Are Collard Greens Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat? (Find Out Now)

So, you’re rummaging through the fridge – searching for some tasty veggies to feed to your guinea pigs. You notice a bag of collard greens, and it’s natural to wonder “Can guinea pigs eat collard greens?”

Guinea pigs can definitely eat collard greens. Collard greens are good for them because they have huge levels of vitamin C, A, and K. But it’s important to be careful because collards contain a lot of calcium and phosphorus. Overfeeding collard greens can cause health issues like bladder stones and bloat issues in your guinea pigs.

a picture of a guinea pig basically drooling over a bunch of collard greens

But, what other nutrients do collard greens contain? Are they okay to eat regularly or sparingly by our cavy friends? Can baby guinea pigs eat collard greens?

Let’s see what collard greens have to offer guinea pigs and what you need to watch out for if you want to feed collard greens to your guinea pigs.

WHAT ARE COLLARD GREENS?

a message that says that guinea pigs can eat collard greens under certain conditions

Collard greens are massive, green, loose leaf vegetables that grow in stalks up to 2 feet high. Like kale, they belong to the cruciferous family (yep, that happy family of cabbages).

Their large, broad leaves and can be eaten cooked or raw (but only raw for guinea pigs – more on that later).

7 secret guinea pig hacks

Collard greens are high in vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and other minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Collard greens are a versatile vegetable that is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, including important vitamins, minerals, and detoxifying chemicals that may help keep your guinea pigs healthy and well.

They’re low in calories but are full of healthy vitamins and minerals. They have calcium, folate, vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin A. And they also have lots of fiber.

ARE COLLARD GREENS GOOD FOR GUINEA PIGS?

Collard greens are definitely good for guinea pigs. They’re filled with important vitamins and minerals. There’s no reason to completely avoid collard greens if you want them in your guinea pigs’ diet (with a few exceptions that we’ll get to in a minute).

Collard greens are one of the greatest leafy plants to offer in guinea pigs’ diets since they’re high in vitamins and minerals, making them an important component of their diet.

This is because they are chock-full of necessary nutrients that improve guinea pig health on a whole (and I’m all about anything that improves a guinea pigs’ health).

Now, let’s look at some of the reasons why collard greens are a great addition to a guinea pigs’ diet:

1. Build their immune systems

It’s important to feed your guinea pig an assortment of foods that have Vitamin C in them (and a little Vitamin A, too) – and collard greens are great sources of both.

These vitamins are essential for building your guinea pig’s immune system and keeping them healthy overall. Collard greens can help keep their little bodies strong and resistant to disease, infection, and other health issues.

In fact, a lack of Vitamin C in the diet has been linked with scurvy in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs can’t make their own Vitamin C, so you can see how important in is to their diet.

Scurvy is a serious condition that can cause guinea pigs to develop weakness, bleeding gums, skin lesions, hair loss cases, and even die (in severe cases). And we don’t want that now, do we?

Feeding collard greens regularly may help keep your guinea pig’s immune system strong and healthy, helping them avoid any pesky health issues that could otherwise crop up if they don’t have a good amount of Vitamin C flowing through their systems!

This also means it might be worth looking into collard greens for your guinea pigs if you think they have some sort of disease or illness.

An added perk of Vitamin C-enriched collard greens? Vitamin C boosts the collagen production in the skin of your piggies. Got furry burritos with dry, flaky skin (that’s not ringworm or a parasite)? Try upping the Vitamin C in their diet.

The high nutrient levels in collard greens (or any Vitamin C friendly veggies) may help boost their immune system and get them back on the road to health again.

(But it’s best not to feed collards when a guinea pig is suffering from diarrhea or other digestive issues – collard greens may actually worsen these symptoms. If you see your fur baby has any of these conditions, take them to the vet right away.)

Another added perk of Vitamin C?

It gives your guinea pigs a collagen boost.

What’s collagen? It’s the main structural protein in the body, and it helps keep your guinea pig’s skin healthy, hair looking good, and nails strong (and did I mention that it he

So if you’re looking for an easy way to improve your guinea pigs’ appearance overall (and to help them heal from cuts and wounds)- give them some collard greens!

They’ll love you for it (and their appearances will hit you with a “ohhhh, yeah!”).

