Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Cabbage?

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A guinea pig’s diet should include green leafy vegetables (natural and healthy food at the same time). Speaking of green leafy vegetables, can guinea pigs eat raw cabbage? Let’s find out the answer to this question.

The quick answer is an absolute YES! So you see, guinea pigs or cavies are known to be herbivorous (plant eaters) types of pets. Therefore, it is not really surprising to see them eating green leafy vegetables like raw cabbage. 

Now that you know they can eat raw cabbage, you may be wondering, is it safe to feed the whole cabbage to my guinea pigs?

In this article, we will provide you with anything you need to know about cabbage that you are feeding your guinea pigs or cavies. Let’s get started!

Can Guinea Pigs Eat The Whole Cabbage?

whole cabbage plant for guinea pigs

No, they cannot eat the whole cabbage. However, most parts of the cabbage can be fed to your cavies. Let’s get to know which parts are edible and which are not.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Leaves?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat the leaves of the cabbage. These leaves are rich in the needed nutrients and phytochemicals that can improve the health of your cavies. You can give it as it is or much better if you cut them into smaller pieces for easier feeding.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Stalk?

Yes, they can eat the stalk of raw cabbage. On the other hand, it is not highly recommended to be given to your guinea pigs. Since it is one of the hardest parts of the cabbage, your cavies might have a hard time eating and digesting it.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Roots?

No, guinea pigs cannot eat the roots of a cabbage. Both the cabbage roots and seeds are poisonous and toxic to guinea pigs. Also, these are not commonly sold in the market so you better cross is out on your list of food for your cavies.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Stem?

No, it is not advisable to feed your guinea pigs with the stem of the cabbage. These stems may not be easily digested unlike the leaves, which can upset the stomach of your cavies. As much as possible, only give edible parts and wash them properly.

Can Cabbage Kill Guinea Pigs?

too much cabbage diet can kill guinea pigs
Photo Source: Ballachy

Yes, cabbage can still kill guinea pigs. As mentioned above, cabbage is rich in  Vitamin C, which is good for cavies ) but giving them the wrong parts might poison them. Plus, if you give them too much cabbage, it might give them diarrhea that is deadly for cavies.

This is also critical for them (as hindgut fermenters) because they have a set of natural bacteria (microflora) in their stomach that helps them digest what they eat. Continuous diarrhea can dehydrate your pet, which may eventually cause its death.

Take this as a friendly reminder: Be wary of introducing new food to your pet’s diet.

Cabbage for example should be added to their diet little by little. This way, cabbage won’t upset your guinea pig’s stomach. Also, be cautious of the contaminants (pesticides and insecticides) in the food you give them because it is deadly.

The best practice would always be washing the vegetables and fruits before giving it to your pet. This way, you can avoid feeding them contaminated foods.

Health Benefits Of Cabbage For Guinea Pigs?

benefits that guinea pigs can get from cabbage
Photo Source: HerbaZest

Cabbage can be beneficial to your pets if given in a proper way. It is a healthy food that they can eat for their entire life. Here are the health benefits of feeding cabbage to your guinea pigs or cavies.

1. It can improve the immune system of your guinea pigs.

Cabbage is rich in Vitamin C and other minerals. These can help your guinea pigs in building a strong immune system that will help them battle different diseases that can kill them. Just remember to moderately give it to them to avoid bad side effects.

2. It can help them avoid scurvy.

Vitamin C is important for guinea pigs’ immune systems to function properly, as well as prevent scurvy (severe lack of Vitamin C). This condition has been very common for guinea pigs. That’s why you should always give sources of Vitamin C to your cavies.

3. It can help them prevent inflammation.

As mentioned, cabbage is filled with Vitamin C and some other minerals that can help prevent inflammation. On the other hand, if the inflammation is severe these vitamins and minerals can help them reduce severe inflammation of any kind.

4. It can promote a longer life span.

Along with other vitamins, cabbage gives like Vitamin A and D, these in combination would give your guinea pig a longer life span. They have anti-aging properties and protect cells from free radicals and cell damage that is good for your cavies’ health.

