Can Guinea Pigs Eat Purple Cabbage? (What You Need To Know)

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In your never-ending quest to make sure your guinea pigs have the most nutritious diet possible, you may be wondering if they can eat purple cabbage.

Yes, guinea pigs can eat purple cabbage! This nutritious vegetable is filled with vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants. While purple cabbage is healthy for guinea pigs, it’s important to feed it in moderation. Excessive amounts of purple cabbage can lead to health issues like bloat, gas, bladder stones, and stomach pain. So be sure to mix purple cabbage in with lots of hay to help with digestion.

But, it is okay for YOUR pigs to eat purple cabbage as part of their diet? What are the nutritional benefits of it? And how much should you give them?

Keep reading to learn the answers to these important questions and much, much more.

An easy-to-read food chart for safe piggie foods – Buy, download, and print.

What Is Purple Cabbage?

a quote about how guinea pigs can eat purple cabbage

Purple cabbage, or red cabbage, is a vegetable belonging to the Brassica genus of plants. Brassica is the same family carrying kales, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, cauliflower, and other nutrient-dense greeneries.

Purple cabbage is what the name says- purple – or violet-blue – in color. But it can also come with red leaves, and that’s where its second name emanates. Basically, the color of the plant depends on the pH of the soil.

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The leaves of this cabbage grow into a reddish color in acidic soils, but in neutral soils they will be purple. If you live in an area with alkaline soils, the leaves will be greenish-yellow (kinda cool, right?).

Purple cabbage is a good vegetable to eat. It has more nutrients than some other vegetables. Purple cabbage has up to ten times more vitamin A compounds than green cabbage (we’ll dive into this a bit more later).

Purple cabbage is a good vegetable for guinea pigs, but it also has some drawbacks. It has many benefits for guinea pigs, but it can also be harmful.

I’m gonna lay out all the pros and cons of purple cabbage for guinea pigs in this post, so you can make the best decision possible on whether to feed it to your piggies or not.

What Are The Benefits of Feeding Guinea Pigs Purple Cabbage?

Some benefits of feeding guinea pigs purple cabbage are that it will help them stay healthy and have a stronger immune system. It can also help keep their heart healthy.

One fact is that there aren’t many treats (at least not in the cabbage family) that are as healthy as purple cabbage. This is especially true for cavies. Here are some of the ways that purple cabbage is better than most other options.

1. Promotes Brain Health

A healthy brain is important for guinea pigs and humans. The brain sends signals to all other body parts with instructions on what to do. You can think of the brain as the commander in chief of all other body parts.

Now, incorporating purple cabbage into your guinea pig’s food is a surefire way of promoting brain health. The vegetable is rich in vitamin K and anthocyanin. Each of these compounds improves the piggy’s mental function and gives them a better memory (which you know is important for a guinea pig).

Anthocyanin is known to protect the brain from damage and cognitive dysfunction that can happen as your piggies age.

Cognitive dysfunction is when the brain can no longer function normally. This can cause problems with memory, thinking, and decision making.

So, by feeding purple cabbage to your guinea pigs, you’re making sure that they’ll have the healthiest brains possible as they grow older. This can be very helpful if your cavies are getting on in years.

2. Supports Immune System Health

Guinea pigs need a strong immune system to fight off infections and diseases. If your piggie is sick, it may be because they have a weak immunity. But you can help them get better by feeding them purple cabbage.

Purple cabbage is super-rich in vitamin C, an immunity-booster nutrient. It also packs high levels of vitamin K, another essential nutrient with several health benefits such as strengthening the immune system and promoting healthy skin and coat.

So, working purple cabbage into your little friends menu can help keep their immune system strong. This will make it less likely for them to get sick and easier for them to recover if they do fall ill.

3. Supports Heart Health

Purple cabbage contains antioxidants called anthocyanins. These antioxidants are responsible for the purple color in these cabbages and some other fruits like blueberries and raspberries.

They’re helpful to cavies because they reduce the risk of heart disease.

