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

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While guinea pigs are natural herbivores, that doesn’t give you the go-ahead to toss any leafy greens to them. Guinea pigs need a healthy diet just like you. They can get sick if they eat something that is harmful to them. So it’s important to know what to give them and what not to give them. But can guinea pigs eat savoy cabbage?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat savoy cabbage safely. Savoy cabbage comes teeming with essential nutrients like vitamins C, K, and several others that will benefit your guinea pet in many ways. But, feed the cabbage in moderation with a lot of hay to avoid health issues like bloat and stomach pain in your guinea pigs.

Savoy cabbage is one of the healthiest treats anyone could offer to guinea pigs. But how you go about the whole process of feeding matters a lot.

a picture of a guinea pig wondering if he can eat savoy cabbage

In this article, we will be talking about feeding guinea pigs savoy cabbage. Right from its origin to its nutritional value, health benefits, and health risks, there’s much lined up for you today. You won’t want to skip even a bit!

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

What Is Savoy Cabbage?

Savoy cabbage, also known as curly cabbage, is a vegetable that belongs to the species – Brassica oleracea. It is a winter vegetable with lacy and deeply-ridged leaves that make it arguably the prettiest of all cabbage varieties.

Savoy cabbage was first grown in France back in the 1500s. But due to its sweet and earthy flavor, it didn’t take long for it to explode in fame. Currently, this cabbage variety beats several other greeneries to feature on millions of plates daily.

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And just so you know, it doesn’t come in one variety. Some of the varieties include Savoy King, Tundra, Winter King, Des Vertus, Ormskirk Late, Savoy Ace, and Tardivo di Milano, with Savoy King being the most popular.

This winter vegetable is good in a lot of different foods. You can put it in with meat, spices, apples, stews and soups, kimchi, horseradish – and the list goes on and on.

Is Savoy Cabbage Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Yes, savoy cabbage is a safe treat for guinea pigs and doesn’t contain anything that could harm your pet. In fact, it’s one of the most nutritious cabbage varieties that will benefit your guinea pig in several ways.

Savoy cabbage is a good food choice for guinea pigs. It has some dark aspects, but you can avoid these by following some precautions. The vegetable will be better for your guinea pig than some other treats you could offer.

In particular, here are some of the benefits of savoy cabbage:

  • Weight Maintenance
  • Supports immune system
  • Scurvy repellent
  • Supports bone development

1. Weight Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for guinea pigs, just like it is for people. If your guinea pig becomes obese, it can jeopardize its health. If that happens, losing weight can be a real struggle.

If you want your piggies to be healthy and happy, don’t give them junk food. The easiest way to keep your little friends trim and happy is to be careful with the food you give them – and that’s where savoy cabbage comes in.

Don’t let the big leaves of savoy cabbage fool you. It is a low-calorie food. 100 grams of savoy cabbage has only 27 calories. That’s much less than you’ll find in some other types of cabbage, and much less than in some other treats.

2. Supports Immune System

A healthy immune system will keep your guinea pig happy and your wallet intact. While not all foods are good for immunity, savoy cabbage as an occasional snack for your piggy will go an extra mile of boosting their body defense system.

Curly cabbage has the necessary nutrients and minerals to enhance the ability of guinea pigs to fight disease-causing pathogens. For instance, it has a high Vitamin C content, a nutrient that serves as a natural immune booster.

Selenium, zinc, iron, and plant-based protein are found in curly cabbage. These compounds help produce and maintain immune cells.

3. Scurvy Repellant

If a guinea pig doesn’t have enough vitamin C, they can get scurvy. Scurvy makes it hard for the guinea pig to make collagen, which is important for muscles and bones. Scurvy also comes with a bunch of other horrible side effects like bleeding gums, skin lesions, fatigue, muscle weakness and more.

Scurvy can be a real struggle for guinea pigs because they can’t make vitamin C on their own. They have to get it from food or supplements. If you can’t keep up with your piggie’s dietary needs, this could mean trouble for them – like serious trouble.

And yes, Savoy cabbage is rich in vitamin C. Just 100 grams of this vegetable offers a whopping 31mg of vitamin C, an amount large enough to help prevent diseases like scurvy.

4. Supports Bone Development

Healthy bones will keep your pocket pet active and happy. In fact, healthy bones are just as important for your guinea pig’s happiness just as much as the heart is.

Savoy cabbage has all it takes to develop and maintain healthy bones for guinea pigs. It contains calcium, protein, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus – all necessary for strong bones.

Another good thing about this calcium is that it is healthy for your guinea pig. This means that it is in a good amount, so when your guinea pig avoids the other side of the mineral, they’ll still be able to get the benefits.

