You have just gotten a guinea pig for a pet. You were told that they need to eat vegetables in addition to their regular food but were not told which vegetables.
You have some carrots in the refrigerator and were wondering if you could feed these to your guinea pig. Read on and you will find out the answer to your question.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrots?
The answer to this question is yes. It is one of their favorite vegetables. To a guinea pig, carrots are their version of chocolate. They cannot get enough of them but unfortunately, they do have to eat them in moderation. They can also eat the carrot tops but cannot drink carrot juice as it is too sweet for them. If given the chance, they would eat carrots all day. Guinea pigs like the taste and crunch of carrots.
For guinea pigs that are overweight, including carrots as a treat will help to increase their level of satiety. Eating carrots will make a guinea pig feel that their stomach is full so they will eat less food, making them lose weight. If your guinea pig seems unhappy, offer them some carrot as this should make them happy.
What Makes Carrots Unhealthy for Guinea Pigs
There are a lot of vitamins in carrots that are detrimental to your guinea pig plus they are high in sugar. Too much sugar can cause diabetes when they get older. Carrots do not contain a lot of vitamin C, which your guinea pig needs. There is also a lot of water in carrots that can cause bloating if they eat too many. They can also become obese due to all the sugar found in carrots.
In some guinea pigs, carrots can cause some pollen-based allergies. The symptoms of this allergy include swollen or itch in their mouth. Feeding them too much carrot can also lead to bladder stones/sludge because of the high amount of calcium.
If they eat too many carrots they could get too much sugar and vitamin A in their system and could become lethargic, have a change in appetite, and loose stools.
How Often Can You Feed Them Carrots?
Because of the high sugar and some detrimental vitamins, you should only give your guinea pig this treat two to three times a week.
How To Feed Your Guinea Pig Carrots
When feeding carrots to your guinea pig, you can take a medium-size carrot, cut it into two halves, and then slice them in two-inch slicesc. You can also give your guinea pig one or two baby carrots, depending on their size. You can also feed them some carrot tops but you need to watch how much you feed them because they contain a decent amount of calcium. Too much calcium is not good for your guinea pigs digestive system.
If you want to feed them carrot tops with the carrot, it is advisable that you cut the amount of carrot you are feeding them in half so the guinea pig has half carrot tops and half carrot. You could also serve carrots one day and then feed them carrot tops the next time. This will give them a variety.
You can feed them carrots with or without the peel. When giving your guinea pig carrots for the first time, try them with and then without the peel to see if your guinea pig has a preference. If you are feeding them a carrot that has not been peeled, make sure that you wash it well to get any chemicals and fertilizers off. Check to make sure that there are no old or decaying spots that need to be removed to prevent your guinea pig from getting sick.
Carrots contain a lot of vitamin A and some vitamin C plus beta-carotene and fiber. All of these are essential for healthy growth. Carrots have the following per 100 grams of carrots:
- Vitamin C—5.9 mg
- Calcium—33 mg
- Sugar—4.74 mg
- Fiber—2.8 mg
- Potassium—320 mg
There are also a high amount of vitamin A and a minute amount of vitamin K. The water content per 100 grams is 88.29 grams so you can see that a carrot is mostly water. All of these vitamins and minerals are essential for a guinea pig. It helps to improve their vision and helps to develop a robust immune system.
The antioxidant Alpha-carotene found in carrots is converted into more vitamin A to help with healthy bones and skin. The fiber in carrots helps to keep their digestive system running smoothly. It helps to control their glucose level and counteracts with illnesses like diabetes. The potassium helps with balancing the fluid in the body. It also helps to prevent bladder stones.
Other antioxidants in carrots will help strengthen their immune system, help to prevent different diseases like tumors and cancer, and just boost their overall general health. The carrot tops also contain several of the vitamins and minerals a guinea pig needs.
- Vegetables, including carrots, should not be more than 10-15% of their diet.
- Guinea pigs are the type of animal that cannot synthesize their own vitamins so that is why feeding them carrots and other vegetables are important. They supplement the vitamins and minerals the guinea pig needs.
- They should have at least a cup of vegetables a day and be a mix of 3-4 different vegetables.
- Do not give your guinea pig big hunks of carrots to nibble on as they can choke. It is best if you use slices.
- After a few hours, remove any uneaten carrot from the cage so it does not attract bugs or start getting bacteria growing on it.
- Guinea pigs love carrots because of the crunchy, sweet taste.
- You should only give your guinea pig fresh carrots, never canned or frozen ones
- Carrots are a powerhouse of many of the vitamins and minerals that your guinea pig needs.