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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Watercress? (Hazards, Serving Size & More)

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Watercress? (Hazards, Serving Size & More)

Watercress or yellowcress is aquatic plant species with deep green leaves, native to Eurasia, and naturalized throughout North America. It has a pungent, bitter, peppery flavor and is highly nutritious. But can our guinea pigs eat watercress? Let’s find out!

Yes, guinea pigs can eat watercress. Watercress is a rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and many other nutrients needed by our guinea pigs. However, excess feeding can lead to acidity and diarrhea, so it should only be fed in moderation.

Watercress is also considered a weed in some regions. However, it is rich in nutrients and makes for a perfect snack for our guinea pigs.

Although not all guinea pigs will enjoy munching onto it due to its bitter flavor, you can mix it with other vegetables to make it interesting for your guinea pigs.

So, now that you know that guinea pigs can eat watercress, you might be wondering if it can harm our guinea pigs in any way? Also, how much watercress can you feed to your guinea pigs? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. So, let get right into it.

Nutrition in watercress

Vitamin A (µg)160
Vitamin C (mg)43
Folate (µg)9
Iron (mg)0.2
Calcium (mg)170
Vitamin K (µg)120
Vitamin E (mg)1
Sugar (g)0.2
Fat (g)0.1
Source: USDA National Nutrient database

Watercress is one of the most nutrient-dense food. Watercress is a cress that grows in running water, and it is an edible plant.

It is naturally low in calories, virtually fat-free, and contains a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.

Watercress is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. It is also a source of essential minerals like folate, calcium & iron. It also contains other nutrients needed by our guinea pigs.

Let us have a closer look at some essential nutrients present in watercress:

  • Vitamin A: Watercress is an excellent source of vitamin A. It is essential for the growth and development of the body and aids the immune system of the body as well.
  • Vitamin C: Watercress is also rich in Vitamin C. It is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and is necessary for an immune system function.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps your body by making proteins for healthy bones and tissues. It also makes proteins for blood clotting. 
  • Folate: Watercress is a source of folate. Folate is also involved in the maintenance of the amino-acid homocysteine’s normal blood levels. 
  • Calcium: Watercress is a source of calcium. It can help to maintain the blood pressure and benefits to the release of hormones such as insulin. It also aids in the formation of bones and tissues.

Are guinea pigs ok with watercress?

Yes, guinea pigs do get a lot of benefits from watercress if fed in moderation.

Guinea pigs are unable to make Vitamin C on their own, and it must be provided as part of their diet. Watercress is an excellent source of Vitamin C for our guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs also have a high Vitamin A requirement. Thus, adding watercress can be a great choice to fulfill their nutritional need.

Watercress is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.

Let us have a look at some of the benefit of feeding watercress to your guinea pigs:

  • Repairs tissue: Watercress is safe for guinea pig’s consumption. The best part about watercress is that it has sufficient amounts of vitamin C, which is a crucial nutrient for your guinea pig. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and necessary for an immune system’s function.
  • Keeps Them Hydrated: The watercress is also palatable and juicy; it can provide a guinea pig with enough water and keep it hydrated. The presence of water in it also includes refreshment and nourishment to our guinea pigs. However, it does not mean that you should stop giving fresh water to your guinea pig.
  • Boost Immune Functions: Watercress is rich in vitamin C, and it can be a great supplement to our guinea pig’s diet. It has renowned for its beneficial effects on immune health. The deficiency of vitamin C results in decreased immune function and increased inflammation.
  • Prevents Diseases: The various antioxidants present in watercress helps in preventing many diseases. Oxidative stress is one of the known causes of chronic diseases. Antioxidants help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress, and with that, they prevent diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.
  • Lowers Cholesterol: The dietary fiber found in watercress reduces cholesterol levels in the body. This also helps to bring down the chances of heart failure and diseases.
  • Reduces Inflammation: Swelling is normal and is often a result of infections or injury. If the inflammation does not end within the expected time, then this can get chronic levels and cause serve complications in your guinea pig. Nitrates present in watercress helps to prevent this from occurring.

The risk to consider while feeding watercress to guinea pigs

guinea pig coughing

Watercress is entirely safe for our guinea pigs if fed in a moderate amount.

Watercress is rich in vitamin C, and it can be a great supplement to our guinea pig’s diet. 

Most of the guinea pigs enjoy eating watercress, but not all guinea pigs are interested in this food.

Now we know that you can feed watercress to your guinea pigs. However, there are a few risks to consider while feeding the same. Let us have a look into the risk:

  • Digestion problems: Guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system, and serving too much watercress can also cause diarrhea and bloating.
  • Bladder sludge: Watercress is rich in oxalate, and serving high calcium & oxalate food to our guinea pigs can lead to bladder sludge. It can also get critical and form stones if ignored.

Most of these problems can be avoided by feeding it in the right quantity. But what is the right quantity? Let’s dive right into it for more details.

How much watercress can I give to my guinea pigs?

How much watercress can I give to my guinea pigs?

You can add 5-10 sprigs of watercress into your guinea pig’s diet.

It is not recommended to serve watercress as regular food for our guinea pigs.

Add a small amount of watercress in their diet occasionally by mixing it with other low calcium vegetables like Zucchini, Cucumber, Bell peppers, Carrots, etc.

By feeding in moderation, we can control their calcium and oxalate intake and prevent health issues in our guinea pigs.

How often can guinea pigs eat watercress?

It would be best if you feed watercress only once or twice a week to your guinea pigs.

Also, remember that you should not feed watercress to your guinea pigs on two consecutive days.

For example, if you serve watercress on Tuesday, then the next serving should not be before Friday.

You should also know there are guinea pigs who are not interested in watercress at all. In this case, you should not insist on feeding them watercress.

Can guinea pigs eat watercress stems?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat the watercress completely. Its leaves, as well as stems, are edible.

However, you must make sure you remove any roots or other spoiled parts before serving.

How to prepare watercress for guinea pigs?

Feeding watercress to your guinea pig is just as easy as any other vegetables.

Here are a few simple steps to prepare watercress for your guinea pigs:

  • Get fresh green watercress for your guinea pigs. Avoid any wilting watercress as it can be bad for your guinea pig’s health.
  • The second step is to soak the watercress in some cold water to get rid of dirt and chemicals trapped in it. 
  • Now take a small amount of watercress and serve it in a bowl by mixing it with other vegetables to your guinea pigs.
  • Remember to remove any uneaten vegetable from the cage. Uneaten food is often the hotspots for bacterial bloom. It also attracts flies and rats that can be trouble for us and our guinea pigs.

Conclusion: Guinea pigs and Watercress

  • Watercress is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, and other essential nutrients needed by our guinea pigs.
  • Guinea pigs need a lot of Vitamin C to build a robust immune system and live a healthy life. Adding watercress into your guinea pig’s diet can provide them with much-needed Vitamin C.
  • Can guinea pigs eat watercress? Yes, guinea pigs can eat watercress, but occasionally. Do not make watercress a part of their regular diet.
  • Guinea pigs can eat both the stems as well as leaves of watercress.
  • Serve a small amount of fresh watercress to your guinea pigs, once or twice a week.
  • Too much watercress can also lead to diarrhea, acidity, and bloating in our guinea pigs.

Sources: Health Benefits of Watercress, Know about watercress, Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea PigsDietary Vitamin C, and Vitamin E on Guinea Pig Immune Responses to MitogensVitamin C requirements of the guinea-pigIs Your Guinea Pig’s Diet Providing the Right Nutrients? Care of Guinea Pigs.

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