GuineaDad Food Blog: Can guinea pigs eat beets?

Can guinea pigs eat beets?

Just like most fruits and vegetables, guinea pigs can eat beets, but in moderation! There are a bunch of different health benefits when it comes to beets, but there are some drawbacks as well. It’s important that you do your research in order to determine whether or not you want to feed your piggy this root vegetable.

We've also got a Vegetable Master List that lists common veggies that your piggy can and can't eat!

What vitamins and other nutrients do beets contain?

Vitamin C

This helps with boosting immunity and prevents Vitamin C deficiency, which can lead to the development of scurvy. Boosting the immune system is important to help build up their resistance to the infections that they are prone to, including respiratory and fungal infections. Read those blog posts to learn more about them and how to prevent them! There is 4.9 g in a 100 g portion of beets.

Calcium

This helps with bone growth and keeps those bones strong! Young guinea pigs, elderly guinea pigs, and pregnant guinea pigs need a bit more calcium than others! To read more about why, read this blog post!

Calcium deficiency can cause a lot of painful and uncomfortable symptoms to pop up for your guinea pigs, and it’s important to prevent them by feeding them the correct amount. A 100 g portion of beets contains 16 mg of calcium.

Phosphorus 

This helps balance out calcium consumption, but should also be consumed in moderation. Calcium and Phosphorus work hand-in-hand when it comes to bone growth and maintenance.

To read more about how to determine this balance, check out this blog post, which includes information on how to figure out the Calcium-to-Phosphorus ratio (Ca:P) of your guinea pig’s fresh fruits and vegetables. In a 100 g portion, there is 40 mg of phosphorus.

 

Infographic displaying the vitamins and nutrients in beets for guinea pigs

What other benefits do beets provide for your guinea pig?

There are so many health benefits that beets have when added to your piggy’s diet. For one, it helps keep their cardiovascular system healthy. Because beets contain iron, it helps with keeping their blood healthy by maintaining good oxygen flow and prevents anemia.

Beets also have antioxidants that help with fighting inflammation and protecting against free radicals. They also help with maintaining guinea pigs’ digestive system because of the dietary fiber content. Because of this, it prevents constipation and other digestive problems that could come up otherwise. The fiber also helps improve feelings of fullness and reduce the appetite, which can lead to weightless if your guinea pig tends to overeat.

What are the downsides about beets for guinea pigs?

Unfortunately, despite the many benefits, there are some drawbacks. Frequent serving of beets and overconsumption of them by guinea pigs can lead to digestive problems that beets would usually help prevent. Too much of a good thing can be bad!  

The digestive issues that can occur include bloating and diarrhea. It’s important when giving this veggie to your guinea pig that you carefully moderate the portions to see how beets affect them! You also should keep an eye on their waste output—this can tell you whether or not beets are good for your guinea pig, and whether they need to be eating less of it, or need to stop completely.

Urinary tract issues can also occur, especially if your guinea pig has a tendency to develop bladder or kidney stones. If this is the case, it might be best for your guinea pig to skip over this veggie. If your guinea pig isn’t prone to stones, it’s still important to be careful about how much you serve beets to your piggy because of the Ca:P (calcium to phosphorus) ratio. In this case, it’s 0.4:1. Keep in mind that the ideal ratio is actually 1.33:1. 

Guinea pigs can eat beets, but do they like it?

They do! However you may find that your guinea pig prefers to eat it already shredded up for them, as some of the fellow guinea pigs prefer—others may like it in chunks or strips. You just have to figure out what your piggy’s preference is!

How should you go about feeding your guinea pig beets?

It’s important that you note that you shouldn’t feed it to them every day! It’s best to limit their consumption of beets to only one or two times a week at most. A good serving size would be one or two quarter-inch slices of an average-sized beet (about 110 g).

As mentioned before, some guinea pigs prefer beets to be pre-shredded for them, and others will eat it in chunks, so it’s up to you and your guinea pig!

Beet greens and stalks can be eaten, but serving size should be very small if you’re already feeding them the beet root. An inch of the stalk, or a single leaf can be OK when feeding with the beet root. 

Chopped beets for guinea pigs to eat

Overall, it is OK to feed your guinea pigs beets!

But like most foods, it should be fed in moderation. Guinea pigs need a variety of fruits and vegetables in addition to their usual hay and pellets, so using that need for variety as a way to carefully moderate their diet is a good idea! (And a little note: don’t be alarmed if your guinea pig’s waste is a little pink after snacking on beets!)

What else can guinea pigs eat?

Check out our Vegetable Master List for an extensive list of vegetables for guinea pigs!


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