It can be difficult to find safe vegetables for guinea pigs – especially leafy vegetables like bok choy. So, can guinea pigs eat bok choy?
Guinea pigs can eat bok choy. It has lots of good nutrients like Vitamin C that are great for guinea pig health. But, only feed it in small amounts and mixed with other vegetables. Overfeeding bok choy might cause health issues like bladder stones and bloat in guinea pigs.
Since this veggie is filled with lots of piggie-friendly nutrients, it should definitely be added to your piggie’s diet. But, you need to do it the right way (cuz no one is trying to deal with piggie health issues!).
Keep reading to find more information about bok choy and how you can have peace-of-mind feeding it to your furry, little friends.
What is Bok Choy (also called Pak Choi)?
Bok choy is a type of cabbage that is a member of the Brassica family. It also has other names like “pak choi” and chinese cabbage”.
It has leaves that are light to dark green in color and have a smooth texture. The stalks are white and the flowers are small.
It’s an annual plant that is grown for its edible leaves and stalks. It’s most popular in East Asia (and in my household – love me some bok choy), but can be found all over the world.
Is Bok Choy Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat?
Bok Choy is safe for guinea pigs to eat because it doesn’t have any toxic compounds that are harmful to them (I’m looking at you potato skins and tomato stems).
It’s a good source of Vitamin C (as well as bunch of other nutrients ) which is great for cavy health.
However, you should only feed bok choy in small amounts and mix it with other vegetables. If your guinea pig eats too much bok choy at one time (or in a short amount of time), it can cause those two cavy health problems:
- bladder stones: a condition where small, hard stones form in the bladder
- bloat: a condition where the your fur babies’ stomach swells up with gas and fluid
But, as long as you’re feeding it in moderation – this leafy veggie is a great addition to your guinea pigs’ diet!
Health Benefits Of Guinea Pigs Eating Bok Choy
If you take the plunge and (responsibly) add bok choy to your guinea pigs diet, they’re in for a lot of health benefits!
Pretty great benefits for something as simple as eating a leafy green vegetable!
Some of the health benefits of guinea pigs eating this leafy veggies include:
1. A Boosted Immune System
Bok choy has a good amount of Vitamin C in it. Since it has antioxidants and Vitamin C, it can help keep your little friends in tip top shape.
A boosted immune system means your guinea pig is less likely to get sick (cuz that can happen in the blink of an eye if you’re not being careful).
Your furry friends will be able to fight off those nasty bacteria and viruses better, which could make it less likely for your guinea pig to get sick.
And they’re better able to fight off any infections they do pick up. (but *fingers crossed* hopefully your guinea pigs won’t get sick anyways!)
Another way this leafy green boosts the immune system is by reducing inflammation. The antioxidants in bok choy lower “inflammation-causing molecules” in the body, which keeps your piggies healthy overall
A good shot of Vitamin C also means that your little friends won’t have to suffer the horrors of scurvy.
Now, if you don’t know what that is, scurvy is a terrible (and rare) disease that cavies get from not having enough Vitamin C. It causes :
- joint pain
- tooth loss
- crusty mouth and eyes
- and, in extreme cases, death
2. Helps Guinea Pigs Maintain Their Weight
Bok choy has a low calorie content, making it ideal for piggies that have to maintain their weight (or that need to shed a few pounds #justsayin’)
Other than the exercise that you let your piggies have, a balanced diet of the right sort of veggies is what’s going to keep them at a good weight.
If you think your little friends need to lose some ounces or a few grams, check out an article I wrote called Is Your Guinea Pig Fat? (What You Need To Know) It should get you started on the right track.
Unlike some other vegetables that are loaded with sugar (I’m lookin’ at you , pumpkin), bok choy is a low-carb, nearly sugar-free option for guinea pigs that helps keep their weight in check.
So, if you’re looking for a way to help your piggies lose some weight without starving them (no animal cruelty here, please) – add some bok choy to their diet!
3. Improves Bone Health
Bok Choy’s awesome combination of zinc, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium pack a serious punch when it comes to your fur babies’ bone health.
When you feed your guinea pigs this leafy green they’re getting a good dose of all these important nutrients that helps keep their bones healthy and strong.
Cavies who have veggies like bok choy put into their food rotation are less likely to get fractures or breaks in their bones, which (I think you’ll agree) is always a good thing.
Plus, it’s low in oxalates which can bind calcium and other minerals in the gut, preventing them from being absorbed.
