Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable that comes in a variety of colors. You see it all over the world, and its culinary uses are endless. However, you may wonder, “Can guinea pigs eat cabbage if I’m eating it?”
The Short Answer: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage?
The short answer to whether guinea pigs can eat cabbage is yes, they can. However, it requires moderation, like all fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, your guinea pig could experience some severe discomfort.
Considerations With Cabbage and Guinea Pigs
When considering whether guinea pigs can eat cabbage, the big worry is the gas it can create in their digestive systems. Some guinea pigs are fine, but many experience flatulence that can build up into bloat if you don’t practice strict moderation. This could also lead to other digestive upset, like diarrhea.
Another concern is the calcium levels in cabbage. While each type of cabbage has a slightly different levels, most of them have over the recommended amount. Excess calcium can build up into painful stones your guinea pig has to pass or knock their system out of balance.
What Parts of a Cabbage Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
You should always thoroughly wash and inspect any vegetable before feeding it to your guinea pigs. In the case of cabbage, you want to look for intact leaves free of residue, bugs, and holes for maximum benefit.
You should only feed the leaves of cabbage to your guinea pigs. Your guinea pig can eat a whole leaf by itself, though if this is your first time feeding cabbage, you may want to only feed half a leaf per piggle to see how they handle it.
Cabbage can be safely fed once or twice per week as part of a balanced rotation of fruits and vegetables. If a guinea pig shows signs of pain or discomfort after eating cabbage, remove it from your guinea pig’s dietary additions.
Are There Types of Cabbage a Guinea Pig Cannot Eat?
Guinea pigs can eat the four main types of cabbage in moderation. Each contains slightly different nutrients, so mixing them up is good. Remember, it’s best to feed only the leaves, not the stems.
Guinea pigs should not be fed processed or cooked cabbage. Unfortunately, their digestive systems are not set up to handle what happens when food is cooked or fermented, leading to harm.
Nutrients in Cabbage for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs must get their vitamin C from their food (unlike people), and their systems are not efficient at absorbing it. Therefore, a vitamin C-rich cabbage leaf is a good addition to their diet to give them what they need.
Calcium is critical for muscle and nerve function. Your guinea pig needs it too, and cabbage is a rich source. However, too much calcium can cause problems, so stick to the one leaf per guinea pig rule.
Fiber helps moderate your guinea pig’s digestive system and keep everything regular. The amount of fiber in a cabbage leaf is excellent for your guinea pig, provided they are not receiving an excess of fiber from other sources.
These compounds are present in red or purple cabbages, and part of why some folks argue these are the best cabbages for guinea pigs. Anthocyanins possess many properties, like antidiabetic, anticancerous, and anti-obesity.