Anyone who owns a guinea pig certainly knows that they’re herbivores. They love feeding on leafy greens, fresh hay, fruits, and vegetables.
Cavies can’t also make their own vitamin C. This is why they need a solid dose of this nutrient to strengthen their immunity and prevent scurvy.
When it comes to leafy greens for your pet cavy, there are many to choose from.
If you’re wondering whether guinea pigs can eat cilantro or not, then keep reading!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cilantro?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat cilantro. In fact, cilantro is a lovely snack to spoil your cavy with.
In a guinea pigs’ diet, fresh hay, pellets, and water are regularly needed.
However, occasional leafy greens are great to feed them extra amounts of vitamin C.
Cilantro is a wonderful and delicious green treat that guinea pigs love. A fistful of cilantro is packed with vitamin C, K, and provitamin A.
It can provide your cavy with potassium, folate, and lots of beta-carotene for a healthy immune system.
Cilantro – also known as Chinese parsley – is a beloved, aromatic herb in most houses.
Used as a garnishing item, cilantro is known for its fresh, citrus-like taste. It is used for cooking almost every kind of flavorful dish.
It is a great, tasteful addition to a guinea pig’s meal.
Cilantro and Vitamin C
As aforementioned, vitamin C is a vital nutrient that guinea pigs need.
Their bodies can’t formulate this vitamin, which puts them at a greater risk of scurvy.
A guinea pig that has a deficiency of vitamin C may suffer from subcutaneous bleeding, swollen joints, and fatigue.
Vitamin C pellet in a guinea pig’s diet provides direct nutrient absorption.
However, it’s important to give your cavy a wholesome, nutritious diet to overcome the deficiency.
Thankfully, cilantro is a great treat packed with a chockfull of vitamin C.
Every 100g of cilantro contains 27 mg of Vitamin C. This can easily fulfill at least 20-30% of a cavy’s recommended daily intake.
The RDI for vitamin C is 90 mg for a healthy guinea pig.
However, a pig who has a deficiency will require supplement intake and a diet rich in vitamin C foods.
Other Health Benefits of Feeding Your Pig Cilantro
Cilantro is a powerhouse of anti-oxidants.
Even consuming a little can help your pig reap its benefits. These anti-oxidants quickly promote your pet’s health.
You might not see the results dramatically. However, with regular feeding, your cavy will feel energetic, healthy, and active.
Anti-oxidants also boost your guinea pig’s cardiovascular health. It lowers down bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
But its star quality is that it can remove harmful metals from the pet’s body.
Sometimes, the hay you may be feeding your pet might have been treated with heavy fertilizers.
This can deposit harmful, heavy metals in the pig’s fodder. Over time, harmful toxins can build up in the pig’s body that can lead to several health issues.
A few plants act as chelators, which bind to heavy metals and push them out through excretion.
Cilantro is a chelator, so feeding cilantro is an excellent way to help your cavy detox.
Cilantro also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce both mild to severe inflammation.
Guinea pigs can experience severe cases of inflammation in the blood and airways. The main cause is usually a bacterial infection.
There are many causes of bacterial overgrowth; however, adding anti-inflammatory foods can readily reduce it.
Cilantro has analgesic benefits that can reduce inflammation and increase the pain threshold in guinea pigs.
Yet another great benefit of eating cilantro is the moderately high doses of vitamin A.
A quarter cup of this herb is packed with 3% protein and 6% carbohydrates. This means the herb can keep your pig feeling full for longer.
It also provides 5% of the RDI for vitamin A, which supports bone health and a strong immune system.
It’s easy to overlook the benefits of this little herb.
Cilantro is an extremely nutritious and versatile snack that can leave your pig feeling satiated.
How Many Times Can You Feed Cilantro to Your Guinea Pig
Just like every other food, an excess can always be harmful.
Even though cilantro is a nutritious treat, it should be fed occasionally. A few times a week, say 3-4, is good enough.