So if your fur babies’ have problems with weak or brittle bones (we’re lookin’ at you no calcium diets), it’s a good way to make sure they get all the right nutrients.
Vitamin K helps to regulate the calcium in your gpiggie’s bones, so it helps reduce the chance of fractures for your little friends.
Phosphorus and calcium are important for your piggie’s bones. I know a lot of people speak about them like they’re the devil, but honestly cavies need both (unless you want your piggies to have bones so brittle that they can barely play without a fracture). They need both, just in the right proportions.
Now don’t worry if you’re not the type to look up the calcium to phosphorus levels of each type of fruit or veggie you feed your cavies
I HIGHLY doubt that the bulk of piggie parents do – and yet there hasn’t been a world-wide guinea pig apocalypse.
Typically, cavies get the right balance of these minerals in their veggies (like bok choy) if they’re eating a wide enough variety to get all the nutrients that they need.
As long as you’re feeding the right variety of fruits and veggies (in the right portions) that are cavy friendly, you’re good. You never want to just feed your little friends the same foods everyday (well, unless it’s hay, grass, or bell peppers – those foods are essential and you can feed them daily).
So don’t stress about it too much if you’re not going to play guinea pig nutritionist at every meal – bok choy is still an awesome veggie for your fur babies.
Nutrition Facts For Bok Choy
Look below to see the nutrition facts of alfalfa sprouts:
Healthy guinea pigs need a lot of Vitamin C. On average, guinea pigs need between 15-50 mgs per day (depending on their age, health issues, and if they’re pregnant).
The USDA website weighed in and says that in a serving of 3 oz (100 g) of bok choy, there’s:
- 13 calories in total (to keep your furry friend lean, but not necessarily mean)
- 2.18 g carbs (cuz sometimes – well all the time – cavies need a little boost of energy)
- 1.5g protein (nothing wrong with a little muscle help)
- 1.9 g fiber (not nearly as much fiber as you’d like to give your fur baby, but it’s a decent start)
- .2g fat (llow fat=trim piggies!)
- 1.18g sugars (not bad at all)
- 105 mg calcium (this is an INSANE amount of calcium that can lead to bladder stones; that’s why it’s important to not overfeed any one food to your piggies)
- .96mg of iron (great blood builder)
- 27mg of magnesium (let’s hear is for bone health nutrients)
- 37mg of phosphorus (again – this mineral need to be in balance with calcium; the amount in bok choy is less than calcium, so that’s definitely a plus)
- 252mg potassium (help keep those piggie, kidney, hearts and muscles healthy)
- 45mg of Vitamin C (this is a great amount of this essential vitamin)
As you can see, bok choy contains a whole laundry list of essential nutrients for guinea pigs – so it’s definitely a good veggie to add to their diet!
Risks To Consider When Feeding Bok Choy To Guinea Pigs
There are some risks involved with feeding bok choy to guinea pigs. Bloating and gas, bladder stones, and food contamination are the most common problems.
All of these issues are null and void as long as you don’t overfeed this veggie to your piggies and you’re feeding a variety of other fruits and vegetables as well.
But if you are only feeding your piggies bok choy, then these risks should be taken into consideration.
As a good piggie parent, I know you want to be informed, so here’s the skinny on each of these guinea pig diet dangers:
1. Bloating and Gas
When guinea pigs are overfed, they have a hard time digesting bok choy. This causes stomach aches and lots of gas. When a cavy bloats, it means that there’s a dangerous build up of gas in their stomach and intestines.
Cavies are more likely to get bloated when they eat too much of a cruciferous (or cabbage family) vegetable . If you feed this, make sure that you keep the following tips in mind:
- Guinea pigs need to eat hay because it helps with digestion. Guinea pigs need lots of extra fiber so they don’t get bloated from eating too much
- Switch up the vegetables that you feed your little friends each day, so that they’re not getting too many veggies from the cruciferous family. You don’t want to double down (or triple down) on veggies that’ll make your fur babies gassy.
- Use some sort of meal planner or food tracking chart to plan out your guinea pig’s meals, so you don’t accidentally overfeed them this green (or any other food for that matter)
- If you’re feeding bok choy to your guinea pigs and they start to bloat, stop feeding it to them right away. And take them to the vet if their stomach continues to be upset.
2. Bladder and Kidney Stones
Bok choy can be “hard” on your pig’s bladder and kidneys. And by hard, I mean huge “stones” in their bladder and kidneys. (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
However: This condition is something that you need to take seriously.
