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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel? (Serving Size, Hazards & More)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: February 21, 2022

A healthy guinea pig diet requires unlimited amounts of high-quality timothy hay, some raw and fresh fruits, and vegetables, as well as guinea pig pellets. However, guinea pigs cannot eat all fruits and vegetables that are healthy for us. Let’s see whether guinea pigs eat fennel, do they love it, and how much fennel they can eat.

Guinea pigs can eat the fennel plant (fennel tops, the green fennel fronds, and the fennel bulb) as it’s a great source of dietary fiber, which is very important for your guinea pig’s diet. Also, fennel contains many other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, that are healthy for your piggies. However, feed your guinea pigs the fennel plant only in moderation.

Fennel can be found in some commercial guinea pig pellets.

Before we continue, here are the healthiest guinea pig foods on the market:

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Last update on 2022-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3 fennel bulbs with leaves

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel?

Guinea pigs can eat fennel; this vegetable is beneficial for your guinea pig to eat.

In case of negative signs after feeding fennel to your guinea pig you should reduce the serving size and provide them with other vegetables.

Fennel is rich in calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Feeding your guinea pig with fennel is one of the best choices you can make regarding your guinea pig’s healthy diet plan.

What Is Fennel?

Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) is a flowering plant that comes from the carrot family. The color of a fennel plant is green and white with yellow flowers and feathery leaves.

It has a crisp texture and aniseed flavor when eaten raw. That’s why fennel is used as a flavoring and in salads, especially in Italian cuisine. Italians use Florence fennel (also known as sweet fennel and finocchio) because of its strong aroma.

Besides, the sweet fennel herb has many medicinal properties and uses. It is rich in vitamins and minerals such as selenium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.

Why Feed Fennel To Your Guinea Pigs?

Guinea pigs love fennel leaves and the fennel bulb and they gladly munch on it whenever they have the chance.

However, we have to emphasize that fennel should be fed sparingly. Overfeeding your guinea pig with fresh fruits and vegetables is quite easy because guinea pigs love to eat crunchy and sweet foods. 

Besides, fennel is high in many nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as dietary fiber, which is very important for your piggy’s digestion process.

Apart from fiber, another great reason to feed fennel to your pet guinea pig is that the bulb is a great source of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is one of the crucial elements in your pet’s diet as vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) is a potentially fatal disease in guinea pigs.

When first introducing fennel to your piggies, make sure to do it gradually. If you give them newly introduced food in excess, it can cause different health issues such as gastric upset and diarrhea.

Is Fennel Good for Guinea Pigs?

The content of vitamins and minerals in fennel makes it a great herb on your guinea pig’s menu.

The following is not an exhaustive list but shows the many advantages of giving fennel to your pet guinea pigs.

Healthy Bone Growth

Lack of calcium in young guinea pigs can cause your pet to lose weight and develop bone abnormalities.

Fennels contain enough natural calcium to fulfill the requirements of your very young guinea pigs in a healthy and balanced way. Your guinea pigs will develop healthy bones. It will cause their body to grow strong in a healthy way.

However, adult guinea pigs should eat fennel in moderate amounts. Too much calcium in adult guinea pigs causes kidney and bladder stones, which are very dangerous for these small animals.

Helpful For Digestion

Fennel is very rich in dietary fiber, which is important for your pets, as it helps in maintaining bacterial flora in the gut.

A healthy digestive tract and gastrointestinal motility are important for your guinea pigs’ sturdy immunity. Feeding your guinea pigs fennel is good for your guinea pig’s healthy digestive tract.

Enhances Immunity

Guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin C, which is one of the crucial ingredients for the healthy functioning of your guinea pig’s body.

Vitamin C deficiency, also known as scurvy, can impact both humans and guinea pigs. However, in guinea pigs, if left untreated, scurvy develops into an extremely painful condition that causes internal bleeding of tissues and organs. The outcome is fatal.

