Trying to determine what your guinea pig can and can’t eat can be a bit of nightmare for pet parents (other than cleaning monster piles of poops). So, can guinea pigs eat artichoke?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat artichokes. It’s filled with nutrients that are great for guinea pigs. But, the calcium content is high, so you should only feed it in moderation – no more than 2 to 3 times a week. Plus, it’s important to remove thorny, outer leaves of artichokes before offering it to your guinea pigs.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about how to feed artichokes to guinea pigs, how much of it they can eat, and what part of the artichoke your furry friends can ACTUALLY eat.
So, let’s start off with…
What Are Artichokes?
Artichokes are a plant that belong to the thistle family. They’re known for their bumpy, thorn-covered leaves on one end of its stem or bracts.
At first glance, you might think the artichoke doesn’t seem like the tastiest (or even the safest) veggie to feed a guinea pig.
And you’d be right.
Guinea pigs can only eat artichoke’s tender green and white parts – not its spiky outermost leaves (which is where piggie parents will assume can’t be eaten.
Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean region. And, they’re traditionally served fresh or pickled in Italy and other parts of Europe (like Spain) as a first course or appetizer before meals.
Are Artichokes Good For Guinea Pigs?
No one’s trying to feed their guinea pig something that isn’t good for guinea pigs to eat. So, you might be wondering:
Are artichokes truly safe and healthy for piggies?
The answer is… yes! Artichoke leaves are a good food for guinea pigs. They’re actually loaded with nutritional value that can also help keep your piggie”s digestive tract moving. But only if they’re in moderation.
In fact, your piggies can enjoy the following benefits by munching on artichoke leaves from time to time:
1. Strong Bones
Artichokes are a great source of calcium and magnesium, which they need for strong bones.
I know, I know…calcium can be a little scary for guinea pig parents because we know that too much of it can land your little friends smack dab in the middle of bladder and kidney issues (more on that later).
But, the good news is cavies can eat artichoke in moderation to help keep their bones strong without worry.
And you’ll be able to tell if your guinea pig has overdone it with any food that’s too high in calcium content because they will start showing signs of cloudy, gritty pee.
(Yes, you should be monitoring your piggie’s pee – and droppings. Yes, it’s a tad gross. And yes, you’ll get used to it).
But, calcium is important for guinea pigs to help avoid health problems down the line like osteoporosis and arthritis.
So, one or two artichokes leaves a week is a good way to make sure your cavies are getting plenty of this key mineral.
2. Adds Variety To Your Guinea Pig’s Diet
Feeding your guinea pigs a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is important to make they’re getting all the nutrients they need.
Plus, it’s always fun to mix things up every once in a while!
Just like us, piggies can get a little bored eating the same food day in and out.
So, some piggie parents even like to offer artichoke leaves as a treat alongside their guinea pigs daily veggies every now and them.
And I don’t blame them – it’s definitely something for cavies to nibble on that helps them feel satisfied (and full) with their meals.
And you can feel good knowing that artichoke leaves are a safe and healthy treat to offer their piggies from time to time. But, they shouldn’t be given more than twice a week or so (if even – the tasty veggie is high in calcium!).
And remember: remove the spiky leaves before serving!
3. Helps Guinea Pigs Maintain Their Weight
A great thing about artichokes is that they’re low in calories.
In fact, a single artichoke leaf has only about four or five calories. And the levels of sugar in artichokes are almost non-existent.
This means guinea pigs can eat artichokes without fear of packing on the pounds – something that’s definitely important for cavies that need to maintain their healthy weight.
So, including a couple of leaves from an artichoke in your guinea pig’s diet is a great way to help ensure they’re not gaining too much weight – and staying healthy.
4. Helps Prevent Diseases
Antioxidants in artichoke leaves are important for cavies to prevent diseases like heart disease, cancer and other ailments.
Antioxidants also help your piggies’ immune system stay strong so that they’re less likely to catch colds or get sick from common illnesses (I’m lookin’ at your upper respiratory infections).
So, by feeding them a couple of artichoke leaves a week, you’re helping guinea pigs stay healthy. And that’s definitely to be thankful for.
