In this article, we’re going to be discussing in-depth as to whether it’s safe for you to feed peanuts to your guinea pigs.
We’re going to assume that most of you haven’t stumbled across this guide by accident, but instead, have a pet guinea pig and are looking for nutritional guidance about what to feed it.
If this is the case, then keep reading, because you’ll want to make sure that these adorable little animals that bring you so much happiness are well treated, and live long and healthy lives.
This type of small pet is great for families with young children. Unlike other pets like hamsters, fish, or reptiles, guinea pigs can often be quite cuddly and are easy to take care of, assuming that you get two (which is highly advised).
I mean, who wouldn’t love these furry creatures!
Anyhow, let’s talk more about the topic, and find out whether or not cavies should eat peanuts.
Can my Guinea Pig Eat Peanuts?
The short answer to this question is, No!
Peanuts are in fact a legume, and whilst they’re not poisonous for guinea pigs, they do pose several issues in relation to digestion.
However, let’s talk about all of these specific issues in the next section.
Why are Peanuts Not Suitable For A Guinea Pig to Eat?
There are four main reasons why peanuts are not suitable for your guinea pig to eat, these are:
High In Fat & Protein
Unlike humans, guinea pigs do not require the same levels of fats and proteins as we do. And their gastrointestinal tract is just not capable of breaking down so many fats.
Such a diet that is high in fat can ultimately lead to gut dysbiosis, which can cause chronic health issues for your cavy.
Instead, with them being herbivores, they thrive when getting their nutrition from fibrous foods which are high in vitamin C, K, and other minerals/antioxidants.
A Potential Choking Hazard
Peanuts are naturally very tough and dry to swallow making it a potential choking hazard.
And given the general size of a guinea pig, it makes the job of chewing peanuts into manageable sizes even more difficult.
Low In Essential Nutrients
As we briefly touched upon, guinea pigs are herbivores which means that their GI digestive systems are designed to digest plant-based foods. They ultimately require sufficient amounts of vitamin C, B, K, A, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, etc to maintain good health.
We’ve included more information here about a guinea pigs’ specific nutrient requirements:
High in Sugar
This applies to peanut butter since most peanut butter products have added sugar and artificial sweeteners/additives.
Sugars can be highly fermentable (depending on the type). Because of this, it can negatively affect the gut flora in guinea pigs and contribute to promoting an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria.
Overall this can compromise your guinea pig’s immune system and lead to systemic health issues.
Nutrients in Peanuts
As we mentioned above, peanuts are rich in fat, carbohydrates and protein, but not in the essential nutrients that guinea pigs truly need for general health.
According to Nutritiondata, 1 cup of peanuts, which weighs approximately 63g, has the following nutritional qualities:
Vitamin A – 0.0 IU
Vitamic C – 0.0 mg
Vitamin D – 0.0 mg
Vitamin E – 2.6 mg
Vitamin K – 0.0 4mcg
Thiamin – 0.2 mg
Riboflavin – 0.0 mg
Niacin – 3.3 mg
Folate – 47.2 mcg
Vitamin B12 – 0.0 mcg
Pantothenic Acid – 0.5 mg
Choline – 20.6 mg
Betaine – 0.0 mg
Calcium – 34.7 mg
Iron – 0.6 mg
Magnesium – 64.3 mg
Phosphorus – 12.5 mg
Potassium – 125.0 mg
Sodium – 473.0 mg
Zinc – 1.2 mg
Copper – 0.3 mg
Manganese – 0.6 mg
Selenium – 2.8 mcg
Fluoride – 0.0 mcg
Fats & Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids – 0.6 mg
Omega-6 fatty acids – 4381 mg
What Is The Best Diet For A Guinea Pig?
A guinea pig’s diet is quite a complex topic. How so?
Well, this is simply because a cavy needs to have a good varied diet, which delivers all of the essential nutrients and vitamins that they need to live.
Additionally, the diet needs to be balanced so that it prevents imbalances/dysbiosis in the gut, which result in excess levels of certain types of bacteria and fungi.
