Spinach is a readily available leafy green that you probably enjoy on sandwiches or in salad mixes. However, you may ask whether guinea pigs can eat spinach with your family, particularly when it’s in season.
The Short Answer: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Spinach?
The short answer is yes, guinea pigs can eat spinach. However, like most diet items, you must carefully moderate the amount and rotate it with other vegetables to keep your guinea pig healthy.
Considerations with Guinea Pigs and Spinach
The oxalate levels are the big reason not to feed your guinea pigs too much spinach. Guinea pigs cannot process a lot of oxalates, so it tends to form stones in their urinary tract. This condition is painful and potentially dangerous for your guinea pigs.
Feeding Spinach to Guinea Pigs
As with all vegetables for your piggles, you want to wash any spinach intended for your guinea pigs thoroughly. You also want to remove any pieces that are discolored, have spots, feel slimy, or that you otherwise would not eat yourself.
The serving size for spinach with guinea pigs is about five leaves. Guinea pigs can eat the leaves and the small stems they’re attached to safely, so there’s not much preparation involved before your guinea pigs get to munching.
Remember, guinea pigs should not be fed frozen spinach or cooked spinach. Their digestive systems have not evolved to handle those preparations. Additionally, if possible, you want to limit the pesticide residue by buying organic or washing thoroughly.
Are There Types of Spinach Guinea Pigs Can’t Eat?
More than 40 types of spinach are widely available in seed form, though supermarkets tend only to stock smooth-leaf and savoy. Each has a slightly different appearance and nutrient profile, but they all basically come out the same.
Your guinea pigs can have any variety of spinach you can get your hands on. Most folks choose the smooth-leaf variety simply because it is the most widely available.
Nutrients in Spinach
Vitamin A is crucial for guinea pigs’ healthy immune systems, growth, and development. It’s also important for healthy eyesight. Getting enough vitamin A means your guinea pig stays healthy long-term.
Vitamin C is critical for guinea pigs and prevents health problems like scurvy. Unlike humans, guinea pigs must get all their vitamin C from food. Therefore, a vitamin C-rich food like spinach is critical to their diet.
Calcium is critical for muscle, nerve, blood, and hormone functions. Without it, your guinea pig’s body simply cannot carry out basic functions properly, leading to health problems. It’s important not to add too much calcium, however.
Potassium is critical for fluid balance within your guinea pig’s body. This nutrient works inside cells, so it is everywhere in the body. Without it, everything from the heart to the muscles starts to act abnormally.