Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale? [Serving Size, Risks & More]

In this blog post, we’re going to talk in-depth about whether it’s safe for your guinea pigs to consume kale.

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 kale, and whether it’s a good idea to feed it to your cavies.

Can my Guinea Pig Eat Kale?

The short answer to this question is, Yes! Kale is perfect because it’s a leafy green which contains a rich amount of nutrients including vitamin C, A, K, B6, calcium, and a number of antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol.

Such a combination of nutrients and antioxidants are effective in helping relieve oxidative damage in the body by counteracting free radicals.

With that being said, kale is a recommended vegetable to add to your guinea pig’s diet, with it helping prevent diseases, infections, and even skin issues.

It’s also important to provide your guinea pig with a varied diet, but we’ll talk more about that below.


Why is Cucumber Suitable For A Guinea Pig to Eat?

A guinea pig’s diet is a complex topic.

This is simply because a cavy needs to have a varied diet that delivers all of the essential nutrients and vitamins that they need to live.

cavies snacking on green leafy vegetables

Guinea pigs are highly susceptible to gut issues if they are not fed a well-balanced diet, these gut issues can amount to imbalances and dysbiosis, which is the result of an overgrowth 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, kale is mentioned above, being regarded as a top choice of fresh vegetables for your cavy!

As we briefly mentioned, kale is extremely rich in nutrients, from vitamin A, which is beneficial for eyes and bone health, vitamin C for immune system support, vitamin K for blood and bone development, and vitamin B for brain development.

However, it also has alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid, so it’s simply another way to get these healthy fats into your guinea pig’s diet.

Additionally, kale contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are beneficial for eye health.

Finally, it’s rich in minerals like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.

Overall, kale should be fed to your guinea as a small part of their wider diet.

Therefore, feeding your guinea pig half a cup of kale on a weekly basis, approximately 2 times per week is fine.

Overfeeding kale to your cavy is not recommended, due to its calcium content, which can develop bladder stones.

Let’s further explore the nutritional aspects and health benefits of kale.


Mixed vegetables with kale

Health Benefits of Kale

There are several benefits of including kale in your guinea pig’s diet, these include:


Most Nutrient-Dense Food

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. It’s considered the most nutrient-rich food on the planet, due to its ultra-high, vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content.

We’ll be talking more in-depth about the specific nutrients that kale has, within the next section ‘Nutrients in Kale’.


Loaded with Powerful Antioxidants

Kale is loaded with antioxidants which include, beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols. Some of the specific flavonoids include quercetin and kaempferol which have been found to have many benefits which include lowering blood pressure, protecting the heart, being anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and much more.


A Fantastic Source of Vitamin C

The amount of vitamin C in kale is truly astonishing when you compare it against other foods. For example, it has about 4.5x more vitamin C than spinach, and a cup of raw kale has more vitamin C than an entire orange.


One of the Best Sources of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is an extremely important nutrient that aids the body in maintaining heart and bone health. Kale is one of the best sources of this, and thus, it’s a perfect food to add to your guinea pig’s diet.


Provides Eye-Protection

Kale is high in the substances Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are powerful nutrients, also known as carotenoid antioxidants.

Studies have shown that these two substances can protect the eye from developing issues like macular degeneration and cataracts. Although these studies are not directly related to guinea pigs, we can determine that they will also be beneficial.


Supporting Weight Loss

Kale is naturally low in calories and fat, yet high in water content, making it perfect for feeding to an overweight guinea pig, especially overweight adult guinea pigs which aren’t moving as much as they once did. Kale does contain small amounts of protein and fiber, which also aids in digestion.


Lots of Kale

Nutrients in Kale

Kale is considered as the most nutritious natural food, and this is because of it’s rich vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels.

However, let’s talk more in-detail about what specific nutrients it has, and the amounts.

