Almonds are one of the most favorite nuts among humans. They are quite nutritious, and since they are very versatile, they have started to gain popularity over the years.
I am sure you all know that you can use almonds raw and roasted, in sweet or savory meals, in the form of flour or even milk. You can snack on it; you can make butter out of it; you can even share this snack with your pet.
But what if you have a guinea pig for a pet. Can guinea pigs eat almonds?
Yes, they can eat almonds, but rarely. Honestly, they will enjoy eating it since almonds are very tasty. Besides, they also have some useful benefits for the body, and it can be a great boost for their health and immune system.
The main question now is, should you and how often feed your piggies with almonds?
Let’s find out now.
Are Nuts In General Good For Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs can eat almost all kinds of nuts, but the best is to avoid feeding them with nuts in high quantities considering that they are packed with carbohydrates and fat.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs require a diet high in fiber and low on fat and carbohydrates, or else they will gain weight quickly, which leads to obesity. If you really want, you can serve small amounts of nuts to your guinea pig, but it’s best to avoid them together.
Health Issues In Guinea Pigs Caused By Excessive Nut Consumption
It is crucial to know which foods you must strictly avoid when feeding your piggy since you can seriously harm their health accidentally. Nuts are harmful to guinea pigs since excessive consumption can lead to some chronic health problems.
Nuts are not a normal part of the regular diet for guinea pigs. Their digestive system is fragile, and they cannot digest salty, fatty, or sugary foods just like all other animals.
Major digestive disorders that may occur are bloating and diarrhea.
Nuts are packed with complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats, which makes them highly nutritious, but at the same time, nuts can completely destroy guinea pigs’ digestive system.
Nuts can mess up the delicate balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, which later leads to inconsistent intestinal motility. Nuts also contain a small amount of sugar, which can cause significant damage to their digestive system, paired with other harmful nutrients.
Animals are prone to food allergies as well, so you should not be surprised if your guinea pig shows an allergic reaction to nuts. Typical symptoms include sneezing, itching, scratching, and difficult breathing.
Visit your vet if some of these symptoms occur after you serve them nuts.
Nuts are rich in calcium as well, which can accumulate in the kidneys as well in the bladder—this excessive calcium accumulation in the long run results in kidney stones. Bladder and kidney stones are extremely painful for all animals, so why risk it when you can maintain a low-calcium diet for your piggy and keep him perfectly happy and healthy.
As already mentioned, nuts are rich in minerals such as calcium, and these minerals can negatively affect the growth and development of guinea pigs. While they are still certain young doses of minerals are suitable to boost their bones, but as they get older, these minerals only start piling in the urethra.
This can lead to health problems such as recurrent urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney stones, urinary pain, or blood in the urine. If these are left untreated, they can cause kidney failure.
Nuts are high in calories, and if you overfeed your piggy with any type of nut, it can cause obesity. This is a rule for almost all animals, especially for small animals like rodents.
Nuts are fatty, so excessive consumption will cause a wide range of health problems since fat will accumulate in arteries and organs. Fat can also accumulate in the bloodstream and clot blood vessels.
Are Almonds Good For Guinea Pigs?
Almonds are also called a superfood, well, at least for humans, but are almonds good for guinea pigs? The short answer is yes but in small amounts and on occasions.
Nutrition In Almonds
Some nutrients that you can find in almonds are important for guinea pigs, while others are harmful in larger amounts. The following list is the exact amount of nutrients measured in 100 grams of almonds.
- Water content – 4.4%.
- Calories – 579.
- Protein – 21.15 grams.
- Fiber content – 12.5 grams.
- Sugar content – 4.35 grams.
- Calcium content – 269mg – very high.
- Phosphorus – 481mg – very high.
- Potassium – 733mg – very high.
- Magnesium – 270mg.
- Fat content – 49.93 grams – high.
Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of feeding your guinea pig with almonds:
Helps In Digestion
Almonds are rich in dietary fibers; to be more precise, almonds have a total of 12.5g of dietary fibers. Dietary fibers are known to keep guinea pig’s digestive tract healthy and clean. When their digestive tract is clean, they will be able to maintain optimum food digestion and absorption and avoid constipation.
It Helps In Controlling Blood Sugar And Cholesterol Levels
Almonds will help control blood sugar levels since they contain 26.2mg of vitamin E. Vitamin E triggers insulin sensitivity in guinea pigs, which helps control blood sugar. Also, magnesium, which is present in almonds, significantly contributes to controlling blood sugar levels.
This way, it will keep your furball far from the danger of developing diabetes. Also, vitamin E protects cells by shielding them from oxidative damage. Almonds are known to keep cholesterol levels in check and prevent guinea pigs from developing cholesterol-related diseases.
Helps In Controlling Weight
Almonds are great in boosting metabolism and controlling hunger which will help in controlling body weight. Guinea pigs tend to have weight gain problems to benefit from a few almonds from time to time.