5. It can protect them from developing hair loss.

The sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and iron content of cabbage can help stimulate the growth of soft and healthy hair. In short words, they prevent hair loss. So, if you want to keep the hair of your guinea pigs healthy, you know what to feed them.

6. It can help them develop good eye sight.

The beta-carotene content of cabbage can help to keep your guinea pig’s eye sharp all the time. Considering that guinea pigs are awake both night and day, having healthy eyesight is a must for them. Therefore, it is important to feed them with this food.

7. It can help them in maintaining a good digestion.

Good digestion of food among guinea pigs means healthy living. The fiber content in cabbage is medium-high at 2.2 grams. This means that it is at the right amount to dissolve sugar which is not good for guinea pigs if given in high amounts.

Also, the fiber content of this food is an important nutrient for guinea pigs. It can help them avoid any form of stomach issues like constipation. Plus, it can improve the status of the good stomach bacteria (responsible for good digestion) of the guinea pigs.

Risks To Consider When Feeding Cabbage To Guinea Pigs?

Other than the benefits your guinea pig can get from eating cabbage,  there are also some risks when we feed too much of it. It is better to learn their diet first before you feed them with this food. Here are the risks if we start feeding them too much cabbage.

It may cause diarrhea.

A heavy intake of cabbage for guinea pigs can cause flatulence. This happens when there is too much raffinose (a chemical in cabbage) in the intestine. Too much cabbage when fed constantly to your cavy can block the intestine and lead to diarrhea.

Remember: Most of the time guinea pigs do not die from diarrhea. They die from dehydration, which can be caused by diarrhea because when they are suffering from this they refuse to eat nor drink.

Another thing that may cause diarrhea is its high fiber. Fiber is great for many things but large amounts can have some negative side effects on your guinea pigs. Well, eating more fiber than necessary can cause diarrhea.

Furthermore, its fiber works wonders for moving food through the digestive tract, but too much may upset your pet’s stomach. This can be an issue with cabbage as it’s very high in fiber. But, this effect only happens when cabbage is fed too much.

It may coagulate the blood.

Cabbage has a high level of Vitamin K that helps the blood clot. When fed with a heavy ration your guinea pig’s blood can begin to coagulate (turn to solid or semi-solid state). This can eventually cause heavy problems. So serve them an appropriate amount.

It may lead to bloating.

The sulfur content in the cabbage can cause guinea pigs to not be able to pass gas, so feeding them too much cabbage can lead to bloating. You should feed them cabbage twice weekly. By doing that kind of practice, there will be no risks of bad effects.

Bloating among guinea pigs is much more painful. Cabbage contains FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols). These chemicals can cause too much gas inside your pet’s stomach that can lead to bloating.

Moreover, FODMAPs are carbohydrates, so it is expected that they will produce air inside the stomach. Thus, it will leave your guinea pig with a bloated belly and smelly farts. Considering how sensitive their stomach is it would be deadly if not treated well

It may develop bladder stones.

Calcium is dangerous for guinea pigs as it contributes to bladder stones. Guinea pigs have very little need for calcium when they are adults, so it does more harm than good for them. Green cabbage contains 40mg per 100 grams, which is a little high.

It’s a problem since too much calcium in the bladder can form little crystals and the sensation of these is like having small stones in the body. Quite painful, so calcium should be avoided whenever possible.

The Right Serving Size Of Cabbage

Serving size can be one or two leaves (that can fit in one cup) per guinea pig. As for the preparation, you may or not chop it into smaller pieces because your guinea pig will still eat it anyway

Fresh vegetables can be offered to guinea pigs almost every day. However, when it comes to cabbage, we recommended that you give it to your guinea pigs a maximum of three (3) times a week.

Moreover, the serving size may vary depending upon the age of your guinea pigs. You can give a little bit more to younger guinea pigs than the old ones. The older guinea pigs should only be fed in moderation to avoid developing bladder stones.

Take Note: Always serves one cup of veggies with a mix of 3-4 vegetables in it so that guinea pigs can get a balance of all nutrients in their diet.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Every Day?

