Watercress is an aquatic flowering plant that’s known for its crunchiness and peppery flavor. You can use them as a salad topping, use them in soups, or make a sandwich. If you enjoy eating watercress, you may wonder if your pet guinea pigs can eat them too.
So, can guinea pigs eat watercress? Yes, guinea pigs can eat watercress, whether it’s cooked or uncooked. Watercress is enjoyed by guinea pigs a lot, but you should feed them in moderation. This vegetable contains a high amount of water and could cause diarrhea and sometimes bloating.
Is It Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat Watercress?
Watercress is safe for guinea pigs to eat, but you should not feed them too much of it. This vegetable contains a lot of nutrition such as vitamin C and fiber, but it also has a high amount of water.
For guinea pigs, food that has too much water will cause them to have diarrhea and bloating.
As long as you feed watercress to them in moderation, there should be no health issues for the guinea pigs.
Health Benefits of Watercress for Guinea Pigs
Watercress is a good source of proteins, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, fiber, and calcium. All of these nutrients are what the guinea pigs require on a daily basis.
The most important nutrient is vitamin C. Guinea pigs require a lot of vitamin C each day as they are unable to produce this vitamin on their own.
One cup (34 grams) of watercress contains the following:
- Calories: 4
- Carbs: 0.4 grams
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0.2 grams
- Vitamin A: 22% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 106% of the RDI
- Calcium: 4% of the RDI
- Manganese: 4% of the RDI
The above data is from NutritionData
Boost Immune System
Watercress is loaded with vitamin C. This vitamin has many health benefits for guinea pigs, which one includes the immune system.
Guinea pigs that get plenty of vitamin C will have a less likely chance of getting sick. The vitamin will help boost their immune system and prevent the cells from getting infected.
Also, if the guinea pigs do get sick, plenty of vitamin C will help them recover quickly from an illness.
Maintaining Healthy Bones
Watercress is high in both calcium and vitamin K, which are both nutrients important for healthy bones.
Calcium helps promote stronger bones and makes the bone denser.
As for vitamin K, it will modify the proteins that form the bone, which will improve bone health. Also, vitamin K improves the absorption of calcium in the body.
Watercress is high in vitamin C content. This vitamin is important for the guinea pig’s overall health. They need vitamin C to prevent the disease known as scurvy.
Scurvy is a disease caused by severe and chronic vitamin C deficiency. Without it, the guinea pigs will become sick and it could even be fatal for them.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Watercress?
Baby guinea pigs can eat watercress, but it’s a good idea to wait at least they are 3 weeks old.
Before then, they are still nursing. While they can start to eat solid foods after 3 days once they are born, it’s better to wait until at least 3 weeks. This will give them time for the digestive system to develop and be able to handle solid food.
During the first weeks, the mother guinea pigs may show the babies how to eat solid food. You can put a small handful of watercress in front of her and see if the mother will help them eat. If not, don’t try to force the baby guinea pig to eat it.
After 3 weeks, you can give them a small amount of watercress first. This is to see if they have any negative reaction to the watercress or not. If they start vomiting or having diarrhea, it’s best to stop feeding the vegetable.
On the other hand, if the baby guinea pigs seem to enjoy it without any negative reaction, you can give them more. However, due to the small size, a small amount of watercress once a week is enough for them.
How To Feed Watercress To Guinea Pigs
To feed watercress to your guinea pigs, you have two options. You can either give the watercress itself to the cavies or you can mix it with other vegetables and fruits.
To feed them just the watercress, start by washing the vegetable to remove any dirt and debris. Watercress is known to have bacteria on them due to the vegetable growing in water.
Once it’s cleaned, use a dry paper towel and pat the vegetable gently until it’s dry. You want to remove as much moisture from the watercress before feeding them. This vegetable is already high in water content and not drying them first could cause them to ingest too much water.
Another way to feed watercress is to mix it with other foods such as leafy greens or fruits. This will give them a boost in nutrition for the day.
Also, you mix the watercress with hay as they enjoy eating both types of food.
How Many Watercress To Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs should be fed watercress in moderation. This aquatic plant has too much water content. For guinea pigs, this can be bad for them as it can lead to diarrhea and an upset stomach.
Watercress should only make up 10% of their entire diet. The rest should come from hay and leafy greens.
Guinea pigs need hay to maintain a healthy digestive system and overall health. Since hay doesn’t have a lot of nutrition, especially vitamin C, they should be fed leafy greens as well. This includes spinach, kale, lettuce, and other leafy greens.
To ensure watercress doesn’t have any bad effect on their health, a handful of watercress at each feeding, once or twice per week is plenty for them.
Other Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Asparagus is a vegetable that can be fed to guinea pigs, but only in moderation. This vegetable is a good source of vitamin C which is required for the guinea pigs to stay healthy. It also contains some oxalate and phosphorous, which can be harmful to them. However, if the asparagus is fed to them occasionally, which means once or twice per week, there’s no harm to them.
Broccoli is a great treat for guinea pigs. It’s high in nutrition, especially vitamin C. This vegetable also contains a high amount of vitamin A which could harm them. For that reason, broccoli should be fed occasionally.
Spinach is an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable and because of that, it’s known as a superfood. It packs high amounts of carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium.
It also contains high oxalate levels and this can be dangerous for guinea pigs. For that reason, to prevent any health issues, feed them spinach in moderation.
Watercress makes a great treat for guinea pigs on occasion. It’s full of nutrition that the cavies can benefit from. However, it’s also high in water content which could affect their health. For that reason, give them a handful of watercress once or twice per week should be enough to keep them healthy and happy. Also, there’s plenty of other delicious and nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits that you can give them too.