2. Better Vision

Collard greens contain tons of beta-carotene. When your fuzz spuds eat it, it’s converted into Vitamin A in their bodies.

By adding a little bit of collards to your guinea pigs’ diet, you can help keep their eyesight strong!

And as we all know, our little pals struggle with their eyesight.

(Let’s give ’em a little help , shall we?)

Vitamin A is important for guinea pigs. It helps with healthy eyes, growth, and the health of their skin, hair, and nails.

It also keeps the cornea (or the eye’s outermost layer) healthy and helps ward off infection. When the cornea is moist and clear, your fuzz spuds can see better at night.

(Typically, guinea pigs use their sense of smell and whiskers to navigate at night, but every little bit of help counts, right?)

So if you’re looking for an easy way to improve your guinea pigs’ vision- give them some collard greens!

Leafy greens have a lot of vitamin A. And like I said before, Vitamin A is good for you’re fuzz spuds’ eyes. Lutein and zexanthin are also in collard greens. They help prevent macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is when your little friends’ vision start to get worse – especially the center of their vision.

Your piggie’s vision or eyesight deteriorates as they get older.  So it makes sense to include food (collard greens) high in Vitamin A with other nutrients that can assist our guinea pig’s eyes.

3. Helps Weight Maintenance

If you’re looking for a food to help your guinea pig maintain their weight, collard greens are a great choice!

They’re low in calories but high in nutrients, which makes them the perfect food to help keep your furry friend’s figure trim and healthy.

Plus, they’re relatively easy to digest (as long as your fuzz spuds are eating plenty of hay)- so they won’t cause your guinea pig to put on any unnecessary weight.

Just like humans, an unhealthy diet can lead to obesity in guinea pigs. And just like us, it’s important for our furry friends to keep their weight under control.

4. Improves digestion

Collards are good for piggies because they’re stacked with fiber. And fiber is something that all guinea pigs need in order to digest their food properly and keep things *ahem* moving along.

Collard greens have fiber that helps your intestines. It’s called insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is like a broom that sweeps your guinea pig’s “intestines” clean.  

A diet high in insoluble fiber will help keep things moving through your piggie’s digestive tract without any issues;  and collard greens are chock full of it!

Collards can help your furry friends digest food better and they can prevent constipation. Fiber also helps keep your piggie’s gut healthy, which is important because a healthy gut means a healthy piggy!

When the digestive system isn’t functioning correctly, it can lead to all sorts of problems- like diarrhea, constipation, and even bloat (and noooooo one wants their fur babies to end up with bloat).

5. Stronger Bones

Collard greens are also a good source of calcium.

Guinea pigs need calcium to keep their bones strong and healthy. Now, you shouldn’t feed too much of it to your little friends. But:

Your piggies need some calcium in their diet unless you want our friends to get osteoporosis.

Now, keep in mind that collard greens are high in calcium content; so you shouldn’t feed them too much of it on a regular basis.

And while we’re on the subject, please don’t give your guinea pigs collard greens every day. This is to ensure that they get a diverse diet of nutrients from other veggies since their health depends on it.

CAN COLLARD GREENS BE BAD FOR GUINEA PIGS?

Collard greens can absolutely be bad for guinea pigs. It’s a great veggie, almost a superfood, but….(yes, there’s a but)

All of the good collard greens does can easily be cancelled out by the consequences of overfeeding.

So, please only give your guinea pigs collard greens as part of a varied diet. And if they’re not eating other veggies like they should be, then hold off on the collards until they get back on track.

Here’s what I mean:

Collard greens are safe to feed to your pigs. But, you’ve got to regulate how much of it your fur babies eat.

This is why it’s strictly recommended that you set up a collard green rotational diet for your guinea pigs where nothing is fed too much or too often – especially collard greens.

The high levels of calcium and phosphorus (not to mention the fact that collards are from the cabbage family) in collard greens can potentially lead to health problems in guinea pigs if they’re overfed.

If you’re not careful, you can easily start a domino effect of health problems stemming from overfeeding collard greens to your furry burritos – like the following issues:

1. Bladder and Kidney stones

Collard greens contain calcium and phosphorus – like A LOT of it. When your fuzz spuds eat collard greens, it’s possible that they might form stones in their bladder or kidneys.