Just remember: your little friends can only eat the white and green parts of an artichoke leaf – not the spiky or purple parts (which are actually dangerous for them to try to eat). Always remove any thorny part from each leaf before serving to piggies
5. Helps Keep Scurvy Away
In case you didn’t know, cavies don’t make their own Vitamin C. Since that’s essential to their health, it means guinea pigs need a steady diet of Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables to help prevent them from developing scurvy.
Creatures that can’t make their own Vitamin C are at risk of getting scurvy.
And believe you me – scurvy is awful (and potentially fatal). It’s a disease that causes bleeding gums, tooth loss, and skin lesions on your piggies.
Luckily, artichoke leaves are a good source of Vitamin C which can help guinea pigs stay healthy and avoid getting scurvy.
So, feeding your furry friends a couple of artichoke leaves every week (or every other week) is a great way to help keep their systems gurgling (in a good way!) with Vitamin C – which’ll help keep them healthy and happy.
Nutritional Facts For Artichokes
Here’s a few nutritional facts you’ll want to keep in mind when feeding your fur babies artichoke leaves.
Each 100 grams of artichoke has :
- 47 calories (see what I mean? It’s low in calories!)
- Water – 84.9g (piggies gotta stay hydrated)
- Fat – 0.15g (let’s hear it for a nearly fat-free food)
- Carbohydrates – 10.5g (a guinea pig’s gotta eat their share of carbs, too)
- Fiber – 5.4g (any help a cavy can get with digestion is a good thing)
- Sugars – 0.99g (less than a gram, so no need to worry there; sugar content is good-to-go)
- Calcium – 44mg (calcium is a little high, but this isn’t anything cavies can’t handle as long as you don’t overfeed your little friends)
- Iron – 1.28mg (this helps build red blood cells, which piggies need)
- Magnesium – 60mg (helps maintain strong bones; always a plus)
- Phosphorus – 90mg (another guinea pig must-have for good bone health, but too much can lead to bladder or kidney stones when paired up with calcium)
- Vitamin C – 11.7mg (kiss that scurvy good-bye)
- Vitamin A – 1mg (Vitamin A is always a win when it comes to improving eyesight)
So as you can see, artichoke leaves are a nutritious food for guinea pigs that offer many health benefits in addition to helping piggies maintain their weight.
They’re low in calories, so cavies can eat as much artichokes (and other veggies) as they want without putting on the pounds – and that’s something every piggie over wants!
Can Artichokes Be Bad or Toxic For Guinea Pigs?
Generally speaking, most vegetables and fruits are perfectly safe to feed to guinea pigs – as long as you don’t overfeed them.
And the same is true for artichokes
While it’s safe to give piggies small amounts of artichoke leaves occasionally, too much can actually be bad for them.
Wanna find out why?
1. Low Vitamin C
11.7 mg of Vitamin C isn’t something to shake your head at. But, when you compare it to the guinea pig’s daily recommended intake of 20-50 mg, you can see that artichokes might not be the best source of Vitamin C for cavies
Especially if they’re only eating artichoke leaves and nothing else that provides them with Vitamin C.
This could lead to your fur babies getting scurvy if they’re not getting enough other Vitamin C-rich foods in their diet.
2. Bladder or Kidney Stones
Specifically, the high levels of calcium and phosphorus in artichoke leaves can be a problem for guinea pigs who eat too much of it.
This is because cavies are prone to developing bladder or kidney stones when they consume high levels of calcium and phosphorus together – which can cause medical problems in cavies, including pain while peeing (or not being able to control their bladders).
But, don’t freak out about it:
Just be aware of what you’re feeding your cavies and they’ll be just fine.
Limit their artichoke intake to a couple of leaves every week and make sure they’re getting plenty of other fruits and vegetables in addition to it that provide them with the nutrients they need – like bell peppers, for example.
3. Digestion Issues
Veggies are great for guinea pigs. But, they’re filled with water. Some are filled with more water than others.
Artichokes can give piggies digestion issues like diarrhea or stomach aches if they’re overfed. The cavy digestive system just can’t handle all that water at once.
Also, the high levels of phosphorus can cause your fuzz spuds to develop digestive issues and diarrhea, too.
So, if you’re going to feed your little friends artichoke leaves, only give them a few leaves at a time and make sure they’re getting plenty of hay in their diet, too.
That way they’ll get the fiber and nutrients they need without overloading their digestive system.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Artichoke?
Raw artichoke is the only type of artichoke that guinea pigs can eat.
And, guinea pigs can eat raw artichoke without any health issues: no digestive problems or anything like that at all. It’s when you try to change the natural state of the artichoke by cooking it that guinea pigs can have problems.
So, go ahead and give your little friend a raw artichoke leaf or two – they’ll love you for it.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Artichoke Stems?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat artichoke stems. Like the outer leaves of the artichoke, the stems are covered in thorns that can cause piggies to get hurt.
If you’re going to give your piggies artichoke leaf, make sure it’s a green or white leaf – not a stem.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Artichoke Hearts?
Guinea pigs can eat artichoke hearts. The inner leaves are somewhat softer than the outer leaves and don’t have any thorns.
So, piggies can eat artichoke hearts without getting injured by a thorny leaf or anything like that.
However, your little friends shouldn’t eat too much at once because they contain high levels of calcium and phosphorus (not crazy, stupid high, but high enough that you should definitely be cautious with how much you give your fur babies).
This could lead to your furry friends to developing bladder or kidney stones down the road.
But, as long as you feed your piggies artichoke hearts in moderation, they’ll be just fine.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Artichoke Leaves?
Yes! Guinea pigs can eat artichoke leaves – but there are a few things you need to know before letting your fur babies munch on them. The outer leaves need to be removed because they’re covered in thorns.
And, you need to remove the thorny part of each leaf before serving it to your little friends
Only feed your fuzz spuds the inner green leaves and white leaves from an artichoke. Never feed too much at one time and do not feed more than two or three times a week.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Artichoke?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat canned artichoke. This is because canned artichoke is filled with preservatives and other chemicals that guinea pigs’ delicate digestive system can’t handle.
If you’re going to give your piggies an artichoke, make sure it’s a fresh, raw artichoke leaf or heart – not a piece of canned artichoke.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Artichoke?
No, guinea pigs can’t eat cooked artichoke. Cavies’ digestive system is designed to digest raw fruits and vegetables. Anything cooked is bound to throw off their digestive system (and a throw off digestive system is never a good thing).
This is why guinea pigs shouldn’t eat cooked artichoke – it’s not as healthy for them and could cause serious health problems down the line.
Can Guinea Pigs Drink Artichoke Tea?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t drink artichoke tea. Artichokes have a lot of nutrients in them that are great to keep guinea pig healthy. But, boiling and steeping tea usually increases the potency of the nutrients – and cavies can’t handle some of the nutrients that are in artichoke.
For guinea pigs, the best way to get the nutrients from an artichoke is eating the actual vegetable itself (not drinking tea made from it).
This’ll let your little friends’ digestive system process only what it can handle – and not risk your piggies developing health problems because of drinking artichoke tea.
Don’t give your piggies artichoke tea to drink. Stick to water for your little friends…or in bladder infection situations all natural, unsweetened, DILUTED cranberry juice.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Artichoke?
Baby guinea pigs can definitely eat artichoke. Even though baby guinea pigs nurse from their mothers when they’re first born, they can munch on many of the same foods that adult guinea pigs do.
You can always wait until the babies are about two week old before you try to give them artichokes.
At two weeks old, the mama piggie normally stops nursing the babies. Then the babies become A LOT more interested in different types of fruits and veggies.
Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Artichoke?
It’s all right for pregnant guinea pigs to eat artichoke. It has lots of vitamins and minerals that’ll keep guinea pigs healthy and strong during the pregnancy.
If piggie mamas want to eat artichoke, then they should definitely go ahead! They’ll be healthier for it – guinea pigs can always use extra nutritional support when pregnant.
And as long as you avoid overfeeding the artichoke and make sure that your piggie mama isn’t overdoing it, cavy mamas can eat artichoke throughout pregnancy without any problems.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Artichoke Hearts?
Yes! You can give your guinea pigs the hearts from an artichoke. The leaves from the heart of the artichoke is actually guinea pigs’ favorite part.
The guinea pig leaves on the artichoke heart are great for cavies all year round.
So, you can feed your little friends one or two artichoke hearts each day as a healthy snack treat (and vitamin-rich) food to keep them healthy.
Artichokes have a lot of calcium and phosphorus in them. So eating them everyday can cause serious health problems for cavies (hello incredibly painful – and potentially deadly – bladder stones).
