Can Guinea Pigs Eat Spinach?
Depending on when you were born, you may remember that Popeye the Sailor Man was a cartoon character. He originated in the 1960’s as a comic strip, then became a favorite Saturday morning cartoon in the 70’s, and finally was made into a movie starring Robin Williams in 1980. Spinach for Popeye was his magic boost. When he ate spinach he was big and strong almost instantly and he could take down Brutus, his arch nemesis.
You won’t get exactly the same reaction but guinea pigs can eat spinach too. And like with people, it’s good for them. Spinach is high in several vitamins, especially vitamin C which is so important for guinea pigs. Like people, guinea pigs can’t manufacture vitamin C on their own so they need to get it from the food they eat.
Spinach is low in sugar which means it won’t promote diabetes in your guinea pig. Many guinea pig owners find that their guinea pigs beg endlessly for spinach, it’s a food most guinea pigs absolutely love. My own guinea pigs will call to me every time the refrigerator opens if they know spinach is in the house. Along with baby carrots, it’s one of their favorite treats.
How Much Spinach Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
The good news is that spinach can be part of your guinea pigs regular diet. It’s a great addition to their salad bowl several times a week. You can use a little spinach and different lettuces as the base for the salad bowl and then add your piggie’s other vegetables in on top.
Spinach is somewhat high in oxalates and it also contains calcium. Be careful of mixing spinach too frequently with other foods that are high in calcium. The danger in the combination of oxalates and calcium is that over time it can form stones that are dangerous for your piggie. This doesn’t mean spinach isn’t good for your guinea pig, it most certainly is a good treat when balanced properly with other foods. If you suspect any issues with stones, get your piggie to a vet for a checkup.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Spinach?
As humans, we eat spinach raw in salads and cooked as a side dish with our meal. For guinea pigs though, spinach is like any other vegetable. The process of cooking it destroys the nutrients that are in the spinach.
Since the nutrients are the primary reason to feed spinach, cooking it really thwarts that plan. For the most part, guinea pigs prefer crisp and crunchy vegetables. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that your guinea pigs will turn their little noses up at cooked spinach anyhow because of it’s less than crisp texture.
For best results and the most nutrition, stick with raw vegetables for your guinea pig. In fact, challenge yourself to keep them intrigued by what will be in their salad bowl each day. Learn what foods they can and can’t eat and then make a rotating schedule that gives them at least one or two new foods to savor every day.