So guinea pigs that eat purple cabbage (in moderation) as a little less likely to get heart-related conditions. Purple cabbage also has potassium and magnesium, which are good for heart health.

4. Supports Bone Development

Your little buddy needs strong bones just as much as you do. That’s why you have to ensure that your pet’s food has enough calcium, manganese, vitamin D, vitamin K, and other nutrients to keep their bone health in perfect condition.

These nutrients are important for guinea pigs and help them avoid developing bone-related issues, such as metabolic bone disease. Fortunately, purple cabbage contains most of these nutrients.

Purple cabbage is good for your guinea pig’s mental health, immunity, heart, and bones. But that’s not all. Red cabbage also helps improve digestive health, promote healthy skin, and help prevent cancer.

Risks To Consider When Feeding Guinea Pigs Too Much Purple Cabbage

While purple cabbage is healthy for guinea pigs, it can make them sick if you don’t take certain precautions – like not feeding piles and piles

If you give your piggies too much purple cabbage, they’re going to get sick. This is also true for other pets. No food is healthy for a pet if you give it too much. Here’s some of the consequences of giving your guinea pig too much purple cabbage.

1. Bladder Stones and Kidney Stones

Bladder stones (or urolithiasis) and kidney stones are common in guinea pigs. These conditions come about when the calcium levels in the body are high. When they happen, bladder and kidney stones can cause severe pain to your little friends.

Purple cabbage is sorta low in calcium (or at least lower than a lot of other veggies). But that doesn’t mean you should feed your piggy too much of it. The small amount of calcium can accumulate with time to eventually cause urinary stones for guinea pigs.

2. Bloat

Bloat is a common occurrence in most pets and not just guinea pigs. It occurs when you offer too much of something at once. In guineas, bloating can result from calcium, but it can also emanate from consuming excess fiber.

Now, guinea pigs have super-sensitive stomachs. That’s something every guinea pig can confirm. The reactive bellies make it more likely to develop digestive issues from anything coming in excess.

3. Food Poisoning

Purple cabbage in itself isn’t poisonous to your little friends. Like I said before, it packs a whole slew of nutritional goodies for them. But it can be a source of food poisoning, making it risky for your guinea pig to eat (unless you take the proper precautions).

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can contaminate some types of food, including purple cabbage. If your piggy consumes this bacteria, they might get sick with listeriosis – a serious and sometimes fatal infection.

Plus Salmonella and E.Coli are other bacteria that can contaminate food, and both of them can cause severe health problems in guinea pigs.

But, don’t let this scare you from feeding cabbage to your little friends. As long as you take the time to wash it properly and give them only a small amount at a time, they’ll be just fine.

4. Diarrhea

Many guinea pigs experience diarrhea at one time or another. This can be caused by a variety of things, like eating something poisonous, or eating too much of a healthy food.

For guinea pigs, the most common reason for diarrhea is eating too much.

If diarrhea is not treated, it will lead to dehydration and other health problems for your furry potatoes.

Offer your little friends a small amount of purple cabbage. That will help them get the most benefit from it without risking their health.

Nutritional Facts for Purple Cabbage

Use this decision tree to help you figure out if you should feed purple cabbage to your fur babies.

Red cabbage is a nutritious addition for supplementing your guinea pig’s food. In fact, not many vegetables come close to the nutritional value of purple cabbage.

Here is the nutritional value of purple cabbage per 100g of serving.

  • Water – 90.4g (lots of hydration, so good for guinea pigs)
  • Energy – 31 kCal
  • Carbohydrate – 7.37g (provides energy)
  • Fiber – 2.1g (keeps the gut healthy and prevents bloat and diarrhea; can you say “regular”?)
  • Vitamin C – 57mg (important for guinea pigs, as they are not able to produce their own)
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.209mg
  • Vitamin E – 0.11mg
  • Sugars – 3.83g (low sugar foods are always a win for piggies)
  • Calcium – 45mg (watch out, because too much can lead to bladder stones and other health problems)
  • Iron – 0.672mg
  • Potassium – 243mg
  • Phosphorus – 30mg
  • Sodium – 27mg (a little salty
  • Zinc – 0.22mg
  • Iron – 0.8mg (keeps the blood healthy and prevents anemia)
  • Magnesium – 16mg (healthy for the heart and helps with muscle contraction)

So, as you can see, purple cabbage is a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet. It’s packed full of nutrients that can help keep your little friend healthy.

