Pumpkins are widely used not only as food but also for aesthetic purposes. Pumpkin pie on thanksgiving is a tradition, and on the other hand, it is also carved and used for decoration on Halloween. All these things show our fondness towards pumpkin. But are our guinea pigs fond of pumpkins? Can guinea pigs eat pumpkin?
I did some research and here is what I have learned.
Guinea pigs can eat pumpkin but only as a treat. Pumpkin contains a moderate amount of vitamin c in it. But it also includes a fair amount of sugar and calcium in it. These can be bad for our guinea pigs if overfed. Thus, serve a small quantity 1-2 times a week only.
You must also understand that vegetables like pumpkin and other similar squash are not the best kind of vegetable you want to go for.
Guinea pigs need leafy vegetables and other vegetables high in Vitamin C as they cannot produce their own Vitamin C.
Now, you know that you can feed pumpkin to your guinea pigs must be excited to do so.
There are some hazards of feeding pumpkin that you must know first.
Also, as a bonus, we shall discuss what other vegetables would be an excellent mix for a healthy and balanced diet of your guinea pigs.
Nutrition in a pumpkin?
|Vitamin C||9 mg/ 100 g|
|Vitamin K||1.1 µg/100 g|
|Vitamin A||426 µg/ 100 g|
|Carotene||4016 µg/ 100 g|
|Lutein + Zeaxanthin||1500 µg/ 100 g|
|Calcium||21 mg/ 100 g|
|Phosphorous||44 mg/ 100 g|
|Potassium||340 mg/ 100 g|
|Fiber||0.5 g/ 100 g|
|Sugar||2.76 g/ 100 g|
|Magnesium||12 mg/ 100 g|
|Carbs||6.5 g/ 100 g|
|Fat||0.1 g/ 100 g|
|Water||91.6 g/ 100 g|
Now that we have told you that guinea pigs can eat a small amount of pumpkin, let’s look at the nutrition a pumpkin has.
- Vitamin A: Pumpkin contains vitamin A (53% DV). It is essential for healthy skin, teeth, and skeletal tissue.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is also present but in a moderate quantity (11% DV). It helps in the growth and development of our body. It also improves our immune system.
- Water: Pumpkin is 92% water, it keeps you hydrated.
- Beta- carotene: Pumpkin is also a good source of beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body.
- Vitamin E: It is a powerful antioxidant that slowdowns the aging process of our cells. Indeed, a pumpkin contains 0.44mg, which is 3% DV.
- Calcium: A pumpkin has 2% DV of calcium. Calcium is essential for building strong bones and keeping us healthy.
- Iron: it is significant for our health as iron deficiency can lead to various severe health problems. Iron helps to transport oxygen in the blood, and proper the function of hemoglobin. And pumpkin is an excellent source of iron-containing 6% of DV.
- Carbohydrates: pumpkin has 6.5g of carbs, including sugar 2.76g and dietary fiber 0.5g.
Pumpkin is rich in various vitamins and minerals, but are guinea pigs allergic to any of it?
Are guinea pigs allergic to pumpkin?
No, guinea pigs are not allergic to pumpkin, but eating a lot of pumpkins can harm their health.
Although they are not allergic to pumpkin, but chances are not all guinea pigs are going to enjoy pumpkin.
Some guinea pigs will love to munch on it while others who despise it. You need to look out for your guinea pig’s preference by giving it a try.
We have already made you aware that guinea pigs are not allergic, and they can eat a little pumpkin, but there may be specific facts that you should keep in mind while feeding them.
We will discuss the ill effect of overfeeding pumpkin to your guinea pigs later in the article.
Learn more about guinea pig allergies by reading our in-depth guide on the same.
Are guinea pigs ok with pumpkin?
Pumpkins are healthy for us humans but, what good it does to our guinea pig? Do they have the same benefits as we do?
Let us have a look at some common benefits of eating pumpkin.
- Maintains weight: Pumpkins are low in calories as it contains only 26 calories. Low calories in pumpkin pulp maintain the health and weight of our piggy.
- Provides energy: A regular pumpkin has 6.5g of carbs and 1g of protein, which, if given to our cavy in a moderate amount, will be a great energy source.
- Prevents different illnesses: Pumpkin has Vitamin C, which is another essential element for a guinea pig. Guinea pigs can’t produce vitamin C on their own, so they need to feed to maintain the level of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to prevent scurvy in guinea pigs, stomach aches, and internal bleeding.
But are there any risks in feeding pumpkin to our guinea pigs? Let’s find out.