By now you know that bok choy has a lot of calcium in it. Maybe not as much as other veggies, but it’s still a huge amount.
When too much extra calcium (tons of extra calcium) from piggie meals can’t be peed out, it sort of hangs out in their kidneys and bladder. That’s a problem, because if it stays there, it’ll turn into painful stones in your piggies. (nope, not pleasant)
Maybe your thinking: So, why not just cut out calcium from your piggie’s diet?
But, perhaps you’ll remember a few nuggets of information that I dropped for you in the beginning of the article.
Pigs need calcium (or their bones will get soft), and they need a variety of different fruits and vegetables in their diet, to make sure that they’re getting all the nutrients that their little bodies need.
So, if you want to feed your fur babies bok choy, just be mindful of how much you’re giving them. Balance and moderation are important.
3. Food Contamination (E. Coli, Salmonella)
Unfortunately, bok choy can contain bacteria that can make your cavies sick.
So, handle your fruits and veggies with care. If you’re going to feed bok choy to a guinea pig, it’s ideal if:
- Fresh foods are always better for your fur abies. They should be as pesticide-free as possible, and ideally they’ll be organically grown.
- Store the veggie in the crisper of your refrigerator to keep it fresh.
- Wash your hands before handling any raw food that your guinea pigs will eat.
- Before you offer your piggies this veggie wash it thoroughly to remove any possible harmful germs. Its stalks can hide dirt and debris.
Because lettuce and other leafy greens are frequently eaten raw, they’re a common source of food poisoning. Raw veggies do not go through the standard cooking process that would destroy any harmful germs or bacteria.
Even though bok choy isn’t at the top of the list for the most common food-poison carrying veggies, you still want to make sure that your guinea pigs don’t eat any pesticide residue, dirt or harmful germs.
So: be careful and wash the veggie thoroughly before you offer it to a guinea pig. (make sure they’re not in contact with things like E-coli)
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bok Choy Everyday?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat bok choy everyday. The high calcium content can cause guinea pigs to have stones in their bladder and kidneys.
Also, it’s a cruciferous vegetable. And cruciferous vegetables are known for causing gas in guinea pigs when they’re fed too much of them.
How Much Bok Choy Can Guinea Pigs Eat? (Feeding Guidelines)
Guinea pigs can eat bok choy 2 to 3 times a week as long as it’s in very small amounts and you mix it with another non-cabbage, low calcium leafy green like radicchio, red leaf lettuce, or endive.
It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you don’t feed any ONE thing to your piggies everyday to avoid health issues from overfeeding. Make sure you rotate your leafy greens and other veggies each day.
Since it’s a cruciferous vegetable, overfeeding will cause your piggie to become bloated or gassy.
By small I mean, a quarter or half of a bok choy leaf. If you choose to feed your piggies a full leaf, then only serve bok choy once a week.
That way, they’re still getting the nutrient benefits of this healthy veggie, without overdoing it on the calcium and without putting them at risk of gassiness or bloat.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Bok Choy?
Some guinea pigs love bok choy and others don’t. They’re usually pretty reluctant to try new things, because they’re not particularly adventurous. By nature, piggies are cautious about what they eat.
(Being at the bottom of the food chain makes them that way)
But if they continue to refuse it after a few weeks, there’s no need to force them
But cavies raised in groups (especially with a senior “leader” guinea pig) tend to be a little more open minded about trying new foods, especially if you mix it with their favorite veggies and fruits.
If your fuzz spuds are new to this leafy green, try feeding it in small amounts first. Give them a little bit at a time over several feedings before offering more each day until they’re comfortable with eating this veggie that you want to provide for them.
You won’t know if YOUR guinea pigs like bok choy unless you try it. Start them off with a tiny piece and see how they react to it.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bok Choy Leaves?
Bok choy leaves are safe for guinea pigs to eat. Just be sure to feed them in small amounts and to wash them carefully before serving.
Guinea pigs can eat bok choy leaves as part of their regular diet, but they should only have them around twice a week to avoid calcium build-up and excess gassiness.
Be sure to monitor your guinea pig for any signs that they’re having trouble digesting the bok choy.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bok Choy Stalks?
Guinea pigs can eat bok choy stalks in moderation. Overfeeding the stalks will cause digestive issues with cavies.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Bok Choy?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat cooked bok choy. It’s not good for them. They also shouldn’t eat any vegetables that have been cooked, even if they are mixed with other ingredients.
