Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions?
There is scarcely any better mood booster than a guinea pig munching on some food. Those cute little animals make great pets and can brighten up anyone’s day in an instant. While fruits and vegetables make up a large part of the herbivore cutie’s diet, most things that grow from the ground are good foods for guinea pigs. But of course, some herbs and weeds can be toxic. So examining everything before feeding it to your guinea pig is a must.
Guinea pigs love to chew on dandelions. But is the omnipresent yellow weed safe for them?
The answer is YES! Guinea pigs can safely consume all parts of a dandelion, including the stem and the leaves.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions?
What are dandelions?
Latin name: Taxaracum officinale.
The common name, dandelion, has been derived from the French phrase ‘dents de lion’, which means lion tooth, as the shape of the dandelion leaves matches a lion’s tooth.
Dandelions are common garden weeds of grassland and cultivated ground. The name dandelion It is native to Eurasia but has naturalized in all parts of the Northern Hemisphere throughout USDA Zone 3. While dandelions are mostly seen as unwanted weeds and are killed with pesticides– particularly when they’re more in number than the grass in a lawn. But this plant is actually cultivated in some places, and used for both food and herbal remedies.
Dandelion is a good colonizer that is excellent at dispersing its prolific seeds. The most notable part of it is of course the bright yellow flowers.
The health benefits for humans are manyfold. It is often used as a laxative, blood or digestive tonic. Also, dandelions can relieve joint pain, bruises and muscle aches.
But do guinea pigs LIKE Dandelions?
Oh YES! Dandelions are possibly the only thing Guinea Pigs like more than fresh grass.
Why do guinea pigs like dandelions?
Guinea pigs find the bright yellow coloured dandelion flowers very attractive. They also have a fondness for the plant because of its milky sap.
Are dandelions good for guinea pigs?
While dandelion herbs are mostly consumed by humans and in some places, it is actually cultivated for their medicinal purposes and is even used for food, they are packed with many nutrients that your guinea pigs will benefit from if eaten moderately.
Nutritional value of dandelions:
100 g of dandelion green contains-
45 calories – in total.
9.2 g carbs – for fast energy.
2.7 g protein – for slow-release of energy and healthy muscles.
0.7 g fat – a low-fat level that is healthy overall.
3.5 g fibre – for good digestion.
35 mg vitamin C – the essential vitamin for guinea pigs.
10 161 IU vitamin A – antioxidant for the immune system, skin, vision, brain, lungs, kidneys and heart.
3.44 mg vitamin E – for skin, immune system and less inflammation.
778.4 µg vitamin K – for healthy bones and healing of wounds.
76 mg sodium – too much salt, this is why it’s diuretic.
397 mg potassium – prevents heart issues, hypertension, stroke and maintains water-electrolyte balance.
187 mg calcium – high level of calcium which can make bladder/kidney stones in guinea pigs. Hence, it is necessary to maintain the prescribed frequency of 3 to 4 times a week.
Health benefits of dandelions for guinea pigs:
- Can cure appetite loss, an upset belly, gallstones.
- Dandelion encourages appetite as it increases the bile flow and gastric functions.
- It protects from free radical damage.
- Dandelions reduce blood sugar levels.
- It heals animal liver from toxins.
- The fibre in the weed improves digestion and gets rid of constipation. Guinea pigs need a high fibre diet for their gut health.
- It is a rich source of vitamin A, C and K and prevents fatigue and problems affecting teeth and mouth.
- Dandelions pack a lot of antioxidants and strengthen the immune system.
Are dandelions poisonous to guinea pigs?
This is a very frequently asked question, and a very important one. The answer is no, dandelions are not poisonous to guinea pigs. The only caution you should maintain is to not let them consume it in excess. As dandelions are weeds and people use pesticides on them, it is necessary to wash them thoroughly after plucking them. The only way your guinea pig can get poisoned by dandelions is when they consume more than the requirement or eat them directly from the yard.
How often can guinea pigs eat dandelions?
Not more than 3-4 times a week. It also depends on their reaction to it. The standard serving should not be more than a handful of dandelion flowers, stems, and leaves. It is also important to feed your Guinea pigs other vegetables that are rich in other nutrients to maintain a balanced diet (except calcium).
Can guinea pigs eat dandelion flowers?
Yes. Dandelion flowers are safe for your little love balls to eat. The bright yellow colour of those flowers attracts guinea pigs and in fact, they have a lot of health benefits, such as:
They contain antioxidants that make your guinea pig’s immune system stronger.
Dandelion flowers reduce Cholesterol.
They also decrease inflammation and control blood sugar. This is amazing if your guinea pig enjoy sweet treats every now and then)
Can guinea pigs eat dandelion seeds?
Yes. Dandelion seeds promote healthy bile flow and are full of nutritional value.
Can guinea pigs eat dandelion leaves?
Guinea pigs can safely consume dandelion greens and leaves. The leaves seal a bunch of different nutrients that add to your guinea pig’s dietary needs.
- Dandelion leaves are packed with Vitamin C, which is very important for your guinea pigs. This is because guinea pigs do not produce vitamins, and also can’t store vitamin C in their bodies. Lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy (skin and joint problems). 100 g of dandelion greens contain around 35 mg of vitamin C. So eating dandelion leaves regularly can deliver the required amount of vitamin C for your guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat dandelion stems?
Yes. Guinea pigs find dandelion stems delicious, especially because of the milky sap inside the dandelion stalk. The stems have many health benefits.
- They are rich in fibre which helps in your guinea pig’s digestion.
- They are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K and many other nutrients, minerals and antioxidants.
- The stems deliver both taste and benefits and hence are a win-win for both your guinea pig’s taste buds and its health.
Break the Newz.