Your guinea pig might be as sweet as sugar, but does it mean it can enjoy sweet things too?
Can guinea pigs eat sugar?
We will be direct: Sugar is bad for your guinea pig. It can have a detrimental influence on your pet’s gut flora and promote the overgrowth of harmful bacteria that endanger its health.
Your guinea pig relies on its digestive system to break down compound food like hay. Besides, beneficial bacteria are also responsible for the production of vitamins B are crucial for your pet’s good health.
The problem is that sugar is often hidden from you. You might be feeding your guinea pig with a fruit or a veggie that you consider as healthy as it can be, but, in fact, it is packed with sugar and can make your piggy sick.
Stay tuned to find out how certain foods, including fruits and veggies, can contribute a significant amount of sugar to your guinea pig’s diet.
Feeding Your Guinea Pig The Right Way
Before we warn you which foods are off the limit due to high sugar content, it would be good to make sure you are aware of the basics of feeding a guinea pig.
Guinea pigs will eat almost anything that can fit in their tiny mouths, or at least chew it. It is in their nature. You cannot train them either, so do not waste your time on that. It is your responsibility to make sure you get well informed and give your pet only food that is safe and good for its health.
Your guinea pig should have a diet based on an unlimited amount of low-calcium hay. You should also include smaller amounts of high-fiber guinea pig pellets.
Do not forget vitamin C. You must give it to your guinea pet every day.
Make an effort to include all sorts of fresh, well-washed, leafy greens. The “safe” list includes:
Avoid icebergs, and head lettuce as those are mostly water and will not contribute almost any valuable nutrients. Bell pepper, asparagus, and tomatoes are a good choice since they contain a notable amount of vitamin C. Carrots and squash are ok too so you can offer those from time to time as well.
Never feed your guinea pig any foods derived from animals. Guinea pigs are strictly herbivores, and they are not able to digest any animal material.
Finally, give your guinea pig a limited amount of food, or it will overeat. These little furry balls cannot tell when they should stop eating. As a result, they can become obese or have heart issues. Guinea pigs cannot tell if something has gone bad either, so remove all the uneaten food from their cages.
This is the shortest intro to the proper guinea pig diet, but it is time to move on to our topic of the day – how to avoid giving too much sugar to your guinea pig.
Foods That Should Be Limited Or Forbidden Due To High Sugar Content
As we have said, your guinea pig will chew up anything its little hands can get a hold of. If you are a responsible owner, you should be, make sure that everything potentially toxic or otherwise dangerous is well out of your pet’s reach. It is especially important to be cautious if there are children in the house.
Processed food is generally dangerous for guinea pigs. Snacks and sweets your kids enjoy every day must never be shared with the guinea pig. Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of sugar in biscuits, chocolate, peanut butter, but there are also some less obvious sugar-packed foods to be on a lookout for, such as:
- Dairy products
- Potato chips
- Pickled foods
Learn More: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Banana Chips?
What About Fruit?
As we have already warned you, fruit should be very limited in your guinea pig’s diet. Most fruit contains a lot of sugar, and that can cause an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. Such disbalance usually results in severe and potentially life-threatening diarrhea.
You should not be drastic and stop giving your furry pet the fruit altogether. Not all fruit is forbidden, but some, such as bananas, should never be offered to your guinea pig.
You can occasionally offer your furry friend a little bit of citrus fruit such as orange, as it will benefit from the high vitamin C content. Kiwi is ok too. Pear and apple are suitable for guinea pigs due to their high fiber content as well.
We have prepared an easy-to-follow chart of all the fruits that are allowed for your guinea pig and their sugar content. It would be best if you studied it with care as it will help you decide what fruit you should include in your pet’s diet. You can also assess how often you should serve a particular fruit.
Here it goes:
|Fruit||Grams per 10 calories||Sugar (in grams)|
|Red or Green Grapes||14||2.24|
|Apple with skin||19||2.00|
|Golden Raisins, Seedless||3||1.96|
See Also: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Berries?
Note: We have used the most current data from the USDA food database.
Even though ten calories might seem to be little, there are around 3.9 calories per gram of sugar. In conclusion, high-sugar fruit energy values mostly come from sugar, and that is precisely what makes such fruit bad for your guinea pig.
The high sugar content will not only interfere with the bacterial balance in your guinea pig’s digestive system but can also lead to obesity. Obesity, in turn, leads to numerous health conditions that can diminish your guinea pig’s quality of life or even cause premature death.
For all the reasons stated, you should give fruits only as an occasional treat. Do not make them a significant part of your guinea pig’s diet.
On the other hand, it is not wise to eliminate fruits from your guinea pig’s diet altogether. Fruit delivers vitamins and minerals that are valuable for your furry pet. Balance its diet with special consideration of the daily sugar intake.
Veggies such as squash, zucchini, beets, tomatoes, and baby carrots have a significant sugar content too, so be careful not to overdo it when serving some of them to your guinea pig.