Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Vegetables?

Guinea pigs should not be fed canned vegetables. Although a few canned veggies occasionally are fine, they contain far too much sodium to be considered a daily treat. A diet high in sodium can cause guinea pigs to suffer from various health problems.

Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means their normal diet is plant-based. The most common foods that guinea pigs have as a part of their daily diet are hay and pellets, which are commercial guinea pig food.

Besides hay and pellets, guinea pigs also eat vegetables. It’s actually recommended that veggies be a part of your pet’s daily diet. Fresh veggies are always best, but sometimes it can be a hassle to prepare them or use them before they go bad.

This is where canned veggies come in, but you should be wary of feeding your guinea pigs the canned version of anything.

Safety Issues With Canned Veggies

The biggest problem with canned vegetables is the amount of salt in them. To preserve them in the can, canned veggies always contain a significant amount of salt. For example, a can of green beans can contain up to 800 mg of sodium. This isn’t good for a human, let alone a guinea pig.

Another thing canned veggies might have too much of is sugar. There won’t be as much sugar in canned veggies as there is in fruit, but there is still quite a bit.

Why Excess Salt is Bad For Guinea Pigs

We’ve shown that the sheer amount of sodium in canned veggies is reason enough to not feed them to your guinea pigs. But why is salt so bad for guinea pigs in the first place?

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Like with humans, having too much salt in your diet can have a lot of negative consequences on one’s health.

This is especially true for guinea pigs, since they are much smaller than us. Too much salt in a guinea’s diet can cause dehydration, serious bladder issues, and urinary tract calculi.

Urinary tract calculi means that stones have formed in the urinary tract. It is incredibly painful and the only option to get rid of them is surgery. No one wants to have surgery. I mean, humans will try almost anything to get out of having simple and routine dental work! Imagine being a guinea pig who can’t comprehend the meaning of surgery. They have no way of making healthy decisions about their diet, so it’s up to us to make it for them.

It’s what we all signed up for when we became guinea pig parents!

Benefits of Fresh Veggies

Fresh veggies are by far the best kind for your guinea pig. Yes, I know it can sometimes be a hassle to wash, cut, and fully prepare them for your guinea pig to safely consume. I also know how quickly they can go bad. However, despite all of this, fresh is always best because of the health benefits that go along with them.

Like all creatures (including ourselves), there are certain types of vegetables that guinea pigs should avoid and ones they should eat in moderation.

The Best Veggies For Guinea Pigs

The best veggies for guinea pigs fall in the leafy greens category.

This includes:

  • Lettuce (romaine, red, and green)
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Peppers (red and green)

There are at least ten types of veggies that you can feed to your guinea pig. More than enough to mix and match and try to figure out which ones they prefer and what they don’t like.

These fresh veggies give your guinea pig much-needed vitamins and minerals they may not be getting.

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Keep in mind that there is always a specific serving you should stick to. It’s recommended that guinea pigs have up to one cup of fresh veggies a day and if you plan on adding a new veggie to the mix, make sure you do it slowly.

Be sure to keep serving size in mind when you are feeding them. Too much of something, no matter how healthy it is, is never a good thing.

Veggies to Avoid

There are quite a few veggies you can feed your guinea pig, but there are also a few you should avoid giving them. Some veggies you don’t want to add to their diet are iceberg lettuce, potatoes, cabbage, onions, and garlic.

There are many reasons not to add these veggies to their diet, some being that they simply don’t bring any nutritional value.

When in doubt, always contact your vet to find out the specifics of what should or shouldn’t be in your guinea pig’s diet.

Canned Veggies are a No Go

It is simply not healthy for your guinea pig to eat canned veggies, no matter how cheap and easy to prepare they may be. They contain too much salt, which can cause various health problems.

Your guinea pig will benefit from the sheer amount of nutrients fresh vegetables provide. Plus, they are a heck of a lot tastier to a guinea pig’s palette!