Cooking vegetables and flowers can take away all of the nutritional value, and this can make a guinea pig very sick. Plus, their stomachs can’t really handle cooked food. Cavies need to eat raw food from plants.
So, when it comes to this veggie and your piggies, it’s best if you only serve fresh, raw bok choy.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Bok Choy?
Canned bok choy shouldn’t ever be fed to guinea pigs. It’s not a healthy food for guinea pigs. Canned foods are filled with unhealthy preservatives and can make cavies very sick.
Only give your guinea pigs fresh, raw vegetables that are safe for them to eat. Avoid feeding them canned food of any kind.
Sticking with a healthy diet is the best way to keep your guinea pig happy and healthy!
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Bok Choy?
As long as you feed bok choy in moderation, baby guinea pigs can eat bok choy from about two weeks old. That’s about the time that the mama guinea pig stops nursing them and they start eating more solid food – like other veggies, fruits, and pellets.
Just like with adult guinea pigs, you should only feed them bok choy once a week in VERY small amounts at first until they get used to it. If your fur baby is refusing the vegetable or not acting quite right after having some, then stop feeding them bok choy.
Start with a tiny piece and work your way up to the right amount of bok choy for them.
Be sure not to feed too much at one time, as guinea pigs have very sensitive stomachs that can easily upset from eating too many veggies all at once.
Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Bok Choy?
Pregnant guinea pigs can eat bok choy as long as it’s served in small amounts – no more than 1 to 3 times a week. If you plan on feeding bok choy once a week, then one leaf (or even less than that) is more than enough.
Make sure you rotate bok choy out with other safe vegetables that pregnant guinea pigs can eat, like endive, radicchio, red leaf lettuce, or chard.
Don’t overfeed your piggies when they’re pregnant. That’ll just cause them to gain too much weight and can lead to health problems for both the mama and her babies.
How To Introduce Bok Choy To Your Guinea Pigs
First, make sure that you start off with a very small amount of bok choy. I usually recommend chopping up any new veggie that you’re giving to your piggies very finely and sprinkling it over their pellets or other veggies.
That way, your fuzz spuds get used to the taste.
After you give your little friends some bok choy for the first time, watch them closely (for at least 24 hours after) for any signs of digestive issues, like runny poop, stomach pain, or gassiness.
Once your guinea pigs seem to be tolerating the bok choy well on their own (with no problems), you can start giving them a bit more each time – again very finely chopped up!
After a few days, give them some slightly bigger pieces. If your furry burritos eat them on their own without any problem, you’ll know that they’re safe to give them more.
That’s basically how you introduce guinea pigs to bok choy and other veggies – take it slowly, make sure they like the taste of the food (with no issues), and then start increasing serving sizes as long as there are no problems!
Keep in mind that guinea pigs like different things – so not all of them will love bok choy. But, it’s a good idea to add it to their diet because it’s a safe (because you’re gonna watch the amounts and feeding frequencies, right?) and healthy vegetable for them to eat.
What Other Types Of Cabbages Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
So, cruciferous vegetables are part of the cabbage family. Bok choy is a cruciferous vegetable, but it’s not the only cabbage-family veggies that you can feed to your little friends. You can also feed them:
- Brussel sprouts
But, remember that your piggies should only have one of these veggies at a time.
Never give them more than one cruciferous veggie in a row or two cruciferous veggies in one day, since they can cause digestive issues that way – like gas or loose stool.
Plus, bloat is a real thing. And it can kill guinea pigs. So, just be sure to watch those servings and how often you give them to your fur babies.
Bok choy is a safe leafy vegetable for guinea pigs to eat. It can be served in very small amounts two or three times a week or once a week in a larger amount.
When first introduced, it should be chopped finely and sprinkled over their pellets or other veggies.
Food for guinea pigs should include unlimited hay, fruit as an occasional treat, fresh vegetables (but never feed your cavies cooked or canned veggies). Vitamin C enriched piggie pellets are a good idea, too – in many cases.
(Oh, and avoid iceberg lettuce – among other vegetables. It’s not a good food for guinea pigs, because of the high water content and lack of nutritional value.)
Guinea pigs can also eat other cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, turnips, Brussel sprouts, watercress, and cauliflower, but should only have one at a time.
Overfeeding any guinea pig, guinea pig babies, or guinea pigs that are pregnant can lead to digestive issues.
If you have any questions about bok choy and guinea pigs feel free to leave them in the comments.