Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dandelions

Dandelions are beautiful wildflowers that are luxuriantly found in a lot of places. The flower is added in soups and salads or even wine. The roasted root of a dandelion is also used as a substitute for coffee, and there are tea’s made of dandelion.

This wildflower has immense health benefits for humans. From using as a laxative to being used as a digestive tonic, dandelions are popularly used for their benefits. It is also known to relieve muscle and joint pains, muscle aches, and bruises.

During its blooming seasons, you will see the gardens filled with this flower, and so they can be easily reached by Guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs love to feed on wild grass, flowers, and other vegetables. Apart from hay, they also need to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain the optimum level of vitamin C in the body. While feeding vegetables to your pet, you should make sure which vegetables are poisonous for your Guinea pigs and which are not. This brings us to the next question, can Guinea pigs eat dandelions?

The answer is, Yes!! Your Guinea pigs can safely eat dandelions, provided the quantity is not in excess. Guinea pigs love the taste of dandelions and love to consume them whenever they get the chance. From the green leaves to the stem and flowers, they like to eat them all. But, you should monitor the amount being consumed and make sure your guinea pig does not overheat. Eating 4-5 times dandelions in a week is safe for your cute friend.

Nutritional values of dandelions

You must know what are the nutrients and vitamins present in dandelions before you feed them to your Guinea pigs. The nutritional content for 3 oz of dandelion are:

  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 76 mg sodium
  • 187 mg calcium
  • 397 mg potassium
  • 20gms carbs
  • 50 gms fiber
  • 70 gms fat
  • 70 gms protein
  • 23% vitamin E
  • 58% vitamin C
  • 338% vitamin A
  • 659% Vitamin K
  • 45 calories

During peak season, you can give up to a dozen dandelions to your Guinea pig. You can even go up to 20 leaves, and flowers if your guinea pig loves to eat them. But remember to reduce the calcium content in other foods, so that your guinea pig gets to eat a well-balanced diet.

Health benefits of eating dandelions in guinea pigs

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Aids in appetite loss

Consuming the root of the dandelion can help in curing loss of appetite, along with improving the bowel moments and upset stomach of your guinea pig. Eating dandelions increases the flow of bile and gastric functions in the body, thus helping increased appetite. However, the benefits are seen only when moderate quantity is consumed. Since the metabolism of guinea pigs is not as good as humans, they cannot digest too many dandelions at a time.

Contain antioxidants

Dandelions are a good source of antioxidants that help in protecting your guinea pig from free radical damage which can cause many illnesses in their body. The antioxidants help in increasing their immunity and prevent any forms of diseases.

Reduces blood sugar

Dandelions are also known to reduce the sugar levels in the blood, thus neutralizing the effects of feeding treats on your cavy.

Improves liver functioning

Dandelions work to refresh and heal the liver from various toxins in the body.

Relief of constipation

Dandelions are a great source of fiber and hence helps in eliminating the problem of constipation in your pet.

Good source of vitamin C

Since cavies cannot synthesize their own vitamin C, neither can they store it in their body, a vitamin C-rich diet is crucial in their diet. Without adequate vitamin C in the body, your pet becomes more prone to getting diseases such as scurvy, teeth and mouth infections, fatigue, rough coat, etc.

Whenever you feed dandelions to your cavy, make sure that you’ve plucked them from clean and non-polluted places. Also, dandelions should never be cooked and always fed raw.

Health risks associated with eating dandelions

There are quite a few risks associated with eating an excess of dandelions. One of the common risks is the laxative effect it can have when consumed in large amounts. Your guinea pig may end up urinating too much or get an upset stomach if she eats a lot at one go. This will affect the gastrointestinal tract of the animal and cause various side effects such as vomiting, bloating, indigestion, stomach pains, loose stools, diarrhea, and so on.

Another danger of eating excess dandelions is the high calcium content in them. Consuming too much calcium can lead to the building up of calcium in the body and cause kidney or bladder stones. You will also notice a change in the urine color. The urine may appear to be reddish or orangish in color. This is an indicator that your Guinea pig has eaten a lot of dandelions.

How often can guinea pigs eat dandelions?

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Dandelions should be given more like a treat to your pet. A little bit periodically will work just great for your guinea pig. During the spring or summer season, when your gardens are filled with dandelions, you can let your Guinea pigs enjoy the flower by feeding them 2-5 times a week.

How to feed dandelions?

You can either give just dandelions directly to your guinea pig or mix them with hay. But remember, that some hays come with dandelions mixed in them.

Conclusion

Dandelions are commonly found wildflowers with great health benefits for Guinea pigs. This wildflower should be regularly incorporated into your pet’s diet since it is rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, etc. Guinea pigs also love the taste of dandelions and will happily chew on them whenever they get the chance. However moderate amounts are the key here. When eaten in excess, dandelions are also known to cause serious health issues. You can give up to 10-20 flowers and leaves at a serving about 2-5 times a week.

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