Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale?

Guinea Pigs Jul 15, 2021
Written by | Updated Jul 16, 2021
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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale?

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale?

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse and for us humans, this means it’s a superfood. But what about kale for guinea pigs?

Is it safe to feed kale to a guinea pig, and if so, how much can you give them? How often can a guinea pig eat kale?

As it turns out, one of the key nutrients in kale can contribute to kidney and bladder stones in guinea pigs. This doesn’t mean you can’t give a guinea pig kale, but it does mean that you’ll need to pay close attention to serving size and frequency when giving a cavy kale.

This is definitely one of those times when it’s possible to offer too much of a good thing! Keep reading to learn all about kale for guinea pigs.

Kale Nutrition Stats

If you like kale, you can eat plenty of it. A one-cup serving of raw chopped kale offers approximately:

  • 34 calories
  • 7 g carbohydrates
  • 5 g fiber
  • 47 g fat
  • 2 g protein

Kale nutritional facts

Kale belongs to the same family that other nutrient-rich vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage come from! That same one-cup serving of chopped kale gives you approximately:

  • 4 mg vitamin C
  • 10302 iu vitamin A
  • 299 mg potassium
  • 1 mg iron
  • 4 mcg folate
  • 547 mcg vitamin K
  • 5 mg calcium
  • 8 mg magnesium
  • 5 mg phosphorus

Can Guinea Pigs Have Kale?

The short answer is “yes.” Guinea pigs can have kale, so long as you wash it well and offer the right amount. In addition, you’ll want to remove the bitter inner stalks from the kale leaves while preparing them for your cavy.

Is Kale Good For Guinea Pigs?

Yes and no. On one hand, kale is packed with essential nutrients. On the other hand, it’s so high in calcium that it increases the risk of stone formation.

Luckily, kale’s oxalate level is moderate, putting this vegetable in the same category as spinach.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Kale?

Most guinea pigs go crazy for kale. It might be tough to say no when that cute little face is turned your way in hope of receiving another bite!

How Much Kale Can A Guinea Pig Eat?

There’s definitely such a thing as too much kale. Moderation is the key to safe enjoyment!

Here’s how much kale a to feed your guinea pig:

AgeAmount
Baby guinea pigNone
Adult guinea pig1 or 2 small kale leaves

That’s right – find the smallest kale leaves you can, wash them very well, remove the center stalks, and let your guinea pig enjoy them. If you only have large leaves, offer a small portion – perhaps one quarter to one half of a leaf.

Whenever you introduce a new food to your cavy, watch for signs of gas, bloating, discomfort, and diarrhea for about 12 hours. This isn’t likely to occur with kale since you’re offering such a small quantity but it’s best to err on the side of caution.

If your guinea pig has any unpleasant side effects, then kale may not agree with their system!

How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Kale?

Here’s an interesting tidbit: While some nutritionists believe it’s OK for people to eat kale every day, others disagree as we need to eat a diverse array of plants for good health, and as too much kale can sometimes contribute to bladder and kidney stones.

When it comes to kale for guinea pigs, the general recommendation is to offer it no more than two or three times weekly, and less than that when offering other high oxalate, high calcium greens such as spinach or swiss chard.

The Correct Diet is Important

Now that you know that kale shouldn’t play a starring role in your guinea pig’s diet, you might be wondering what else to give your cavy. In the wild, guinea pigs eat all sorts of low-lying grasses and vegetation, so it’s possible to offer quite a bit of variety.

In general, here’s what to feed a guinea pig each day.

  • Unlimited fresh hay
  • Fortified guinea pig pellets (check the package label for the correct serving size since this varies from brand to brand)
  • One cup of vegetables including a blend of leafy greens and crunchy veggies, divided into at least two smaller servings to be enjoyed at different times during the day
  • Unlimited amount of clean, fresh water; remember to rinse and refill your guinea pig’s drinking bottle at least once a day.

Since we’re talking about your guinea pig’s health, now is a good time to mention the importance of chewing. Your guinea pig’s teeth are always growing, and natural chewing behavior ensures that they don’t become overgrown, painful, and possibly infected.

Your guinea pig needs access to chewable items at all times: We recommend hay cubes, apple wood sticks, and safe, chewable guinea pig toys. These aren’t just important for dental health, they also make your guinea pig’s cage a nice place to live.

What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Kale In A Guinea Pig’s Diet?

Since a daily dose of kale is out, what else can you give your cavy? Vegetables of all kinds!

Here are a few favorites to get you started.

  • cabbage
  • butter lettuce
  • buttercrunch lettuce
  • bibb lettuce
  • asparagus
  • artichoke
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • cauliflower
  • brussels sprouts
  • bok choy
  • yu choy
  • watercress
  • parsley
  • carrot
  • carrot tops
  • parsnip
  • pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • romaine
  • beets
  • beet tops
  • arugula
  • swiss chard
  • endive
  • escarole
  • rocket
  • zucchini
  • tomato
  • summer squash
  • green beans
  • cucumber
  • bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • broccolini

Even though there are plenty of safe fruits and veggies for guinea pigs, there are quite a few items that are toxic. Always check to see whether a new food is safe for your cavy, and look for information concerning serving size and frequency, too!

Your guinea pig will thank you for looking after their health.

For now, giving your guinea pig kale (in small amounts, once in a while!) is a great way to provide a nice nutritional boost while making your cavy’s diet a bit more interesting.

FAQ

Is kale safe for guinea pigs?

Yes, so long as you wash it well and offer the right amount, it’s OK to give kale to a guinea pig.

Can kale make my guinea pig sick?

Any sudden dietary change can leave your guinea pig out of balance, causing diarrhea and an upset tummy. If you’re careful to offer only a small amount of kale, your cavy should be OK with it.

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Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens.
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