Guinea pigs are known for being small, gentle, and very social animals. The little cuties have been friends with us humans for over five centuries! But a lot has changed after all that time, food in particular.
We’re not talking about just any guinea pig meal, it’s the snacks that cause the most problems for us. All of us keep wondering what we should feed them – there are so many choices!
But our personal favorite snacks are dried and frozen fruits. So that got us thinking – Can guinea pigs eat banana chips? Why that specific snack, what about other fruits or veggies? Don’t worry, we have our reasons!
Stick with us and we’ll make sure you’re informed enough to make the right food decision.
So let’s get this show on the road and find a healthy snack for that little fur ball of yours!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Banana Chips?
We hate to break it to you, but no. Guinea pigs are not supposed to eat banana chips or any dried fruit whatsoever. Although at first though it seems like a fantastic treat for your vegetarian fluff ball, these “healthy” snacks are considered healthy only for humans. Which also isn’t always the case.
As mentioned above, guinea pigs are herbivores. By nature, they are supposed to eat only plant-based meals.
For a healthy guinea pig pet, their meals should consist primarily of high-quality guinea pig hay, then guinea pig pellets – and minimal amounts of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. With an emphasis on the “fresh.”
Sure, certain fruits are great treats for these vegetarians. However, are the rules the same with dried fruits? You may have taken a look at your own snacks in the kitchen.
We humans love banana chips! This popular snack is considered healthy, and it’s eaten in numerous countries around the world. Banana chips are dried-up slices of banana, which are usually covered with honey or sugar.
They have a significant sweet taste which goes excellent with muesli or as a snack of their own. Dried banana chips have lots of variations, so you can even find salty versions. But what you probably didn’t know is that they’re usually deep-fried in oil so they can have a crunchier texture.
“We know what dried banana chips are; what’s the point?”
This short description of banana chips already points out some of the red flags in guinea pig consumption. For starters, bananas are already very sweet fruits.
It sure doesn’t help that banana chips usually have added sugars. Sugar can negatively impact the gut flora in your piggie, destabilizing the bacterial balance – but more on that later.
Besides the added sugars, dried banana chips are highly processed foods. Store-bought dried bananas typically have added oils or artificial flavorings – which are definitely not suitable for your pet guinea pig.
Having all of this in mind, it’s safe to say that one banana chip, given very rarely, is not going to hurt your guinea pig. It’s not that this snack is toxic to guinea pigs; it’s just very unhealthy.
Nutritional Value Of Banana Chips
Now that we got the main risks out of the way, it’s good to look at the nutritional value of one cup (72 grams) of banana chips.
|Total fat||24 grams|
As you can see, banana chips aren’t really guilt-free snacks. Not only for guinea pigs – but for humans as well! Just 72 grams of banana chips contain around 24 grams of fat. Foods with high levels of fat can lead to heart disease in humans, let alone guinea pigs!
Likewise, the high-fat content in banana chips puts a lot of numbers on the calorie counter!
The equal-sized serving of banana chips has 250% more calories than one fresh medium-sized banana. So, whether you’re a human or a guinea pig – you’re better off with a regular banana, rather than the dried ones.
Guinea Pigs & Bananas
So we’ve come to the conclusion that dried bananas aren’t the healthiest option for our fluffy friends. But what about regular bananas or banana peels?
With all that we talked about so far, it seems that fresh bananas can be a great treat for your guinea pig. But let’s just take a break to examine this. Banana consumption in guinea pigs comes with some restrictions.
Your guinea pig can enjoy bananas, sure. But only in tiny, bite-sized chunks and not so often. Veterinarians recommend giving your guinea pig a small slice of banana once a week. If the fruit is given to your “big hamster” in excess, it can lead to diarrhea and obesity.
Even though bananas contain less sugar than dried bananas, bananas are still very high in the sweet stuff. With approximately 12% of sugar in them, they are considered one of the most sugary fruits out there.
Besides diarrhea, too much banana can lead to constipation and stomach hassle for your guinea pig. So, to avoid unnecessary visits to the vet – give bananas sparingly to your furry friend.
But wait, what about banana peels?
Even though banana peels may seem useless, they can be an excellent treat for guinea pigs! Banana skin is very rich in nutrients, and when chopped up finely – they can be a healthy snack for your hairy piggie to munch on!
However, if you’re planning to award your guinea pig with the stuff, you should buy organic bananas. Regular bananas are sprayed with large amounts of harmful pesticides. Even if you’re buying organic – make sure that you wash them with water thoroughly before giving them to your piggies.
Health Benefits Of Bananas
And finally, for some good news – the yellow fruit packs a lot of health benefits for your guinea pig! Bananas are an excellent source of Potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B-6. Not to mention the fibers that your pet will get!
Vitamin C, for instance, is crucial for a healthy guinea pig diet. Because they can’t naturally store or produce Vitamin C, guinea pigs need an external source, just like humans.
Guinea pigs are known for suffering from diseases like scurvy, which is a consequence of Vitamin C deficiency. To combat this illness, they need around 30 to 50mg of Vitamin C daily.
Vitamin B-6 in bananas helps our little buddies by keeping their skin and fur healthy. Potassium, on the other hand, makes sure that their heart is in good shape. And we already mentioned the fibers that can be great for their digestive health.
A Healthy Diet
For a guinea pig to be healthy, it’s important that the central part of his diet consists of hay. Guinea pigs need hay for proper digestion, and it should be available for them all of the time. Furthermore, guinea pigs’ teeth grow constantly! So, when they’re chewing on hay, it wears their teeth down.
Vegetables are an essential part of your piggies’ diet. Guinea pigs can have up to one cup of veggies every day. Veggies provide your piggies with crucial minerals and vitamins, which benefit their health. The best options are fresh, organic greens!
Here are some of the veggies you can give your guinea pig:
- Lettuce (Not Iceberg)
- Bell peppers
- Tomatoes (No stem or leaves)
See Also: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Banana Peppers?
As far as fruit goes, you should give your guinea pig less of it than vegetables. Due to the high sugar content in fruit, bite-sized portions will be more than enough. Keep in mind, fruits should not exceed more than 10% of your piggies’ total food intake.
Some fruits guinea pigs can eat are:
Learn More: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Berries?
Before serving your guinea pig fresh fruits or veggies, make sure that you washed them with water because of the potential pesticides. Also, never give your guinea pig neither of these straight from the fridge! It can be too cold for them.
So now you know – contrary to popular belief, most banana chips aren’t that good for you, and certainly not for your piggie! Even though it’s just dried bananas, the majority of store-bought versions have added sugars, oils, and artificial flavorings. By being so high in carbs and sugars, it can definitely harm your piggie in the long run.
When awarding you guinea pig, it’s better to stick to the fresh banana fruit. Keep in mind, banana fruits are very sweet on their own. So if you want your piggie to enjoy all of its health benefits – a tiny piece a day goes a long way.
Next time when eating bananas, remember not to throw out the peels. Chop up some banana skins; they are full of nutritional surprises. Peels can be a healthy way to “spice up” treats for your guinea pig; just remember to wash them!