Can Guinea Pigs Eat Squash?
Squash is an absolute summer delight. Squash makes for the best summer bakes, soups and pairs perfectly well with spaghetti.
Hold on, before you jump straight away to feeding pumpkins to your cavy pets. You may want to consider the following concerns –
- Are squashes safe to eat for guinea pigs?
- What quantity of squash is a safe limit for consumption for guinea pigs?
Let’s find out everything you need to know about feeding squash to your guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs have squash?
Yes, you can introduce Squash as mid-day snack meals to guinea pigs.
Squash contains a healthy dose of vitamin C and fibre. However, squash should not be the primary/major source of food in their diet. It means you should feed your cavy pets with squash in moderation.
Timothy’s hay should make up for the primary source of fibre in their diet. Squashes should make up for the 1/3rd portion of their meal in their everyday diet. Additionally you can add some variety to their diet with some tasty asparagus.
Nevertheless, it would be best if you were mindful of specific measures before you can start feeding squashes as part of their meal plan.
Are squashes suitable for guinea pigs?
There are different varieties of squash available during the summer and winter seasons. In addition, because of the sweet taste of the squash, the little pigs instantly develop a liking for squash.
Squashes come packed with essential nutrients and are ideal for incorporating in a guinea pigs’ meal plans.
Guinea pigs belong to the cavie family and are small furry pets. The food requirements are generally lesser, but a well-balanced diet is essential for their overall health.
Squash, which is botanically a fruit, is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbs, fibres, and trace elements. Therefore, feeding squash to your little pets makes for a healthy treat.
Although, feeding squash to your little pets comes with caution. If you over-feed your guinea pets with squash, it may cause them some health problems.
Let’s now find out which varieties of squash you can feed your pets.
What are the different squash varieties that you can feed your guinea pigs?
The two major categories of squash include the summer and the winter squashes.
Some common winter squashes include – Butternut, Buttercup, Kabocha, Acorn Squash, Spaghetti, and Sugar pumpkin.
Some common summer squashes include – Chayote, Zucchini, Cousa, yellow zucchini, and Pattypan.
The main difference between a summer and winter squash is its harvest period after its maturity.
Winter squashes are harvested after the seeds within have fully matured. Therefore, they tend to have thicker and harder rinds. The tissues close to the skin also tend to be a little hard to cut. The seeds are also not fit for consumption.
In addition, the harvest period of summer squashes is shorter in comparison to winter squashes. There is also a significant difference in the overall textures between summer and winter squashes. Summer squashes have soft skin that is consumable, and even the seeds are very tender.
Coming to the good news, guinea pigs love both summer and winter squashes.
Precautions to keep in mind when feeding the different varieties of squash
These little ones can easily digest the skin, seeds, and flesh of the squashes.
However, some squash variants – its skin and seeds can cause allergic reactions to the little pigs. For example, the vets do not recommend the yellow zucchini’s skin as the debris on the skin can cause allergic reactions.
In addition, some variants of chayote squashes, like the prickly chayote squash, have tiny needles on their skin. If you feed the pets along with the skin of the chayote squash, it may choke the little pets.
Therefore, when feeding the different varieties of squashes to your pets, we recommend the following steps –
- Wash the squashes thoroughly with water to remove soil debris or any chemical/organic fertilizer sprayed on them.
- Then remove the outer stiff/prickly skin of the different variants of the squashes.
- It is also best to remove the seeds inside of the Squash.
- Dice up the fleshy part of the Squash in bite sizes about an inch or so.
- Feed the guinea pigs for a great mid-day meal.
What quantity of squash can a guinea pig eat?
The varying age group of guinea pigs requires varying does of nutrients and food. Below is a brief overview of the serving size of squashes for your little furry companions.
|Pet Age||Serving size|
|Baby guinea pigs||None|
|Weaned guinea pigs||2/3 small squash slices (about an inch)|
|Juvenile guinea pigs||5/6 slices of squash once or twice a week|
|Adult guinea pigs||A cup (8 ounces) of squash twice/thrice a week|
It would be best to be mindful of not making it a regular meal for your cavy pets.
Excessive or regular consumption of squashes may irritate their bowel system. Continuous/feeding beyond the daily limit may result in diarrhea or vomiting. Therefore, watchful and moderate feeding will reap maximum results in terms of the overall health of these little nibblers.
Health benefits of squashes to your little pigs
This section will cover all the details of the nutrient supplementation to a guinea pig on squash consumption. And how these nutrients benefit the overall health of your little pets.
- Vitamin C – Abundantly found in squashes, Vitamin C, helps prevent scurvy in these little cavies.
- Vitamin K, copper, and iron– Vitamin K, copper, and iron in squashes help with the proper production and quality of blood.
- Fibre – Squashes have moderate amounts of fibre, which is ideal for the digestive system of the cavies.
- Antioxidants and carbs – squash, with its low-fat content, makes for a healthy meal for your furry pets. Naturally, squashes are sweet, and the carbs in the squash provide energy for your pets. The antioxidants boost the immunity of the cavies.
If a healthy meal plan is on your mind for your furry pets, the varieties of squashes are ideal for it.
Although, the nutrients present in the Squash do not make up for the overall nutrition requirements of the cavies. Therefore, squashes are only to be given as mid-day meals and need to be alternated/rotated with other fruits and vegetables.
To avoid choking or pesticide consumption, do wash the squashes thoroughly and remove the seeds and skin.
Lastly, the high amount of sugar and fibre may cause indigestion problems if fed excessively.