When these minerals bind together, they can form crystals that will eventually lead to the development of stones. That’s because when lots of it are in a guinea pig’s system, it can’t be absorbed.

And once those stones are there, they’re a pain (literally) to get rid of.

Bladder and kidney stones can cause a guinea pig a lot of pain and discomfort, and in some cases they can even lead to death.

So, again: collard greens are safe for your pigs to eat BUT you’ve got to be careful not to overdo it!

2. Bloating and Gas.

If you give collard greens to your guinea pigs in large amounts, it can lead to bloat. The high amounts of sulfur in collard greens (along with the other nutrients) can cause your guinea pigs to bloat and produce a lot of gas.

This is not only uncomfortable for them, but it can also lead to serious health problems like diarrhea and bloat.

Bloat is a painful, dangerous condition in which gases get trapped inside of a guinea pig’s stomach – and stops them from eating (which then leads to GI Stasis)

It can eventually lead to death if left untreated.

So, as always: moderation is key.

3. Diarrhea

Collard greens are about 90% water. And just like other water veggies, if you give too much of it to guinea pigs, then they can develop diarrhea.

This is a condition where their stools become watery and lose its solid form. It’s very uncomfortable for guinea pigs, to say the least!

So again: collard greens are safe for guinea pigs but you’ve got to give them in moderation . Make sure that it doesn’t become a staple in their diet, and that they’re getting a variety of other veggies as well.

4. Food poisoning

If a guinea pig eats food that has been contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other toxins, they’ll get sick.

Vegetables like collard greens can be contaminated by harmful microorganisms at different points in the supply chain. Plus, this contamination can happen from when you use pesticides. The pesticide can get in the soil and then it will be in the collards.

So before you introduce those collard greens to your guinea pigs, you should wash them thoroughly in clean water.

In fact, a vinegar mixture of half vinegar and half water makes a great pesticide-free way to clean them.

Feeding CLEAN collards in moderation is key to keeping your guinea pigs healthy, happy, and ALIVE.

7 secret guinea pig hacks

NUTRITIONAL FACTS OF COLLARD GREENS

As mentioned above, collard greens are a special type of vegetable that are uniquely packed with top-level nutrients necessary for the well-being of your guinea pigs.

So, let’s take a look at the nutritional contents in them…

For every 100 grams of collard greens, your guinea pigs will be treated to the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 32g
  • Total fat: 0.6g 
  • Carbohydrates: 5.42
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 2g
  • Dietary fiber: 4g
  • Sugars: 0.46g
  • Calcium: 232mg
  • Magnesium: 27mg
  • Phosphorus: 25mg
  • Vitamin C: 35.3mg

CAN GUINEA PIGS EAT COLLARD GREEN STEMS?

Guinea pigs can eat collard green stems. But, most cavies seem to prefer the leafy part of the collards. The stems are just as nutritious as the leaves, but make sure to give them in moderation.

The collard green stems are rich sources of calcium, fiber, and vitamin C.  So they’re a great way to make sure your guinea pig is getting all the nutrients it needs – without having too many leaves!

CAN GUINEA PIGS EAT FROZEN COLLARD GREENS?

Collard greens are not poisonous to guinea pigs. However, freezing them could cause some of their nutritional value and enzymes to be damaged.

As a general rule, you want to avoid feeding your guinea pigs any frozen greens for the following reasons:

  • Defrosted collard greens can grow bacteria could make your little friends sick
  • Also, collards may get mushy and lose some of the crispness in their leaves when thawed out. Hardly the most appetizing thing for your guinea pig to eat, right?
  • Fresh collard greens are like what is in their natural habitat (raw and fresh), so it’s easier for their digestive systems to process.

And although there have been no claims of negative side effects (that I could find), fresh collard greens remain the safest.

It’s safer to give fresh vegetables to guinea pigs. Frozen vegetables could be harmful.

CAN GUINEA PIGS EAT CANNED COLLARD GREENS?

No, guinea pigs cannot eat canned collards at all. The canning process can destroy the nutritional value of collard greens. Plus, canning  foods often involves adding salt or sugar to improve flavor and color. And guinea pigs don’t need any added sugars in their diet. 