No, they cannot eat cabbage every day. That would already be too much and would definitely upset the stomach of your pet. It is better to give it as treats and in most importantly in moderation.

Cabbage is both healthy and cheap. A single cabbage can already last for a week to your guinea pig since you would only be needing a few leaves. However, not because it is cheap we will overfeed them with it, like us, it is better if we have a variation in diet.

How many times a week can guinea pigs eat Cabbage?

As mentioned earlier, you can feed your guinea pigs 3 times/week at most. If possible, only feed them once or twice with one or two fresh leaves per serving. It would become more problematic than helpful to their health if you overfeed them with it.

How To Prepare Cabbage For Guinea Pigs?

preparing the food for guinea pigs

Here are the steps in preparing cabbage for your guinea pigs.

Step 1: Wash the vegetable to clean it.

You can put the cabbage in a basin and let it sit in the water for two minutes (to make sure that the nutrients are not washed out). Then rinse it with running water. This way, you can assure that the cabbage is free from dirt or any unwanted chemicals.

Step 2: Dry it a bit after soaking it and washing it.

Most of the time, it’s better to give dried foods to pets like guinea pigs to make sure that the food will not upset their stomach. Well, cavies have a sensitive stomach so we should be careful as always.

Step 3: Remove 1-2 leaves of cabbage from its bulb.

The recommended number of leaves for a guinea pig is 1-2 leaves. But it really depends on the size of the leaves and the age of the guinea pig. Younger guinea pigs can take more; it’s like two whole leaves for younger ones and one for older ones.

Step 4: Put the leaves in the bowl (chopped or not).

Whenever we feed our pet, it is a good practice that we put the food in a clean bowl or any basin that is clean and good enough to hold food. You can chop it if you want it to look fancier or just let it be if you are in a hurry. Either way, your pet will eat it.

Things to Remember:

1. If you are introducing cabbage to your guinea pigs, do it very slowly. Start with a small leaf and see if your guinea pigs like it.

2. If your guinea pig enjoyed the small quantity you served, you can gradually increase the quantity over time. However, remember to introduce the veggies very slowly so that they don’t suffer from diarrhea.

3. Choose a good quality cabbage for your guinea pigs. The cabbage should be fresh. Organic cabbage is the best choice if you can get one for your guinea pig.

4. You can slam the cabbage (stem side down) onto a kitchen counter. This will break many of the fibers free, making it easier to cut out the remaining portions of the stem.

5. You can mix it with other veggies for serving.

6. Remove any uneaten pieces of vegetables from your guinea pig’s cage within a few hours of serving. This will ensure you that the uneaten food doesn’t become the home for harmful bacteria.

Can You Feed Your Guinea Pigs Other Types Of Cabbage?

other types of cabbage for guinea pigs

Yes, you can definitely feed other types of cabbage to your guinea pigs but not all. In fact, I have listed some other types of cabbage that you might consider. Let’s find out if you can feed it to them or not.

Napa Cabbage

Yes, guinea pigs can eat napa cabbage. It is rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin C and also low in calcium which makes it a perfect choice for our guinea pigs. However, it is best to serve only the leaves as the stalks are somewhat hard when it comes to this cabbage.

Sweetheart Cabbage

Yes, cavies can eat sweetheart cabbage. It is extremely rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Folate, which are important for the good health of your pet. However, you should feed it in a small quantity only as too much Vitamin K is also bad for their health.

Red Cabbage

Yes, guinea pigs can eat red cabbage (the best choice). The level of Vitamin C in red cabbage is significantly more than in green cabbage and it only contains traces of fat, calcium, and sugar which are bad for guinea pigs.

It’s best to include it with a mixture of other greens and veggies to give your guinea pig a variety of foods at each feeding. In fact, among all the varieties, this one contains the highest amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A.

Ideally, it’s the variety that pet owners often feed their guinea pigs. So, if you are looking for the best cabbage, choose this one. However, keep in mind that it’s better to keep everything in moderation.

