In the wild, guinea pigs used to roam around grazing and foraging for food. But since guinea pigs have been domesticated for long, feeding them is the responsibility of their owners. Our cavies are natural herbivores and their natural diet consist of all plant-based foods. As domesticated pets, living in our homes, our little piggies diet is mostly composed of pellets, and timothy hay.
That said, off and on, loving cavy parents spoil their piglets by offering them fresh fruits and vegetables. And our guineas just love the leafy greens and sweet fruits. But what about squash? Can guinea pigs eat squash? Yellow squash? Butternut squash? And zucchini?
Yes, there are so many different kinds of squash out there. But worry not, in this article we are going to discuss all the details about can guinea pigs have squash or not.
Guinea Pigs and Squash
Are you chopping squash on the kitchen table? Does your guinea pigs seems to be interested in squash? Are you wondering can guinea pigs have squash or not? Well, let’s find out.
In addition to declaring can guinea pigs have squash or not, in this blog, we are also going to discuss can guinea pigs have different types of squash, including butternut squash, yellow squash, and zucchini squash? We are also going to discuss the health benefits of squash as well as uncover if there are any potentials health hazards involved in feeding squash to guinea pigs.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Squash?
The short answer is yes, guinea pigs can eat squash—all types of squash. Not only a safe but squash also make a healthy snack for guinea pigs as it has many health benefits to offer. That said, squash should only be fed to guinea pigs in moderate amounts, occasionally, as a treat. The bulk of our guinea pigs diet must consist of guinea pigs pellets and timothy hay.
Now that you the answer to “can guinea pigs have squash,” questions about different varieties of squash must be popping in your head: Can guinea pigs eat summer squash? Can guinea pigs eat winter squash?
Well, fret not, we have got you covered. We are going to discuss the safety of both winter as well as summer squash for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Summer Squash?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat summer squash. In fact, summer squash is more suited for our guinea pigs nutritional needs as compared to the winter varieties. This is because summer varieties contain higher amount of vitamin C as compared to the winter varieties. On top of that, summer squash contains comparatively lesser amount of calcium, which is often related to the formation of bladder stones in cavies.
The bottom line is summer squash contains more of what is good for cavies (vitamin C prevent scurvy) and lesser of what could be potentially bad for guinea pigs (calcium can cause bladder stones)
Different types of squash are grouped as summer squash. Most popular of the summer squash are:
- Yellow squash
- Zucchini squash
- Pattypan squash
Note that guinea pigs can eat all kinds of summer squash but never forget that Moderation is the Key!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Yellow Squash?
Yes, guinea pigs can have yellow squash. In fact, guinea pigs can have all varies of summer squash—they are healthier as compared to winter squash varieties. In addition to vitamin C, yellow squash also offers vitamin A to our piglets. It has lower in calories, and fats, making your guinea pigs devour this summer treat without putting on any weight. But still, you should feed it to them in moderate amounts.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Squash and Zucchini?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat squash zucchini. Zucchini is actually a summer squash so given that summer squash varieties are healthier for guinea pigs, it means that zucchini also makes for a healthy treat for guinea pigs. Mixing squash and zucchini would just further enhance the richness and palatability of the treat for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Winter Squash?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat winter squash. Actually, cavies can safely eat all types of squash but different varieties have nutritional makeup, so different levels of caution is required from cavies owners in feeding squash to guinea pigs. As far as winter squash varieties are concerned, you will have to be extra careful about the squash skin and seeds.
As compared to summer varieties of squash, winter varieties have thicker skin and their seeds are also a bit hard and not palatable at all. So, guinea owners are advised to remove and discard both the skin and seeds of winter squash before feeding it to their piglets.
There are many different kinds of squash that are harvested in winter but the three most famous of them are:
- Butternut squash
- Acorn squash
- Hubbard squash
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Butternut Squash?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat butternut squash but as with other winter varieties of squash, you will have to peel them off and scoop out seeds before feeding to your guinea pig. The butternut squash feels like pumpkin in texture and nutty in taste and our cavies seem like if they just can’t get enough of it.
Is Squash Good for Guinea pigs?
Ok squash is safe for guinea pigs to eat but does is it any god for guinea pigs to eat. Does squash has any health benefits for guinea pigs?
Health Benefits of Squash for Guinea Pigs
Squash is not only a healthy treat for guinea pigs but it also makes a healthy and tasty snack for guinea pigs. Given that it is lower in calories and laden with useful nutrients, it makes a great healthy and nutritional treat for little cavies. Below, we have discussed some of the health benefits of squash for guinea pigs.
Helps Prevent Scurvy
Not much but squash contain certain amount of vitamin C, which could help our little guineas ward off any potential dangers of scurvy—scurvy is caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Just like humans, guinea pigs need an external source of vitamin C as they cannot make their own. But as we discussed, guinea pigs need for vitamin C cannot be filled by eating vegetables like squash or fruits like apples, and pineapple, it is crucial that we provide direct external sources of vitamin C to our little piglets. Guinea pig parents are advised to offer both vitamin C tablets and vitamin C drops to their piggies.
Despite the fact that squash is loaded with useful nutrients, it is still lower in calories, especially the summer varieties of squash. These veggies are also extremely low in carbs. Therefore, our piggies can eat squash without gaining any weight, unlike other fruits and vegetable treats for guinea pigs.
Maintains Digestive System Health
Squash is laden with dietary fibers, which help our guinea pigs in their bowel movement and maintaining the overall health of their digestive system.
Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
Eating squash not only helps prevent scurvy but also reduce the risk of cancer in guinea pigs. Actually, squash contains antioxidants which fight the free radicals that cause mutation and cell damages that lead to the development of cancer in guinea pigs.
Squash also has to offer other useful nutrients like vitamin K, copper, iron, and manganese to guinea pigs, which make it a great snack for guinea pigs as it reduces the risk of anemia.
So, antioxidants help our guinea pigs keep diseases at bay and live a healthier longer life with their loving parents.
Health Risks of Feeding Squash to Guinea pigs
Although, squash make a healthy treat for guinea pigs, we should not forget one thing “Moderation is the key,” when it comes to feeding humans foods and veggies to our guinea pigs. Eating too much of squash could cause urinary issues and stomach discomfort in your guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Squash?
Cooked squash may sound like a more palatable treat for humans but can we say the same about our little friends–cavies? Can we feed them cooked squash?
No, cooked squash—be it butternut, yellow, or zucchini—for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are natural herbivores, as discussed at the beginning. They can easily digest fresh ad raw vegetable, but when it comes to processed or cooked vegetables and fruits, their stomach get upset. So it is best that we only stick to feeding fresh and raw fruits and vegetables to out guinea pigs.
The Final Verdict: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Squash?
Squash is a safe and healthy treat for guinea pigs. It not only contains a considerable amount of vitamin C which helps cats ward off chances of scurvy, but also contain vitamin K, manganese, iron, coper, and other antioxidants help guinea pigs fight cancer and keep other diseases at bay by strengthening the immune system. That said, you should feed squash to guinea pigs in moderate amount, occasionally, as a treat. Eating squash in excess could cause tummy troubles and urinary issues in guinea pigs. You should also avoid feeding cooked squash to your guinea pigs.
Check out other guides to what guinea pigs can or cannot eat: