Guinea pigs are adorable little pocket pets to own. You may be tempted to feed them all sorts of treats since they can eat just about anything. Now, basil can be a good option for animals, but can guinea pigs eat basil?
You’re in luck! Your pet piggy can safely eat basil as long as you feed them in moderation. It is rich in nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But, it is also rich in terms of calcium content, which is only good if fed in moderation and may lead to complications if overfed.
Guinea pigs love to munch green veggies, and basil can be an excellent herb to introduce to their diet. But, that’s not all, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should know before feeding your pet piggy basil.
Serving Basil To Guinea Pigs – 2 Factors You Should Be Aware Of
Due to the presence of calcium in basil, some people automatically assume it is bad for guinea pigs. But, fortunately, that is not the case here.
As long as you feed your pet basil in moderation, there isn’t anything that you should be worried about. In fact, it can be significantly beneficial for your pet piggy’s health.
Before we get into the health benefits, let’s answer a few questions that guinea pig owners often ask.
1) Do Guinea Pigs Like Eating Basil? – 1 Way To Find Out:
When it comes to guinea pigs and the treats that they like, it depends on their personal preference. Some may like to eat basil, and some may simply run off for other treats instead of munching basil.
To find out if your pet likes eating basil, you could simply ask your pet piggy. Wondering how? Feed your pet guinea pig a small amount of basil. If your pet runs towards it and eats it, you’re in luck.
You can then safely introduce basil into your pet guinea pig’s diet, and only feed them in moderation. An excess of basil can be bad for your pet’s health and should be avoided at all costs.
If, however, your pet piggy turns its head away from it, you should understand that your pet isn’t fond of basil. Instead, you can feed your pet guinea pig other treats.
Don’t worry, we’ll reveal other health alternatives of basil in the latter part of this article.
2) Are Guinea Pigs Allergic To Basil?
Fortunately, your pet guinea pig is not allergic to basil. Basil is rich in nutrients and can be an excellent addition to your pet’s diet. Your pet piggy can benefit from the numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in it.
But, to be on the safer side, you need to introduce them to basil gradually. If you notice any adverse reactions, you need to discontinue feeding your pet basil. In this case, a visit to the vet will be recommended.
6 Types Of Basil Plants Your Pet Piggy Can Have
If you’re looking for bringing variety to your pet piggy’s diet, basil may seem the ultimate choice. It is available in over 6 different types. But, to find out if they are safe for your pet guinea pig, let’s dig in a little further.
1) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fresh Basil?
Yes, they can eat fresh basil! In fact, it is the best way to feed them out of the list of 6 different types. Fresh basil will provide your pet piggy with the most benefits and ensure your pet’s safety as well.
Stale, cooked, and processed basil needs to be avoided at all costs. Due to the imbalance of ingredients in cooked and processed foods, they lose their original nutritional value and may upset your pet’s stomach.
Your pet piggy is a herbivore and they love to munch fresh foods only. So, feeding them fresh and raw foods would be the most feasible choice. However, keep in mind, they may have pesticides on them.
Always make sure to wash basil thoroughly prior to serving them to your pet guinea pig.
Fun Fact – Basil can be kept fresh for a long duration. You can store it in the refrigerator and it will ensure its freshness for a longer period of time.
One thing that you need to make sure of is that you don’t feed your pet guinea pig basil out of the refrigerator. You need to bring it to room temperature before serving it to your pet friend.
2) Should You Feed Your Guinea Pigs Greek Basil?
Yes, you can feed your pet guinea pig greek basil but in moderation. It is one of the most common and smallest types of basil, which grows in the vicinity of Greece –hence the name Greek Basil.
It can be identified by its small and pointed leaves. Greek basil is widely used due to its medicinal powers and due to this, many people recommend using greek basil for guinea pigs as well.
However, you need to feed them in small amounts only to avoid the possible adverse effects of excess calcium. A small amount of greek basil, 2-3 times a week would suffice and be more than enough.
3) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Ruffles Basil?
Guinea pigs can eat green ruffles basil, in a relatively smaller amount and lower frequency than other types of basil. Green ruffles basil is different than ordinary basil and can grow up to a whopping 24-inches in height.
It also has larger leaves due to which you need to feed them in a smaller amount compared to other types of basil. Green ruffles basil has a mild flavor, which guinea pigs tend to prefer more.
4) Do Guinea Pigs And Lemon Basil Get Well Along?
Luckily, your pet guinea pig can eat lemon basil as well! It is a type of basil that has small to medium-sized leaves, with an oval shape. It can grow up to 8 – 20 inches in height and has tiny white flowers.
Lemon Basil has a rather unique flavor with notes of lemon, and a sweet taste that your guinea pigs will go crazy for! But, do not let their love for lemon basil distract you from the fact that they can only have a small amount of it.
When fed in moderation, your pet will benefit from numerous nutrients including:
|Trace amounts of other minerals.
The reason for their limited serving size is calcium as well. Excess of calcium will lead to urinary stones and kidney complications which can end up being significantly painful to your pet piggy.
5) Is Sweet Basil Good For Guinea Pigs?
Sweet basil can be fed to guinea pigs and is certainly good for them. Its leaves are dark green in color and have a rather unique blend of flavors that is both sweet and spicy at the same time.
It can grow 12 – 18 inches and further has a whopping 60 different varieties. But, as with every other type of basil, you cannot feed your pet sweet basil in excess or in a greater frequency.
6) Can Guinea Pigs Munch On Thai Basil?
Guinea pigs can eat Thai basil, but there is a downside as well. Thai basil has a rather high concentration of calcium due to this, you will need to make the serving size even smaller to ensure your pet’s safety.
Thai basil is a herb natively found in southeast Asia and can be sourced from there. It can be identified by its narrow leaves, with purple-colored stems and flowers.
Additionally, it is aromatic and has a rather spicy flavor that some guinea pigs may turn their heads away from.
It also has a high concentration of other nutrients including vitamin C, K, A, and beta carotene, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Although it might seem more beneficial you cannot feed your pet too much Thai basil.
It will only create problems for your pet rather than improving your pet’s health so you need to feed them in a small amount only.
3 Parts Of Basil Your Pet Piggy Should Eat
Wondering what parts your pet piggy can have and how much would be enough for them? Let’s dig in a little further and find out.
1) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Leaves?
Yes, you can! Your pet piggy can eat basil leaves in small amounts. They are ovate-shaped and range from 3 cm to 11 cm in length. Their width goes between 1 cm to 6 cm but it varies depending on the basil cultivar.
Considering their size, it might not seem much to us, but for your guinea pig, it is considered a large leave. But that isn’t the only reason to keep their serving sizes small, and there is another reason as well.
These leaves contain certain compounds that can be bad for your pet guinea pig’s health. It will take a toll on your pet friend’s digestive system and put him or her in ultimate discomfort.
Due to this, you need to feed them a small amount of these leaves once a week, and never in excess.
2) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Flowers?
Guinea pigs can eat basil flowers as long as you keep the serving size small and not too often. They are available in different colors based on the variety of the basil. The most common ones are purple and white flowers.
The white and purple colors are tempting to your pet piggy and they may want to munch on them from time to time since they taste just like the leaves.
Just make sure you feed your pet piggy fresh and thoroughly washed flowers to avoid any adverse reactions.
3) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil Stalks Or Basil Stems?
Basil stalks are usually high in terms of their fiber content. Your pet piggy can have them but not too often since an excess of fibers can lead to stomach complications and may induce pain in your pet piggy.
They have a rather crunchy texture and a unique flavor that guinea pigs absolutely love. Make sure you feed your pet piggy fresh, and thin basil stalks/stems.
Feeding them older stalks is not a good idea since they are bitter and will only go to waste.
Serving Size and Frequency of Basil for Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs can have basil, but how much can they have? Let’s find out.
1) Can Guinea Pigs Have Basil Every Day?
No, you cannot feed your guinea pigs basil every day. They can only have basil 2 – 3 times a week, and only in small quantities to avoid the possible health hazards.
2 – 3 times a week would suffice and is more than enough to ensure your pet receives all of the benefits of eating basil. In case of increasing their serving frequency, your pet will suffer from digestive and kidney discomfort.
2) How Much Basil Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs can eat basil in small quantities. A general rule of thumb is to feed them less than a handful of basil. Although it might not seem much to us, for your pet friend it is more than enough.
Your pet piggy has a sensitive digestive system and increasing this amount will make it difficult for your pet’s digestive system to process eat.
Guinea pigs will eat just about anything and they never know when to stop. This is why you need to take care of their serving size and ensure they never overeat anything.
3 Steps To Feed Your Guinea Pig With Basil
You cannot simply grab some basil and put them on your pet piggy’s food plate. There are precise steps that you need to follow to ensure you do not expose your pet to any adverse reactions.
Step No: 01, Introduce Basil Gradually:
To determine the serving size, you need to know whether your pet can have basil or not. Start by feeding your pet small bites of basil leaves. Let your pet piggy eat them and see if he or she likes eating them.
If you notice your pet showing a keen interest in the leaves and eats them in one go, you can gradually increase the serving size.
Step No: 02, Observe Your Guinea Pig:
When introducing your pet guinea pig to foods for the first time, you need to keep an eye out for adverse reactions to these foods. Some signs to watch out for include, tummy ache, diarrhea, and bloating.
If you notice any of these, you need to stop feeding them basil for the day. You can try feeding them basil after a few days since such signs are normal when you introduce a new food to your pet guinea pig.
However, if the issue remains, you need to stop feeding them basil.
Step No: 03, Introduce Basil Leaves Occasionally:
If your pet has no trouble eating basil leaves and you do not see any adverse reactions, you can introduce your pet to basil leaves occasionally.
The reason why you should feed them occasionally is that basil leaves are rich in calcium. They cannot have basil leaves as part of their everyday diet and can only be served basil leaves as a treat only.
How Good Is Basil For Guinea Pigs? | Nutritional Facts
Basil is rich in nutrients and there is nothing that says otherwise. They are beneficial for both humans and animals. Here are the nutritional facts of basil per 100 gram serving to give you an idea of how good they are.
|Energy – 23 kcal
|Protein – 3.15 g
|Total lipid (fat) – 0.64 g
|Carbs – 2.65 g
|Dietary fiber – 1.6 g
|Sugars – 0.3 g
|Calcium – 177 mg
|Iron – 3.17 mg
|Magnesium – 64 mg
|Phosphorus – 56 mg
|Potassium – 295 mg
|Sodium – 4 mg
|Zinc – 0.81 mg
|Copper – 0.385 mg
|Selenium – 0.3 µg
|Vitamin C – 18 mg
|Vitamin B-6 – 0.155 mg
|Vitamin A – 264 µg
|Vitamin E – 0.8 mg
|Vitamin K – 414.8 µg
|Thiamin – 0.034 mg
|Riboflavin – 0.076 mg
|Niacin – 0.902 mg
|Folates – 68 µg
|Carotene, beta – 3142 µg
|Lutein + zeaxanthin – 5650 µg
4 Reasons You Should Feed Your Pet Piggy Basil – Health Benefits
Basil is an excellent means of nutrition for your pet guinea pig. It can lead to a number of health benefits and to name a few, here are some:
1) Aids In The Prevention Of Scurvy:
Basil is rich in vitamin C. Your pet guinea pig needs a source of vitamin C every day and feeding them basil will serve the purpose. It will lead to an improvement in the overall health of your pet guinea pig.
But, the most important benefit of feeding your pet basil is that it lowers the risks of vitamin C deficiency that leads to scurvy. A deficiency of vitamin C can have one of the following symptoms:
- Rough coat
- Loss of appetite
- Stiff joints
- Discharge from the eyes and nose
But, with basil, it can all be avoided!