Not only does it provide important vitamins and minerals, but purple cabbage also has high levels of antioxidants which help protect against disease.

Just make sure you don’t give them too much, or they might get sick.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Purple Cabbage Everyday?

Guinea pigs should not eat purple cabbage every day. Purple cabbage has lots of good stuff in it, but if you eat it too much then your guinea pig might get sick. Then your cavy might suffer from health issues like bloat, bladder stones, or diarrhea.

Some of the compounds in purple cabbage, for instance, calcium, can be dangerous when ingested day in day out.

As such, regulate how frequently you offer purple cabbage to these adorable little ones. You should stick to offering your cavies small amounts of cabbage two or three or two times a week (or less).

For other days, offer something different like endive, raddichioAnd don’t serve it two days in a row. Mix it up with other leafy vegetables (not cruciferous) like romaine lettuce, butterhead lettuce, raddichio, and endive.

How Much Purple Cabbage Can Guinea Pigs Eat? (Feeding Guidelines)

How much purple cabbage your guinea pig eats is just as important as the frequency at which it comes – if not more important!

According to vet nutritionists, one or two tiny parts of a purple cabbage leaf are enough to offer sufficient nutrients to these lovely pocket pets.

We’ve already stated that feeding guinea pigs too much purple cabbage can result in serious health issues like kidney stones, bladder stones, bloating, and other health issues.

There are different levels of guinea pig illnesses. But older cavies usually get worse – particularly since their immune systems aren’t as good as when they were youngsters.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Purple Cabbage? 

Some guinea pigs like cabbage, and some don’t. But most guinea pigs seem to like purple cabbage…once they’ve had a chance to get used to it.

There’s very few foods that all guinea pigs seem to universally love. It’s easier to notice what your guinea pigs like or don’t like if you have more than one. Typically, what happens is that when a new food is offered, the other piggies are more likely to try it if they see their friend eating it.

Just like people, every guinea pig is different and has its own likes and dislikes. So if you’re not sure whether or not your cavy likes purple cabbage, try offering a small piece and see what happens

If your guinea pig turns its nose up at purple cabbage, try chopping it up and mixing it with some of their other favorite foods until they get used to the taste.

And continue offering small amounts two or three times a week so they can still get the nutritional benefits from this wonderful veggie.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Purple Cabbage Leaves?

Of course! Guinea pigs can safely eat cabbage leaves. In fact, that’s the ideal for these pets. Only remember to follow the right procedure when preparing them to avoid them causing your guinea pig trouble.

Leaves make up the largest part of the cabbage. That’s why when we talk of feeding guinea pigs purple cabbage, leaves are what comes first into our minds.

Purple cabbage leaves are healthy and safe for your pocket pet. But that comes with conditions – wash them well and chop them into smaller manageable sizes.

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Core (Stalk?)

Guinea pigs can eat cabbage stalks, but the leaves are better. The leaves are good for animals because they have a lot of nutrients. So, if you give your guinea pig the whole cabbage, it will be good for them.

In fact, cabbage leaves have a higher nutritional value, and that’s why we suggest that you stick to giving your guinea pig the leaves.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Purple Cabbage?

can guinea pigs eat purple cabbage - a sarcastic quote from guinea pigs
Frozen veggies are a BIG no-no.

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat frozen purple cabbage. Typically, all frozen foods are bad for guinea pigs because they can’t chew them properly and can choke on the pieces.

Also, cavy digestive systems are sensitive – especially to temperature change – so feeding them frozen purple cabbage can cause upset stomachs and other health problems.

If you want to give your guinea pig purple cabbage, it’s best to serve it fresh.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Purple Cabbage?

No, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat canned purple cabbage. Canned purple cabbage may contain some ingredients which aren’t healthy for guinea pigs. We recommend that you only offer garden-fresh and frozen variety to guinea pigs.

Some canned foods are safe for humans. But that doesn’t apply when it comes to guinea pigs.

The additives and preservatives in canned foods can attract trouble for pets. That’s why you should always avoid any canned foods for your piggies.

Fresh is best when it comes to purple cabbage for guinea pigs.

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Purple Cabbage?

Yes, baby guinea pigs can safely eat purple cabbage. But that comes with precautions – only offer a tiny amount and in small sizes. Large pieces of purple cabbage could choke your baby piggie.

Hand-raising baby guinea pigs isn’t an easy affair. You have to offer everything with more precaution than when dealing with adults. Fortunately for you, baby guinea pigs are ready to nibble solid food just a few days after birth.

Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Purple Cabbage?

It’s safe for pregnant guinea pigs to eat purple cabbage. It’s healthy and low in calories. And as long as you don’t stuff your pregnant piggies with purple cabbage, it won’t make them overweight, which could cause pregnancy toxemia.

Pregnant guinea pigs and baby guinea pigs have several things in common. For instance, they all require a little more tender loving care.

But that doesn’t apply to purple cabbage. Your pregnant guinea pig can enjoy this tasty snack but only with the condition of keeping everything in moderation.

How To Prepare Cabbage For Your Guinea Pigs

Don’t overload your piggie’s plate with purple cabbage. A little goes a long way.

Preparing cabbage for guinea pigs is a vital part of the feeding process. It can determine if your guinea pig will love what you are offering and sometimes whether or not they’ll develop health issues from it.

Here are the steps for the safe preparation of cabbage for your guinea pigs;

Step 1: Go For Quality

Always choose the best quality of cabbage. That has to be the organic variety. Opting for organic purple cabbage is one way to avoid the dangers of pesticides and other farm chemicals.

Step 2: Take Time To Wash

Wash the cabbage using clean and fresh water. It’s an essential step, especially if you are offering it raw. Washing gets rid of dust particles, bacteria, and any traces of pesticide.

Step 3: Slice The Cabbage

After washing, the next thing is to cut the cabbage. Begin by dividing it into two halves and remove the stalk (or leave it). Lastly, choose a single leaf and cut it into smaller sizes depending on the size of your piggies – targeting the smallest size for baby guinea pigs.

Other Cabbages and Cruciferous Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat

a quote that says that cruciferous veggies are fine to feed guinea pigs in moderation as long as they eat lots of hay
They’re actually pretty safe. Give it a try.

Besides purple cabbage, guinea pigs can also eat white cabbage, green cabbage, Chinese cabbage, savoy cabbage, and several other kinds. But keep in mind the quantity needs to be moderate all the time.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the other kinds of cabbage that are safe for guinea pigs to eat.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat White Cabbage?

White cabbage is safe for guinea pigs to eat. It has lots of vitamin C, which will help their immune system. They will also get digestive benefits from the high dietary fiber in white cabbage.

Also, white cabbage is low in calcium (score!).

So, it’s unlikely for your guinea pig to develop kidney and bladder stones from this variety, and that makes it one of the best cabbage varieties (along with purple cabbage, of course).

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Cabbage?

Green cabbage is also safe for guinea pigs to eat and is rich in vitamin C. That makes it a healthy snack for your pet. But watch out with the portions; green cabbage is a bit high in calcium. So, only offer it in small amounts.

While green cabbage may not match the nutritional value of the purple variety, that doesn’t make it a lesser option for your guinea treat. It still will benefit pigs, but it’s always safe to keep the intake levels minimal.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chinese Cabbage (Bok Choy)?

Chinese cabbage (or bok choy) is safe to feed to guinea pigs as long as you watch the portion sizes and feeding frequency.

Like all other preceding varieties, this cabbage contains vitamin C and other essential nutrients for these small pets.

