Can Guinea Pigs Eat Nettles

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Nettles



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Nettle

Nettles, also known as Stinging Nettles refers to several related species of plants from the genus Urtica. The tall green plants are herbaceous flowering plants that resemble mint, and the leaves and stalks of these plants are covered with small hairs. When you touch the plants these small hairs attach themselves to your skin and inject irritating chemicals that cause a stinging sensation. Although the stinging sensation may be harmless to humans, it can cause burning, itchiness, and a relative red coloration to the place where the stinginessoccursr

These plants are also very useful even though they irritate the skin. Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. It also acts as a diuretic, detoxifier, anti-inflammatory, and mild hypo-glycemic herb, and likewise exhibits strong anti-allergy effects. Can guinea pigs eat nettles? Do nettles have any nutritional benefits or health risks to your little cavies? Continue reading this article to find out

Can guinea pigs eat nettles?

No, guinea pigs can not eat fresh nettles due to the stinging effects it has on your little cavies' skin, throats, and digestive system. However, beyond the nasty stinging chemicals that cause various forms of skin or throat irritation, you will see them offering a wide range of nutritional benefits like vitamins A, B-complex, C, and D, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, copper, etc. All these nutrients are majorly established to universally strengthen and support the body system of guinea pigs. However, some pet owners found their way around feeding nettle to guinea pigs in other to benefit from the nutrients they possess.

Guinea Pig

How can you feed nettles to guinea pigs?

Yes, guinea pigs should not feed on fresh nettles because of the possible health risks attach to them, however, the nettles' leaves is also enriched with a good source of nutrition especially vitamins and minerals (essential nutrient needed in your guinea pigs' daily diet) which is why pet owners choose to feed it to their guinea pigs after understanding its side effects.

The first step you should take as a pet owner is to collect the nettles while they are blooming, then store them in a dry dark place and allowed them to hang until they are thoroughly dried out. You can also choose to leave them out in the sun or dry them in an oven using low heat. You should feed them a little amount of the dried nettle when they are dry like hay, and make sure it is in little proportion and not overfed. Also, when drying them out, do not forget to tie the stem of this flower separately cause they have fibrous roots, and it may cause stinginess even when you have dried them out. 

Can guinea pigs eat the stem and flowers of nettles

No, guinea pigs can not eat any other part of nettles like stems, stalks, and flowers except the leaves. This is because it contains a relatively high proportion of the stinging chemicals also known as methanol acid, and this is highly detrimental to your little cavies' health. However, studies do not explain much about these flowering plants.

What are the health benefits of feeding nettles to Guinea pigs

Apart from the stinging effects of nettles, you will also see them helping your little cavies with several issues because of the nutrients present in them, and some of them are explained thus;

Rich in vitamins

Nettles are rich in vitamins A, B-complex, C, and D. All these nutrients are responsible for immune protection, anti-aging effects, providing strong bones and teeth, and also work with other mineral nutrients to keep your pets healthy

Rich in iron

Nettles are also essentially rich in iron. This mineral is a key component in hemoglobin, which transports oxygenated blood throughout the body. This can help them prevent the risk of anemia and provide them with a major energy boost. They are also essential for red blood cell production.

Rich in potassium 

Potassium is beneficial for your guinea pigs' heart health by belonging them reduce blood pressure levels. A reduced blood pressure level can help to fight against heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications for your pets

Nettle

Possible health risks of feeding nettles to guinea pigs

Although, nettle leaves can offer health benefits to pets and their owners. However, the little benefit is negligible compared to the health risks it offers to your guinea pigs if served fresh and raw. This is because their leaves are so potent, and feeding them even in little amounts can be dangerous and may result in you taking your pets to the doctor's office. Anyway, these are the various health risks that can arise if your feed fresh and raw nettles to your guinea pigs

Dermatitis

Dermatitis is a general name that is used in describing a skin irritation. This disease can come as a result of different problems and forms, and one of the causes is your little pet staying near nettles or touching nettles. Guinea pigs have sensitive skin, hence you will see them suffering from itchiness or rashes. It may also lead to dry skin and scalp in some situations

Kidney or Bladder Stone

Feeding nettle leaves to your guinea pigs will lead to them having kidney or bladder stones. This is because nettle leaves contain a decent amount of soluble calcium, and the presence of these nutrients in their body system will lead to small stones (pebbles) forming in their kidney or bladder. But before that, the amount your guinea pigs consume will determine if it will develop quickly or slowly, and after it has formed it will form a blockage or disturb the operations of both organs.

Diarrhoea

Nettle leaves also contain a decent amount of phosphorus, potassium, and other essential nutrients. When these nutrients are in excess in the body system of guinea pigs it may lead to a stomach upset, but before that, guinea pigs may be experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, etc 

Allergy Reaction

This is a common health risk for all guinea pigs. Most guinea pigs have an allergy reaction when they are mistakenly fed nettle leaves even though it was not meant to be given to them. 

Conclusion

Guinea pigs can either eat nettles or not depending on the type of nettle you feed them. If you are feeding them fresh nettle, they contain a stinging chemical that irritates, however, if you are feeding dry nettles to your pets, your little cavies may benefit from the nutrient in them.


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