From all the treats you could feed a guinea pig, herbs are a rare pick.
Most pet owners like to give their cavies fruits, leafy greens, and plenty of hay.
However, guinea pigs are herbivores that will munch on everything leafy and crunchy.
For this reason, giving them herbs is a good way to make their meals nutrient-dense.
While the options are many, dill is one herb that is both tasty and nutritious. But can your guinea pig eat it? Let’s find out!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dill?
Yes, guinea pigs love eating dill. It is one of the many herbs that won’t disturb your cavy’s stomach.
It’s important to note here that not all herbs are edible for guinea pigs.
Chives and rosemary, for example, may be commonly used herbs for cooking. However, they’re not as easy-going and aromatic for guinea pigs.
Thankfully, dill, among many others, is a great herb for guinea pigs. Another good thing about dill is its pleasant taste.
Many herbs, when eaten on their own, can have a bitter taste. Dill, however, tastes grassy with a brief licorice-like taste. In short, it’s a tasty treat for guinea pigs.
Dill is extremely nutritious. Since it’s a powerful herb, you can only feed it to your cavy in small amounts to reap the benefits.
Dill is super-rich in protein and low in fats. Although it’s slightly higher in carbs, it also contains a chockfull of fiber.
Let’s explore some quick facts about the herb to appreciate its benefits for guinea pigs!
A Little Bit About Dill
As compared to oregano, thyme, and sage, dill is used less frequently.
Dill essentially means to “soothe or calm”, reflecting the plant it comes from.
It is an annual herb widely grown and found in Eurasia. In ancient times, dill was used as a ‘medicinal herb’ to soothe troubled stomachs.
It has slender stems that have delicate, soft leaves.
The leaves can grow up to 16-24 inches. Their texture is extremely soft, making it an easy treat for guinea pigs.
Nutritional Benefits of Dill for Guinea Pigs
Dill is loaded with essential nutrients and vitamins.
It may be a small addition to your cavy’s meal; however, it’s a rich source of protein, potassium, and fiber.
Here are the nutritional benefits of this star herb that your guinea pig will love!
A Potent Source of vitamin C
Apart from providing all the essential macro-nutrients, dill is super high in vitamin C. You probably know how crucial vitamin C is for cavies.
In fact, from a nutritional point of view, a cavy’s ideal diet needs to be high in vitamin C. And, dill is a rich source of this essential vitamin.
One tablespoon of dill contains around 1.4 mg of vitamin C.
And, 100 grams of dill has a whopping 25 mg of vitamin C.
However, since herbs should be consumed minimally, even a tablespoon is enough for the pig. Adding it in the vegetable mix can significantly up your cavy’s vitamin C intake!
High Fiber and Protein
A guinea pig’s diet should ideally be low in carbs and high in fiber. One tablespoon of dill contains 1.4g of dietary fiber.
In addition to high-quality hay, dill greatly enhances a pig’s fiber uptake.
Since guinea pigs have sensitive gut flora, high fiber from dill offers a ton of benefits.
It improves gastrointestinal health and balances the microbial flora of their gut.
Eating fiber also promotes the normal grinding motion pigs need for healthy teeth growth.
Therefore, giving your pig dill 2-3 times a week will keep them energetic and healthy.
Like all other mammals, guinea pigs also need protein in their diet.
Protein is broken down into amino acids, which serve as building blocks for cavies. Dill is a decent source of protein with a tablespoon containing 1.1g.
However, their diet shouldn’t be high in protein as it promotes weight gain in adults.
Feeding them a handful weekly will ensure a restricted but healthy dose of protein.
High in Vitamin A
Dill is super-high in vitamin A. A tablespoon has 3.5 IU, which can further add to the vitamin-rich vegetable mix your pig is eating.
Mixing dill leaves with kale is a good way to increase your cavy’s vitamin A uptake.
Since cavies can stress out very quickly, they need a rich dose of anti-oxidants.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that minimizes the risk of chronic diseases. It is stored in the liver and is slowly released into the body.
Vitamin A is essential for the normal growth and maturation of the guinea pig.
A Powerhouse of Potassium
Even when dill is a herb, it could easily be regarded as a superfood. It is extremely high in potassium, with a tablespoon containing 78.3mg.
Guinea pigs require at least this much potassium as it balances sodium levels in the body.
It works amazingly to prevent hypertension and strokes in cavies.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that relieves painful aches in muscles.
If your guinea pig has been feeling exhausted or lethargic lately, then a nutrient deficiency could be the cause.
In many cases, it is a lack of potassium that can cause numbness, tingling, and cramps in muscles.
Potassium is also important to reduce stress and anxiety. If you’ve petted a pig for a while, you’ll know that they become highly stressed.
Whether it’s a change of environment or loss of a cage mate, the stress is easily induced.
Therefore, proper nutrition and hydration are crucial for your cavy’s health.
Adding a few pieces of dill in your guinea pig’s meal is a good way to ensure their potassium intake.
It helps create a balance of electrolytes in their body.
Dill provides a wholesome source of essential B-vitamins, especially B6. Just 100g of dill can provide your cavy with 9% of the daily recommended intake for B6.
The vitamin helps balance out hormones and increase serotonin. Known as a happy pill, high serotonin levels will keep your piggy in a good mood!
Dill is also a rich source of folate, which promotes healthy DNA development. If your cavy is pregnant, she needs greater amounts of folic acid for a healthy baby.
All of the B-vitamins work together to reduce stress and anxiety in your pig.
Although feeding dill won’t show any dramatic effects, over time, you’ll observe a healthier and happier cavy!
Another crucial nutrient that dill contains is iron. Every 100g contains 37% of the daily recommended uptake for iron.
Iron is essential for healthy blood formation and preventing anemia. Iron and vitamin C go hand in hand when it comes to preventing scurvy in guinea pigs.
As you increase vitamin C-rich foods, make sure to increase iron as well. Luckily, dill provides both the nutrients in decent amounts.
How to Add Dill to Your Guinea Pig’s Diet
If your pig isn’t used to the taste of dill, you might want to add it slowly. Although the taste isn’t over-powering, it is still different.
Since dill leaves are already small on their own, you don’t have to slice them up. Simply, add them to a vegetable mix with other leafy greens.
You can also feed them dill as is and see if your pig likes the taste.
If they do, feel free to increase the dose. It’s best to start giving dill a few times a week.
Once they get used to the taste, give them dill every other day.
The ideal serving size is just a few leaves or branches of the dill. A few bites will be enough.
Don’t overfeed your guinea pigs!
Risks Involved with Over-Feeding Dill
Just like any other food, over-feeding should be avoided. A crucial risk with eating too much dill is an excess of phosphorus and calcium.
Although guinea pigs need these nutrients for healthy bones and tissues, it can also cause problems.
For cavies, especially, these nutrients may possibly lead to bladder and kidney stones.
The urinary tract of guinea pigs is extremely fragile. An excess of calcium can quickly disturb it and lead to stones.
These urinary stones may also cause renal failure if not treated in time. Even when dill is a healthy herb, too much can cause digestive discomfort.
It can lead to flatulence, bloating, and sometimes, loose stool. Since it’s high in fibers, eating too much isn’t a good idea.
From all the herbs cavies like, dill is definitely their favorite. It has a soft texture, earthy taste, and is pleasantly sweet.
Above all, feeding in moderate amounts will ensure your cavy gets all the essential nutrients.
As vegetarians, guinea pigs will love anything grassy and tasty, making dill the perfect green treat.
The best part? You only have to feed your pig a few bites to reap all its benefits!
Other articles you may also like: