At least in the United States, Arugula is a common addition to salad mixes. It is also called garden rocket, rocket salad, or variations of roka. You may enjoy eating it and ask yourself, “Can guinea pigs eat arugula too?”
The Short Answer: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Arugula?
Guinea pigs can eat arugula, but only in moderation. The high calcium levels in this leafy green herb mean it must be served in moderation no more than once per week.
Considerations with Guinea Pigs and Arugula
One of the big notes about arugula is that many guinea pigs are not fans of the peppery taste. Some will refuse to eat it, while others will only eat it if it is mixed with something else. If your guinea pig does not like it, there are plenty of other leafy greens you can give them.
Another item to note is that arugula is high in oxalic acid, which can cause bladder stones. In moderation and in rotation with other vegetables, it’s not a concern. However, it does mean arugula needs to be a treat, not a mainstay, for your guinea pig.
Some guinea pigs can also experience diarrhea, especially after eating arugula for the first time. Introducing new fruits and vegetables in half or quarter servings is essential. You should always monitor your guinea pigs when introducing new foods.
How to Serve Arugula to Guinea Pigs
First, baby and normal arugula are the same for guinea pig purposes. You can use the same preparation and serving size.
Before serving any arugula to your guinea pigs, thoroughly wash it. Most leafy greens absorb things from their environment, including pesticides. Consider buying organic to limit the pesticides, but you must wash that thoroughly, too.
Next is preparing the arugula for consumption. Typically, you want to minimize or remove the arugula flowers entirely since they have a high calcium concentration. Then, you want to cut any stems or stalks into manageable pieces for your guinea pigs.
The typical serving size for arugula is about 3 to 5 leaves. As always, remove anything your guinea pigs do not consume from their cage within a couple of hours so their home stays clean.
Nutrients in Arugula
Arugula is rich in beta carotene, which your guinea pigs break down into vitamin A as they eat the arugula. This specific nutrient is good for your guinea pig’s overall growth, development, and vision.
Guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C like many animals, so they need to get it from food. While arugula is not a particularly rich source of vitamin C, it does contain enough to make it worth mentioning.
Vitamin B (B9 specifically)
The various B vitamins are critical for many body functions since they help cells and enzymes function properly. Arugula is particularly high in B9 (folate), which helps your guinea pig’s body make red blood cells and regulates cell function.
Vitamin K is not as commonly recognized as vitamins A, B, and C, but it performs vital functions all the same. Your guinea pigs need vitamin K for healthy bone growth and blood clotting.
Research currently states that magnesium is a co-factor (read: important) for over 300 reactions in the human body, and your guinea pig’s body is not far behind. It helps maintain muscle and nerve function, including keeping the heartbeat steady.