Almonds keep hunger under control since they provide a feeling of satisfaction, thus reducing the amount of food they consume on. Almonds have 21.22g of proteins which is the main reason why almonds increase satiety.
Risk Factors Of Feeding Guinea Pigs Almonds
Unfortunately, almonds can also be very risky for guinea pigs. That is why you will need to keep an eye on how much almonds you feed to your piggies. Your guinea pig can be affected by the following risk factors.
Almonds are considered small nuts, which is why it makes them dangerous to rodents like guinea pigs. Occasionally you can find your guinea pig struggling with the almond that is sticking on their throats. This situation can get out of control and end up being fatal if the guinea pig is not attended to immediately.
In case they are choking, make them drink water to wash the almond down and if this does not help, take them to your vet.
Almonds in large quantities, in the long run, will end up posing a weight gain problem. Almonds are rich in fat, and they consist of a total of 49.42g of fats! This means that even slightly exceeding the required quantities will end up triggering weight gain. Increased weight later leads to more health problems.
Almonds Can Be Poisonous
Keep in mind that bitter almonds are poisonous to guinea pigs. Almonds tend to contain a cyanide that is very harmful to guinea pigs. So try the nuts before serving to your piggies and avoid major health complications.
How Often Should Guinea Pigs Munch On Almonds?
Guinea pigs should only eat almonds occasionally, no more than twice a month, and always under strict supervision. There are few simple rules when feeding your piggies with almonds:
- Peel off the skin always
- Only feed them with the narrow and long almonds and avoid short wide ones since they are usually bitter almonds which are poisonous
- Never feed them with seasoned industrial processed almonds, only raw, blanched or roasted
The main difference between a raw or roasted almond and a blanched almond is the boiled-off skin. The boiling process doesn’t change much about the almonds in terms of ingredients, but it makes the almond much softer. This could be a much better way to feed an almond to your pet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Salted Almonds?
Never serve your guinea pigs with salted almonds. Almonds are very high in fat which contributes to obesity and can cause possible heart issues, and if you combine that with salt, you can be sure you will damage their heart. Keep the nutrient sources natural and uncooked.
Can guinea pigs eat almond butter? Yes, occasionally, you can serve your piggy a small amount of almond butter. Homemade, of course, since industrial almond butter is high in sugar and other additives that are not good for their overall health.
What If My Guinea Pig Overeats Almonds?
If your guinea pig has a healthy and balanced diet, and you serve them almonds in larger amounts, they may experience short-term diarrhea, abdominal pain, or similar health problems.
Besides being high in carbs and fats, nuts are high in vitamins and minerals that are harmful to them when consumed in excessive amounts. Following risks may occur:
- The nervous system can be damaged due to excessive consumption of folic acid
- Too much vitamin A will damage their joints
- Calcium and other minerals will form crystal deposits which can cause urinary tract infections and damage internal organs
- Toxins like oxalates are naturally occurring in almonds, and they can damage the urethra and cause itching of the skin and in their mouth
Signs of a sick guinea pig:
- Dule and crusty eyes
- Frequent sneezing
- Wheezing and labored breathing
- Watery stool
- Blood in urine
- Loose in balance
- Hair loss or rough puffed-up coat
- Excessive scratching
- Refusing to eat and drink
What Should I Feed My Guinea Pig With?
Guinea pigs are herb eaters, and they naturally spend all their time grazing in small flocks, but this is not possible for those who are kept as a family pet. So what can you feed them with at your home? Try to feed them with the food they are naturally adapted to.
The interesting thing is that their teeth are constantly growing; this means they need a lot of grit to grind on to prevent serious dental problems.
The preferred diet for guinea pigs is unlimited amounts of thyme or any other low-calcium grass that is high in fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin E since lack of these vitamins will cause a nervous system failure. Try to stick with thyme-based guinea pig pellets. Also, offer them grass throughout the day.
If you do not want to base their diet only on pallets, a generous amount of hay and a small cup of vegetables are all that a guinea pig needs to keep their digestive system well-balanced and healthy.
Of course, a nut or two won’t kill your guinea pig from time to time, but it surely has a negative impact on their health if you serve them too often. That’s why it is the best way to stick to a regular diet and only feed fruits, nuts, and commercial treats once in a while to treat them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Almonds? – Conclusion
Yes, guinea pigs can eat very small amounts of almonds. But you should make sure to supervise them and limit how often they consume them. Almonds are okay from time to time because almonds have a lot of nutritional value.
However, larger amounts will contribute to rapid weight gain, which for small animals such as guinea pigs can be fatal. They contain a lot of calories, carbs, and fat, so keep the portion you serve to them tiny. One or two almonds two times a month won’t cause your guinea pig any harm.
If you notice your guinea pig might be having an allergic reaction to the almond, you should call a vet asap and see what you can do. Some will have mild reactions where you will just have to wait until it passes on its own, but some may experience severe reactions and require immediate vet care.
One more thing before I leave. Did you know that there are over 30 different types of almonds, but only ten of them are considered safe for consumption? So eyes open and always be sure of what you are giving to your pet.