Guinea pigs are becoming increasingly popular as pets due to their small size, low maintenance requirements, and low price tags and with a number of videos going viral on social media of guinea pigs eating nasturtiums recently, we have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking if guinea pigs can eat nasturtiums or not.
As always, you should never base the diet of your guinea pig around one single food type and you should always offer a balanced and varied diet to your pet guinea pig but we wanted to go into more detail on using nasturtiums for guinea pigs due to it becoming popular.
Guinea pigs can eat the leaves and flowers of nasturtiums with the plant being an excellent source of Vitamin C for your guinea pig as well as also providing good levels of Vitamins B1, B2, and B3 as well as the minerals manganese, iron, phosphorus, and calcium too.
With nasturtiums being so cheap and easy to grow in pots and hanging baskets, they can make an excellent, organic, natural treat food for your pet guinea pig if your pet hog likes to eat nasturtiums.
Now, before we go any further with our article, we just want to quickly say that just because nasturtiums in their natural state are safe for your pet guinea pig to eat, does not mean that all nasturtiums are safe.
This is due to pesticides, herbicides, and various other chemicals being very commonly used by gardeners to protect their plants so you should only feed your pet guinea pig nasturtiums that you have grown yourself and that you know are free from chemicals.
Are Nasturtiums Safe For Guinea Pigs?
Both the leaves and flowers of nasturtiums are safe for guinea pigs to eat in their natural state when free from pesticides and herbicides.
The stems of nasturtiums are controversial and should usually not be fed to your pet guinea pig and the seed pods of nasturtiums should never be fed to a guinea pig but with the majority of the plant being leaves and flowers, nasturtiums can make a great treat for guinea pigs.
If you look at nasturtiums from a purely nutritional point of view then they can actually offer a better nutritional profile for your pet guinea pig than many of the commercially available guinea pig treats on the market.
This can serve as a way to boost the Vitamin C in your guinea pig’s diet to help boost its immune system as well as offer a range of other benefits to your pet too.
Still, nasturtiums are far from being nutritionally complete for your pet guinea pig and they should only be used as a treat food.
If you are looking for a more nutritional treat for your pet guinea pig then something like guinea pig treat sticks will usually be a better option but they can pump your costs up where as nasturtiums can be grown at home for a fraction of the price.
Can You Feed Nasturtiums To Guinea Pigs?
You can feed nasturtiums to your guinea pig but it is usually recommended that you take care when preparing the nasturtiums for your pet guinea pig by ensuring there are no nasturtiums seed pods amongst the plant when being given to your guinea pig.
Most people also try to cut the stalk right down on the flowers and leaves of the nasturtium plant prior to feeding them to their pet guinea pig.
As we touched on earlier in the article, nasturtiums are not nutritionally complete for guinea pigs and should only be fed to a guinea pig three or four times per week at most depending on the rest of the guinea pigs diet.
We know that there are some people within the guinea pig keeping community who keep their pets on organic, self-grown diets and although this is a great option, it is far from realistic for the majority of people preventing the majority of our readers from being able to offer their guinea pig nasturtium plants as a food source each day.
If you are using a high-quality guinea pig food that offers a balanced and varied nutritional profile then you can still supplement the diet of your guinea pig with nasturtium leaves and flowers as often as four times per week.
Although some people think that you should feed your guinea pig plants like nasturtiums more often when the bulk of the guinea pigs diet is made up of cheaper guinea pig foods, this is not correct as many of the cheaper guinea pig food mixes almost duplicate the nutritional profile of nasturtiums anyway meaning that adding nasturtiums into your guinea pigs diet offers minimal value in these specific cases.
Do Guinea Pigs Like To Eat Nasturtiums?
Just like humans, guinea pigs have their preferred foods and only around half of all guinea pigs seem to actually like eating nasturtiums where as the other half may eat them if they are hungry or have limited access to other foods with some guinea pigs just not even trying nasturtiums.
This is why it can be a good idea to try your pet guinea pig with a small number of nasturtium leaves and flowers prior to buying your own plants to grow.
Within the guinea pigs that do like to eat nasturtiums, you also have guinea pigs that will prefer to eat only nasturtium flowers where as others will prefer to eat the leaves of nasturtium plants too.
In most cases though, the guinea pigs who do like to eat nasturtiums will usually eat both the leaves and the flowers of the plants. We have seen some people report that their pet guinea pig will only eat the red flowers or the yellow flowers but not both but this does seem to be rare.
If you have not grown your nasturtiums yourself then keep in mind that pesticides or herbicides may also come into play with your guinea pigs willingness to actually eat the plant too.
Although guinea pigs can be greedy, if they taste pesticides or herbicides on their food then they will often stop eating it giving the impression that the guinea pig does not like the food when the issue is the chemical or product the nasturtiums are covered in.
That brings our article going over if you can use nasturtiums for guinea pig food to an end. We hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible better understand that you are able to feed your pet guinea pig nasturtiums and that around half of all guinea pigs do seem to really enjoy eating them. Due to the low price and how easy it is to grow nasturtium plants, it can be a quick and easy treat food option that is also much cheaper than other treat foods that many guinea pigs will love to eat.