I love feeding my guinea pigs a varied diet, and in an attempt to keep things interesting for them I decided to find out whether guinea pigs can eat bananas.
So, can guinea pigs eat bananas?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat bananas, but they should only be given as a very rare treat.
This is because bananas, like other fruit, are very high in sugar, but also because the texture can cause constipation.
A couple of small slices once or twice a month is more than enough.
While researching how to give my guinea pigs a varied diet I also looked into the best diet to give guinea pigs, and the reasons why you need to be careful with the amount of fruit and veg you feed them.
Read on to find out more.
Feeding Your Guinea Pigs Bananas
So, if you’re like me, you’ll know the wide range of health benefits that come from us eating bananas.
I try to eat one a day, mainly because they’re an excellent source of carbohydrate and potassium.
Guinea pigs, on the other hand, are much more sensitive to these ingredients, and so you should be very sparing with how often you feed them bananas.
Unlike other soft fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, which you can give once or twice a week, you should limit feeding your guinea pigs bananas to once or twice a month.
More than the sugar levels, which are high, bananas have a different texture, and this makes them harder for guinea pigs to digest. As a result, guinea pigs can become constipated.
Another reason for this possible constipation is that bananas, unlike other fruits and vegetables, really aren’t that high in fiber.
As a general figure, you can assume about 2.5g per 100g of banana is fiber. Guinea pigs need lots of fiber in their diets; so bananas really don’t offer the right nutritional benefits.
Similarly, bananas are high in sugar, with around 12% of their overall weight being simple sugars.
Much more of their weight is complex carbohydrates, which are great for us, but not really that useful for guinea pigs.
The high sugar content, if fed too frequently, can result in a range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and other dental issues.
So I’m not saying don’t feed your guinea pigs bananas. From my experience, they absolutely love them, but you should be sparing, and only keep them as an occasional treat.
Cut the banana into 1cm slices, and give a maximum of two per guinea pig per serving. This is actually a good way of using bananas that have gone a bit brown, because guinea pigs really don’t mind if the fruit is a bit soft.
How Much To Feed A Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are small animals, and so keeping their diet under control is much more important than with bigger pets.
Their size means they’re much more susceptible to obesity and other health complications, and are also very sensitive to nutritional imbalances.
This means that you need to be quite careful of what you feed them, including how much and when.
Here is some more information to clarify things for you.
These figures are based on one guinea pig, so simply increase amounts accordingly depending on how many you have.
The standard part of a guinea pig’s diet is going to be pellets. These are designed to provide the right nutritional balance for a guinea pig, but should be supplemented with fruits and vegetables to provide variety.
Always look for a dry food that’s specifically for guinea pigs, as rabbit food (the most common alternative people buy) doesn’t contain the right things, and so you could end up with some very poorly piggies.
Give your guinea pigs around 1/8 cup every day. I usually give this in one feeding early in the morning so that they can eat whenever they want.
There’s no issue with giving multiple guinea pigs their food in the same place, because if they’re hungry, they’ll eat.
The next most important part of a guinea pig’s diet is hay. While hay really doesn’t have that much nutritional value, guinea pigs need it for the fiber.
This helps keep them regular, and keeps their teeth short too. Your guinea pigs should have access to an unlimited supply of hay, so you should top it up at least once a day. Remove any old hay if it looks dry or smells funny.
You want to buy a good quality hay that’s designed for small animals to eat. The best choices are alfalfa hay and timothy hay, both of which are really easy to buy in stores and online.
When it comes to fruit and veg, you can give your guinea pigs something every day, but keep it varied, and don’t give them too much of one thing.
Leafy greens, such as kale or romaine lettuce, are fine to be given daily, but fruit should be saved for an occasional treat.
And of course your guinea pigs should always have access to fresh water, which should be changed daily.
Why You Need To Give Guinea Pigs A Balanced Diet
Guinea pigs are very sensitive, and can become very ill if they get too much of something in their diet, or not enough.
You need to make sure you provide plenty of fiber, and a source of vitamin C, but also that you don’t overfeed them on sugary fruits.
Here is a list of some easily avoidable dietary health complications.
- Guinea pigs can’t produce their own vitamin C, and so they need plenty of it in their diets. If they don’t get enough they can develop scurvy, which can lead to fatigue, bad joints, and dental problems. It’s really easy to avoid though; just give them around 30mg of vitamin C a day.
- Guinea pigs need loads of fiber, which is a hangover from their diets in the wild. Constipation is probably a condition everyone knows, and most will know it’s not too pleasant. In very serious cases it can be fatal, so just make sure they have plenty of hay.
- Too many sugary treats can lead to diabetes, which is a lifelong condition that’s incurable. It’s caused by a serious and prolonged overfeeding of sugary fruits, but is really easy to avoid through moderation.
- Kidney stones. Kidney stones are caused by a buildup of calcium and oxalate acid, both of which are naturally occurring in a range of fruits and vegetables. To avoid these, simply vary the vegetables you give, and avoid too much of things like spinach or cabbage.
General Tips For Feeding Treats To Your Guinea Pigs
I’ve found that in my many years of keeping guinea pigs there are plenty of innocent mistakes that should be avoided if possible.
Plenty of these are related to diet, which I’ve already stressed is important to control.
Here are some general tips for keeping your guinea pigs healthy and happy.
Mineral wheels are a great addition to a hutch because not only do they provide some much-needed vitamins and minerals, they’re also great for grinding down teeth.
However, if you’re feeding your guinea pigs a balanced diet they won’t be that necessary. If you do want something for them to chew on, get some wooden blocks instead.
Wash your fruit and veg
This might seem like an obvious one, but always wash fruit and veg properly before feeding it to your guinea pigs. Things that need to be peeled (such as bananas) are fine, but everything else should be run under water for at least 30 seconds. This helps remove any potential harmful chemicals sprayed on the produce.
Store bought treats
It can be tempted to grab your guinea pigs some pre-made treats, but avoid them at all costs. They’re full of sugar and have little or no nutritional value. Just stick to fruit and veg, and keep things as natural as possible.
So I found that it’s perfectly fine for guinea pigs to eat banana, but you should only give it as a rare treat.
The bigger factor than the sugar content is the lack of fiber, which can lead to bloating and constipation.
You’d have much better results with fruit such as blueberries or strawberries.
What food kills guinea pigs? There are plenty of foods you should avoid altogether, but the most harmful include potato skins, beans and legumes, onions and other alliums, and tomato stalks. If you’re ever in doubt, just avoid something completely.
Can guinea pigs eat banana peels? The short answer is yes, but why would you want to feed them peel? Stick to feeding them the tastier inside, and just throw the skin away. There’s little reason behind feeding your guinea pigs banana peel, so just don’t.
Can guinea pigs eat cucumber? I’ve found that my guinea pigs love eating cucumber. However, there’s very little nutritional value in cucumber, and it can spoil very quickly, so only feed it occasionally, and remove it from their cage after a few hours.