Guinea Pigs are a well-liked pet within the US, and it’s very simple to see why. Guinea Pigs are stuffed with character and appeal and sometimes begin squeaking after they see their favourite treats. They’re herbivorous and solely eat plant protein and fibers. For a Guinea Pig, veggies and hay are important to their weight loss plan. However what about grains? Meals made with sugar, starch, and grains like crackers aren’t often poisonous to Guinea Pigs, and so they technically might eat them, however they actually shouldn’t eat them. On this article, we’ll discover why giving your Guinea Pig crackers is dangerous and what they will take pleasure in as a substitute.
Are Crackers Dangerous For Guinea Pigs?
Crackers are made out of wheat and include many processed carbohydrates, sugar, and salt. Whereas Guinea Pigs can eat crackers, they’re not good for them and may trigger hurt. As a result of Guinea Pigs have a digestive system specifically designed to digest fiber and vegetation, giant quantities of sugar, grain, or carbs can upset the gastrointestinal steadiness.
Crackers are tasty and satiating to us, however Guinea Pigs can’t digest giant quantities of processed carbohydrates. In case your Guinea Pig sneaks a chunk of a cracker, it’s unlikely to trigger them any lasting hurt. Nonetheless, bigger parts may cause important digestive points, which could be extreme, and a few Guinea Pigs are extra delicate than others.
Even when your Guinea Pig doesn’t endure any gastrointestinal results from consuming crackers continuously, they’ll start to placed on weight in a short time! Crackers are excessive in fats and energy. Weight problems is extremely detrimental to a Guinea Pig’s well being and may contribute to the next issues 1:
It’s greatest to not give your Guinea Pigs any crackers (or different processed meals) to eat since even a small portion may cause gastrointestinal upset.
What Occurs When a Guinea Pig Eats a Cracker?
When a Guinea Pig eats a considerable amount of carbohydrates, they will endure gastrointestinal points attributable to modifications within the micro organism that stay of their intestine or motility issues. Dysbiosis is the time period given to a change in micro organism current within the intestine, which helps Guinea Pigs digest a fibrous, herbivorous weight loss plan. These micro organism are very delicate to weight loss plan modifications, and a sudden improve in carbohydrates and sugars (equivalent to these present in crackers) may cause a shift within the micro organism.
Dysbiosis is the overgrowth or eradication of sure micro organism in your Guinea Pig’s digestive system. Guinea Pigs are hindgut fermenters, that means they digest most of their meals within the cecum and colon. The cecum is the place the micro organism stay, and so they assist digest the massive quantity of fiber and vegetation Guinea Pigs eat. When Guinea Pigs eat carbohydrates, modifications to the pH of the caecum and modifications to micro organism ranges may cause diarrhea.
Diarrhea would possibly look like not a giant deal, however it’s only the start of a course of that may shortly change into life-threatening to your Guinea Pig for those who don’t treatment it! The micro organism will wrestle to digest the carbohydrates, which disrupts the digestive system, and may trigger slowed intestine motility, also called stasis.
Enteritis and Gastric Dilation Volvulus
In case your Guinea Pigs are fed extra crackers and their intestine continues to decelerate, modifications within the delicate steadiness of the gastrointestinal system proceed. Fuel ranges can construct up and presumably trigger gastric dilation, stretching of the abdomen which may be very painful and could be deadly.
Enteritis and enterotoxemia can even happen from bacterial modifications, as “dangerous” micro organism can launch toxins into the Guinea Pig’s physique. Each circumstances are extreme and may shortly result in demise if not handled, so in case your Guinea Pig has eaten crackers and so they present any of the next indicators, take them to your veterinarian instantly:
Which Snacks Can My Guinea Pigs Eat?
You may feed wholesome snacks to your Guinea Pig that’ll fulfill them the identical approach a cracker satisfies us! Fiber within the type of hay or grass ought to at all times be the first supply of your Guinea Pig’s weight loss plan, however sweeter greens equivalent to carrots or bell peppers are a comparatively wholesome, special-occasion deal with for them. Fruits equivalent to melon are additionally good as an occasional deal with, and so they’re stuffed with fiber, water, and nutritional vitamins to your pet to take pleasure in.
Keep in mind that any treats equivalent to these talked about above depend in direction of your Guinea Pig’s each day rations for vegetation and greens, so it needs to be adjusted accordingly to keep away from overfeeding. Don’t give your pet too many of those treats, as any sudden modifications in weight loss plan may cause diarrhea.
What About Guinea Pig Snacks and Treats?
Commercially obtainable Guinea Pigs snacks and treats are virtually at all times stuffed with processed carbohydrates, sugars, and fats, in order that they shouldn’t be fed to your Guinea Pig. Your pet received’t miss out on something, and serving too many treats causes the identical downside as feeding them crackers!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Human Snacks?
The one human meals your Guinea Pigs ought to eat are fruit and veggies. Some Guinea Pigs would possibly fortunately eat bread, crackers, or cheese, however they don’t seem to be outfitted to digest them. Animal proteins equivalent to eggs and dairy are additionally unsuitable since Guinea Pigs are herbivores with out the enzymes able to effectively breaking down animal proteins.
Guinea Pigs have a specialised digestive system that’s not designed to course of giant quantities of carbohydrates and sugar. The processed carbohydrates in crackers can overload their gastrointestinal tract and trigger bacterial imbalance or diminished intestine motility. Each circumstances are harmful and should require your Guinea Pig to be hospitalized. For a more healthy deal with, take into account serving “candy” greens, equivalent to carrots or bell peppers.
Featured Picture Credit score: Mike Kuhlman, Shutterstock