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As the popularity of guinea pigs is slowly increasing, people are looking for the best food to serve their lovely social-friendly pets.
One of the main duties of pet keepers is to feed the right food to their pets so people are constantly looking for the best possible food for their guinea pigs.
Recently, kale (leaf cabbage) is getting importance as food for guinea pigs and people are using it as a pet food due to its high nutritional value and a rich source of Vitamin A, K, and C.
People also have many queries regarding kale and one of the main dilemmas is “can guinea pigs eat kale?”
Read on to get a clear and concise view on using kale as food for a guinea pig.
- Can Guinea Pig Eat Kale?
- Kale: Simplified
- Why is Kale Called a Superfood for Guinea Pigs?
- Common Questions Regarding Kale and Guinea Pigs
- What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Kale?
- What are the Advantages of Kale to Guinea Pigs?
- What are the Health Hazards of Kale to Guinea Pigs?
- What Size of Kale is Recommended for Guinea Pigs?
- Can Guinea Pigs Die After Eating Kale?
- Quick Facts About Kale
- Final Thoughts
Can Guinea Pig Eat Kale?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat kale, especially because guinea pigs are herbivorous pets and kale are leafy green cabbage.
By nature, every herbivorous animal likes green leafy edible plants and vegetables, and guinea pigs are not exempted.
Also, kale contains all must-have vitamins (Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K ), nutrients (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium) along with antioxidants, and a good quantity of fatty acids for the growth and development of guinea pigs.
Kale is a cruciferous, green vegetable belonging to the cabbage family.
Kale is also known as leaf cabbage with generally green colored leaves but occasionally blue leaves are also found in some varieties.
Unlike original cabbage, kale does not possess a bulges region on the anterior surface
It only consists of leaves arranged on peripheral regions of the stem of the plant.
Americans once used kale as an ornamental plant but now, people eat kale as a nutritional food.
Kale is considered a superfood for humans so it can also be considered a superfood for guinea pigs if used.
Now, let’s look at the nutritional properties of kale.
100 grams of kale contains the following nutrients:
Water – 89.63 g
Carbohydrates – 4.42 g
Fiber – 4.1 g
Protein – 2.92 g
Fat – 1.49 g
Sugar – 0.99 g
Vitamin C – 93.4 mg
Potassium – 348 mg
Calcium – 254 mg
Phosphorus – 55 mg
Vitamin K – 388 micrograms
Vitamin A – 4812 IU
Energy – 33 Calories
From above we can see and infer that water, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and vitamins A, B, and K consist of a major chunk of nutrition.
Why is Kale Called a Superfood for Guinea Pigs?
According to the definition, a superfood is a food that consists of a high amount of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, fibers, and important vitamins.
Superfood is known for its health benefits to those who take it regularly.
Kale is important for our body in the following ways:
- It contains vitamin A has a major role in the immune system
- It has vitamin B controls metabolism, cell functioning, production of erythrocytes (red blood cells)
- It contains vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is famous for its antioxidant values; development, growth, repair of cell tissues, and regulation of immune response
- Contains vitamin K is important for blood clotting which prevents excessive bleeding, calcium metabolism, and heart health
- Fiber makes bowel movement smooth, regular and healthy, as well as regulate blood sugar levels and decreases cholesterol
- Protein acts as the building blocks of the body, its main function is to build and repair body tissues
- Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for bodily functions; it acts as fuel to the brain for different functions
- Fat contains important essential fatty acids i.e omega-3-fatty acids, saturated fats and cholesterol are in less quantity
Other Minor Nutrients:
- Usually, calcium makes bones strong and helps heart muscle and nerve work properly but in guinea pigs, excess calcium causes bladder stones
- Potassium is a heartbeat regulator, controls movement, and helps with the removal of waste materials
- Phosphorus along with calcium functions in the production and growth of bones and teeth
Now that you have a full understanding of kale, its nutritional components, and the functions of major nutrients and vitamins in kale, let’s talk about guinea pigs
Common Questions Regarding Kale and Guinea Pigs
Kale, a well-known superfood eaten by fitness freaks as a supplementary food is also used as feed for rodents like guinea pigs.
