still noteworthy to remember that overeating might lead to these problems.
This is especially true when you consider adult cavies. On the other hand, baby guinea pigs can tolerate it more to a certain degree, but not too much. This is because calcium helps youngsters to grow and become strong.
You should always pay close attention to the amount of food your cavies eat. They are voracious by nature and sometimes won’t give regard to the amount of food they eat. There is a potential in acquiring diarrhea problems for guinea pigs if they overeat asparagus.
Potential Allergic Reactions
Getting to know your cavy is essential towards understanding its behavior and food preferences.
When you introduce asparagus to your guinea pig, you must give them just a tiny piece. Pay close attention to the reaction it provides while eating and digesting asparagus. It may be allergic to it. That will be apparent if your cavy starts to act abnormally.
Be sure to have a local veterinarian at your disposal to contact him if necessary. This should be the case for every irregular behavior you spot in your guinea pigs, not just for a potential allergic reaction.
Like with every type of food, it is necessary to serve it in adequate proportions. You should chop the asparagus with a knife to the degree that it is bite-size shaped for your cavies. Not paying attention to that may lead to a choking hazard for your beloved pet.
Always be considerate when handling your pet cavy – they may have small bodies, but they have large hearts!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Asparagus? – To Sum Up
There shouldn’t be any more misconceptions regarding can guinea pigs eat asparagus, as they most certainly can. Them being natural herbivores, plant like asparagus will be an irresistible asset in their daily diet.
Being rich in vitamins and minerals, asparagus will prove itself as an irreplaceable snack for your beloved cavies. Remember that it needs to be served only as a treat, as hay and grass mustn’t be trampled as the primary food source for guinea pigs.
With their teeth that never cease to stop growing, asparagus stems, tips, and stalks will forever be a phenomenal asset to chew. Don’t forget that the fruit part of the asparagus is not meant to be served as it is poisonous to cavies.
Keep track of their health regularly; as pets, they live no longer than eight years. And in all of those years, they will love you as hard as they possibly can!