If you are not careful, you can accidentally poison your guinea pigs. Many foods are unsuitable for rodents. In addition, guinea pigs are pure herbivores (herbivores) and have a sensitive digestive tract. An incorrect diet can therefore quickly lead to health problems in the animals. Since even at first glance, small feeding errors can have serious consequences for the pigs, it is important to avoid them as much as possible. But what makes a good guinea pig food, what is unhealthy, and which foods are poisonous for guinea pigs?
Unhealthy Snacks: Treats for Guinea Pigs
The shelves in pet shops are full of colorful packaging that promises the best ingredients. Lots of guinea pig snacks are also offered on the Internet. However, so-called treats are rarely healthy. They are more comparable to gummy bears or chocolate for us humans – sweets that damage the figure, contain too much sugar, and should never be consumed in large quantities every day. It is no different with guinea pigs: yoghurt drops, guinea pig biscuits or rodent waffles are fattening foods and do not belong on the daily menu. If you want to feed your animals particularly healthily, you can replace the treats with additional vegetables or small portions of fruit. Fruits are also sugary, but at least free of colorings or preservatives.
Old Bread for Guinea Pigs: Not Good for the Teeth, But Unhealthy
In rodents, tooth abrasion occurs when their teeth are rubbing against each other – a process that should happen automatically when they eat. Teeth that are too long are primarily caused by misaligned teeth or injuries to the jaw. Abscesses can also lead to changes in tooth growth. The food is not crucial for this.
It is true, however, that prolonged eating promotes tooth abrasion. It is not the hardness of the food that is decisive, but above all the time that the guinea pig needs to consume the food. Guinea pigs are usually occupied for a long time with roughage and green fodder, for example, hay and meadow herbs – at the same time, the feed is healthy and, if it is of good quality, contains many important vitamins.
Bread, on the other hand, has several disadvantages: it is difficult for guinea pigs to digest, can contain preservatives, and, in the worst case, even contain mold spores. In addition, as herbivores, guinea pigs are adapted to vegetable food, which should mainly consist of hay and grass and only a small part of cereals or grains and seeds.
Dangerous Fresh Food for Guinea Pigs: Be Careful With These Vegetables
Anyone who believes that vegetables are the same as vegetables may endanger their pigs. Onions, radishes, and chili peppers have no place in the guinea pig bowl. The rodents do not tolerate spicy food at all and legumes are also unsuitable for guinea pigs. Beans, lentils, and peas are sometimes even poisonous. This also applies to the green of tomatoes, which must be removed before feeding. The following applies to leaf salads and spinach: Feed little, as the oxalic acid content is quite high. In addition, unlike other vegetables, salads often contain large amounts of nitrate.
Guinea Pigs Should Not Eat This Fruit
Fruit plays a subordinate role in species-appropriate guinea pig nutrition compared to vegetables, but due to its high vitamin content, it is an important component that should not be underestimated. However, guinea pigs do not easily tolerate all types of fruit. Especially exotic fruits should be consumed with caution. Guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C, but they still cannot tolerate sour fruits. Citrus and tropical fruits are therefore better off on our plate and should not be fed to guinea pigs. That means no lemons, oranges, mandarins, or kiwis for the pigs. Stone fruit should also be consumed with caution: the kernels must not be given under any circumstances, as they contain poisonous hydrogen cyanide. The pulp of cherry, peach, and nectarine is also problematic. It causes diarrhea in some guinea pigs. This fruit should, therefore – if at all – only be given in very small quantities and of course, pitted.
Controversial Cabbage Feeding: Is Cabbage Poisonous to Guinea Pigs?
It is often said that cabbage has a strong gassing effect and is therefore unsuitable as food for guinea pigs and other small animals. However, cabbage can be a healthy addition to the menu if fed properly. There are also some types of cabbage that are more tolerable than others. This includes broccoli, for example. In healthy animals that are fed appropriately and are given sufficient exercise, there should be no dramatic gas formation. Nevertheless, it is not allowed to start feeding freely.
Less tolerable types of cabbage are all hard cabbage plants, such as white cabbage, red cabbage, or savoy cabbage. Healthy guinea pigs often have no problems with these types of cabbage if they are slowly accustomed to the feeding. First of all, it can be tested with fingernail-sized pieces how the animals tolerate the cabbage. If there are no problems, larger amounts can be given gradually. In no case should cabbage become a staple food or make up a large part of the diet. If the pigs tolerate it, however, it can add variety to the fresh feed and be fed occasionally.
Do Not Feed Leftover Food to Guinea Pigs
While hamsters and rats can be given a boiled noodle or a piece of boiled potato (without salt!) Without hesitation, guinea pigs are not allowed to enjoy such delicacies. Cooked food quickly causes digestive problems for them. In principle, pets should of course never be fed spicy or fatty foods. This not only applies to guinea pigs, but also to all other rodents and of course to rabbits. If there is no salad for dinner (without dressing!), The pigs have to go home empty-handed.
Conclusion: This is What Counts When Feeding Guinea Pigs
Fresh greens, herbs, and hay are always allowed to land in the guinea pig bowl. On the other hand, bloating or spicy vegetables, stone fruits, and, of course, foods that are actually intended for humans are problematic. Since poisoning can quickly lead to death, guinea pig keepers are better off not experimenting with nutrition and reading carefully before feeding.