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Artichoke Everyday?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat artichoke everyday. This is because guinea pigs need a variety of fruits and vegetables in order to stay healthy – and artichokes are just one part of their diet.
Plus, artichokes have a lot of calcium and phosphorus in them. So, eating them everyday can cause serious health problems for cavies (hello incredibly painful bladder stones).
If you’re going to give your piggies an artichoke, make sure it’s not their only source of nutrition for the day.
And it should be fur babies side dish; not the main dish.
How Many Artichokes Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Make sure that you guinea pig artichoke no more than two or three times a week. Only give your guinea pigs the green and white leaves from artichokes. This way, your little friends will get plenty of good nutrition without risking getting sick because they’re overdoing it.
How To Prepare Artichokes For Your Guinea Pigs
Getting artichokes ready for your little friends is pretty straight forward. Just follow a few simple steps:
- Wash the artichokes. Make sure that they are clean and free of dirt, mold or other debris before guinea pigs eat them. If you can’t find a guinea pig safe organic soap to wash your artichoke with, then use cool water and dish detergent – but try not to let guinea pigs eat any soap residue.
- Remove the outer leaves of your artichoke. You’ll find a lot of pet parents who just pop their artichokes into bowls for their fur babies to munch on as-is; but it’s better to remove the outer leaves, so you piggies don’t choke on them.
- Slice the artichoke in half.
- Remove the thorny part of each leaf before serving. This will help to keep your guinea pig safe and healthy while they’re eating their artichoke.
- Cut off the stem of the artichoke so that your cavies can’t eat it – this is a choking hazard for guinea pigs. Peel off a few leaves.
- Once you’ve cleaned and prepared your guinea pigs’ artichoke, it’s time to serve it up.
Remember, you should only give your little friends artichokes two or three times a week – so they don’t overdo it on the calcium and phosphorus. And make sure to remove the outer leaves and thorn
How To Introduce Artichokes To Your Guinea Pigs
To begin, make sure you start with a tiny amount of artichoke. I usually recommend finely chopping any new vegetable and sprinkling it over the pellets (if you feed your piggies pellets, that is) or other veggies.
If you do it that way, then if you have picky cavies, you’ll be able to (sneakily) get them used to the taste of the new veggie.
After you’ve given your little buddies some artichokes for the first time, keep an eye on them (for at least 24 hours after) for indications of digestive problems such as stomach issues (pain) or diarrhea.
You can gradually increase the size of artichoke leaves given to your guinea pigs, starting with finely chopped and then moving towards bigger pieces as they seem to tolerate them well on their own (with no issues).
After a few days, give them some somewhat bigger pieces. You’ll know they’re safe to offer them more if your furry burritos can consume them on their own.
That is, after all, how you get piggies to enjoy artichokes and other veggies – take it slowly, be sure they enjoy the taste of the food (with no problems), then gradually increase serving sizes as long as nothing goes wrong.
Keep in mind that all cavies have different tastes, so not all of them will like artichokes.
But, it’s good to at least expose your piggies to artichokes – cuz their nutritious.
And after all you’ll be careful not to give them too much. Right?
What Other Vegetables and Fruits Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
There’s tons of leafy greens that your guinea pigs can eat. As long as you make sure that you don’t feed your cavies too much of any one thing, there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy a wide variety of greens.
- Mustard Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
- Bean Sprouts
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Spring Mix
- Bok Choy
Let’s Wrap Up
In short, guinea pigs can eat artichokes, but you should only give them artichokes a few times a week and make sure to prepare them properly.
Artichokes have plenty of good nutrition for guinea pigs (like Vitamin C, magnesium, and other essential vitamins), but you should only give them artichokes sparingly.
And remember to include lots of different veggies in their diet so that they can get all the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy!
Also, start by giving them a tiny amount of artichoke and increase the serving size gradually as they seem to tolerate it well. Just make sure you remove the outer leaves and thorny parts first and wash the artichoke too. (and buying organic artichokes for your little friend wouldn’t hurt either…if it’s in the budget; #just sayin’)
And remember that fresh produce is best, but don’t feed your little friends too much or they’ll end up with bladder stones or other urinary tract issues.
So, have you tried giving your furry friend artichokes?
How did it go?
Share in the comments below!