As we can see from VCA Hospitals’ advice:
The preferred basic diet for guinea pigs is unlimited amounts of Timothy or other low-calcium hay, supplemented with smaller amounts of commercial, high-fiber, Timothy-hay based guinea pig pellets. Vitamin C should be given each day to help maintain and boost your guinea pigs immune system. Hay should be offered throughout the day. Hay and pellets should be supplemented with a variety of fresh, well-washed, leafy greens or colored vegetables (especially those high in vitamin C, such as bell pepper, tomato, and asparagus).
Other good choices for vegetables include green and red leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, endive, kale, carrot tops, beet greens, cilantro, carrot, and squash. Iceberg or head lettuce has little nutritional value and is mostly water, so it should not be offered.
With all that being said, whilst peanuts are good sources of healthy fats, proteins, and carbs, they’re just not suitable for guinea pigs to be eating.
Instead, as suggested above, guinea pigs should be given a balanced diet that includes pellets, hay (timothy hay/alfalfa hay), leafy greens, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables.
Let’s discuss some of the frequently asked questions we get with relation to peanuts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As a guinea pig owner, we understand that you’ll most likely have a lot of questions.
Therefore, we’ve addressed some of the most common FAQs that we see on a daily basis, in regards to feeding peanuts to your cavy. These are as follows:
Are peanuts poisonous to guinea pigs?
Peanuts are not poisonous to guinea pigs. However, it’s HIGHLY recommended not to feed them to your guinea pig, for multiple reasons. These include the fact that guinea pigs find them difficult to eat and swallow, and so they’re a potential choking hazard.
Additionally, guinea pigs do not get any of their much-needed vitamins and nutrients from peanuts, which include vitamin C, K, A, B, and more.
Instead, peanuts are rich in fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Of which, feeding your cavy peanuts can result in causing significant gut issues, especially over time.
Can guinea pigs eat peanut butter?
No, guinea pigs cannot eat peanut butter.
Although peanut butter can be soft, it still contains a high amount of fat, protein, and carbs, which is not recommended for a guinea pig diet.
Additionally, a lot of companies will add sugar and other substances which are not good for your guinea,
Finally, often due to the thickness of most peanut butter products, your guinea pig would certainly have issues swallowing it.
So it’s highly recommended not to give this to your cavy.
Instead, focus on feeding your cavy a variety of vegetable dishes, take a read of the best diet for guinea pigs section above, where we’ve linked to some great resources.
Can guinea pigs eat peanut shells?
It’s not recommended to give your guinea pig peanut shells
Can guinea pigs have unsalted peanuts?
It’s not recommended to give your guinea pig unsalted peanuts.
Instead, feed your guinea pig fresh food, which consists of plenty of veggies, including leafy greens, hay, grass hay, pellets and fruit.
Be sure to look at the recommended diet, which we’ve referenced above in the ‘best diet for guinea pigs’ section.
Can guinea pigs have salted peanuts?
It’s not recommended to give your guinea pig salted peanuts, as they will likely cause digestive issues.
Are peanuts good for guinea pigs?
No, from a nutritional standpoint, peanuts do not have the required nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that baby guinea pigs or adult guinea pigs need.
On the contrary, they actually contain substances like fat (and sugars in the case of peanut butter) which can cause GI issues for your cavy.
Do guinea pigs like peanuts?
We would not recommend you finding out the answer to this question. It’s simply not worth the risk to your guinea pig’s health, as they will cause digestive problems.
Instead, it’s best recommended that you don’t feed a cavy peanuts.
How many peanuts can a guinea pig eat?
None, it’s not recommended that you feed any peanuts to your guinea pig.
Stick to feeding your cavy with guinea pig food, which includes hay, pellets, green foods, leafy greens, fruit and vegetables.
However, visit some of the resources that are referenced above in the ‘best diet for guinea pigs’ section.
How often can a guinea pig eat peanuts?
Never. You should not feed your guinea pig any peanuts.