Basil is a herb that has both culinary and medicinal uses. The herb helps bring out the flavors in soups, stews and can be used to garnish salads. Besides culinary use, basil can be used to treat insect bites and worm infections. Basil is safe for humans to eat, but what about guinea pigs? Can you feed them basil too?
So, can guinea pigs eat basil? Yes, guinea pigs can eat basil. Due to their little nutritional value, it should be fed to them in moderation. Feeding them basil once or twice per week is enough.
Is It Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat Basil?
Basil is safe for guinea pigs to eat, which includes the leaves and stem. It doesn’t contain any toxins that could harm them.
However, basil should not be fed to them too much and too often. This herb doesn’t have enough nutritional value that the guinea pigs can benefit from. They will need to eat a lot of it to get the same nutrition as they would from other foods.
Health Benefits of Basil for Guinea Pigs
Basil is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, and iron. It’s also a good source of calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
All of this nutrition is important for guinea pigs, especially vitamin C.
Below are some health benefits of feeding basil to your guinea pigs:
For guinea pigs in captivity, they are prone to having scurvy. This is a disease when the guinea pig lacks enough vitamin C in its diet. Unfortunately, vitamin C can’t be processed or stored in their body. Guinea pigs will need a constant supply of vitamin C each day to avoid having the scurvy disease.
If they have scurvy, the cavies will have health issues such as weakness, pain in their joints, diarrhea, and weight loss. Prolong deficiency in vitamin C could result in death.
Help Prevent Blood Clot
Basil is a good source of vitamin K. This vitamin plays a key role in helping the blood clot. Also, it prevents excessive bleeding and helps wounds to heal.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?
Baby guinea pigs should not eat any basil. Their digestive system has not developed enough to digest the herb.
Instead, baby guinea pigs should be on a diet of their mother’s milk and Timothy hay. They should be on this diet until they are at least 3 weeks old.
Once they are at least 3 weeks old, you can start to introduce basil to them. They may not eat at first, but after a while, they will.
After the baby Guinea pig eats the basil, wait 24 hours to see if they have any allergic reaction to it. If they do, they’ll have an upset stomach and diarrhea. Stop feeding them any more basil if this happens.
On the other hand, if the baby Guinea pig doesn’t have any digestive issues, and they seem to enjoy eating it, you can feed them more of it. Limit them to a small piece of basil once a week until they become an adult.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Stem?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat basil stem. The stem is tough and the guinea pigs may just nibble on them. If you want to see if they’ll eat it, give them the basil with the stem and leaves.
How To Feed Basil To Guinea Pigs
Like any other food, if this is the first time basil is being fed to your guinea pigs, you should test if they’ll have an allergic reaction to it.
Start by giving your guinea pig a small amount of basil and wait 24 hours. Within that time, if you notice any allergic reaction such as diarrhea or upset stomach, don’t feed them any more basil.
On the other hand, if the guinea pigs don’t have any allergic reaction and seem to enjoy eating it, you can continue to feed them. Feed them just a small piece of basil once a week and gradually increase it every month.
How Much Basil Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
While basil doesn’t contain any toxins that could harm the guinea pigs, it’s best to give them in a small amount.
For baby guinea pigs, basil should not be fed to them. Their digestive system hasn’t developed properly yet to digest the herb. At this age, they should be fed a diet of alfalfa hay and their mother’s milk.
For adult guinea pigs, they should be given one or two leaves for each feeding. While you can feed them much more, the herb doesn’t have much nutrition that can benefit the guinea pigs.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil?
Basil should be fed to them in moderation. Once or twice a week is plenty of basil for your guinea pigs.
This herb doesn’t have enough nutrition to meet the guinea pig’s daily nutrition needs.
Other Herbs That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Parsley makes a good treat for guinea pigs. It’s packed with nutrition that can benefit them. Give them a sprig or two, once or twice per week.
Dandelion greens are full of nutrition that’s healthy for the guinea pigs. These leafy greens can actually be fed to them on a daily basis.
Rosemary is another herb that makes a great treat for the cavies. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals. However, this herb is also high in calcium. Too much of this mineral can pose a health risk for them.
Basil is a herb that makes a great treat for guinea pigs. While it doesn’t have any toxin that could harm them, it doesn’t have enough nutrition for the guinea pigs to gain from. Therefore, it’s best to feed basil to your guinea pigs in moderation. This means a couple of leaves once or twice per week is enough.