Every guinea pig owner should know that grass hay, quality pellets and fresh water are the most important part of guinea pigs diet. But, apart from their regular diet, guinea pigs also love vegetables and fruits, which are often given as occasional treats.
In this article we will discuss basil and its safety for guinea pigs. Is basil safe for guinea pigs or it is harmful to them? How much basil can guinea pigs consume in order to stay healthy? Read on and find out.
More about Basil
Basil (lat. Oscimum basilicum) is a culinary herb that is often used in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. It is especially popular for its strong sweet flavor and aroma. Basil is a part of the Lamiaceae family and it is also known as the royal herb. There are several types of basil and the most common are Mediterranean basil that has large green leaves, Greek basil with smaller peppery leaves and purple basil that has dark leaves.
Also, there are lemon basil with citrus flavor and the so called holy basil with an intense spicy flavor. Basil is used in many cooked recipes and it is usually added to dishes at the last moment. Basil has many health benefits for people and now we will see if guinea pigs can also eat this herb.
Is Basil Safe for Guinea Pigs?
If you are also a guinea pig owner and you are not sure if your pet can eat basil, we have good news. Basil is not one of the foods that are toxic to guinea pigs. It is completely safe if you use it moderately. You can feed your guinea pig basil, but only as an occasional treat.
Before feeding your guinea pig basil, you should be well informed about the nutritional content of basil. It is true that basil doesn’t contain any oxalates or sugar, but it contains a high amount of calcium and phosphorus, which is not good for guinea pigs.
Also, basil contains a hint of fat, but it is rich in vitamin C and we know that guinea pigs need this vitamin.
How Much Basil Is Good for Guinea Pig?
As you have seen, basil can have some health benefits for guinea pigs, but because of the high calcium and phosphorus content, you should feed them basil sparingly. You should give basil to your guinea pig only in small amounts once or two times a week.
If you feed your guinea pig large amounts of basil it could cause some side effects. In this case your guinea pig will have problems in the digestive system, such as bloating, diarrhea or vomiting.
Have in mind that basil is good to feed your guinea pig once or twice a week. As we have already said, basil contains compounds that can be harmful to your pet. Remember that guinea pigs can eat large amounts of any food, but you are the only responsible for your pet’s health.