Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweet Potato?

Feeding your guinea pig vegetables is one way that you can supplement the vitamins and minerals that they need.  

You just need to make sure that you are choosing the right ones.  You want ones that are high in vitamin C and low in sugar.  Are sweet potatoes on the list of vegetables to eat?  Read on and find out.

Is a Sweet Potato Good For Your Guinea Pig

You must know just what a sweet potato is because a guinea pig should not be fed a regular potato at all.  The reason is that a regular potato is toxic to a guinea pig.  In addition to a sweet potato, there are also yams.  Both of these can be fed to your guinea pig along with the leaves of a sweet potato.  Make sure that you are giving your guinea pig the right type of potato.

Nutritional Value

Although they are called sweet potatoes, they are low in sugar and do contain many important vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that you guinea pig needs.  

  • High in vitamin C—a cup of sweet potato contains 3.2 mg of vitamin C.  Guinea pigs need 25-40 mg of vitamin C each day so when you mix it with other vegetables, it will help them to reach that goal.  They cannot produce it themselves so it is up to the owner to make sure they get enough.  It is important for their general health and immune system.
  • Potassium—there is 448 mg in a cup of sweet potato, which is high when comparing it to some of the other vegetables you can feed your guinea pig.  Potassium is great for their heart and blood pressure.  It helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Low in sodium—sodium, or salt, is a negative when it comes to heart health and will raise their blood pressure.  There is only 77mg per cup, but it is not the lowest sodium food for guinea pigs.  When you look at the amount of potassium and sodium¸ you should only see positive results from this vegetable.
  • Improve vision—this is is partially due to the vitamin C content but also the vitamin E in a sweet potato.  These two vitamins will help your guinea pig keep its good vision.  There is also beta carotene that will help correct any vitamin A deficiencies and help restore vision
  • Protects against cancer—yes, guinea pigs can get cancer so you want to make sure that you are feeding them vegetables that help to protect them against it.  Sweet potato contains some beta carotene that can protect against cancer.  Feeding them sweet potato can help your guinea pig to live a long cancer-free life.
  • Fiber—at 4 grams per cup, it helps with digestion and gives energy throughout the day
  • Eliminates free radicals—these are the product of metabolism and can have dire consequences for a guinea pig if they are not handled right.  They can lead to cell damage that can affect the health of your pet.  The antioxidants in a sweet potato help to eliminate these free radicals and protect your guinea pig from harm.
  • Helps to boost their neurological health—eating a sweet potato can help increase their brain function
  • Helps to reduce or prevent inflammation
  • Aids in digestion—a guinea pig digestive system is not reliable naturally so they will need assistance from the food they eat.  The fiber in a sweet potato helps with this problem.
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sweet potato in a basket e1590155825890

How To Fix a Sweet Potato For Your Guinea Pig

 When fixing a sweet potato or yam for your guinea pig you should make sure that you wash it to get rid of any fertilizer or chemicals on them.  You should also make sure that you peel them first before you give it to them.  It is hard for them to digest the peels. When feeding it to them, give them a small slice to help prevent choking.  If you want to give them a cube of sweet potato, make sure it is about an inch.  Check on them to make sure they are not having any problems eating it.  After a few hours, remove any uneaten vegetable.

How Much Can They Have

If you are giving your guinea pig a sweet potato, you can give them some once or twice a month.  With yams, they can be given twice a week.  The leaves can be given daily.

Why Sweet Potato Can Be Bad For Your Guinea Pig

As with many vegetables you feed your guinea pig, there can be some things in them that are bad for them.  The same is true for sweet potato but not as much.  As the name indicates, they do contain some sugar and taste sweet.  For a cup, there are 5.56 grams of sugar.  That is high, even higher than the fiber, which is 4 grams per cup.  When the amount of sugar is high it is usually counteracted by the fiber, which changes how the body absorbs sugar.  In this case, not much is changed because the sugar is higher.

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guinea pig couple

This is why you need to make sure that they are eating them in moderation.  Trying giving your guinea pig more foods lower in sugar like Romaine lettuce or Zucchini.  Too much sugar can make them become overweight and develop health problems.

A sweet potato also has high levels of starch and oxalates, which are not good for your guinea pig.  That is why you should not feed them a sweet potato every day.

Conclusion

  • Any vegetable with sugar in it should be consumed in moderation to prevent your guinea pig from becoming obese, including sweet potato.  A guinea pig is fragile when it comes to sugar.
  • Some guinea pigs are allergic to sweet potatoes so you need to watch them the first time you feed them a piece.
  • It is one of the best vegetables for their digestive system.
  • Mix it with other vegetables to give them a variety of treats to eat.
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