CAN GUINEA PIGS EAT COLLARD GREENS EVERY DAY?

Guinea pigs can’t eat collard greens everyday. As nutrient-packed as collard greens are, feeding your guinea pigs them. everyday can cause digestion issues like bloat and bladder stones, especially when fed on a daily basis.

There’s literally so much calcium in collard greens that a daily diet of them is almost a guarantee that your little friends will end up with enough stones to build their own medieval castle.

You should also mix it with other low calcium veggies like spring mix (minus the spinach), endive, raddichio, bell peppers, carrots, and red leaf lettuce to create a healthy and balanced diet for your guinea pigs.

Always make sure to feed it occasionally but never make it to be a daily meal.

How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Collard Greens?

As a general rule, guinea pigs should only eat a small amount of collard greens once a week for a healthy, adult guinea pig.

That’s because of the massive amount of calcium in collard greens that can cause painful kidney and bladder stones. However, if your guinea pig are prone to bladder stones, you might want to change that serving portion to once or twice a month (or just avoid collard greens completely.

HOW MANY COLLARD GREENS CAN GUINEA PIGS EAT?

Most guinea pigs can eat about a quarter of the collard green leaves every week or every other week without having issues.

Others are more sensitive to the calcium in collards and might need to avoid it completely.

Unremediable bladder stones can cause your pig to die. (Unremediable means that it’s too late for treatment.)

To efficiently monitor their diet, you can follow these easy-to-follow guidelines stated below;

  1. Make a salad bowl (cup-sized) for your pet as part of their daily diet.  Make sure that leafy greens make up the bulk of the cup. Never feed collard greens to your piggies with other high calcium veggies. That’s just begging for health issues.
  2. Get fresh and organic collard greens (if your budget allows it) as part of this salad bowl with other various leafy vegetables and greens that have been soaked in water to trap and remove dirt. 

Feed collard greens to your guinea pig every two weeks (once a week is okay) and not everyday.

Here’s a list of foods (nutritious and tasty) that your piggies might like 

  1. Keep in mind that some vegetables can also cause bloating in guinea pigs just like collard greens. And some of them are cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, and broccoli.
  2. You can also liven up your guinea pig’s diet by adding the occasional small pieces of fruit such as pears, blueberries, oranges, apricots, grapes, kiwi, and melons. Melons are high in water and sugar content so feed them sparingly.

CAN BABY GUINEA PIGS EAT COLLARD GREENS?

Yes, baby guinea pigs can eat collard greens. When they’re first born, baby guinea pigs can eat most foods that adult piggies can eat – even though they’re nursing from their mother.

Since baby guinea pigs need the calcium to help them grown, they’re able to handle a slightly larger serving of collard greens than adults can.

As a general rule, the more calcium that baby guinea pigs get when they’re young will help them develop stronger bones and teeth as they age. This is why it’s better to feed collard greens to your piggies anytime during their growing stage of life but not on an everyday basis just like adult guinea pigs.

CAN PREGNANT GUINEA PIGS EAT COLLARD GREENS?

Guinea pigs that are pregnant can eat collard greens. It’s a good way to add more nutritional value and variety in their diet.

However, don’t feed collard greens to them on a regular basis. Instead, treat it as an occasional snack.

WHAT OTHER LEAFY GREENS CAN GUINEA PIGS EAT? 

There’s other vegetables that are healthy foods for guinea pigs. But you need to be careful with them because they won’t taste as good as good if they’re not fresh or healthy.

(If you feed your little friends wilted or bad vegetables, they will likely not eat them and you’ll be wasting your time.)

Some of the other safe greens for guinea pigs to eat (and also include veggies with high level of Vitamin C)are:

  • Kale: this is full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and low in fat and sugar. All of which are requirements for guinea pigs
  • Bok Choy: this vegetable is high in vitamin C and is quite good for guinea pigs.
  • Watercress: this vegetable is safe for guinea pig’s consumption and can act as a good supplement for other foods such as hay. The best part about them is that it has sufficient amounts of vitamin C, which is a crucial nutrient for your guinea pigs.
  • Endive: they are high in fiber, vitamin A, K, and folate. Also, contain a high level of vitamin C for guinea pigs’ immune systems.
  • Spinach: is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and many others in small portions. These are essential for guinea pigs as they help in developing a robust immune system, improve vision, promote healthy bones, and overall contribute towards healthy growth.
  • Radicchio: this is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It also has little amount of calcium which makes it suitable for guinea pigs.
  • Chard: chard is full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C – an essential nutrient for guinea pigs.