So apart from preventing scurvy, vitamin C in fennel boosts your guinea pig’s immunity and keeps it away from diseases.

Weight Control Diet

Fennel is a good weight control diet for your guinea pigs.

The dietary fiber in the fennel plant will make your guinea pigs feel full quickly.  While it’s impossible to overfeed your guinea pigs with hay, it is possible to overfeed them fresh fruits and vegetables.

Overfeeding piggies leads to health problems, so always stick to the recommended serving size of each food you’re giving them.

Controls Blood Pressure

The fennel plant contains minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium that are good for keeping blood pressure under control.

High blood pressure can be harmful to the health of guinea pigs and can be a major cause of their sudden death.

So feeding guinea pigs fennel guarantees good blood flow that will keep them healthy.

Boosts Metabolism

Fennel contains vitamin B6, which is beneficial for your pet guinea pig.

Vitamin B6 boosts the metabolism and improves the heart health of guinea pigs.

Sugar-free

One good quality of fennel is that it is sugar-free.

Avoid feeding your guinea pigs foods high in sugar because they cannot digest it well. Besides, sugar is bad for guinea pigs as it leads to obesity, diabetes, and other health issues.

As fennel seeds contain starch and sugar, you should avoid giving them to your piggies.

Contains Antioxidants

Antioxidants prevent or slow the damage that free radicals inflict on cells of our bodies. Fennel is very rich in antioxidants so it improves heart health and prevents diseases.

Healthy Source of Energy

Fennel is rich in protein and carbs. It is a healthy source of energy for your pets. Guinea pigs eat all parts of the fennel plant. They equally love fennel tops, fronds, and the bulb but never let your guinea pigs eat fennel seeds. They are unsafe for your pet.

Is Feeding Guinea Pigs Fennel Bad?

Despite the risks, fennel is good for guinea pigs if you include only a small amount of this plant in your guinea pigs diet.

Many guinea pig owners report that their piggies are crazy about fennel fronds and fennel leaves.

When guinea pigs eat too much fennel, the risk of kidney stones increases due to the high content of calcium in this herb. Although calcium is responsible for strong bones in baby guinea pigs, in adult guinea pigs it is responsible for kidney stones. For that reason, giving fennel in small quantities is the key to your guinea pig’s health.

If your piggy is on meds, don’t give fennel to your pet. It’s important to know that fennel can interfere with meds and cause a negative reaction in your piggies.

In case you notice that your guinea pigs have shown allergies to this plant, eliminate it from your guinea pig’s food menu.

The instant remedy for allergic reactions is to give your pet enough water as a first aid response and consult a vet as soon as possible.

How Much Fennel Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

a pile of fennel bulbs with frondsFeed your guinea pigs fennel in small quantities, occasionally.

The piggies adore everything about it, especially the green fronds. Give them the crunchy green stalks, which guinea pigs love above any other part of the fennel plant.

Offer only a tiny piece of the bulb to your pet.

Because of the high calcium content in this plant, including the fennel stalks, fronds, and a small piece of the bulb only two to three times a week is optimal. 

Include fennel into the mixture of other plants, fruits, and vegetables that are low in calcium. Never mix it with other food high in calcium and sugar.

How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel?

Fennel bulbs are great for people, as it clear mucus, treat anemia, and are great for our eyes and indigestion.

This herb contains vitamin C, B3, calcium, and magnesium, as well as potassium and iron.

One cup of fennel contains 10.4 mg of vitamin C. Each guinea pig needs between 30 and 50 mg/kg of vitamin C per day.

Nonetheless, you should give your guinea pigs about 3/4 of a cup filled with a mixture of various fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you’re just introducing fennel to your pet’s diet, start giving it to your piggy only once a week.

Your guinea pigs can eat all parts of the fennel plant, which consists of fennel bulbs, fronds, and stalks/leaves.

Once your guinea pig gets used to fennel, they should be fed sparingly, only 1-2 times a week in small quantities. Feeding guinea pigs fennel more than 1-2 times a week may cause health problems.

