Can Guinea Pigs Eat Celery?
When charged with the task of preparing a cavy’s daily meal, you may become hesitant when including vegetables in the diet. This is because you know for a fact that there are a variety of vegetables that are toxic to animals and can cause serious harm; a few pertinent examples being raw potatoes, tomatoes, and rhubarb.
Well, celery obviously isn’t the same as those vegetables, but what if celery is harmful to guinea pigs too?
Unless you just happened to be a guinea pig in your past life or perhaps spent hundreds of hours reading about veggies, you probably wouldn’t have a clue as to whether tossing a few pieces of celery in your cavy’s food bowl will be beneficial to its health or send it straight to rodent heaven.
Whatever the case may be, today you’ll learn for certain about whether or not feeding celery to guinea pigs is okay.
Things to Keep in Mind When Feeding Celery to Cavies
Alright, we’ll skip the drama and get straight to the point. Yes, you can stop feeling guilty about feeding celery to your pet because it’s perfectly safe. In fact, celery is a good source of Vitamin C which is much-needed by guinea pigs since their bodies lack the ability to manufacture it.
And they love eating it, too. Before you go all gung-ho with it though, there are a few guidelines for you to be aware of and follow.
Firstly, be aware that guinea pigs and other rodents are creatures of habit. They have lifestyles and routines that are firmly ingrained in their brains so your pet may not be too happy about having something new introduced to its diet.
When introducing any new vegetables into your pet’s meal plan, start off with small amounts and see how they take to them. Baby guinea pigs (called pups) may warm up better than adults.
Secondly, do all things in moderation. Celery, in particular, has a lot of water (around 95%) and can, therefore, cause your guinea pig to experience diuresis (increased production of urine) if eaten in large amounts.
Unless you want your cavy to create a few swimming pools in its cage, don’t feed it celery on a regular basis. It should be treated as a supplementary vegetable given as a treat from time to time and never as a daily inclusion.
Thirdly, celery contains a high number of naturally-occurring compounds called oxalates. An over-abundance of oxalates can bind with calcium and form bladder stones. These are something you definitely don’t want your guinea pig to have. They can block the urinary tract and cause infections.
Consumption of celery hasn’t been definitively linked to a build-up of bladder stones, but doctors believe it’s best to stay on the safe side and take preventative measures, especially for cavies that have a history of health issues.
Correct Preparation Methods
Let’s take a look at the vegetable itself. Celery is basically a long stalk that splits into smaller strings and is topped off with a head of luscious green leaves.
Guinea pigs can eat the leaves as they are. One leaf is a good amount for a treat; just make sure to rip it into smaller pieces first. The leaves can also be combined with other leafy vegetables such as Iceberg lettuce, bell peppers, and cucumbers to make a nice healthy salad.
The celery’s stalk needs a little more preparation before consumption. It needs to be sliced into small pieces and the cuts should always be horizontal, not vertical. This is because the strings in the stalk can be difficult for a guinea pig to digest and cause diarrhea.
You may have to check your pet’s stool from time to time. If you notice anything abnormal about its waste, you may have to discontinue the celery for a while. The strings of a celery stalk can also potentially get stuck in a guinea pig’s teeth or throat.
There’s no need to cook the celery or peel it. Most veterinarians advise against cooking, as valuable nutrients are removed from vegetableswhen they’re heated. Feed your guinea pig with fresh, raw vegetables and it’ll be positively peachy.
So, can guinea pigs eat celery? As mentioned, yes, they can, but in moderation. It’s the type of vegetable that you should be adding to your cavy’s meal every so often and never on a daily basis.
Keep things interesting and exciting by introducing your pet to different vegetables every week. Find what works and what doesn’t and you’ll get a better idea of a well-rounded meal plan for one week or several.
Keep an eye on the physical and behavioral state of your cavy when introducing new vegetables to its diet. Treat your guinea pig as you would a child – be patient and never force it to eat a lot of something that it doesn’t like.