WHAT VEGETABLES ARE BAD FOR GUINEA PIGS?

Some veggies don’t agree with guinea pigs and can be quite harmful. Now you need to know about both bad and good vegetables. This will help you make great choices and only pick the good ones.

And here are some to avoid (You might want to write out this list and hang it in the piggies cage):

  • Raw and dried beans
  • White and red potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Hot peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • human foods like cakes, cookies, and other sweets
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • chocolate

Some of these foods might not seem harmful, but they can actually cause a lot of problems for your guinea pig like intestinal blockages. So be sure to avoid them and stick to the safe and healthy greens that we listed above!

WHAT FOODS SHOULD GUINEA PIGS EAT?

Unlike us, guinea pigs are herbivores. Their digestive system is different from ours. This will make it hard for them to eat the same things we eat. Piggies should only eat vegetables and fruits, not table scraps or other foods like that.

Among what’s ideal to feed them are:

  • Hay: Guinea pigs need hay. Hay is good for them because it has protein and fat in the right amount. It’s also good for their teeth, so they can’t grow too long.
  • Fresh vegetables: Guinea pigs need to drink about one cup of water every day. This is good for their immune system and to help them digest food.
  • Fresh fruits: Fresh fruits work well when subtly introduced into their diet. They help reduce the risk of kidney stones, diarrhea and also protect against other diseases.
  • Guinea pig pellets: They’re highly nutritious with vitamins and minerals. And they also prevent selective feeding in guinea pigs.
7 secret guinea pig hacks

LET’S WRAP UP

Now, before we call it a day.

You have seen the good effects of adding collard greens to your guinea pigs’ diet.

They supply holistic health improvements and go as far as shielding your piggies from disease courtesy of nutrients like vitamin C, A, and E with other essential minerals.

Aside from these, collard greens also help your guinea pig stay healthy. Collard greens have a low fat and sugar content.

But as much as collards are great foods, they could be complicated – and it’s that high calcium content that makes things a little tricky with collard greens.

  • Be cautious with the quantity and quality.
  • Also, ensure you provide a salad bowl that contains a mix of other high-value vegetables and fruits to create a balance in their diet.

This way, your guinea pigs would be treated to a nutritious feast that not only keeps them happy but vibrant and healthy.

Remember:

As long as you’re careful and monitor how much collard greens your pet guinea pig is eating, there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy this nutritious vegetable.

Your guinea pigs will love you for it! And they’ll thank you with lots of adorable snuggles. 🙂

Collard Greens (raw): FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170406/nutrients

Collard Greens are cheaper than other cruciferous veggies in the U.S., and packed with nutrients. (2020, September 29). Prevention. https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/a34212046/collard-greens-nutrition/

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

Gastrointestinal disease in Guinea pigs and rabbits. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7128126/

Guinea lynx :: Diarrhea. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig. https://guinealynx.info/diarrhea.html

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/

Nutrition for Guinea pig. (2016, November 3). Centre Vétérinaire Laval. https://cvlaval.com/en/exotic-services/fact-sheet/nutrition-guinea-pig.html

Oxbow Animal Health. (n.d.). Oxbow animal healthhttps://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/blog/all-about-gastrointestinal-stasis-in-small-herbivores

Oxbow Animal Health. (n.d.). Oxbow animal healthhttps://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/blog/antioxidants-and-their-role-in-pet-health

Quesenberry, K., Mans, C., & Orcutt, C. (2020). Ferrets, rabbits and rodents – E-book: Clinical medicine and surgery. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Renal failure in a Guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) following ingestion of oxalate containing plants. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1524846/

Spritzler, F. (n.d.). Oxalate (Oxalic acid): Good or bad? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oxalate-good-or-bad

What can Guinea pigs NOT eat | What food & plants are poisonous? (2021, June 14). Guinea Piggles. https://www.guineapiggles.co.uk/unsafe-foods-guinea-pigs/

Similar Posts