Observe your guinea pig and consult a vet if you notice any allergic reactions.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel Bulb?

one fennel bulb with frondsFeeding fennels to your guinea pig is a good idea, although the fennel bulb doesn’t contain any significant nutritional value for your guinea pig. For high efficiency and best results, one should feed guinea pigs fennel fronds rather than the fennel bulb.

Piggies can eat fennel bulbs in moderate quantities. Although we keep on repeating that fennel is high in calcium and should be fed in moderation, some other vegetables that guinea pigs eat contain even more calcium per 100g.

For instance, fennel has 49mg of calcium per 100g while kale has 254mg, which guinea pigs eat also as a part of their healthy diet.

Nonetheless, you can give your guinea pigs a fennel bulb, and they will love munching on it.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel Leaves?

Few stems contain more nutritional value than the fennel leaves, although guinea pigs love fennel leaves.

Many guinea pig owners serve fennel leaves chopped or whole, it works both ways.

When guinea pigs eat fennel leaves, it improves their heart health but also their dental hygiene because guinea pigs’ teeth grow continuously.

Also, eating fennels helps in reducing the growth of your guinea pig’s teeth.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel Seeds?

Never let your guinea pigs eat seeds of any kind because guinea pigs cannot digest them.

Besides, some seeds, such as apple seeds, are also poisonous to them. Likewise, seeds present a potential choking hazard for these small animals.

Considering the nutrients in fennel seeds, they have an ample amount of starch and sugars, which are not good for the health of your guinea pigs. However, the seeds are great for humans as they remove bad breath and help digestion.

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Fennel?

Yes, baby guinea pigs can eat fennel and you can serve them, but not regularly, maybe 2-3 leaves once or twice a week.

In the beginning, it’s more appropriate to provide baby guinea pigs with more variety of food but the process of intruding them to new foods must be slow.

Fresh fruits and veggies are the best sources of vitamins and minerals for your guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs love eating herbs and serving fresh fennel is the icing on the cake for them.

Also, you should know that guinea pigs cannot digest processed foods.

In other words, don’t feed your guinea pigs with cooked, baked, fried, frozen, or dried foods.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Fennel?

Feeding your guinea pigs will dried fennel will have no health benefits for your guinea pigs and will deprive them of the essential nutrients that they require for their growth and good health.

Besides, guinea pigs should never eat any dried food, processed food (cooked, baked, fried, etc.), meat, and dairy products. They are strict herbivores and their sensitive stomach cannot digest such food.

Therefore, dried fennel is not something you want to give to your guinea pigs.

What Is the Nutritional Value of Fennel?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA), 100 gr of fennel bulb contains:

  • Calories: 27
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2.7 g
  • Natural Sugars: 3 g
  • Calcium: 43 mg
  • Iron: 0.64 mg 
  • Magnesium: 15 mg
  • Potassium: 360 mg
  • Vitamin A: 838 IU
  • Vitamin C: 12 mg

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Last update on 2022-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

Fennel is a flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family. It commonly used in cuisine, especially Italian. Italians use Florence fennel (or sweet fennel) because it has a strong aroma.

Fennel is healthy for guinea pigs. It contains 12 mg of vitamin C per 100g, which is insufficient to meet your guinea pig’s needs for this vitamin. However, when mixed with other low-calcium and low-sugar vegetables, fennel is a great addition to your guinea pig’s food many a few times a week.

You shouldn’t feed guinea pigs too much fennel as it’s relatively moderate in calcium, which is bad for adult guinea pigs. Large quantities of calcium are responsible for the development of kidney stones. However, the amount of calcium is great for young guinea pigs. They need calcium to develop healthy bones.

Guinea pigs can suffer from health problems if you feed them too much fennel or any other plants, fruits, and vegetables. The only thing you can give your pets in unlimited amounts is hay. Everything else is bad for guinea pigs in large amounts. 

Author

Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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Last update on 2022-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API