In this blog post, we’re going to talk in-depth about whether it’s safe for your guinea pigs to consume cucumber.
We’re going to assume that the majority of you haven’t randomly stumbled across this guide, but you instead have a pet guinea pig and are looking for nutritional guidance on which foods to feed your furry friend.
If so, keep reading, you’ll want to make sure that these adorable little animals that bring you a lot of happiness are well taken care of, and live long and healthy lives.
Such a small pet is perfect for families, especially those who have small children. This is because they are easy to care for, and are more cuddly than other common choices of pet, like a hamster, fish, or reptile.
Anyway, let’s talk more about the topic, and give you some of the details behind cucumber, and whether it’s a good idea to feed it to your cavies.
Can my Guinea Pig Eat Cucumber?
The short answer to this question is, yes! Cucumber is a safe food for guinea pigs to eat.
Cucumbers are made up of over 95% water, which is the highest water content of any food. Therefore cucumbers are the perfect vegetable to give to your guinea pig on a warm day, to help keep them hydrated.
However, although cucumber isn’t high in sugar like other fruits and fresh vegetables, eating too much of it can cause your cavy to experience GI issues.
Therefore, a balanced diet is the aim!
Why is Cucumber Suitable For A Guinea Pig to Eat?
A guinea pig’s diet is quite a complex topic. How so?
Well, this is simply because a cavy needs to have a good varied diet, which delivers all of the essential nutrients and vitamins that they need to live.
Additionally, the diet needs to be balanced so that it prevents imbalances/dysbiosis in the gut, which result in excess levels of certain types of bacteria and fungi.
What is the best diet for Guinea pigs?
As we can see from VCA Hospitals’ advice:
The preferred basic diet for guinea pigs is unlimited amounts of Timothy or other low-calcium hay, supplemented with smaller amounts of commercial, high-fiber, Timothy-hay based guinea pig pellets. Vitamin C should be given each day to help maintain and boost your guinea pigs immune system. Hay should be offered throughout the day. Hay and pellets should be supplemented with a variety of fresh, well-washed, leafy greens or colored vegetables (especially those high in vitamin C, such as bell pepper, tomato, and asparagus).
Other good choices for vegetables include green and red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, endive, kale, carrot tops, beet greens, cilantro, carrot, and squash. Iceberg or head lettuce has little nutritional value and is mostly water, so it should not be offered.
With that being said, cucumbers are great sources of phytonutrients, which are plant chemicals that have properties to both protect cells and prevent disease from occurring.
These phytonutrients are flavonoids, lignans, and triterpenes. Each has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
They also contain decent amounts of vitamin C & K, alongside potassium.
Cucumbers are naturally low in calories, sodium, fat, carbohydrates, and cholesterol, so your guinea pig won’t be putting on weight whilst eating it.
However, since cucumbers are over 95% water, they do not contain a very high density of nutrients.
Additionally, it’s the cucumber peel/skin is perfectly safe to feed to your guinea pig. It’s the peel that contains the majority of the cucumber’s nutrients, including vitamin A, C, K, and B.
However, we’ll discuss more about specific nutrients in one of the sections further below.
It’s important to note that cucumbers should be given to your guinea pig as part of a varied diet which includes lots of timothy hay and plenty of leafy greens.
Therefore feeding your guinea pig a few slices of cucumber on a weekly basis, around 2 times per week is fine.
Let’s further explore the nutritional aspects and health benefits of cucumber.
Health Benefits of Cucumber
There are several benefits of including cucumber in your guinea pig’s diet, these include:
Keep Your Guinea Pigs Hydrated
Consisting of over 95% water, the most apparent benefit of feeding your cavy with a few slices of cucumber is so they can keep hydrated. Many owners will choose to feed their guinea pig cucumber on days where the temperature is hot, or if your guinea is outside and it’s sunny/humid.
Great For Digestion
Not only does cucumber have a high water content, but it’s also high in fiber which helps with digestion. The peel of a cucumber is the part that has all of the fiber.
Therefore, if you want to make sure your guinea pig is digesting food optimally, adding a small amount of cucumber may be a good option.
Great For The Brain
Cucumber contains several vitamins which aid in maintaining mental cognition, this includes vitamin C, B, and calcium. Additionally, it includes a flavonoid known as fisetin, which has anti-aging and neuroprotective properties.