Make sure not to over-feed as excess cilantro can lead to kidney stones.
Cilantro also contains large amounts of calcium and phosphorous.
An excess of calcium in the guinea pig’s body may weaken the bones and result in Hypercalcemia.
The condition can lead to kidney stones as their bodies contain crystal-forming substances.
These are mostly made of calcium, oxalates, and uric acid. Calcium, however, most commonly builds up in the urine and is found in kidney stones.
Consuming an excess of phosphates is highly dangerous for guinea pigs as well.
It can hamper the development of healthy joints and lead to calcium-phosphate deposits. This can eventually lead to kidney stones in the cavy’s body.
However, feeding your cavy a handful of cilantro occasionally isn’t all too dangerous. The only thing you need to be careful about is avoiding excess feeding.
Make sure to feed them only once a day and stick to a few times a week.
This way, their body will properly absorb and metabolize the nutrients received from cilantro.
Are the Stems of Cilantro Edible for Your Guinea Pig?
By all means. Your guinea pig can devour the entire cilantro in a go. Your pet will definitely enjoy chewing on both the stems and the leaves.
The texture of the stems, as compared to the leaves, is a little rough.
However, they’re a great snack to keep your pig’s mouth occupied in munching.
Make sure to cut up the stems in small or medium-sized pieces. This will make it easier for your pet to eat and digest them.
You can even season them with a little salt for a flavorful treat.
You can rest assured that every part of the cilantro is perfectly edible – the leaves, the stems, and the flowers.
How to Introduce Cilantro to Your Cavy’s Diet
If your guinea pig isn’t used to the taste of cilantro, you will have to introduce it gradually.
The taste can get a bit overwhelming when given in large amounts.
There are also chances that your pig might not be able to digest the leaves properly the first time.
Whatever the case is, it’s always safer to introduce cilantro slowly and in small portions. Guinea pigs have really sensitive digestive systems.
Hence, they will take time to adjust to the novel taste and texture of cilantro.
Don’t be disappointed if your cavy doesn’t end up liking the herb.
It’s totally normal not to. If they display reluctance the first few times, don’t force-feed them.
For a start, give them cilantro mixed with other leafy greens that they already snack on. Kale and spinach are two good choices.
You can season the salad mix with some salt or add a citrus fruit for a more palatable taste.
For the first time, simply introduce a spoonful.
Gradually increase the amount once you’re certain your pet likes it.
How to Prepare and Feed Cilantro to Your Pig
If your guinea pig doesn’t like to eat cilantro separately, mix it up. You can squeeze in some orange juice for a tangy kick.
Before serving the cilantro, make sure to give it a thorough wash. There are high chances that the leaves and stems could have dirt and grime.
Therefore, throw the veggies in fresh running water and rinse them clean.
The leaves are also treated with pesticides so they could also contain toxins.
Thoroughly rinsing them is the best way to ensure that no dirt or pesticides remain.
Don’t worry about wringing out the excess water off the cilantro leaves. This will serve as extra hydration for the guinea pigs, making for a wholesome meal.
Once this is done, simply chop up the leaves into small bite-size pieces and serve! Your pet is totally going to love the delicious, green snack!
How to Store Cilantro
If not stored in a fresh and cool place, cilantro leaves brown easily.
Since it’s a fresh herb, it’s best not to buy a large chunk at one time. You can purchase handfuls every other day so the herb stays fresh for a long time.
Never store wet leaves as moisture can ruin their freshness.
If you’re not feeding them to your pig, it’s best to store them dry. Loosely cover the herbs in a plastic bag and keep them in the fridge.
The cooler the temperature, the fresher and crunchier the Cilantro remains. Every time you need to feed your pig, take out a handful, and rinse thoroughly.
In short, cilantro is one of the tastiest, nutrient-rich herbs to add to your pig’s diet. The best part is that guinea pigs love its taste.
So, there are few chances that your pet would say no to it.
However, even when cilantro is extremely nutritious, feeding in moderation is the key.
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