The pepper family is a huge one, and they differ by taste. While some of them are refreshing salad supplements, others are way too chili for us to eat, but what about guinea pigs?
Like I already said, there are dozens of types of peppers out there. Some of them represent a good snack for your guinea pig, and some of them can provoke severe stomach aches. That being said – can guinea pigs eat banana peppers? Don’t be so sure about this one.
If you’re curious about this pepper’s role in your guinea pig’s diet, then stay with us, and we’ll reveal everything you need to know about this chili snack.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Banana Peppers? That’s Too Spicy!
That’s right – banana peppers are officially off your guinea pig’s food list. Don’t joke around feeding your pet this type of peppers because it’s just too spicy. Even you can’t take more than a couple of bites of this, let alone your tiny pet.
Let’s start by breaking down the nutritional value of banana peppers. Here’s what one regular banana pepper contains:
We can agree that this doesn’t look too bad, but it’s not all about calories and carbs. Sometimes, the vitamins and minerals contained are a bit over the top.
Banana peppers contain high levels of potassium and phosphorus. In only one banana pepper, there is:
- 317.4 mg of potassium
- 39.7 mg of phosphorus
That’s got to be too much for your tiny guinea pig.
What exactly is there to worry about when it comes to banana peppers?
Well, let’s start with the fact that they are a bit hot. Unlike the ultimate chili peppers, jalapeno, this one is actually 5 times weaker. However, this does not mitigate its taste in guinea pigs.
These are small animals that tend to digest strong food poorly, and this pepper is just one of them.
Which part of this pepper is the hottest?
Well, the hottest part is where the seeds are. These seeds contain minerals and vitamins that give this ingredient a strong taste.
The parts at the very end of the pepper, its tops, have a weaker taste and are mostly soft. Of course, this depends on the growing and shelf-life of the pepper.
Although guinea pigs will quickly go towards banana peppers and try to eat them, it is up to you to stop them in time, especially if they are after the seeds.
The Side Effects
If your guinea pig is left unsupervised and eats a lot of banana peppers, things are not looking good. The two most common side effects of overeating banana peppers are:
- Burning sensation
- Stomach ache and diarrhea
First, is the burning sensation. We’ve mentioned already that banana peppers are among the milder chili peppers out there, but this doesn’t exclude the possibility of burning in the mouth.
Just like we get a taste of the hot flavor of chili peppers, so do our guinea pigs. What’s more, they feel it even more than we do. They have their little mouths and bad digestion to thank for this.
So, what’s causing the burning?
A chemical called capsaicin that’s contained in banana peppers is behind its hot taste. If consumed in excessive amounts – your guinea pig will feel like its mouth is literally burning. You’ve had a similar feeling at least once.
After this unpleasant experience with banana peppers, your guinea pig will hurry up to drink all of the remaining water supply from its water bowl. Even if it’s full, it’s still not enough.
You will notice that your guinea pig is having trouble with a burning sensation when you see it:
- Making strange sounds
- Drinking too much water
- Refusing to eat
Actually, one of the long-term side effects of burning sensation is losing appetite. This tiny pepper can cause severe problems with your guinea pig’s dietary plan. Your pet might start refusing other food that is used to eat regularly.
Next up, we have stomach aches and diarrhea.
If your guinea pig has had just a tiny piece of banana peppers, you might get away with a bit of burning, but if it’s had too much, you are looking at some severe stomach aches.
This is a pepper that is high in potassium (abnormally high), and it contains a burning chemical. When you mix these two together, the results are borderline worrying.
You will notice that your guinea pig appears to be bloated. This is usually visible on the upper abdomen, but you would have to feel it.
You will also notice that your guinea pig has occasional cramps. These cramps can even prevent your guinea pig from moving freely around the cage.
Stomach aches can also result in the loss of appetite. Again, this can make your guinea pig refuse some staple food and lead to considerable weight loss.
The last one is diarrhea. Any consumption of stronger food can cause your guinea pig to have problems with digesting properly and end up having diarrhea.
The way you handle diarrhea is crucial.
Also, it would be best if you kept your guinea pig hydrated at all times. After struggling with this dry and hot ingredient, a constant water supply is mandatory.
Until your guinea pig has wholly recovered from diarrhea, avoid giving it extra snacks and sweets. This will do more harm than good, and it can even reinforce the diarrhea symptoms.
CAUTION: People also try to give their guinea pigs pickled banana peppers. You must not give this to your guinea pig. Any type of pickled fruits or veggies is forbidden!
Maybe your guinea pig can’t eat banana peppers, but there’s one alternative that belongs to the same family, and it is chili-free – bell peppers.
Bell peppers come in more than one color – yellow, red, green, and orange. Each one is edible and recommended for your guinea pig. However, don’t confuse this with staple food.
Feeding your guinea pig bell peppers is good because:
- They contain high amounts of vitamin C
- They are low in calories, which means that they won’t promote weight gain
- They are rich in antioxidants that protect your guinea pig’s immune system
- They contain fiber that helps your guinea pig absorb sugar more easily
Besides the evident health benefits this pepper brings, you shouldn’t go overboard. With anything that’s not your guinea pig’s regular staple food, you should have a measure.
It would be best if you feed your guinea pig one slice of bell peppers 3 times a week – no more than that.
If you’re wondering what bell pepper is the best, you should go with the green one. It contains the lowest sugar levels.
What happens if your guinea pig eats too many bell peppers? There are a couple of possible health hazards.
Your guinea pig can start choking on the slices if they are not properly cut. Another one is overfeeding your pet – too many bell peppers can upset your guinea pig’s stomach. And lastly, we have diarrhea, which we are already familiar with.
Now that you know that this is a safe pepper alternative, you should learn how to serve it properly. Before you give this to your guinea pig:
- Wash the peppers thoroughly and remove all dirt
- Remove the stems
- Remove the seeds
- Cut the pepper into small pieces
Choose These Healthy Veggies
Like we said earlier, including some greens and veggies in your guinea pig’s diet can seriously ramp up its health. Since it’s all about your pet, here are some veggies you should definitely throw in their meals:
- Celery – This is an excellent source of water and fiber, but before you give it to your guinea pig – be sure to wash and cut it well.
- Broccoli – This healthy green is not just for humans. It’s a health bomb for guinea pigs as well. Broccoli is rich in calcium and fiber.
- Tomatoes – Your guinea pig will benefit from consuming some fresh tomatoes from time to time, but don’t forget to take the seeds out first.
- Cabbage – Although your guinea pig would love to nibble on cabbage leaves every day, you should feed this veggie to your pet in moderation.
- Brussel sprouts – Since Brussel sprouts are full of calcium, you shouldn’t feed this to your guinea pig too often, but it’s still a very healthy snack.
See Also: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Napa Cabbage?