Last Updated on December 3, 2020 by Woody Pet
Guinea pigs are vegans which means they mostly like to eat vegetables and even sometimes fruits. Not only do they like eating them, but vegetables are also very good for them. Vegetables are packed with nutrients that improve their health and boost their immune system. However, even though they are vegans, guinea pigs can’t eat all vegetables. There are some that can cause them quite a lot of health issues. These issues can range from stomach pain to diarrhea, urinary infections etc. But is lettuce one of them? Can guinea pigs eat lettuce?
Lettuce is a commonly used vegetable in most households around the world. Most salads are prepared with lettuce and not only is it delicious but it is also very healthy for us. If you want to know if it’s also healthy for your pet guinea pig, just keep on reading!
Is lettuce good for guinea pigs?
Yes and not only is it good for them but it can also be included in their everyday meals. However that doesn’t mean that we should overfeed our guinea pig with lettuce. The recommended amount is one or two lettuce leaves per day. Vitamins A, B-6 and C which are found in lettuce are essential for the growth of your guinea pig, for its overall health and good eyesight. Minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus etc. are also found in lettuce. These minerals help with your pet’s development and keep its heart healthy.
Calcium and Phosphorus help with the development of their teeth, bones and muscles. On the other hand, magnesium assists in absorbing the excess calcium. This way it is far less likely that your pet will develop stones.
So can guinea pigs eat lettuce or is lettuce good for guinea pigs? Absolutely, and if you can we advise you incorporate it in their daily diet. But can guinea pigs eat all kinds of lettuces? It’s a complicated question to answer because different lettuce kinds have different nutritional values.
Some are healthier some are not. That’s why we recommend sticking to the dark- colored kinds. Among those are the Radicchio lettuce, Little gem lettuce, Green leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce etc. These kinds contain even more nutrients than the others. However, the best choice is most definitely the romaine lettuce. It’s rich with Vitamin C and Vitamin A, iron, potassium and it’s also low on calcium which means it poses a lesser risk of causing kidney stones unlike other types of lettuce which contain more calcium.
Is there a lettuce kind bad for guinea pigs?
By now you must be wondering is there a lettuce kind bad for guinea pigs? Unfortunately there is and that is the iceberg lettuce. This lettuce can be toxic to guinea pigs due to the amount of lactucarium it contains. So if you are planning on serving your guinea pig some lettuce, please avoid this kind. It also contains a lot of fibres which added to the high amount of lactucarium – becomes a nightmare for guinea pigs to digest. It can lead to diarrhea and bloating. Moreover this kind of lettuce contains a lot of water which can also cause bloating.
It also contains low levels of Vitamin C which is very important for a guinea pig’s diet and can be found in other lettuce kinds. The amount of sugar found in this kind of lettuce is also bigger than that found in other lettuces. This can also cause stomach problems for your piggy. If you accidentally serve your pet some iceberg lettuce it probably won’t harm it, but if you serve it for a long period of time – you can expect some of the above mentioned symptoms. So can guinea pigs eat lettuce? – If we are talking about the iceberg lettuce – no they can’t. So when you are shopping for lettuce for your piggy you should pay more attention to what you are buying.
Vegetables other than lettuce that guinea pigs can eat
Much like we should eat a bowl of salad a day, guinea pigs should eat a portion of vegetables a day. That’s why we recommend mixing a bowl of salad with more vegetables other than lettuce that guinea pigs can eat. Among those are kale, spinach, dandelion, rocket, some herbs, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, parsley, basil, asparagus, celery and much more. That means that you have a long list of vegetables to choose from. So even though we answered can guinea pigs eat lettuce positively, that doesn’t mean that you should feed them only one kind of vegetable.
Also when you are preparing their salad don’t forget to wash the vegetables, especially the lettuce. There can be a lot of dirt hiding in the cracks of a lettuce leaf which can cause serious harm to your guinea pig. Also make sure to cut the lettuce into small pieces so it can be easier for them to eat. And last but not least, don’t forget to remove the stem of the lettuce. It’s very tough and guinea pigs with their small throats can easily choke on it.
So all in all, can guinea pigs eat lettuce? – Yes they can. It contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that help with their growth and overall development. The romaine lettuce is quite far the healthiest of them all but that doesn’t mean that the others are bad. The only bad kind is the iceberg lettuce. Served once and it will probably go unnoticed by your guinea pig’s stomach. Serve it often and it can cause them serious harm. Their little stomachs just can’t digest it properly so they may become bloated or have diarrhea. It’s also quite painful for them and when they are in pain the often refuse to eat anything else or drink any water. This can also cause additional problems for you and your pet. So just stick to the recommended kinds of lettuce and everybody will be happy!