Cilantro, also known as coriander in other parts of the world, is perfectly safe for guinea pigs to eat. Unlike in humans where some of us claim it tastes like soap, cilantro is good for all guinea pigs. According to the Humane Society, lettuce, kale, cilantro should be a huge part of their diet.
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 does cilantro contain?
It’s super useful when it comes to supporting your guinea pig’s organs, and is especially good for their kidney and liver. Both these organs are necessary for the wastes in their body to be transformed into urine, and to cleanse their blood of toxins.
The liver helps break down nutrients that your guinea pig needs in order for their body to utilize them! Vitamin A also promotes good vision, which is necessary since their eyesight isn’t that great in the first place. Guinea pigs have a high Vitamin A requirement, especially since their little bodies can’t efficiently utilize the full amount they get from any one food.
Consumption of Vitamin C is important for preventing scurvy, as well as maintaining their immune system. Piggy immunity is especially important because their body needs to be able to fight off the infections that they’re so susceptible to.
Infections can be pretty dangerous very quickly, so we want to prevent them in the first place! Guinea pigs require 10-50 mg of vitamin C per day. Cilantro contains 27 mg of the vitamin in a 100 g portion! This is a great source of vitamin C in your guinea pig’s diet.
Vitamin K is something that is necessary for helping guinea pigs’ bodies to regulate blood clotting, which is important for if they happen to get injured somehow. This can especially be the case if your guinea pig happens to have a fungal infection that has resulted in wounds in their skin.
It’s vital that these wounds don’t bleed freely and pick up secondary infections, and are able to scab up so their body is able to regenerate skin cells for recovery. Cilantro contains 1359.5 µg of Vitamin K per 100 g serving.
What other benefits does cilantro provide for your guinea pig?
Cilantro is a great source of fiber, as it supports a healthy digestive system. It also helps lower cholesterol, which means you’re able to reduce the chances of heart failure and heart diseases in general! As mentioned in the Vitamin A section, the consumption of cilantro can promote good eyesight as well. It’s also one of those water-rich veggies that can help maintain and ensure hydration in your piggy! In your younger guinea pigs, it also helps with their physical growth as well.
What are the downsides about cilantro for guinea pigs?
Like any foods that contain calcium, overconsumption can lead to the formation of bladder stones because of the small amounts of oxalate and calcium. Despite it containing so little, overfeeding cilantro to you guinea piggies can still contribute to overconsumption of calcium as a whole! The best way to gauge whether they are having too much of it is by checking their urine for calcium deposits (little white granules). This will be your indication of whether to reduce the amount you are giving them, or to stop all together!
Another downside of cilantro is that some guinea pigs can be allergic to it. Make sure to observe your guinea pig’s physical condition after letting them consume the leafy green.
Visible indications of a cilantro allergy are usually rashes and itching.
If guinea pigs are overfed cilantro, it can cause digestion difficulties. Inevitably, this could lead to diarrhea. This would be your sign to stop consumption of cilantro immediately, because this can cause dehydration in your guinea pig.
How should you go about feeding your guinea pig cilantro?
Thankfully, because of the mild amounts of nutrients like calcium, guinea pigs can consume cilantro every day! The important thing about giving this leafy green to your guinea pig is that it needs to be fresh. Older cilantro has less nutrients, and it would render the consumption of it useless!
We also need to make sure to thoroughly wash the cilantro just like with any fruits and vegetables—it’s important to ensure there are no remaining pesticides on your produce. A good amount of cilantro to introduce to your guinea pig’s diet would be anywhere from ten to twenty stems of cilantro! This may sound like a lot, but when it comes to weight, cilantro is very light and forgiving.
Overall, it is OK to feed your guinea pigs cilantro!
For any new fruits and vegetables that you choose to include and introduce to your piggy, it’s important to keep up to date with your research and to keep an eye on their body’s physical responses to the food. Look for any changes in their skin, their urine, and excrement to help decide what is good for your piggy!
What else can guinea pigs eat?
Check out our Vegetable Master List for an extensive list of vegetables for guinea pigs!