Are guinea pigs allowed pumpkin?
As we have already made you aware of, guinea pigs can eat a little pumpkin, but there may be certain facts that you should keep in mind while feeding them.
- CHOKING HAZARD: We want our guinea pigs to be full of beans, so feeding them the pumpkin seeds will be a bad idea. As it is not only fattening but they can be hard to chew and can be choking for our poor cavies!
- Pumpkin seeds can also be tough to digest and can get stuck in their mouth and throat.
- URINARY PROBLEM: Calcium present in pumpkin is good for the young cavies as they form strong bones during their development.
- As for grownups, they are at risk of urinary stones, pain during urination, or blood in urine and infections in the urinary tract.
- And it can be inevitable as it may lead to kidney failures.
- POSSIBILITY OF DIARRHEA: Sugar can be challenging for our guinea pigs to digest, and as pumpkin is sweet, it contains sugar. Excess intake of sugar can be a problem as the little tummies of our guinea pigs are very fragile, and it may lead to stomach aches or diarrhea.
All these hazards and health issues of our guinea pigs lead us to another question. How often can our cavy eat pumpkin? Or how much quantity will be sufficient for them? As we told you, we’ve got you all covered, let’s scroll down for the answers.
How often can guinea pigs eat pumpkin?
As we have already characterized the benefits and hazards for you. You would have figured out that, we can let our guinea pigs feast upon small slices of pumpkin but only for once or twice a week.
We have to limit the feeding as a high intake of pumpkin can lead to excess sugar level and excess calcium level in older guinea pig’s bodies.
It would be best if we space out the feeding as well. For example, if you fed them pumpkin on Monday, then the next time should be a week later or on Friday or Saturday.
How much serving of pumpkin can guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs are only allowed a small amount of pumpkin as it may cause digestion problems or other significant health problems.
It’s recommended to give our guinea pigs 2-3 small pieces or cubes of pumpkin. But it may vary as it depends upon the digestive system of your guinea pig.
Don’t serve it regularly; we have to maintain the sugar level in their body.
But a limited amount of pumpkin is outstanding for them.
I usually mix pumpkin with other Vitamin C rich vegetables like bell peppers, chards, kale, arugula, spinach, etc. to balance out their diet.
You can make a healthy mix of vegetables and serve it in a bowl.
Now let’s summarize what other parts of pumpkin, guinea pigs can or cannot eat.
Can guinea pigs eat pumpkin rind?
Pumpkin rind is nothing but pumpkin skin only, the outer shiny orange part of the pumpkin, which gives us the orange glow we all crave for. Sometimes we call it pumpkin rind for a change.
Guinea pigs cannot eat pumpkin rind. Although serving them with the skin will not harm our guinea pigs, but will not do any good either. The skin of pumpkin doesn’t have any nutrition on its own.
Can guinea pigs eat pumpkin seeds?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat pumpkin seeds at all. In fact, these seeds do have a choking hazard for our guinea pigs.
Pumpkin seeds are round and semi-hard. Generally, when fresh seeds are taken out of the pumpkin, a person rinses and roasts seeds to make it edible.
Pumpkin seeds contain a lot of health benefits like protein. It also contains unsaturated fats and iron. It also has omega-3, which is an essential element for our brain.
But when it comes to guinea pigs, they can be very harmful. Seeds can be tough for them to chew and can get stuck in their mouth or throat.
It can also get tough for them to digest and can cause problems like a stomach ache.
Please do not feed your cavies pumpkin seeds as it may not be as healthy for them as it is for us.
Can guinea pigs eat pumpkin leaves?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat pumpkin but only in small quantities.
Pumpkin leaves are very nutritious and healthy. They also have various properties of a pumpkin.
Pumpkin leaves are loaded with Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B. They are low in calories. These are very important for a fully functional body. But all these things are not as beneficial as we think about our cavies.
Pumpkin leaves contain a lot of calcium, and so we can add this in their diet but only in a rare case. Calcium, more than required, can be harmful to them.
Can guinea pigs eat pumpkin stems?
No, guinea pigs cannot chew on these hard stems of pumpkin. They don’t carry any nutritional benefit for our guinea pigs as well.
Pumpkin stems are the ‘handle’ of pumpkin, which are slightly brownish-green.
They are green when the pumpkin is still growing, but as they tend to grow, the color of the stem changes to brownish-green.
As pumpkin stems don’t have any nutrition, it will be useless to feed your cavy this. And it may be a little hard for their molars, and for them to digest it.
You can provide them with other safe tree branches like apple, willow, birch, etc.