Risks To Consider When Feeding Guinea Pigs Too Much Savoy Cabbage

Although savoy cabbage is beneficial for guinea pigs, it also has a downside. Like with most things you feed your cavies, you have to be careful how much and how frequently you offer it to your guinea pig.

But if you are responsible and feed your piggy the right amount of savoy cabbage, your pet won’t get sick. If you don’t, your furry potato might get one of these issues:

1. Digestive Issues: Bloat and Diarrhea

Guinea pigs can develop bloat from too much savoy cabbage. This vegetable has high fiber, which leads to gas buildup in the stomach when ingested in large quantities.

Symptoms of bloat include low appetite, bulgy stomach, lethargy, breathing difficulties, and others. If your cavy shows any of those synptoms, rush them to the vet.

Untreated, bloat can be fatal.

Diarrhea is also a likely condition. When you notice such, afford your pet plenty of drinking water to prevent dehydration. That’s also the time to monitor your pet closely in case the situation grows worse. But again, in most cases, the diarrhea is mild and will pass just on its own.

2. Urinary Tract Problems

Many guineas have problems with their urinary tracts. The most common problems are bladder stones and kidney stones. They often occur when the guinea pig eats more calcium than their little bodies can handle.

Any food containing calcium puts guinea pigs at the risk of developing urinary stones no matter how little they eat. Savoy has some calcium, like most foods, and so it still could cause either of these conditions.

But as you will notice later in the article, the calcium content in savoy cabbage is lower than in other cabbage varieties, so it’s less likely cause kidney stones and bladder stones your fur babies.

Another thing that can happen if you give your guinea pig savoy cabbage is food poisoning. This can come from any kind of food, not just savoy cabbage.

The deep ridges on leaves can be a place for microbes to live. They can also carry pesticides and other dangerous chemicals from the farming process – especially if you haven’t bought organic savoy cabbage.

When not washed properly, it’s easy for guinea pigs to develop issues from the very tidbits of this treat you offer them.

Nutritional Facts for Savoy Cabbage

Having looked at the basic information, whether or not it’s safe for guinea pigs, associated benefits and risks, let us now take a close look at what savoy cabbage packs. The rundown below summarizes how much of a given nutrient savoy cabbage offers per 100 grams of quantity when raw.

  • Water – 91g
  • Energy – 27Kcal
  • Protein – 2g
  • Vitamin C – 31mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.19mg
  • Fiber – 3.1g
  • Calcium – 35mg
  • Iron – 0.4mg
  • Magnesium – 28mg
  • Potassium – 230mg
  • Zinc – 0.27mg
  • Phosphorus – 42mg
  • Sodium – 28mg
  • Copper – 0.062mg
  • Manganese – 0.18mg
  • Selenium – 0.9µg

How Does Savoy Cabbage Compare To Other Cabbages?

Before you offer savoy cabbage to your guinea pig, first know how the vegetable compares to other cabbages.

The table below compares savoy cabbage, purple cabbage, green leaf cabbage, and napa cabbage in terms of their fiber, vitamin C, and calcium concentrations per 100 grams of each as rated by USDA.

FiberVitamin CCalcium
Napa Cabbage
(Chinese Cabbage)
1g45mg105mg
Purple Cabbage2.1g57mg45mg
Green Leaf2.536.6mg40mg
Savoy Cabbage3.1g31mg35mg

As you can see, savoy cabbage is the highest in fiber, offering 3.1g of fiber in every 100g when uncooked. That’s a win for guinea pigs with digestive issues.

It’s also the lowest in calcium, thus the least likely to cause urinary tract issues. Finally, in terms of vitamin C, it lies in between the two extremes, which still isn’t a bad thing.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Savoy Cabbage Everyday?

Even though it’s a healthy leafy vegetable, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat savoy cabbage every day. Savoy cabbage doesn’t contain anything toxic, but there’s a possibility that your cavy might get health issues like bloat and diarrhea if you overfeed it to them.

That means no savoy cabbage as part of their daily diet.

So can guinea pigs eat savoy cabbage everyday? No! It should only be given as an occasional treat – not more than once or twice

Savoy cabbage is a good source of many nutrients and minerals. But it doesn’t have all the nutrients that your pet needs. So, it’s a good idea to mix it with other foods to make sure they get everything they need for a health, balanced diet.

You can have it come at most twice a week in moderate amounts. Offer different foods in the remaining days. The goal is to ensure that you capture as many nutrients as possible.

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

How much savoy cabbage your guinea pig needs to eat isn’t cast in stone. Treat requirements differ from one pet to another, depending on their overall health and other factors.

