The answer is yes, you can feed your guinea pig Brussels sprouts, but in moderation.
These furry animals love fresh veggies and fruit which should be part of their daily diet.
By giving them nutrient-rich Brussels sprouts as treats you can help your pet live a better life.
Why You Should Give Guinea Pigs Brussels Sprouts
Besides being convenient and easy to clean, Brussels sprouts offer guinea pigs a wide range of health benefits.
Some of those include the following:
High in Anti Oxidants
These leafy and green veggies are rich in antioxidants that are essential for your pig’s immune system.
It ensures that it works as it should thus keeping your piggies free from disease/
This vegetable is also rich in dietary fiber which prevents constipation.
The fiber eases digestion for pain-free bowel movements as well.
Helps in Growth
Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K which your cavies need to make their bones grow and get stronger.
Maintains Sugar Levels
A high sugar diet can harm your guinea pigs so stop giving them candy! They only need sugar in moderate amounts to maintain their energy.
Add Brussels sprouts to their diet and their levels will not get high enough to be dangerous.
Repairs and aids tissue growth
Guinea pigs can get injured easily if they are dropped, get into fights, or even if they are zooming around in their cage.
That’s part of cavy behavior but if their wounds take time to heal, an infection can set in. By adding Brussels sprouts to their diet, you can prevent that.
These veggies are full of vitamin C which aids in tissue repair and growth.
The best thing about Brussels sprouts is that you don’t have to coax your guinea pigs to eat them.
These are similar to the diet they already love such as cabbages so incorporating them will not be difficult.
Tips for Feeding Brussels Sprouts to Guinea Pigs
The benefits should not make you go overboard.
Giving Brussels sprouts to cavies every day is not a good idea. An excess of these veggies can result in the following:
- Bloating and diarrhea leading to sluggishness and dehydration.
- An excess of phosphorus and oxalate acid which can harm your piggy’s digestive tract and stomach in the long term.
- Old Brussels sprout stalks can make your cavy sick with stomach problems.
You can prevent these lethal health issues by feeding your cavies Brussels sprouts only three times a week and no more.
While the veggies will cause some bloating, it will ease up until the next feeding time. The amount is sufficient to ensure they get enough vitamins and nutrients to remain healthy, happy, and strong.
You may have difficulty convincing your cavies to accept these veggies especially if they have been on specific veggies since the beginning.
Rather than giving up, use these tips to make them try them:
- Some cavies prefer stalks over the Brussels sprouts. Feed yours a bit of both and see which one they like more.
- Once they are done feeding, remove uneaten sprouts from their cage whether they have been nibbled or not. These will rot otherwise and can make your piggies seriously sick if they are left in there too long.
- Maintain a separate feeding schedule for Brussels sprouts. Remember, these should only be given three times a week. By sticking to a schedule, your cavies will remember when they ate those veggies and will look forward to them. This is also a great way to keep track of their health. If they fall sick you will know exactly what caused their condition depending on the time they fall ill.
What You Should Feed Guinea Pigs besides Brussels Sprouts
Cavies are herbivores that spend most of their time looking for leafy things to eat in the wild in small herds.
Just because yours are domesticated doesn’t mean they have different needs.
Their teeth can also grow to giant proportions if they are not maintained with roughage that they can chew on.
This can wear down their teeth and prevent serious dental problems.
By giving them fibrous and hard veggies, you can also prevent serious gastric problems that can otherwise prove fatal.
Here are some items that should be part of your cavy’s diet:
Fresh hay and grass
Make sure that you give your guinea pigs a fresh supply of grass and hay such as Timothy, oat, and barley.
However, don’t give them clover hay or alfalfa. These are too high in calcium and protein and will do more harm than good.
Plus, the hay you feed them should be dry, sweet-smelling, and free of mold/mildew.
This will encourage your piggies to chew for longer periods, which is essential for their dental health.
Plus, make sure the hay and grass are in a separate rack and not on the floor of the cage. You can contaminate their feed otherwise, and cleaning it up will be difficult.
Leafy Veggies and Herbs
Offer your cavies a range of leafy veggies and herbs such as snow peas, borage, marigold, dill, parsley, rosemary, dandelion greens, and coriander to name a few.
Plus, you can give them other treats, such as kale, mint, silverbeet, and fruit such as apples, papaya, and mango.
However, research the diet you should give a pregnant, old or sick cavy.
Some veggies may do them more harm than good in their condition. For example, if you give alfalfa to an old cavy, it can develop bladder stones since it is high in calcium.
It should make up the diet of a pregnant cavy though to ensure their unborn pups get enough calcium to grow healthy.
Like humans, guinea pigs cannot synthesize vitamin C from food on their own.
Give them leafy veggies that are a good source of this vitamin such as capsicum, carrots, pineapple, berries but make sure you give these only a few times a week.
These are quite high in sugar after all.
You should also allow your guinea pigs to graze on fresh grass in your lawn provided it is safe for consumption.
This will give them much-needed fresh air, exercise, and a good diet at the same time.
Just make sure they are not left unsupervised. They are prey animals after all, and nothing is stopping a cat or a falcon from taking off with one of them if they can.
Just make sure that you introduce the new food gradually to the guinea pigs.
This will give their digestive tract enough time to adjust and they won’t fall ill.
Introduce new food in small portions at first and then increase the quantity slowly throughout the week.
Buying Brussels Sprouts
To ensure you get the best and freshest Brussels sprouts for your beloved pets, keep the following in mind during your grocery trip:
- Don’t get damaged sprouts or ones that have blemishes.
- Look for sprouts that have tight heads and avoid leafy ones.
- The sprout heads should be firm and should not have soft spots.
Cleaning Brussels Sprouts
Even though cavies are wild animals, the ones you have are domesticated and bred to live indoors.
As such, they will get sick if the Brussels sprouts you give them have dirt or are contaminated.
So before placing them in their food bowl, follow these tips to clean the sprouts thoroughly:
- Rinse off the sprouts in cold water to remove debris and dirt.
- Cut off the tip of the step with a small knife and throw it away.
- Remove leaves that have blemishes and don’t worry if you have to take unblemished ones off as well in the process.
You can also cut them in half if you get big sprouts that your cavies may not be able to eat whole otherwise.
Cut them in half twice to make bite-size pieces. Just make sure that these are kept in a separate food bowl so that they don’t get contaminated again.
Cleaning cut Brussels sprouts is more difficult. You may lose healthy leaves and your money will go to waste.
If you grow your own Brussels sprouts in your garden, you need to clean them more thoroughly.
Place them in a pot of lukewarm water and allow them to soak for 10 minutes without touching them.
Then pour the sprouts in a strainer over the sink and then rinse with cold water.
Add Brussels sprouts to your guinea pig’s diet, but only in moderation.
It can also be replaced with other healthy treats as well but just make sure that they are given sparingly as well.
Your cavies don’t need a lot of treats to love and trust you. Just monitor their intake and keep a lookout for disease and change their diet accordingly.
By taking special care of their diet, you can prevent chronic conditions, strengthen their bones and ensure that their fur remains healthy.
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