Can guinea pigs eat pumpkin puree?
Feeding pumpkin puree to guinea pigs can be risky. We should avoid feeding pumpkin puree to our guinea pigs.
Canned pumpkin puree and the pumpkin puree that we use for pumpkin pie are both different.
Canned pumpkin puree that comes in cans is preserved. Unlike pumpkin puree we use for pumpkin pie, canned pumpkins don’t have sugar or cinnamon powder.
But canned pumpkin does contain preservatives, chemicals, or a little amount of sugar even if it’s written 100% pumpkin. And these chemicals and preservatives can be very detrimental to our cavies.
Are guinea pigs allowed butternut pumpkin?
Like pumpkin, we can feed our guinea pigs butternut squash, but not too often, as it contains high oxalic acids that can harm our babies.
Guinea pigs tend not to eat their skin or rinds because it is hard for them to chew and can produce various kinds of problems. Butternut pumpkin is another member of the Cucurbitaceae family. It mostly shares nutrition as a pumpkin.
Butternut pumpkin is slightly different from the regular pumpkin. It has a goldish yellow shine on the outside, which makes it attractive.
It has a similar taste of a pumpkin; sweet, nutty flavor makes it more likable.
It is a good source of vitamin A (63%DV), vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. All these antioxidants help to reduce various chronic diseases.
Butternut pumpkin is sweet, and we know our cavy cannot digest sugar easily, which can lead to infections.
Little amount from our squash will be healthy for them, but it should be limited, only once or twice a week.
Now let’s find out more other questions.
Are guinea pigs allowed pumpkin pie?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat pumpkin pie at all.
Pumpkin pie is one of the most loved and traditional dishes for thanksgiving or on any occasion.
We are always ready to feast upon delicious pumpkin pie. But offering this to your guinea pigs can be a bad idea.
As pumpkin is already sweet but in pumpkin pie, we add more sugar. And I have already told you that a high intake of sugar can be hazardous for them. They cannot digest sugar if it exceeds its limit.
So we will suggest not offering this to our cavies. It also contains various other ingredients like cinnamon or eggs, which can harm them.
Pumpkin pie can make your mouth water, and it is that one dish that no one can deny when offered, but if it is for a guinea pig, we suggest keeping it far from them.
By now, you must have got the most of your answers, but you still might be having a little, simple question, and we know what that is.
How to prepare the pumpkin for our guinea pigs?
We don’t need to go out of our way to feed guinea pig pumpkin. There are some simple rules that we should follow:
- The pumpkin should be correctly washed to get rid of the dirt or any unwanted chemicals.
- Peel of its skin and serve pumpkin pulp only, so it doesn’t get heavy for them.
- Don’t forget to remove its seed, or it can get stuck in their mouth or throat.
- The pumpkin should be raw and not cooked as cooked food is bad for our guinea pigs.
- The pumpkin should be served in a limited quantity. We don’t want our cavies to upset their stomach.
- Finally don’t forget to mix it with other veggies to create a well-balanced diet.
Well, by now, we know how difficult it is to keep up with our little cavy’s diet.
It is easy to take care of them, they don’t need any special treatment, but when it comes to their food, they can get choosy.
Conclusion: Guinea pig and pumpkin
Now that we have concluded every possibility of hazards and benefits, it is safe to say that:
- Guinea pigs can eat pumpkin, but only in little amount. We can serve them 2-3 pieces at a time. A limited amount of pumpkin once or twice in a week will be sufficient.
- Pumpkin contains various essential vitamins or minerals needed by our guinea pig. Also, its beta-carotene maintains oxygen in their blood. Guinea pigs cannot produce Vitamin C on their own and so pumpkin is a great source of that.
- Guinea pigs can eat its leaves and skin even though it is not that nutritious for them. But serving them pumpkin seeds or stems can be very harmful as they both can be hard for them to chew and to digest.
- It will be better not to serve the pumpkin pie or pumpkin puree, they can increase their sugar levels.
- Guinea pigs can also eat butternut pumpkin but not much as their high oxalic acids can harm them.
- Guinea pigs are not allergic to pumpkin but if not served in limited quantity it can lead to some serious health problems like; scurvy, urinary infection, digestion problem, etc.
Sources: Everything you need to know about pumpkin, Nutrition in pumpkin, Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs, Dietary Vitamin C, and Vitamin E on Guinea Pig Immune Responses to Mitogens, Vitamin C requirements of the guinea-pig, Is Your Guinea Pig’s Diet Providing the Right Nutrients? Care of Guinea Pigs.
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