Only offer a small amount of cabbage mixed with other low-calcium, none cabbage vegetables like radicchio, carrot tops, and endive.

There’s one golden rule – begin low and grow it (amount) slow. Yes, don’t offer all of what they say at once.

You have to first train your guinea’s stomach on the new treat. Then, increase the quantity gradually as their system slowly adapts to it.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Savoy Cabbage? 

Guinea pigs generally do like the taste of savoy cabbage. This vegetable definitely beats most smooth leaved herbs and vegetables in flavor. The mild, sweet, and vegetable taste is something most guinea pigs will choose over most vegetables presented the opportunity to make a choice.

But that doesn’t mean that your guinea pig will definitely become friends with savoy cabbage. Perhaps your guinea’s taste is different from those of most piggies. Again, sometimes the friendship takes time to grow.

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Savoy Cabbage Leaves?

Yes, savoy cabbage leaves are a healthy food for guinea pigs to eat. In fact, they are the most nutritious part of the savoy cabbage. However, you need to prepare them correctly so that your guinea pigs stay healthy.

The delicate textured leaves of savoy cabbage are something your guinea pig will love munching on from time to time.

But before offering, rinse thoroughly and cut them into smaller pieces.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Savoy Cabbage Stalks?

Guinea pigs can eat savoy cabbage stalks safely. But we generally don’t encourage feeding them this part. The innermost part of savoy cabbage doesn’t have anything dangerous to guinea pigs, but it’s a bit hard for guineas to chew.

The stalk is edible, but isn’t easy to chew and doesn’t offer anything different from the leaves. As such, it makes sense to stick to the leaves.The leafy part of savoy cabbage is delicate and easier for guinea pigs to handle.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Savoy Cabbage?

Frozen savoy cabbage should not be given to guinea pigs in most cases. Guinea pig digestive systems are delicate, and food that is freezing cold might make it hard for them to process the food.

Fresh savoy cabbage is always the best option for guinea pigs. It has the full nutrients and can be easily digested.

Defrosted savoy cabbage isn’t as bad as some other frozen vegetables, but it’s still not the best option. The texture of the cabbage can change when it’s defrosted, and this can make it harder for your cavies to enjoy it.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Savoy Cabbage?

No, don’t give guinea pigs canned cabbage to eat. Canned savoy cabbage contains harmful preservatives and other dangerous chemicals to guinea pigs. If offering guinea pigs savoy cabbage, only stick to the fresh variety or thawed veggies.

Canning brings in dangerous ingredients, increases the sugar level in food, and reduces vitamin levels. So generally, canned savoy cabbage doesn’t make a healthy treat for guinea pigs and could even harm their health.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Cabbage?

No, cooked cabbage isn’t good for guinea pigs. Cooked food can give them an upset stomach. So if you want them to eat the cabbage, give it to them raw.

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat cooked cabbage. They can’t digest cooked food, because their systems aren’t designed for it. This means that even if the next cabbage you cook tastes delicious, don’t offer it to your guinea pig. Their digestive system just won’t be able to handle it.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cabbage Soup?

Cabbage soup isn’t good for guinea pigs to eat.  Even though Savoy cabbage is a good source of Vitamin C (an essential vitamin for piggies)  a lot of those nutrients are lost during the cooking and boiling process for the soup.  Just stick to fresh, raw cabbage.

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Savoy Cabbage?

Yes, baby guinea pigs can eat savoy cabbage safely. Savoy cabbage is a good source of vitamin C and other nutrients and minerals that are beneficial for baby guinea pigs.

Like adult guinea pigs, a treat for young cavies besides their regular food is a brilliant idea. But before you introduce them to savoy cabbage, remain patient until the nursing period is over. That could mean waiting for two to three weeks.

Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Savoy Cabbage?

Pregnant guinea pigs can safely eat savoy cabbage but only in moderation. The nutrients and minerals in savoy cabbage will keep the pregnant pig together with the unborn pup healthy.

When pregnant, sows need to eat twice as much vitamin C as they would when they’re not pregnant. Fortunately, savoy cabbage is rich in this type of vitamin, which helps pregnant guineas remain healthy during their pregnancy.

How To Prepare Cabbage For Your Guinea Pigs

How to prepare cabbage for your guinea pig is much the same as how you go about preparing any other vegetable. It’s a straightforward procedure, but always follow everything to the letter to avoid trouble.

Step 1: Choose A Healthy Type

Once the vet confirms cabbage to be OK for your pet, it’s time to choose the cabbage to offer. Walk into a grocery store and go for the freshest produce. You also need to ensure that you buy the organic type. The inorganic variety sometimes isn’t a healthy treat for guinea pigs.