According to Nutritiondata, 1 cup of kale which weighs approximately 67g, has the following nutritional qualities:


Vitamin A – 10,302 IU

Vitamic C – 80.4 mg

Vitamin D – 0.0 mg

Vitamin E – 0.0 mg

Vitamin K – 547 mcg

Thiamin – 0.1 mg

Riboflavin – 0.1 mg

Niacin – 0.7 mg

Vitamin B6 – 0.2 mg

Folate – 19.4 mcg

Vitamin B12 – 0.0 mcg

Pantothenic Acid – 0.1 mg

Choline – 0.0 mg

Betaine – 0.0 mg


Calcium – 90.5 mg

Iron – 0.1 mg

Magnesium – 22.8 mg

Phosphorus – 37.5 mg

Potassium – 299 mg

Sodium – 28.8 mg

Zinc – 0.3 mg

Copper – 0.2 mg

Manganese – 0.5 mg

Selenium – 0.6 mg

Fluoride – 0.0 mcg

Fats & Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids – 121 mg

Omega-6 fatty acids – 92.4 mg



Young Cavy Eating

How Much Kale Should I Give To My Guinea Pig?

A common recommendation is that you can feed your guinea pig 1 cup of kale, twice per week.

Since kale is exceptionally high in calcium, it’s best not to feed them anymore than 2 cups per week.

However, it’s recommended that you feed your guinea pig kale on a regular because it’s so rich in vital nutrients which they need.

It’s important to make sure that you’re constantly feeding your guinea pig with fresh hay, so they always have access to it.

Hay is a large part of their diet, alongside other leafy greens such as parsley, spinach, lettuce (romaine & iceberg lettuce), broccoli, 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, strawberries, sweet potato, and other sweet berries.

After all, we want to make sure that our guinea pig’s health is prosperous.


How Should I Prepare Kale For My Guinea Pig?

It’s recommended to wash your fresh kale with hot water, to rinse off any loose dirt.

Also, if you’re not buying organic kale, we highly recommend washing it for a longer period of time, with hot water. This will help wash off any pesticides or preservatives which may be on the outside.

You should only give your cavy a cup of kale per serving, and it’s suggested that these servings can be twice per week.


Guinea Pig Eating Hay

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 kale to your cavy. These are as follows:


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale Every Day?

No, it’s not recommended to feed your cavy kale every day. Instead, a small cup, 2 times per week is sufficient.

You should instead feed your guinea pig on a balanced diet of fresh food, primarily of hay (timothy hay/alfalfa hay are good options) and fresh, leafy green vegetables.


Does Kale Cause Bloat In Guinea Pigs?

Kale can in fact contribute to bloating in guinea pigs.

This is because it’s a cruciferous vegetable, and if fed in large quantities on a regular basis, your guinea pig will struggle to digest it.

This can ultimately result in bloating, and if unresolved, other more serious gut issues like dysbiosis, where gut bacteria become imbalanced.

This is why it’s HIGHLY advised to make sure you have a planned guinea pig diet.

Not only will this help organize the feeding protocol for your cavy, but it will also help to determine if certain foods are resulting in bloating, because you’ll be able to track the symptoms back to a specific day.

However, if your guinea pig is experiencing bloating issues, we highly recommend speaking to a veterinarian for professional advice.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale Stem?

No, it’s not recommended to feed your cavy kale every day. Instead, a small cup, 2 times per week is sufficient.

You should instead feed your guinea pig on a balanced diet of fresh food, primarily of hay (timothy hay/alfalfa hay are good options) and fresh, leafy green vegetables.


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Kale Leaf?

Yes, kale as we refer to it, is the leaf. And this is safe for guinea pigs to consume, as part of a balanced diet.


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Kale?

No, unlike humans, guinea pig’s digestive systems are not capable of digesting cooked foods. Therefore, it’s best to stick to feeding them raw kale and a veggie diet.


Does Kale Cause Bladder Stones In Guinea Pigs?

Feeding your guinea pig too much kale on a regular basis can result in them having too much calcium (calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate) in their diet. Ultimately this calcium can crystalize in the bladder when combined with minerals and urine, causing bladder stones.

This is why we highly recommend giving your guinea pig a balanced diet. And always be aware of how much kale they have eaten. The normal suggestion is to not give them more than 2 cups of kale per week.


What Are The Alternatives To Kale For Guinea Pigs?

Since not all guinea pigs will enjoy the taste of kale, we understand that you’ll want some alternatives.

Here are some options for you to choose from, which are still high in essential nutrient and minerals:






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