Cilantro (also known as coriander) is a green fragrant herb that guinea pigs can eat and it is also very nutritious for them. But is cilantro a safe food to feed on a regular basis?
It is often surprising how much nutrition is in such a simple plant which humans only really use as a flavoring.
It is important that guinea pigs consume vitamin C on a regular basis, and, although cilantro isn’t packed with the huge quantities of vitamin C that parsley has, it does have a good amount with 27mg per 100g. That’s about double the amount you’ll find in blueberries and roughly the same as spinach.
Foods that are high in calcium are often a concern for guinea pig owners because of the risk of bladder stones (calcium phosphate deposits) and cilantro is quite high in calcium with 67mg per 100g.
However, if a food has a good balance of calcium to phosphorous the risks of getting these stones are significantly lower and cilantro does have a good ratio of calcium to phosphorous.
Foods high in oxalates also contribute to getting bladder stones but cilantro isn’t high in oxalates.
This combined with the fact that cilantro is also very low in sugar makes it an excellent herb to feed your guinea pigs on a regular basis.
Cilantro is an easy herb to grow on a sunny window sill in your home. You may be able to buy a pot or two from your local supermarket or gardening store. This makes it a bit cheaper for you if you can simply cut the herb as and when you need it.
Guinea pigs can eat the stem of the cilantro as well as the leafy part so don’t waste any of it as it’s all really good for them.
Remember that no food should be given in huge quantities every day. Try to give them a selection of perhaps 3-5 different fresh foods consisting of herbs and veggies each day and vary it daily so they receive a balance of nutrients. This is the best way to keep you piggies healthy.
Below is the nutritional value per 100g of cilantro