Step 2: Do The Washing

Before feeding cabbage to guinea pigs, washing vegetables is a necessary step. Use clean, fresh, and running water for this purpose. That way, you will get rid of any microbes and other toxins likely to be on the leaves, preventing digestive and other health issues.

Step 3: Time To Cut

After rinsing, slice the cabbage into smaller chunks that guinea pigs can handle. Tiny pieces will even make it easier to monitor how much your pet eats. It will also allow you to keep the remaining for the next meal.

How To Store Cabbage For Your Guinea Pigs

How you store cabbage for your guinea pigs determines whether or not it will be safe for them to eat when next they need it. For storage, place it inside a plastic bag and toss it into the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Kept whole and without rinsing, cabbage can last for long. It can remain safe for a month or two. But once cut, it begins to gradually lose vitamin C, making it spoil in as few as three days.

A sniff test will help you know if the cabbage is still safe for your pig. An off-smell is a sign that it is no longer healthy for eating. The same goes for when you notice discolored leaves. And as usual, if you doubt anything to be safe for your pet, it’s best not to offer it.

What Types Of Cabbage Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs can eat savoy, purple, green, white, sweetheart, bok choy, and any other type of cabbage. All these cabbages are high in essential vitamins and other compounds that will help your guinea pig grow healthy and happy.

Let’s take a close look at each of the common cabbage varieties;

1. White Cabbage

The white cabbage is a good food for guinea pigs. It has a lot of healthy nutrients like folic acid. Folic acid is important for the mental, immune, and cardiovascular health of guinea pigs. Baby and pregnant guinea pigs also need folic acid for healthy cell development.

2. Green Cabbage

This variety of cabbage has many benefits for guinea pigs. One big difference it has compared to other types of cabbage is the high levels of vitamin K. This vitamin is important for bone development and the regulation of calcium levels in the blood vessels.

3. Bok Choy

Bok choy comes full of cancer-fighting compounds such as beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene serve as antioxidants, preventing cell damage from free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for premature aging, cell damage, and cancer.

4. Napa Cabbage

Napa contains more potassium than most other types of guinea pig food. This can help keep your guinea pig’s heart healthy.

But again, napa the calcium content in napa cabbage (also called chinese cabbage) is way too high. Always offer it in small amounts and less frequently. Too much of it and more often will make guinea pigs develop a bladder stone (or maybe even several) or kidney stones.

5. Sweetheart Cabbage

The sweetheart cabbage is a good source of vitamins C and K. These vitamins help improve the immune system. Pets that are not feeling well will benefit from eating this type of cabbage.

6. Purple Cabbage

Although it comes last of all other varieties on the list, vets confirm purple cabbage as the healthiest cabbage variety for guinea pigs. It has all the nutrients guinea pets need to grow healthy and happy, but at the same time low in calcium.

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Final Thoughts

The benefits of cabbage – especially savoy cabbage are clear. It’s rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, other minerals, dietary fiber, and other nutrients that your pet needs to stay healthy.

Savoy cabbage also has the least amount of calcium, which is a mineral that can cause kidney and bladder stones in guinea pigs.

But again, much like any other treat, savoy cabbage has its downsides. For instance, it’s actually too high in fiber and it’s a gassy vegetables which could cause digestive issues in your piggies like bloat.  

(Fortunately, this can be avoided as long as you only feed it in small amounts, and you make sure that you mix it with other non gassy, fresh vegetables and unlimited amounts of hay.)

However, if you just watch how much and how often you give it to your guinea pig, savoy cabbage can be a great addition to their diet.

Have you tried feeding savoy cabbage to your little friends?

If so, how did they like it?

Let me know in the comment section below.

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New Plymouth District Vet Group. (2019, December 18). Care of Pregnant Guinea Pigs. https://www.npvet.co.nz/pets/animal-info-pets/bird-rabbit-turtle-articles/care-pregnant-guinea-pigs

Norton, W. (n.d.). Foods That May Cause Gas. International Foundation For Gastrointestinal Disorders. Https://Iffgd.Org/Gi-Disorders/Symptoms-Causes/Intestinal-Gas/Foods-That-May-Cause-Gas/

PetMD Editorial. (2010, July 22). Vitamin C Deficiency in Guinea Pigs. https://www.petmd.com/exotic/conditions/cardiovascular/c_ex_gp_vitamin_c_deficiency

The Humane Society of the United States. (n.d.). Guinea pig feeding. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-feeding

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2019, April 1). Cabbage, Savoy, Raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170388/nutrients

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2020 October 30). Cabbage, Green, Raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103341/nutrients

WebMD. (n.d.). Health Benefits of Bok Choy. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-bok-choy

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