Purple Cabbage

Yes, cavies can eat purple cabbage. Purple cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B6, which are important for your guinea pigs. Thus, we can feed purple cabbage to our guinea pigs but only once or twice a week.

White Cabbage

Yes, your guinea pigs can eat this one as well. With the amount of fiber and Vitamin C, white cabbages can be eaten by guinea pigs. It’s also good to note that white cabbages are low in calcium which lessens the risk of kidney stones and other bladder problems. 

Green Cabbage

Yes, guinea pigs can eat green cabbage. It has Vitamin C that is so important for guinea pigs, but too much of it can also cause gas and bloating in your pet’s stomach. If you do let your guinea pig eat green cabbage it should be only once a week.

Moreover, it should only be given in small amounts. Watch your guinea pigs carefully for any signs of distress or any change in their poops. Don’t forget to seek vet assistance if your guinea pig acts sick.

Savoy Cabbage

Yes, guinea pigs can eat Savoy cabbage. Guinea pigs will love the crunch and texture of savoy cabbages, making them a delight to eat. This variety is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, but low in calcium.

It is good to remember that this can be a great addition to meals, especially if the guinea pig is suffering from a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). 

Chinese Cabbage

Yes, guinea pigs can eat Chinese cabbage. However, it is not the best choice for them. Although rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C this cabbage is a nutritional beast, but the high calcium content makes it a wrong choice for our guinea pigs.

Cavolo Nero Cabbage

Yes, guinea pigs can eat Cavolo nero cabbage. It is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidantsCauliflower, which is beneficial to your guinea pig. However, do remember to feed it only in moderation as you do with other cabbages.

What Are Other Alternatives For Cabbage?

Here are other vegetables that you may feed to your guinea pigs.

CelerySpinachCucumberCarrots
KaleGreen BeansZucchiniLettuce
CilantroAsparagusBroccoliTomatoes

Here are some questions that people wonder about this topic.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pickled Cabbage?

No, and it is not recommended. Although the research didn’t turn up a specific warning against pickled cabbage for guinea pigs, there is a huge threat for guinea pigs with any kind of pickled or brined foods. Let’s find out the reason behind this.

Pickled or brined foods are typically highly acidic which can be harmful to the tender lining of your guinea pig’s mouth. It can also cause problems in their digestive system that may lead to discomfort or illness.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Cabbage?

Yes, they can but it is not recommended. While it may not harm your guinea pigs to eat cooked cabbage, the process of cooking causes vegetables to lose important nutrients. It is like giving them food with fewer nutrients.

The main reason for feeding cabbage to your guinea pigs is to get the Vitamin C content of it. Cooking cabbage causes a significant loss of Vitamin C, so it’s best to feed raw cabbage. So, I guess it’s already clear why we should not give cooked cabbage to them.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Medley?

Yes, they can but it may not give the needed nutrients that it can get from a raw cabbage. Also, this may risk overfeeding your pet. Therefore, it is still better to give it plain and raw (healthier) where your guinea pig can enjoy eating it.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Skunk Cabbage?

No, they cannot eat skunk cabbage. It is called its name because of the bad smell it emits when it is damaged. Other than the hassle and stinky smell, feeding skunk would also be quite toxic to your guinea pig.

Moreover, the skunk cabbage plant can cause burning and swelling of the mouth and a choking sensation. Eating larger portions of these leaves can, in extreme cases, be deadly. You better not give it to your tiny pet.

Final Thoughts

In this article, you have learned that guinea pigs can eat raw cabbage. You have also found out that there are different types of cabbage that you can also feed to your guinea pigs. Plus, it is good to remember that cabbage should be given in moderation.

Cabbage is rich in Vitamin C that your pets need very much. On the other hand, it does not only contain this specific vitamin but also other nutrients. These nutrients can either be helpful or harmful to your cavies, so you should only give them once or twice a week.

Here are some articles that you may find interesting.

1. They say that guinea pigs are smart animals. Is this a fact? Time for you to find out.

2. Did you know that dusk and dawn are the most active times of the guinea pigs?

3. Don’t know what to name your guinea pigs yet? Try these 149 best names for cavies.

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