But most guinea pig owners have questions on if they should feed their pets kale or not?
And if yes, the type of kale most suitable to use as a feed?
Also, the quantity of kale to feed and the benefits and potential hazards that come with feeding your guinea pig kale.
Another question that is worth asking is the quantity of kale that is advisable to serve to your guinea pigs.
So read along even as all your confusion and questions concerning kale as food to guinea pigs are cleared.
In short, guinea pigs eat kale and there are numerous benefits of kale if used under the moderate limit
But as per the phrase “every coin has two sides”, there are also some hazards, mainly, the formation of bladder stone due to excess amounts of potassium (K) and calcium (Ca).
This often results in an excess frequency of water thirst
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Kale?
Guinea pigs are herbivores.
The feeding behavior of guinea pigs is like rabbits and other rodents.
They normally feed on green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce, parsley) along with commercially available vitamin C pellets.
Also, guinea pigs usually eat timothy hay.
Most pet owners give hay and vitamin C tablets to their pets.
Kale can be used as food for pets like guinea pigs
What are the Advantages of Kale to Guinea Pigs?
Less Amount of Trans-Fat
Every healthy food has fewer unsaturated fats which are known as trans-fat.
They decrease the risk of obesity in guinea pigs.
Less trans-fat makes blood vessels healthy, it’s good for the cardiovascular system
Healthy Muscles and Efficient Metabolism
Protein content in kale (2.92 gram per 100 gram) builds and maintains muscles.
If your guinea pig’s daily protein need is fulfilled regularly, your pet will grow healthy muscles.
Carbohydrates in kale (4.42 gram per 100 gram) can help your guinea pig to grow fast due to regulated metabolism by carbs.
Prevents Constipation & Makes Intestines Healthy
You should always make your gut clean and healthy because it’s known as the second brain of the body.
Fibers in kale (1.49 gram per 100 gram kale) make the gut healthy by making healthy waste movement in the small as well as the large intestine.
Kale contains an ample amount of antioxidants like polyphenols, carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, etc. along with vitamin C and Vitamin A makes strong defense against diseases
Thus, feeding your guinea pig kale gives it strong immunity.
Quick Repair of Wound
Vitamin K acts as a major coagulant in blood clotting and is present in kale.
Feed your guinea pig kale regularly to prevent excessive loss of blood during any injury.
As guinea pigs cannot synthesize their Vitamin C on their own, an adequate quantity of vitamin C is a must to prevent scurvy.
Scurvy can lead to frequent bleeding, exhaustion, red patches, and a decrease in fur on animals.
A good amount of healthy minerals like iron and magnesium are the two main healthy minerals present in kale.
Iron is a major component of oxygen transport in the blood.
Magnesium improves hair growth and controls blood sugar levels.
Kale can prevent scurvy because of vitamin C content in it.
There are numerous benefits of kale as food to guinea pigs but as per the rule of nature “every good has something bad in it”, the following are the hazards of kale.
What are the Health Hazards of Kale to Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs may also suffer some minor health hazards or side effects from eating kale.
If guinea pigs eat kale excessively, it can lead to serious health issues.
You should take professional advice in case of any health issue.
Probable hazards or health effects of kale are seen below.
Stone Formation in Bladder
Excessive calcium absorbed from kale and green vegetables causes stone in the bladder of guinea pigs.
A simple solution to this is to supplement kale with low calcium foods to maintain equilibrium.
Digestive issue and Diarrhea
Kale has a high amount of fiber.
If guinea pigs take in excess fiber from kale, it can result in diarrhea or other digestive problems.
A solution to this is to control the amount of kale used as feed.
Kale causes an increase in the frequency of thirst in a guinea pig.
Due to a large amount of sodium (Na) And potassium (K) ions in kale, these ions absorb water and neutralize themselves which causes water deficiency in the body.
