The Guinea pig, also known as cavy, is a rodent species. It was domesticated for its meat production. However, it has gained widespread popularity as a pet in western society. I believe their manageability, ease of handling and feeding, and care made guinea pigs an endless choice of a household pet.
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People are concerned about what food should be administered to a Guniea Pig, having gained so much popularity as a source of meat and companion and considering its voracious appetite. For those who have not yet seen a guinea pig eat, you would be amazed at how busy their jaw can be round the clock; eating.
The guinea pig mainly consumes hay, forages, carrots, etc., but for the sake of savor, relative cost, and change of diet, one may begin to wonder whether it’s possible to serve it other fruits like Cucumber. Such questions like ‘how safe is cucumber for my Guinea pig?
Does Guinea pig-like cucumber, what is the nutritive importance of cucumber, how many cucumbers can be fed to it’ and so on will begin to pop up inevitably. But Yes! It is okay. They are essential questions so your ‘darling’ guinea pig does not come into harm’s way.
Cucumber water composition
Nonetheless, as crunchy as it is, Cucumber is composed of 95% water, which rehydrates whatever consumes it. Can you imagine that! Weird right? – that something will contain that amount of fluid and still be crunchy? There are other jaw-dropping facts about Cucumber and its nutritional value to guinea pigs as it pertains to the context of this piece.
Cucumber is a nutritious feed for guinea pigs anytime, any day but as applied to all things ‘moderation is critical when considering feeding it to your Guinea pig. When you administer a moderate amount of Cucumber, it will add to the overall nutritional requirements of Guinea pigs.
These include ranging from helping it to be well hydrated to supplying it vitamin C, which helps prevent scurvy –a defect in animals caused by the deficiency of Vitamin C, which contains ascorbic acid. This nutrition is indispensable as Guinea pigs are not biologically wired to synthesize Vitamin C by themselves.
Nutrient Requirements of Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs, as mentioned earlier, like humans and unlike rabbits, cannot make their own Vitamin C. Therefore, the provision must be made in their diet. If guinea pigs do not take enough vitamin C, they can suffer from a potentially deadly disease called scurvy.
According to research, Guinea pig food requires about 10 mg of vitamin C daily (20 mg if pregnant), obtained from fresh, raw fruits and vegetables (such as Cucumber, broccoli, apple, cabbage, carrot, celery, and spinach). You can also get them through dietary supplements or by eating fresh pellets designed for guinea pigs.
If they have been appropriately handled, Guinea pigs also have a high Vitamin A requirement, much higher than rabbits or other rodents. Calcium and phosphorus are also needed for bone and teeth formation in Guinea pig babies and pregnant guinea pigs. Nonetheless, excessive intake of calcium can lead to bladder stones in guinea. Hence, minimal quantity is recommended.
Other minerals and vitamins are pretty much as essential as those mentioned earlier. Vitamins such as vitamin A and K are also necessary inclusions of the diet, which helps to improve the eyesight and cardiovascular health of Guineapigs.
Water is also indispensable for digestion and rehydration. The good thing is that Cucumber contains all these vitamins and minerals but must be ingested with moderation which must be monitored as Guinea pigs are somewhat gluttony.
Further studies recommended that diet for pet guinea pigs should consist of fresh guinea pig pellets (18 to 20 percent crude protein and 10 to 16 percent fiber), an unlimited supply of high-quality grass hay (Timothy hay), fresh vegetables (Cucumber), plenty of vitamin C, and a steady supply of clean water.
Nutritional Values of Cucumber
The following are the nutritional values of Cucumber per 100g;
Vitamin C — 2.8/100g
Vitamin A — 1g
Vitamin K — 16.4mcg/100
Calcium — 16mg/100g
Phosphorus — 24mg/100g
Potassium — 147mg/100g
Fibre — 0.5g/100g
Water — 92.23g/100g
Carb. — 3.63g/100g
Nutritional and Health Benefits of Cucumber to Guinea Pigs
Cucumber, a low-calorie vegetable, contains many nutritional benefits and hydrating properties as well, as Cucumber itself is composed of 95% water. Cucumber is generally okay for guinea pigs, but it should not be their regular food. It is an incredible idea to skip a day or two without Cucumber. You can add the Cucumber to your pet’s food 3-4 times a week.
Before we continue, it is imperative to reveal some inadequacies with the Cucumber we buy from our grocery stores. Cucumber sold in grocery stores is often coated with wax and other chemicals while they are growing. These chemicals are for the prevention of pests and this, in turn, damages the Cucumber.
If we give this type of Cucumber to our guinea pigs without adequately disinfecting them, then it might cause a significant breakdown in your guinea pig’s health. And this should not be attributed to the natural composition of the Cucumber.
Moreover, speaking about the nutritional value of Cucumber to Guinea pigs, Cucumber does not contain a very high density of nutrients. However, they are very low in fat, sodium, and calories at the same time. Half a cup of sliced Cucumber is only eight calories.
Vitamins in cucumber
Despite their low nutrient density, cucumbers are still a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and phosphorus, calcium, and potassium,” which are needed by guinea pigs daily. Cucumber also contains a small amount of vitamin A, fibre, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese, to mention a few. It is good to note that consuming the Cucumber’s peel helps balance blood sugar levels in guinea pigs.
Are There Any Implications or Complications for Guinea Pigs After Consumption of Cucumber?
Having had considerable knowledge of guinea pig and Cucumber, we should know if there are any negative consequences after consumption and why it is so when it has already been established that consumption of Cucumber is safe for a guinea pig. It has been revealed that Cucumber contains 95% of water which aids the rehydration of Guinea pigs.
Nevertheless, a study further revealed that excessive consumption of this crunchy meal leads to diarrhea and vomiting with symptoms of body weakness, loss of weight, etc. All these may lead to more severe ailments if cucumber consumption is not controlled and the ailment is quickly treated.
Also, excess calcium intake in guinea pigs causes severely painful bladder stones. But, on the other hand, just as we have stated, an occasional intake of Cucumber will be sumptuous and healthy. And just so you know! You don’t have to bother about cucumber peels or seeds. Guinea pig loves them just as much, but moderation must be applied.
To quickly add, if you are thinking of adding Cucumber or any new feed to your guinea pig’s diet, you should know that usually, guinea pigs are afraid of new things, and you should make any diet change gradually. They have a very delicate digestive tract comparable to a rabbit, which enables them to extract nutrients from plant material.
There is a diverticulum (like our appendix except proportionately larger) called the cecum, which stores and mixes the ingested material providing a perfect environment for bacteria to ferment and break down plant fibers.
Periodically, the cecum is emptied, and the intestinal tract then absorbs the essential nutrients. Changes to the bacteria can hinder the ability to digest their food and cause harmful bacteria (like Clostridium) to overgrow and cause illness. This is why giving antibiotics and changing the diet should be done with caution. So, in a nutshell, you must make it gradual.
From different facts gathered in this piece, it is evident that Cucumber is safe for guinea pig consumption but at a minimal ration: not more than four times a week because of the delicate nature of their digestive system.