Guinea pigs are often fed starchy vegetables like carrots or parsnips. This is because it’s suitable for the pet. After all, it contains vitamin A, makes tooth enamel strong, and gives them energy. However, as per the research, the consumption of vegetables for guinea pigs should be minimal because they have a lot of starch, so you shouldn’t feed your guinea pigs too much of it.
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Carrots and parsnips aren’t the only vegetables that guinea pigs can eat. Feeding your guinea pig with an extra health boost raises the question: can guinea pigs eat swede? Read further to know all about it!
What is Swede?
Swede (rutabaga) is a root vegetable that originated in Eurasia and resembled a turnip, but its flesh is yellow rather than white. In the United States, it has been known to go by names such as Swedish turnip or Swedish potato. But the most concerning question that could arise in any guinea pig owner is can guinea pigs eat swede?
The swede or rutabaga has long been a staple in Northern Europe, where it grows well in the cold, moist soil characteristic of that region.
It is thought to have originated as a cross between wild cabbage and an early cultivar of turnip. Swede is very similar to carrots in appearance, so it won’t be hard for you to replace the vegetables in your guinea pig’s diet. However, unlike carrots, swede is lower in sugar and starch!
Although guinea pigs are herbivores, they also enjoy eating foods like swede (rutabaga) – especially if this is given to them raw. This article lists the benefits of feeding your guinea pig swede.
One benefit that you can get when feeding your guinea pig swede is its vitamin C content. According to one source, you can expect that 100 g of swede contains around 31 mg of this nutrient. This amount might not seem like much, but Vitamin C is an essential part of your guinea pig’s diet – especially if they have a respiratory infection or other ailments involving the lungs.
Another benefit to feeding your guinea pig swede is that it can minimize the risk of enterotoxemia. This disease refers to a condition wherein there is an overgrowth of Clostridium bacteria in the cecum and intestines. The problem with this kind of condition is that it can cause an infection, resulting in the feces’ hardening.
Feeding your guinea pig swede can provide them with fiber, improving their digestion. This is quite impactful if your guinea pig has an upset stomach or other issues involving the digestive system.
Shown to be Safe to Administer
Another good thing about guinea pigs eating swede is that it is safe to ingest. One study noted that the ingestion of up to 5 g/kg of swede in 24 hours is safe for guinea pigs.
Provides Vitamin A
Another thing you can get when feeding your guinea pig swede is vitamin A. According to one source, 100 g of this vegetable contains around 300 µg of this nutrient. This amount is a bit low compared to other veggies, especially carrots containing approximately 5,000 µg.
Helps Maintain Eyesight
One more benefit that your guinea pig can get from eating swede is that it helps maintain good eyesight. This is because vitamin A plays a part in developing the retina and cornea.
Finally, feeding your guinea pig swede can help increase its longevity. One study reported fewer cases of illness and death when hens were provided with swede as part of their diets – which means that it can do the same for your pet as well!
Risk Involved in Swede Vegetable for Guinea Pigs
The low sugar content in swede is the factor that makes it a popular food choice for people on various types of diets. Unfortunately, it is also a popular food choice for guinea pigs, and while they seem to enjoy this root vegetable, it raises some concerns among owners. After all, people on specific diets try to avoid foods with high starch and sugar levels, such as potatoes.
Swede Can Upset the Digestive Tract of Guinea Pigs.
The high levels of starch and low sugar content in swede can cause digestive problems for your guinea pig. The high levels of starch, a carbohydrate, just like sugar and fruit sugars, can lead to obesity and indigestion issues if their diets consist solely of swede. Unfortunately, Swedes are not the only food that can have an impact on your pet’s digestive system.
If Your Guinea Pig Has Diabetes, Swedes Can Bring on an Attack.
If your guinea pig has Type 2 Diabetes, feeding it food with high starch levels can cause dangerous fluctuations in its sugar levels. According to Animal Diabetes UK, if you are worried that your pet may be diabetic, you should consult a vet. If it is found to have the disease, you need to try and regulate its diet so that it does not eat too many starchy carbohydrate foods.
Swede Contains a Toxin Called Convallatoxin
Your guinea pig can metabolize most of this toxin safely, but there is a chance that larger quantities of swedes can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The high potassium levels in swede are why it is thought that this root vegetable may cause severe problems for your pigs if it eats too many.
Your Guinea Pig Could Be Allergic to Swede.
We associate allergies with hay fever-type reactions, but your guinea pig can have food allergies. Food allergies are more likely to be noticed after your guinea pig has eaten the same type of food for many months or even years. The problem with swede is that it may not be one of the first foods you offer your pet, so an allergic reaction may not be noticed until it has been fed this root vegetable for a long time.
Swede Contains High Levels of Oxalates and Goitrogens.
There are plenty of reasons why people try to avoid eating food containing high levels of oxalic acid, which is why it is not recommended that you feed large quantities of swede to your guinea pig. So this answers your question “Can guinea pigs eat swede?” Oxalic acid is thought to cause health problems for people who eat too many oxalate-rich foods, and the same might be true for your pet.
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