Guinea pigs are herbivores so it would be easy to assume that they can have plant-based food. However, there are some things that guinea pigs can’t eat and some that should be given in moderation. Owners often wonder what herbs their guineas can eat and can guinea pigs eat rosemary?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rosemary?
Guinea pigs can eat rosemary in moderation but this herb shouldn’t be included as a main part of their diet. Rosemary is very high in calcium and too much of this can cause problems for your pet’s health.
What Is Rosemary?
Rosemary is a type of evergreen herb that is native to regions in the Mediterranean. The herb is highly fragrant, and its aroma is immediately recognizable.
While it has a much more earthy scent than mint, the two come from the same family of plants and can often be used to complement one another in cooking.
Moreover, rosemary has many healing properties, and its essential oils are widely used in aromatherapy. Its heady fragrance also means that it is heavily used in body products and perfumes.
Nutritional Information Of Rosemary
While rosemary is a herb, it has a surprisingly high number of calories with around 131 in every 100 grams. Compared to other herds, like basil, which has only 22 calories per 100 grams and it is quite shocking.
Rosemary also contains quite high levels of fat with around 5.9 grams per 100 grams of the herb. Rosemary also has around 3 grams of protein and 21 grams of carbs in a 100g serving.
14g of fiber per 100g means that rosemary is an excellent option for maintaining a healthy digestive system. That goes for both guinea pigs and humans! It is also packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, iron, niacin, vitamin b6, and many more.
Benefits Of Feeding Rosemary To Guinea Pigs
While rosemary should not be given to guinea pigs daily, using this herb as a treat can be beneficial to the overall health of your pet.
One of the best ingredients found in rosemary, for a guinea pig, is vitamin C. Guinea pigs are unable to produce this essential vitamin on their own and as such, require foods that are rich in vitamin C.
If guinea pigs do not get enough of this vitamin, they are at serious risk of developing a deficiency known as scurvy, which can be fatal. Some symptoms of scurvy include a loss of appetite, digestive issues like diarrhea, and weight loss.
Moreover, rosemary is filled with natural antioxidants that can be advantageous to your guinea pig’s health. Vitamin A is great for defending the organs and keeping their immune system healthy while preventing a build-up of free radicals which can lead to diseases.
Anemia is a common blood-related problem in guinea pigs and can present through a weakened immune system as well as a lack of energy. However, rosemary is bursting with iron which is essential for healthy blood, as such, your pet will be far less susceptible to developing this condition.
Niacin is present in rosemary and this is essential for a healthy heart. Furthermore, good levels of thiamin in rosemary mean that the brain and other internal organs are kept healthy and protected.
Risks Of Feeding Rosemary To Guinea Pigs
There may be a lot of benefits to giving your guinea pig rosemary as a treat but this also comes with a warning. As with anything, too much rosemary can make things go in the opposite direction so we must always be mindful about what we give to our pets.
One of the main concerns is that rosemary is incredibly high in calcium. While guinea pigs do need calcium, too much of it can cause serious problems with your pets’ urinary system. Problems may range from infections to blood in the urine accompanied by pain.
At the most severe end of the scale, too much calcium could cause the kidneys to fail, which in a small animal like a guinea pig is almost always fatal.
Another concern is the amount of carbs in rosemary. Guinea pigs should be fed a low carbohydrate diet, so feeding rosemary too regularly with its higher carb content can be a long term health concern for your pet.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Safely Eat Rosemary?
If you want to offer your guinea pig rosemary limit their intake to once or twice a week. Additionally, when feeding rosemary, you should only give a small bunch of leaves at one time.
Other Herbs That Are Better To Feed Your Guinea Pig Than Rosemary
If you want to provide your guinea pig with an array of herb-based meals then there may be some others that are a little more well-suited to these furry friends than rosemary. Any of the following can be included as a regular part of your pet’s diet.
Guinea pigs need to have a varied yet balanced diet that includes plant-based foods. However, there are some plants, like rosemary that should not be freely given to a guinea pig, and offering this herb moderation is the best option.
Rosemary no more than twice each week will provide your guinea pig with all the right health benefits without overloading them with too much calcium.