Guinea pigs like to eat vegetables; they are herbivores. Besides hay, they can also enjoy various types of vegetables in their diet.
Kale is a great healthy vegetable that is very popular worldwide.
It is characterized by healthy nutrients, thus ensuring an intake of vitamins and minerals for all who consume it.
But is kale a healthy option for guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs can eat kale two to three times a week. This vegetable has excellent nutrients like vitamin C and calcium, so it should be eaten in moderation. Kale is a great dessert choice for guinea pigs as long as we give them moderate amounts because of the calcium.
In today’s article, you will learn everything related to kale in guinea pigs’ diet.
Benefits of Kale for Guinea Pigs
Kale offers numerous benefits to guinea pigs as long as it is eaten in moderation. This vegetable is low in calories, so the guinea pigs will be in top shape.
The presence of fiber helps to improve digestion and the overall work of the digestive system in guinea pigs.
We must emphasize that kale is one of the vegetables with the highest percentage of vitamin C, even more than oranges.
Vitamin C is vital for our pets because they cannot produce it independently and must get it daily through their diet.
Vitamin C prevents the occurrence of scurvy, helps to deal with infections more easily, and improves the immunity of our furry friends.
The calcium in the kale helps the guinea pigs’ bones to be strong and their teeth and helps the heart and nervous system work better.
The proteins in kale (2.9 grams per 100 grams) help the guinea pigs have stronger muscles and a better build, allowing them to run and play more easily.
Kale also contains beta carotene, which is then converted into vitamin A.
Beta carotene is great for improving vision in guinea pigs.
Carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin also help to improve the eyes and eyesight of guinea pigs. Kale also has vitamin K, which improves blood clotting.
The composition of this vegetable contains many antioxidants that fight against free radicals that attack healthy cells in the body.
Antioxidants help prevent cancer and slow aging in guinea pigs.
We should say that kale contains two powerful flavonoids:
These flavonoid antioxidants reduce inflammation, prevent cancer and maintain blood pressure levels within normal limits.
Kale also has sulforaphane, which is excellent in fighting and preventing cancer.
In addition to all these vitamins and minerals, we should say that there are copper, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6 in the kale.
Small amounts of thiamin, niacin, iron, and riboflavin are also found in the composition of this powerful vegetable. There are also oxalates in the composition of kale but in a smaller amount.
They help the guinea pigs absorb nutrients, but they can cause kidney stones in large amounts.
Side effects of kale for guinea pigs
Since kale is a cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower and cabbage, it should be fed carefully and slowly to guinea pigs.
Kale can cause stomach problems in guinea pigs, especially when first introduced into their diet.
Although kale is rich in nutrients, it also contains a lot of calcium. Too much calcium intake can cause kidney and bladder stones.
When guinea pigs take in too much calcium, it gets deposited in the kidneys, and stones appear.
That is why prevention is the best solution. Otherwise, you will have to do an operation to remove the stones, which is very painful.
If the guinea pigs have white spots on the dried urine in the cage, it indicates too much calcium in their body.
You need to reduce the amount of calcium in guinea pigs by feeding them with food that has lower amounts of this mineral.
Allergy is possible from kale, but it is a completely normal phenomenon; caution is the most important, especially when introducing new food to your pets.
Too much fiber from eating kale can also cause diarrhea or other digestive problems in guinea pigs.
If guinea pigs ingest too much vitamin A, bone pain and rough fur and skin occur.
Potassium from kale in excessive amounts leads to abnormal muscle contraction in guinea pigs and movement problems.
Can guinea pigs die from overeating kale?
No, guinea pigs cannot die from overeating kale, except in rare cases.
Guinea pigs get nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from kale; the only major problem is the high amount of calcium.
However, there should not be fatal consequences for our furry friends.
How much kale can guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs can eat kale 2-3 times a week.
It must no longer be given to them mainly because of the calcium that can create problems with the appearance of stones.
Our recommendation is that when you give them kale on the same day, give them food with less calcium to balance calcium and other nutrients.
For example, give them zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes, food with little calcium.
Do guinea pigs like to eat kale?
Yes, most piggies will enjoy this vegetable because of its green texture.
Kale is a bit bitter, but guinea pigs still like to eat it despite that.
Try giving them some kale; if they don’t like it, there are many other types of food, like parsley, that they will like.
Can baby guinea pigs eat kale?
Yes, baby guinea pigs can eat kale only after they are three weeks old.
Kale offers vitamin C and calcium that young babies need for proper growth and development. In the first three weeks, they can only consume breast milk, water, and food specially designed for their age.
Then, watching their mother, they will gradually learn to snack on vegetables such as kale.
Kale is not only good for babies but also great for pregnant guinea pigs so they can have a better intake of nutrients.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale Stems?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat kale stems; they are entirely safe and healthy.
They contain nutrients in their composition, similar to all vegetables.
Kale stalks are great chews for guinea pigs, although some don’t like the taste and firmer texture.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Red Kale?
Yes, guinea pigs can also consume red kale quite safely.
This variety of kale has excellent nutrients and can be eaten together with the leaves and stem.
Giving them a leaf of red kale 2-3 times a week is best so they don’t take in too much calcium, just like green kale.
Can guinea pigs eat frozen kale?
Guinea pigs can only eat frozen kale if you first thaw it to room temperature.
Eating frozen food directly can cause diarrhea and stomach problems and slow the process of digesting food in the stomach.
Can guinea pigs eat cooked kale?
Cooked food like kale or anything else is not good for guinea pigs.
Their digestive system is not adapted to cooked food; they should only eat fresh food or raw kale.
Cooked food is not easily digestible; it also loses some nutrients from fresh and raw food.
Can guinea pigs eat kale chips?
No, guinea pigs should not eat kale chips, or any other type of chips, because they cannot eat processed foods.
Kale chips have a lot of oil, salt, and other added ingredients that are not healthy for them.
By itself, processing kale into chips by baking can only reduce its nutrients, unlike raw kale.
Guinea pigs should not eat processed food at all.
How do you give kale to a guinea pig?
Fresh and ripe kale is always the best and healthiest for guinea pigs; it offers the best nutrients; never choose unripe or wilted kale.
Wash it well to remove dirt and any chemicals that may have been used to grow it.
In the beginning, you should give them just a little kale to try the taste; you can also give them a small amount with your hand.
Or leave them in the cage and give them some time so they can try it themselves.
Then remove the uneaten pieces from the cages to prevent the appearance of insects and bacteria.
There is a greater chance that they will try to eat kale if you leave them only kale without other types of vegetables.
They will have no other choice and may want to try this vegetable more easily.
An alternative to kale in the diet of guinea pigs
If the guinea pigs do not want to eat kale or increase their choice of vegetables on the menu, you can also give them other types of vegetables.
Here are some vegetables that are good and healthy for guinea pigs:
- sweet potato
- bell peppers