This results in more intake of water and urination.
Anomaly in Muscle Contraction
Vitamin K promotes and facilitates muscle contraction.
Kale is a good source of vitamin K but more than required vitamin K can cause problems related to muscle contraction and muscle relaxation.
If you meet any issues related to muscle, take professional advice.
Lacks Proper Digestion of Sugar
The stomach of guinea pigs is fragile, and sugars can give them cramps and urinary problems.
Now you have adequate knowledge of the benefits as well as hazards of kale to guinea pig feed.
To sum up, we can say that kale is healthy nutritional food if fed along with regular food and in a recommended quantity.
Otherwise, it may invite health problems.
What Size of Kale is Recommended for Guinea Pigs?
After reading so far, if you are now planning to feed kale to a guinea pig, you may have some questions about serving size, best kale to feed, frequency of kale to feed, etc.
You can read below to know about all these.
Which Part of Kale is Best Suited for Guinea Pigs?
The best part is properly washed fresh kale stems and kale leaves.
One can buy good quality kale from the supermarket or Amazon Fresh for a few bucks and use it as a superfood for guinea pigs.
Once you get the kale, wash it with pure water and make sure you make all dirt and pesticides wash out.
Guinea pigs eat raw kale as that is its main characteristic, that’s why they are herbivores rodents.
Cooked food also causes a problem in the digestion process in guinea pigs so raw washed fresh kale is preferable.
Guinea pigs eat almost all parts of kale such as leaves, stems, and flowers.
The leaves are the most loved part of kale by guinea pigs and they are often known as the “Headquarters of nutrition”.
Kale leaves are low in fat, and high in vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
This is almost like “chocolate” to guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs also like kale stem as a food.
Kale stems are very good for the teeth because of their fibrous texture and tough and chewy nature.
At last, is kale flowers, guinea pigs find kale flowers very delicious and they eat them until all supplies are over.
If green kale is not available, guinea can also eat red kale, purple kale, white kale, black kale & curly kale.
Just make sure that kale is not cooked, instead, just serve them clean-washed kale.
What is the Serving Size of Kale for Guinea Pigs?
It’s advised you serve two to three small kale leaves with other veggies like lettuce, zucchini, or hay.
Optimum serving size depends on the age, size, and nutrition requirement of individual guinea pigs.
If you are looking forward to giving kale to your guinea pigs, buy fresh kale from the market and wash it properly to remove dust and pesticides.
Then cut small pieces of kale leaves, kale stems & kale flower and serve with a regular diet i.e veggies and fruits.
Give 2-3 small pieces of kale 1-2 times a week.
So generally, you can feed your guinea pig kale one or two days a week, and complement kale with low calcium.
Daily serving or excessive servings causes bladder stone so take care of the serving size.
Frozen kale also works well with guinea pigs but before serving, thaw and clean it properly.
Can Guinea Pigs Die After Eating Kale?
Guinea pigs get an excellent dosage of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Anti-Oxidants, and essential minerals which leads to real improvement in the health of pets.
Major drawbacks are the high concentration of calcium responsible for bladder stones.
Frequent thirst results due to the high concentration of sodium and potassium ions in kale.
So, no, guinea pigs do not typically die after eating kale.
However, in very rare cases, the over-eating of kale causes death.
Quick Facts About Kale
Kale is one of the most densely packed nutritional capsules on planet earth.
It has more calcium than calcium-rich milk.
Only one cup of chopped kale is ample for Vitamin A and Vitamin B requirements of the body for a day.
Another thing worth noting is that kale possesses an earthly taste.
Guinea pigs obtain essential vitamins, minerals, fat from kale but also excess calcium causes bladder stone to them.
If you’ve been wondering, “can guinea pigs eat kale?”
Well, now you know the answer, yes, they can and they even like it as well.
For most positive benefits, use the recommended amount.
It’s totally fine if you follow your regular diet and not go into kale in a diet.
But if you can take some extra care in diet or you are health conscious, you should definitely try kale, at least once.