Guinea pigs enjoy a wide variety of treats, and squash should be on your list. It’s an excellent choice for quick piggle treats and enrichment without weight gain. Your guinea pigs can also derive many necessary nutrients from the squash as part of a balanced diet.
Understanding Squash Nutrition for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs require balanced nutrition for their small bodies. This balance includes a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds. Fortunately, the smaller body of guinea pigs means they need far littler amounts than humans. Supplying a rotating selection of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables should meet their requirements.
Squash provides several essential vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. It’s generally not calorically dense. Additionally, squash is not high enough in any particular deposit-causing factors to warrant concern beyond not giving it every day.
Guinea pigs require vitamin C regularly from their food since they cannot make their own. Squashes, such as summer and zucchini, offer vitamin C in moderate amounts. Without vitamin C, guinea pigs can end up with scurvy. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy body functions, including the nerve system.
Yellow squash and zucchini contain enough vitamin c to benefit guinea pigs, but it is only a moderate amount compared to other vegetables.
Vitamin A is a multi-benefit vitamin for guinea pigs. This vitamin and its precursor are found in squash, making them excellent sources. Vitamin A interacts with the skin in addition to organs such as the eyes, heart, lungs, and brain. Additionally, it’s been shown to bolster your guinea pigs’ immune system.
When your guinea pigs eat squash, they obtain a couple of different B vitamins. Most squashes hold both riboflavin (B2) and B6. B2 aids in healthy digestion and oxygen flow. Meanwhile, B6 affects sleep quality and stress. Both help your guinea pigs live the healthiest life possible.
Calcium must be carefully balanced when fed to guinea pigs. This mineral is a necessary dietary component for your guinea pigs’ bones. However, excesses can become deposits in your guinea pigs’ urinary system and may even cause lasting damage. The calcium in yellow squash is not excessive, so it’s safe to feed your guinea pigs occasionally.
Squashes like yellow and zucchini may not look like they can help keep your guinea pigs’ blood in good shape. However, squashes contain iron. Iron is essential for healthy blood and particularly healthy red blood cells. Since those are the oxygen carriers, they’re vital for keeping your guinea pig healthy.
Magnesium helps mammals stay healthy, and your guinea pigs are no exception. Appropriate magnesium levels can help stave off heart problems and diabetes. Additionally, the magnesium found in squash can help your cavies maintain healthy muscles.
Phosphorous is another multi-benefit mineral found in squash. This trace mineral interacts with your guinea pigs’ bodies in a variety of ways after they eat squash. It can do everything from interacting with DNA to filtering waste from the kidneys to build healthy teeth.
Squash is a solid source of potassium for your guinea pigs. This nutrient helps the body regulate and avoid long term health problems, such as heart disease and kidney stone formation. Potassium can also help reduce high blood pressure, though finding blood pressure in guinea pigs is interesting.
Summer vs. Winter Squash for Guinea Pigs
Generally, summer squash and zucchini are more appropriate for guinea pigs than winter squashes like butternut and acorn. Neither, however, is exceptionally dangerous as to call for a place on the never feed list.
In general, winter squashes have a slightly different nutritional balance. They tend to contain more of the deposit forming calcium. Winter squashes also have less of the vitamin C your guinea pigs need in their diet.
On account of the nutrients, the squash should be included in your guinea pigs’ treat roster. However, you will need to ensure it doesn’t come up more than twice per week. Additionally, ensure your cavies are getting no more than one cup of squash per treat day.