2) Aids In Digestion, Energy, And Immunity:
Basil is an excellent source of fibers and proteins. When fed as part of a balanced diet, it will improve the digestion of your pet guinea pig. Additionally, it will also fill the energy levels of your pet piggy.
As a result, your pet guinea pig will be more active, energetic, and stay healthy due to the improvement in the digestive system.
Basil also has a mineral referred to as zinc. Zinc, along with vitamin C helps improve the immune system of your pet piggy and aids in the healing of wounds as well.
Basil is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A that help fights free radicals in the body of your guinea pig. Free radicals in your pet’s body lead to aging and become the cause of numerous health complications.
It also serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and stops the damage caused by free radicals –thus improving the overall health of your pet friend.
Wondering what health benefits your pet will receive from antioxidants? Here are a few:
- Improves lung and kidney health
- Aids in keeping eyesight and vision healthy –thus allowing them to see better in the dark.
- Improves brain health
- Keeps the skin looking young
4) Fights Against Cancer:
When fed as part of a balanced diet, the minerals present in basil will help lower the chances of certain cancers. These include:
- Lung cancer
- Liver cancer
- Skin cancer
2 Major Risks Of Overfeeding Basil To Guinea Pigs
The health benefits of basil can be tempting to feed your pet basil more frequently. But, there are certain risks of overfeeding basil to guinea pigs and it is certainly not worth the risk.
Here are some of the major risks of overfeeding your pet:
1) Urinary Problems:
Overfeeding your pet basil will expose them to a higher concentration of phosphorus and calcium in their bodies. An excess of these two compounds will lead to urinary complications which can be quite painful.
It will also lead to stones in the bladder and kidney of your pet guinea pig which will lead to:
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine
- Renal failure
Due to this, you need to avoid overfeeding your pet basil. In case of accidental overfeeding, you need to contact your local vet immediately and remove basil from your pet’s cage to prevent further damage.
2) Digestive Problems:
Feeding your pet basil more than the recommended amounts will lead to an imbalance of nutrients in your pet’s daily diet. It will lead to digestive complications such as flatulence, bloating, and diarrhea.
In extreme cases, it may also lead to vomiting which will drain your pet physically and tire him out.
35 Healthy Alternatives Of Basil For Guinea Pigs
Basil is undoubtedly healthy for your pet guinea pig just like Raspberries, Parsley, Brussels sprouts, Bell peppers, Oranges, Mangoes, Peaches, Blackberries, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Pineapples. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can feed them basil daily.
To ensure there is variety in your pet’s diet, there are plenty of foods that you can introduce your pet to. To name a few, here are some that are considered safe and beneficial for your pet friend.
Make sure to feed them all of these treats in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. A good way to introduce them to these treats would be to feed them a cup of veggies or fruits with 3-4 different choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Can You Feed Baby Guinea Pigs Basil?
Unfortunately, you cannot feed a baby guinea pig basil. Their sensitive digestive system cannot process it and will make them severely sick.
However, once your pet guinea pig grows a few weeks old, you can introduce him or her to basil gradually. 1 -2 small-sized basil leaves would suffice in this case.
2) Is Basil A Remedy Of Diseases For Guinea Pigs?
Basil is a nutritious herb that can be used as a remedy for a number of diseases. Here are some diseases that you can treat just by feeding your pet friend basil.
- Digestive complications and stomach cramps.
- Can be used to rehydrate your pet friend’s body.
- It can be used to treat acid reflux.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Basil – Conclusion:
Basil is rich in nutrients and it can be an excellent means of providing recommended daily nutrition to your pet. It can significantly improve your pet’s overall health including cardiovascular health and preventing scurvy.
But, due to the calcium content in basil, it can become harmful to your pet and may lead to urinary and kidney stones. To ensure your pet’s safety, you can feed your pet a small amount of basil leaves 2 – 3 times a week.