Guinea pigs are one of our favorite furry animal companions. When you see guinea pigs it is almost impossible not to go straight into “aww mode.”
Care taking for our little fantastic guinea pigs can be a challenge but a very fun one at that. Guinea pig care is something you want to prepare for though because guinea pigs eat a lot of food.
What you need to know about their ever-changing diet
Abyssinian Guinea pig feeding is not the most complicated thing to do especially if you have experience in guinea pig care.
Abyssinian eat spinach leaves, veggies, fruit, and hay in a balanced diet. Guinea pig food can sometimes get expensive over time though and that is why you may need to find certain alternatives to your guinea pig food.
Like us humans, guinea pigs have a diverse cuisine contrary to the popular belief of only food pellets. In fact, if only given pellets your Abyssinian or may develop health symptoms that could prove fatal later in life.
Guinea pigs should eat a wide variety of fresh foods that are full of nutrition for proper guinea pig care.
Although these pellets are nutritious, your cavies still need their occasional fruit and vegetable sustenance for their diet to be fully balanced.
It is always a good choice to let your Abyssinians eat fresh fruit, but you would be very surprised to find out that certain leafy greens can be very harmful to your pet.
While you thought that you were helping your friend grow by letting them eat spinach to get all the guinea pig ladies; you might have been severely hurting them.
Giving them the wrong veggie can poison them and without proper treatment, they can pass away.
Guinea Pigs, Spinach, and You
One leafy green food that guinea pigs love to munch down on and is safe for guinea pig feeding are spinach leaves.
Spinach packs high amounts of vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Usually becoming a five-star rated meal for guinea pigs after the first bite, spinach has many vitamins needed to support a diet for a full growing fluff ball.
For cavies, it tastes amazing to be able to eat fresh spinach, although many small children would love to disagree.
One cup of raw spinach contains:
- 7 calories
- 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 vitamin K, fiber, phosphorus, and thiamine. Most of the calories in spinach come from protein and carbohydrates.
Also, guinea pigs I mean Abyssinian or any other breed cannot have a lot of sugar in their diverse diet and that is why spinach is a great food source for
them. Spinach leaves have very low sugar levels which are beneficial to your Abyssinian guinea pig’s health and overall wellbeing. So, when feeding guinea pigs remember it will not fulfill their sugar intake.
Spinach contains quite a lot of calcium as well and can improve their bone structure. It makes them less fragile and less susceptible to common injuries such as fractures and breaks.
According to many experts and veterinarians feeding guinea pigs fresh spinach leaves can increase:
- Growth rates
- Activity time
- Life expectancy
- Immune system
- Bone Strength
Spinach is also a cheaper form of alternative nutrition for feeding your guinea pigs compared to expensive vitamin supplements that your guinea pigs would have to have if they did not get enough vitamin C and Vitamin K.
According to most veterinarians, guinea pigs eat spinach leaves for their diet to be balanced and well rounded.
When feeding your guinea pig spinach; it resets their body and cleans out their system. That is why I use spinach to feed my guinea pigs once a week.
Although when I do feed my guinea pigs I do it in small amounts to prevent overeating and using spinach only as a bonus to the guinea pig food.
The Dangers of Spinach and Overfeeding
For your Abyssinian guinea pig care, you need to give your guinea pigs the correct guinea pig food amount. When guinea pigs eat fresh fruit or vegetables, they are on the way to a correct guinea pig diet.
Fresh spinach leaves may seem like the wonder drug for your guinea pigs, but you must be very careful with the amounts that you give it. Too much of a good thing can be overwhelming to your cavy and their diet.
Spinach leaves have very high calcium levels which cause kidney stones. The main type of kidney stone guinea pigs suffer from are calcium stones.
They develop these types of stones because of an influx in large amounts of foods that are high in calcium. (Who could have guessed.) This is the reason spinach can be so dangerous to Abyssinian.
Here, you can find an article we wrote answering that commonly asked question. Go ahead and read it to see what foods can kill your guinea pig pet.
Due to the large amounts of food that guinea pigs devour; they usually are constantly eating. Although it may not seem like it this is proper guinea pig care.
With them constantly having food in their mouths they eat a lot of spinach if they have access to it. This is the cause of the problem. Guinea pigs were not made to handle that much calcium forcing them to get painful kidney stones.
You would need surgery and medicine for your guinea pigs. The medicine guinea pigs need for kidney stones is very expensive and that is not including surgery costs.
Sometimes the medicine guinea pigs need might not work the first time around causing you to pay more.
Despite all these negatives, guinea pigs eat spinach helping them eventually outweighing the bad for the good.
Is Spinach Poisonous to Guinea Pigs?
Yes and No. When guinea pigs eat spinach leaves they are healthier, more active, and live longer. For proper guinea pig feeding and guinea pig care, you cannot give them more than a few leaves a week or else it could give them painful kidney stones that could prove fatal.
Guinea pigs eat spinach to clear out their system and help reset their digestive system. Guinea pigs eat spinach and also eat a wide variety of food to keep a balanced diet.
While feeding your guinea pigs spinach just remember to use small amounts about a week at a time. Overall, it is not poisonous and guinea pigs should eat spinach.
Some Alternatives to Spinach
Although when Abyssinian guinea pigs eat spinach it helps them in many ways, you might want to investigate some other more adventurous pathways for your guinea pigs to eat.
- Swiss chard (red and green)
- Dandelion leaves
- Mixed greens
- Frisee /curly (red and green)
Your guinea pigs will love all these leafy vegetables and will still have the same health benefits.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.