Commonly thought of as a vegetable, this juicy fruit is popular in salads and veggie trays. But can guinea pigs eat it too? Let’s find out!
Guinea pigs can eat cucumber a few times a week, including the flesh, skin, and seeds. Feed in reasonable amounts, as the high water content can cause diarrhea in some piggies.
Cucumbers are great for hydrating guinea pigs that don’t drink much water, especially in the hot summer months. They are also a great source of healthy antioxidants.
But there are some things you should know before including it in your piggy’s diet. I’ll cover everything you need to know throughout the article below.
You can also check out the Guinea Pig Food Chart for an alphabetical list of everything your piggy can eat and how often they can have it, along with calcium and Vitamin C levels for each food.
*Important Note: The quantity of cucumber shown in the photos is for visual purposes only and not indicative of the correct amount to feed your guinea pig in one serving.
Nutritional Value of Cucumber for Guinea Pigs
Cucumbers contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can benefit the health of your guinea pig. Below is the nutrient value of cucumbers per 100 grams:
As you can see, cucumbers contain a balanced mix of different nutrients, without being concerningly high in any one area. However, they are also quite low in Vitamin C, so it’s best to feed cucumbers along with a combination of high Vitamin C foods to ensure your guinea pig gets plenty of Vitamin C in their diet.
Benefits of Feeding Cucumbers to Guinea Pigs
Cucumber is a beloved fruit for humans and guinea pigs alike. This refreshingly sweet food has a few key benefits for guinea pigs, which I’ll outline below.
Cucumber is a Hydrating Food
Cucumber is low in calories and sugar but very high in water content. Cucumbers are made up of about 96% water. This is good for keeping your guinea pigs hydrated, especially if you have a guinea pig that doesn’t like to drink much water.
While often overlooked, hydration is important for many bodily functions in both humans and guinea pigs, including temperature regulation, metabolism, and expulsion of waste from the body.
Cucumber is also a good veggie to feed to guinea pigs that are prone to bladder stones or sludge. They are a low-calcium food, and the water in cucumbers helps flush excess minerals out of the guinea pig’s system before they have a chance to bind together and create stones.
Cucumbers can also help to keep your piggies cool and hydrated in the hot summer months. Just be careful not to feed too much, as they could cause diarrhea if your pigs eat several slices at once.
Cucumber Contains a Healthy Mix of Vitamins
In addition, cucumber contains some great nutrients such as potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. These nutrients are responsible for regulating fluid in the body, proper blood clotting, vision, and good bone health.
They also have a tiny amount of Vitamin C, but not enough to be a reasonable source in your guinea pig’s diet.
Cucumbers are also low in calories, fat, sugar, and calcium, all of which are good for guinea pigs and help to prevent excessive weight gain or urinary issues.
Cucumbers Are Antioxidant-Rich
Cucumbers are also a rich source of antioxidants. These compounds balance and neutralize excess free radicals in the body, which prevents these free radicals from building up and damaging cells. This helps keep the body healthy and reduces the chances of developing many chronic diseases.
Cucumber has also been linked to the ability to potentially lower blood sugar levels and ease some of the symptoms of diabetes, although more research is needed in this department.
Risks of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Cucumber
The risks to feeding cucumbers are fairly low because this veggie is not high in any potentially harmful minerals. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First of all, the high water content in cucumber is good in moderation, but it can cause diarrhea if fed in larger quantities.
This is not typically a problem if you’re feeding a slice or two at a time, but some guinea pigs are more sensitive. See how cucumber affects your own piggy and feed it less if necessary.
It’s also a good idea to introduce cucumbers into the diet gradually to give your guinea pig time to adjust to it.
Ensure that your guinea pig has access to unlimited grass hay, as nibbling on hay helps balance the extra water content.
Cucumbers are also low in nutrients compared to many other vegetables. This can cause deficiencies in your guinea pig if it is the only veggie you feed.
However, this is easy to fix by feeding a high-quality pellet and offering a healthy balance of different nutrient-rich vegetables.
Some good vitamin-rich options include collard greens, arugula, mustard greens, or herbs like dill, basil, and cilantro. Many of these are high in calcium, so cucumber can be a good low-calcium food to balance this out.
Like with other foods, there is always a chance that your guinea pig is allergic or has a bad reaction to cucumber. This is rare, but it’s always important to introduce new foods gradually and keep an eye on your guinea pig in case they have an adverse reaction.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumbers?
Guinea pigs can eat cucumbers regularly, a few times a week. Offer a couple of thin slices or one thicker half-inch slice per serving. Since it’s so high in water, you shouldn’t feed several slices all at once.
You can feed cucumber every day, as long as you only feed a thin slice daily. If your guinea pig is more prone to diarrhea, feed it less frequently.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Cucumbers?
Cucumbers are a very popular favorite food for many guinea pigs. They have a mild juicy flavor that is sweet but not overwhelming. Most guinea pigs will accept it readily and come to love it in no time.
However, all guinea pigs have their own likes and dislikes. If your piggy decides they really don’t like cucumbers, you can try other foods like radicchio, endive, apples, carrots, cauliflower, or bananas.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Skin/Peels?
Guinea pigs can safely eat cucumber with the skin or peel. In fact, cucumber skin contains the most fiber and higher levels of nutrients compared to the inner flesh. Feeding a slice of cucumber with the skin is much healthier than peeling it off for your guinea pig. However, be sure to rinse the cucumber thoroughly first to remove any potentially harmful residue.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber With Seeds?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat cucumbers with the seeds intact. Immature cucumber seeds are very soft and safe to eat, so there’s no need to remove them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumber Leaves?
Guinea pigs should not eat cucumber leaves. Leaves from the cucumber plant are not known to be poisonous to guinea pigs, but little information is known about the nutritional value or potential effects of feeding it. Cucumber leaves can induce vomiting in humans if eaten in excess, so it’s best to be on the safe side and keep it off your guinea pig’s menu entirely.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumbers?
Baby guinea pigs over the weaning age of 3-4 weeks old can start eating cucumber in small amounts. Introduce it into the diet slowly so the water content doesn’t cause stomach problems.
Since cucumber is not overly high in nutrients, it’s crucial to include other vitamin-rich foods in your guinea pig’s diet.
How to Prepare and Feed Cucumber to Your Guinea Pig
To feed cucumber to your guinea pig, start by selecting a healthy green cucumber. Rinse it thoroughly to remove any traces of dirt or pesticides. Cut a slice or two with the skin intact and offer it to your guinea pig. If they have never had cucumber before, give them one thin slice to start.
You can feed them by hand or leave the cucumber in the cage for your guinea pig to try out at their own pace. Be sure to remove any uneaten food after a few hours so it doesn’t rot in the cage.
Observe your guinea pig for several hours after they try the cucumber for the first time.
As long as your guinea pig isn’t exhibiting any unusual behavior or suffering from diarrhea, you can gradually increase the amount you feed next time.
If your guinea pig doesn’t seem interested in eating the cucumber right away, try it a few more times. In the wild, guinea pigs would often test a new food by nibbling the tiniest amounts several times to ensure it wasn’t poisonous.
Pet guinea pigs often inherit this ingrained behavior, and this is why it sometimes takes them a while to accept a new food.
More Fruits and Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
For a complete list of all the fruits and vegetables that guinea pigs can eat, you can also check out our article, Complete List of Safe Foods for Guinea Pigs.