A pet guinea pig is one of the most adorable pets you’ll ever have. They’re small and furry, plus they are not hard to take care of. However, guinea pigs follow a strict diet. This is probably the only downside you’ll get with this furry animal aside from the fact that they can’t sleep beside you.
A Guinea Pig’s Diet
Guinea pigs are small which is why they can’t overeat. Excessive eating can lead to stomach problems, or worse, death. This isn’t to scare you or to discourage you from buying a pet guinea pig. This is just to inform you that part of taking care of them is being watchful of their diet.
But that’s not the only concern for a guinea pig’s diet. There are also certain foods that they shouldn’t eat or that they can only consume in very small amounts. Generally, green leafy vegetables are safe. Fruits can be given to them, too. But for the latter, avoid feeding them these foods every single day. Your local pet store’s guinea pig pellets are also a great choice.
The Deal About Zucchinis
Zucchini, also known as summer squash in the United States, is a green vegetable that looks like a fatter cucumber. It has a dark green color outside, but a light green hue inside. It is not a leafy vegetable, so it’s harder to chew if you’re going to feed it to your guinea pig.
Zucchinis are a great source of vitamins and minerals. In fact, it is rich in Vitamin C which can help increase your pet’s immune system. It’s also a good source of antioxidants. So introducing this green vegetable to your guinea pig’s diet is always going to be a great idea.
To add to that, did you know that zucchinis help your guinea pig’s digestion? Since these pets are very sensitive in food, something that would ease away their bowel movements is always welcome.
Zucchinis and Your Pet’s Diet
So now that you know zucchinis can be fed to your piggies, the next thing you have to know is how much you’re supposed to feed them.
Generally, a guinea pig can consume up to ⅛ a cup of zucchini every day. That’s equivalent to two chunks of zucchinis. But of course, you won’t give those to them in chunks. The last thing you want to happen is for your pet to choke or have a hard time eating its food. So when you serve the zucchini chunks, make sure that you slice them in small pieces. As much as possible, make it as small as the pellets.
You might be wondering if you have to remove the skin of the zucchini. Well, this depends. You can first introduce the zucchini pieces with the skin on them. Then observe if your guinea pig will eat it or it works its way around and only nibbles on the interior of the skin. If it’s the latter, then your pet doesn’t like the skin. But if you find them eating the skin, then you no longer have to peel it off.
It’s important to note that not all guinea pigs like zucchinis. Some are very sensitive to their food that they won’t like this foreign-tasting meal. When you see your guinea pig leaving it alone, then you should look for another alternative that your pet will love. There’s no use forcing them to eat this particular vegetable.
Important Tips for Feeding Zucchinis
Since guinea pigs are some of the pickiest eaters out there, then you should know a few things before feeding them pieces of zucchini.
- You have to wash the zucchini first.
Zucchinis aren’t immune to pesticide. If you’ve bought zucchini in the local grocery store, then chances are that they’ve been sprayed with chemicals in one way or another. To make sure that the harmful chemical is not consumed by your furry friends, wash it off thoroughly with water. No need to use soap as it may leave any weird tastes.
- Incorporate it gradually.
Guinea pigs aren’t fond of sudden meal changes. If you want to introduce zucchini to their diet, slowly do this by adding a few pieces to their meal. In this way, you’ll be able to gauge if they like it or not. If they do, you can slowly increase the amount of zucchini until you fully replace the pellets with this vegetable. Sometimes, you might want to add a few pellets so that there’s some variety in the food your pet eats.
- It can be eaten all the time.
Unlike fruits, zucchinis can be eaten all the time by your guinea pig. It was mentioned earlier that it’s good for their digestive system, so the more they eat it, the better their bowel movement will be. But don’t overdo it as guinea pigs only have small stomachs.
- Yellow zucchinis are a good alternative.
Your guinea pig can also eat yellow zucchinis. They can be added to the green zucchinis to give more color to your pet’s food. But you should know that yellow zucchinis have higher sugar content. So what you can do is just add a few pieces to their meals. Or when you want to give them more yellow zucchinis, you can lessen the usual amount of food you serve to your pet.
- No force feeding!
And finally, you should never force-feed your guinea pig (or any pet for that matter). Force-feeding is a bad practice on animals since there are reasons for them to say no to the food you give them. If your pet shows signs of disgust towards zucchinis, then it’s best to leave them alone and find another alternative.
Overall, zucchinis make for a great food alternative to your usual pellets. Plus, unlike the pellets, zucchinis have a lot of health benefits that can help make your guinea pig stronger. Even though they’re pets, some of their body functions are similar to humans. So if vegetables are healthy for you, then it sure are healthy for your guinea pigs too.