Cucumber is low in carbohydrates, calories, and fat. The carbs that cucumber has are healthy, complex carbohydrates.
Overall, this means that your cavy isn’t going to put on any more weight whilst chewing on some cucumber, in fact, they’ll most likely end up losing weight, depending on their diet and mobility.
Helps to Develop and Maintain Bone Health
As cited from Better Bones Foundation, vitamin K helps to create strong bones by binding to calcium to aid in healing bone fractures.
Cucumber’s skin has decent amounts of vitamin K, and so we can gather that it’s beneficial for your guinea (even a baby guinea pig), particularly during their development or if they’re going through a healing process.
Nutrients in Cucumber
As we mentioned above, cucumber is made up of mostly water content, with over 95% of it being H20.
However, the cucumber skin is packed full of nutrients which include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B.
According to Nutritiondata, 1/2 cup of cucumber slices (including the skin), which weighs approximately 52g, has the following nutritional qualities:
Vitamin A – 54.6 IU
Vitamic C – 1.5 mg
Vitamin D – 0.0 mg
Vitamin E – 0.0 mg
Vitamin K – 8.5 mcg
Thiamin – 0.0 mg
Riboflavin – 0.0 mg
Niacin – 0.1 mg
Folate – 3.6 mcg
Vitamin B12 – 0.0 mcg
Pantothenic Acid – 0.1 mg
Choline – 3.1 mg
Betaine – 0.1 mg
Calcium – 8.3 mg
Iron – 0.1 mg
Magnesium – 6.8 mg
Phosphorus – 12.5 mg
Potassium – 76.4 mg
Sodium – 1.0 mg
Zinc – 0.1 mg
Copper – 0.0 mg
Manganese – 0.0 mg
Selenium – 0.2 mg
Fluoride – 0.7 mcg
Fats & Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids – 2.6 mg
Omega-6 fatty acids – 14.6 mg
How Many Cucumbers Should I Give To My Guinea Pig?
It’s alright to feed your guinea pig with a few slices of cucumber 2-3 times per week, especially if it’s hot and you’re concerned about your cavy needing more hydration.
Make sure that you feed your guinea the cucumber skin, as this is the most nutrient-rich part of the vegetable.
Also, be sure to constantly feed your guinea pig with fresh hay, so they always have access to it.
Hay is a large part of their diet, alongside leafy greens such as kale, parsley, spinach, lettuce (romaine & iceberg lettuce), broccoli, sweet potato, zucchini, and more fresh veggies that are nutrient-dense.
You should avoid feeding your guinea pig food that is high in sugar content, except on a rare occasion. These foods include citrus fruit and sweet berries, like strawberries.
After all, we want to make sure that our guinea pig’s health is prosperous.
How Should I Prepare Cucumber For My Guinea Pig?
To prepare a cucumber, you should wash the outside with hot water to rinse off any loose dirt.
If you’re not buying organic cucumber, we recommend washing it for a little while longer, with hot water, to help wash off any pesticides and preservatives which may be on the skin.
Then you can simply begin slicing the cucumber.
You should only give you guinea pig a few slices of cucumber per serving (with the skin on). And it’s suggested that these servings can be 2-3 times per week.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As a guinea pig owner, we understand that you’ll most likely have a lot of questions.
Therefore, we’ve addressed some of the most common FAQs that we see on a daily basis, in regards to feeding cucumbers to your cavy. These are as follows:
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Everyday?
No, it’s not recommended to feed your cavy cucumber every day. Instead, a small serving of a few slices, 2-3 times per week is sufficient.
You should instead feed your guinea pig on a balanced diet of fresh food, primarily of hay (timothy alfalfa hay is a good option) and fresh, leafy green vegetables.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Seeds?
Yes, it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat the soft cucumber seeds which are inside at the center of the cucumber itself.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Skin/Peel?
Yes, it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat the skin/peel of a cucumber, as this is the more nutrient-dense part of the cucumber itself. Therefore it’s a good source of vitamin A, C, K, and calcium.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Leaves?
Yes, absolutely! Guinea pigs are herbivores, and so they’ll happily consume the likes of fresh grass, hay, and cucumber leaves.
However, it’s only recommended to feed them small quantities of a cucumber leaf, as they’re not a part of their usual veggie diet.