Spinach is considered extremely healthy green leafy vegetable across the globe. Guinea pigs can eat baby spinach (it is something they prefer and good for them) and even the large leaves. But there is something that it contains which is harmful for their body which you need to be careful about. Read more to find out.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Spinach
Yes, but not too much of it.
Spinach has double the amount of vitamin C compared to certain fruits. Since guineas cannot produce their own vitamin C, spinach is good for them. It has low sugar content adding to the advantage of serving them as sugar is bad for their health.
Spinach contains even vitamin A, low sugar and less calories which is good for maintaining the right balance in your cavy’s diet. It is like a super leafy vegetable but cannot be served daily to them.
Spinach further helps with their overall eye health, elimination of free radicals, maintains good digestion, relieves constipation, helps to control weight, reduces blood pressure, aids the entire cardiovascular system, makes bones and teeth stronger thus boosting their entire immune system and keeping it healthy. This is how good spinach is for their health.
But every vegetable has something that does not agree to a guinea pig. Spinach is rich in calcium and high in oxalic acid. And both are not good for them. Such foods with high oxalates lead to bladder stones, an issue commonly found in guinea pigs. These are painful and your cavy will need to undergo an operation to take the stones out. Spinach also results in blood clotting and this can be severely harmful for your cavy.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Spinach
Hence, spinach cannot be fed in large amounts. Feeding spinach in excess amounts will lead to serious health issues and maybe even result in death for some guineas.
Guinea pigs love to eat spinach and to some extent it is safe but in moderation. 2-3 leaves once a week is exactly right. Choose the leaves that are darker green and not yellow or rotten.
Leafy veggies like spinach need to be washed thoroughly because pesticides are sprayed on them to keep fresh. If these are ingested by your cavy, it can prove fatal. Separate the stalks as it is tough for them to eat those (also choking hazards). Organically grown spinach is the best to serve them. Clean up the leftovers after they are done eating to avoid bacteria blooming.
Nutritional Values In Spinach
A cup of raw spinach contains:
0.86 grams (g) of protein
30 milligrams (mg) of calcium
0.81 g of iron
24 mg of magnesium
167 mg of potassium
2,813 international units (IU) of Vitamin A
58 micrograms of folate
Spinach also contains nutrition such as phosphorus, vitamin K, fiber and thiamine. Most of the calories in spinach come from protein and carbohydrates.
Keep the spinach raw. In this way, it will derive the full nutritional value from it. Deep-freeze (advised to thaw beforehand), baked, canned, processed, and cooked spinach is bad for their health.
When it comes to the stems, many advise not to consume them. But as a matter of fact, the stems are filled with minerals and vitamins too. Avoid feeding any other calcium enriched vegetable the same week you are feeding it spinach.
In a nutshell, spinach is safe for guinea pigs to eat, not daily. Make sure to monitor your little friend when it eats spinach so that it does not cause any health problems.