Guinea pigs love chewing on vegetables! They especially enjoy crunchy options, which can bring cucumbers to mind.
These green squash vegetables seem like an easy, convenient choice, but are they safe for guinea pigs to eat?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber?
Yes, guinea pigs can safely eat cucumber, including the skin and a little bit of the seeds.
They’re not the top snack for the most nutritional benefit or value, but guinea pigs will love the crunch and fiber!
Nutritional Information For Cucumber
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central, half a cup of sliced cucumber weighs about 52 grams.
A typical serving of cucumber for any guinea pig should be about a third of that or about three slices of cucumber.
With that in mind, the nutritional value of three cucumber slices is approximately as follows:
- Energy: 2.6 kcal
- Carbohydrate, by difference: 0.63 g
- Protein: 0.113 g
- Fiber: 0.087 g
- Sugars: 0.289 g
- Calcium: 0.773 mg
- Magnesium: 2.253 mg
- Phosphorus: 4.166 mg
- Potassium: 25.467 mg
- Vitamin C: 0.487 mg
Due to the extremely small serving size, nutritional information on cucumbers doesn’t matter too much, as long as you stay within the correct serving size.
Benefits Guinea Pigs Can Gain From Eating Cucumber
Cucumbers are packed with vitamins. Most guinea pigs don’t get a lot of vitamins from their hay-filled diet, so cucumber can provide a good amount of it to them.
Cucumbers have trace amounts of Vitamin K, A, and C. Guinea pigs need vitamin C to stay healthy and to prevent the onset of diseases like scurvy.
Meanwhile, the other vitamins keep their hearts strong and their eyesight sharp. All these vitamins also boost immunity!
2. Bone and Teeth Health
With a small phosphorus and calcium content, cucumbers can help to keep a guinea pig’s teeth and bones nice and strong. Young guinea pigs will need lots of calcium to grow healthily. Pregnant guinea pigs need even more calcium.
3. Blood Sugar Regulation
A clean cucumber peel can balance blood glucose levels, which can be a good way to keep your small pet healthy and prevent metabolic issues.
Did you know that cucumbers are 95% water? This means they’re a great way to bring more hydration into a guinea pig’s diet, especially in the summer!
Potential Dangers of Feeding Cucumber to Your Guinea Pig
Cucumbers are safe for guinea pigs when fed in moderation. Excessive feeding may come with some dangerous side effects, which is why it’s important not to give them too much.
The main threat in cucumbers for cavies comes from cucurbitacins. This element is common in all members of the summer squash family, including things like cucumbers and zucchinis.
This is where these veggies get their distinct bitterness.
In small doses, cucurbitacins are not dangerous. But in large quantities, this can be toxic for a guinea pig.
Cucurbitacins affect the digestive system and can cause diarrhea when eaten in excess. This diuretic quality also increases urination.
All in all, your cavy will end up dehydrated and will lose a lot of electrolytes, which can end fatally.
You should also pay attention to where you buy cucumbers from.
Common store-bought cucumbers will likely be coated with wax that shouldn’t be fed to guinea pigs.
It is possible to clean and treat wax-coated cucumbers to reduce the chemical components that may be harmful to them.
Finally, cucumbers are also just not what guinea pigs should be eating the most of.
They should be eating primarily hay, so too much cucumber will cause digestive problems that may lead to fatalities.
How Often Can You Feed Cucumber to Your Guinea Pig?
Most guinea pigs must eat fresh grass or hay for 80% of their diet. Only 10 to 15% of their diet should be fresh vegetables, and those veggies need to be varied, not just all one kind.
Assorted vegetables are important to their health.
Guinea pigs can eat about 2 or 3 cuts or slices of cucumbers twice or thrice weekly.
If you’re first introducing this vegetable to your pet, start with a very small amount and watch their reaction first before increasing the total amount to the maximum allowed gradually.
Safest Way to Feed Cucumber to a Guinea Pig
The safest way to feed cucumber to a guinea pig is by cutting the cucumber into small pieces.
You can cut some cubes, leaving the skin on, or put the cucumber pieces through a spiralizer to make thin, easy-to-eat strips.
You can also put very small pieces into various toys for them to fish out!
Very young or old guinea pigs may struggle to break through the thick skin of the vegetable. In that case, you can cut the skin off of the veggie first for their ease.
If your cavy likes to really gnaw on large pieces of veggie, you can give them a thick piece of cucumber of the right serving size for them to slowly work through.
As for seeds, it’s a good idea to not give guinea pigs too many cucumber seeds, as they have a lot of cucurbitacins and fatty acids in them.
A few seeds are fine for extra nutrients, but remove at least half of the seeds when you’re feeding them!
Cucumber is a good snack for a guinea pig in small amounts twice or thrice a week. The vegetable should be fed alongside other types of veggies and should be only a very small part of their diet!