But if your piggie has bloat issues, it’s best to avoid this cabbage altogether. Again, it has a lot of calcium, another cause for concern. To play it safe, offer it as the last option.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Savoy Cabbage?

Guinea pigs can safely eat savoy cabbage and will benefit much from it. In fact, this kind is the second-best for guinea pigs after purple cabbage. It’s beneficial to the heart, immune system, and other areas.

When next you walk into a grocery store but fail to get purple cabbage, settle for the savoy variety. It doesn’t differ much with the purple cabbage in terms of nutritional value. In fact, the only difference is that the purple kind has more antioxidants.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Napa Cabbage?

Napa cabbage also makes a healthy treat for guinea pigs. This variety of cabbage has high loads of vitamin C and K but low calcium levels, making it a tasty snack for cavies

But, when giving this cabbage to your little fuzz spuds, it’s best to stick to the leaves as the stalk is somewhat hard for guinea pigs.

The calcium levels are relatively low. So, you shouldn’t have to worry about bladder or kidney stones for your little friends as long as you feed them this variety in moderation.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sweetheart Cabbage?

Guinea pigs can also consume sweetheart cabbage without developing anything serious from it. This vegetable boasts vitamin C, K, and folate.

Folic acid is important for turning carbohydrates into energy. It’s also important for pregnant guinea pigs and young guinea pigs.

But again, too much vitamin K can be dangerous for guinea pigs. So, when feeding guinea pigs sweetheart cabbage, avoid giving them too much of it.

A small amount of this cabbage will offer enough nutrients without causing anything negative. Overfeeding

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Brussels Sprouts?

Although they look like baby cabbages, Brussel sprouts are a tad bit different from cabbage. However, the two have a lot of things in common. For instance, they are all cruciferous vegetables belonging to the same family.

And yes, much like purple cabbage, brussels sprouts are safe for guinea pigs to eat. They are low in sugar but rich in vitamin C, fiber, and other beneficial compounds.

But only offer this veggie two or three times a week, and (please!) not more than that. They’re high in oxalic acid and can cause bloat or bladder stones if you overfeed them to your piggies.

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Final Thoughts

Purple cabbage is the most nutritious cabbage variety. It contains almost every nutrient your guinea pig needs for healthy growth.

Sure, there’s some risks to feeding it to your piggies, but you’re taking a risk every day when you feed them anything other than hay.

Plus, you don’t need to freak out about feeding the cabbage to your little friends if you just make sure that you’re feeding it in the right amounts.

Guinea Pig Vet. (2019, June 8). Bladder Stones In Guinea Pigs.  https://www.theguineapigvet.co.uk/post/bladder-stones-in-guinea-pigs

Havard Medical School. (2018, May 1). Vegetable of the month: Red cabbage. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/vegetable-of-the-month-red-cabbage

Lane, D. (2020, February 24). Purple Cabbage Vs. Green Cabbage Benefits. https://blackdoctor.org/purple-cabbage-vs-green-cabbage/2/

Nutrition Facts. (n.d.). Brussel Sprouts. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/brussels-sprouts/

Organic.Org. (n.d.). Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts. https://organic.org/health-benefits-of-brussels-sprouts-2/

Peer, J. (2019). Computed Tomography Analysis Of Guinea Pig Bone: Architecture, Bone Thickness And Dimensions Throughout Development. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4185290/

Petre, A. (2019, December 10). 8 Impressive Benefits of Purple Cabbage.  Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/purple-cabbage

RSPCA Knowledgebase. (2019, April 19). I think my guinea pig might be pregnant, what should I do? https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/i-think-my-guinea-pig-might-be-pregnant-what-should-i-do/

RSPCA Knowledgebase. (2019, October 1). What should I feed my guinea pigs? https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-should-i-feed-my-guinea-pigs/

U.S. Department Of Agriculture. (2019, Jan 4). Cabbage, Red, Raw.  https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169977/nutrients

So, go ahead and offer purple cabbage to your guinea pigs as one of their main vegetable sources. Just make sure they’re getting a balanced diet with other hay and vegetables too.

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