Brussel sprouts look like mini cabbages and they are part of the cabbage family. They are related to other plants like cauliflower and mustard greens.
They are highly nutritious though not many people will enjoy them. They can be cooked or roasted depending on the recipe you settle on.
Guinea pigs love a good dose of vegetables and in your search for the best feeding plan for your pet, you could encounter Brussel sprouts. Whether you enjoy them or not, you could be at a fix on including them in your pet’s diet but not quite sure whether to offer them.
Well, we are going to look into the plant a little deeper and whether it’s safe for these furry pets. Keep reading.
Can guinea pigs eat Brussels sprouts?
Guinea pigs can eat Brussel sprouts. The vegetables are nutrient-dense and packed with fiber which prevents constipation, Vitamin C which boosts immunity, Vitamin K which enhances blood clotting, high water content which aids in hydration, and low sugar which balances out the sugar levels in a guinea pig’s body. Brussel sprouts should be fed in moderation because they may bring about bloating, and bladder stones due to their oxalate content.
Benefits of feeding Brussel sprouts to your guinea pig
Guinea pigs enjoy leafy greens and if your pet loves cabbage, they will most likely enjoy Brussel sprouts as well.
Their diet should consist of a cup of vegetables every day and if feeding Brussel sprouts you should be sure that they are getting nutrients like:
Guinea pigs need to be fed food rich in Vitamin C because they cannot produce the important vitamin on their own. They cannot even store it so feeding foods like Brussel sprouts will be a great healthy supplement for them.
Vitamin C aids in fast healing of wounds and repairing damaged tissue. The vitamin will also work in boosting your pet’s overall immunity while preventing diseases like scurvy.
Scurvy is a painful condition that affects the joints, bones, and skin. It is common in guinea pigs and a leading cause of their death so you should always ensure that your pet is having sufficient Vitamin C.
Brussel sprouts have fiber which provides roughage for the digestion processes of guinea pigs. Guinea pigs have delicate stomachs that need a good amount of fiber for smooth digestion to prevent stomach upsets and constipation.
Brussel sprouts have antioxidants that enhance your pet’s heart health and help in fighting off diseases. Some even have anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin K helps in the clotting of blood in case your pet suffers injuries. It will also work in the pet’s general development and the growth of healthy bones.
Low sugar content
Brussel sprouts have low sugar content which is a good thing. It helps in balancing out the sugar levels in the body.
Foods with high amounts of sugar are harmful to a guinea pig’s health. Sugar brings about obesity, diabetes, and dental problems.
High water content
Brussel sprouts are 86% water. This makes them good vegetables for a guinea pig’s hydration needs.
Guinea pigs require water but if they feed on foods with high amounts of water they will not need that much water. Feeding Brussel sprouts to your pet will prevent dehydration.
Effects of feeding Brussel sprouts to guinea pigs
Brussel sprouts will have a delicious crunch for your pet but like other foods, they should be fed in moderation. If fed excessively they will bring the following effects.
Gas and bloating
Gas is a painful condition for guinea pigs that leads to bloating. Signs of excess gas are; a distended stomach, restlessness, inactivity, loss of appetite, and your pet could produce sounds to show that they are in pain.
If you notice these symptoms you should call a vet immediately because the gas could become fatal. Feeding too many Brussel sprouts can bring about gas.
Guinea pigs are not capable of removing gas from their bodies like humans. It’s an uncomfortable experience that makes them bloated.
Brussel sprouts contain oxalates that increase the chances of bladder stones. Bladder stones are another painful condition that leads to pain while urinating in your pet and can become serious if not treated immediately.
Stomach upsets and diarrhoea
Brussel sprouts can also cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea in your pet. This can be due to overfeeding, or if you feed them old stalks that are not fresh.
Can guinea pigs eat the leaves and stalks of Brussel sprouts?
The leaves and stalks of Brussel sprouts are safe for guinea pigs to eat. Make sure that they are fresh and green to avoid making your pet sick.
The stalks should be limited because they are very high in fiber. Fiber is good for guinea pigs but too much of it causes digestion issues as they may be unable to break it down leading to diarrhoea.
Brussel stalks are good for your pet to chew on considering that guinea pigs need something to always chew on to wear down their ever-growing teeth.
How to feed Brussel sprouts to guinea pigs
As a general rule, guinea pigs should never be fed cooked food. Being herbivores like cows and goats, their digestive systems are not adapted to digesting cooked foods.
Do not give them cooked food as it will make them sick. Cooked food will also have fewer nutrient contents because cooking lowers the potency of nutrients.
This means that you should not feed your pet cooked Brussel sprouts.
Offer two sprouts three times a week to avoid feeding them more than enough. You can have a feeding schedule so as not to forget or repeat the foods you have already fed.
Always wash the vegetables thoroughly first to rid them of chemicals and bacteria. You can pluck out the leaves one by one, or just slice them up and offer your pet.
Brussel sprouts alternatives for your guinea pig
If your guinea pig does not like Brussel sprouts, you can offer other alternatives like kales, carrots, lettuce, and bell pepper.
Brussel sprouts are healthy additions to a guinea pig’s diet. They contain vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, low sugar, and high water content.
They should be fed in moderation though to prevent the formation of bladder stones and bloating.