Guinea pigs are small animals that are constantly eating. They will eat anything you give them and never seem to know when to stop eating.
You will feed them a lot of food and although they are already full, they will still eat a treat if you hand it to them.
Their metabolism is usually just as fast and they tend to poop a lot. Guinea pigs can produce around 100 droppings a day which will require you to clean up their space often.
Due to their frequent eating habits and their enthusiasm to munch down everything you hand them, you may think of giving them some meat and see how good they like it.
But is meat good for guinea pigs? Should you feed it to them? Read on to find out.
Can guinea pigs eat meat?
Guinea pigs cannot eat meat. This is because they are herbivores and their natural meals consist of purely plant matter like hay, veggies, grass, and fruits. Meat is harmful to guinea pigs as their digestive system is not capable of digesting it. Feeding meat to guinea pigs will lead to health complications like constipation, diabetes, heart disease, and reduced lifespan.
Effects of eating meat on guinea pigs
Guinea pigs should not be fed meat under any circumstances. If they are, the following effects will be experienced.
Meat has been known to cause diabetes even in humans. Feeding your pet meat will raise their chances of getting diabetes.
Diabetes can advance to a stage where it will bring about other conditions like blindness and failure of kidneys.
Guinea pigs are prone to gaining weight fast even on a vegetarian diet. Eating meat, which is high in fats and caloric content will lead to immense weight gain.
This will result in a pet that is obese and subject to illnesses.
Meat has a lot of saturated fats that increase the risk of heart disease because they lead to the formation of bad cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a compound found in meat that brings about heart problems. A lot of cholesterol may lead to a heart attack.
Iron aids in the production of red blood cells. However, it’s high in meat, and comparing its quantities to the size of guinea pigs, it becomes risky for them.
High amounts of iron may bring about heart problems, liver issues, and even cancer in your little pets.
Eating meat brings about complications that affect major body organs. This leads to health issues that could reduce the lifespan of guinea pigs by causing early deaths.
Even in humans, vegetarians have been found to have a longer lifespan compared to non-vegetarians.
Stomach upsets and constipation
Meat requires powerful enzymes and acids to break down. Guinea pigs have a digestive system that is only designed to digest plant matter.
This makes them incapable of producing the required enzymes and acids to digest meat and absorb its nutrients. Due to this, if guinea pigs eat meat they will have painful stomach upsets as their stomach and digestive tract tries to break it down.
They also have a delicate digestive system so feeding them meat will only bring them problems like stomach upsets and constipation.
What to do if guinea pigs accidentally eat meat?
Normally, guinea pigs wouldn’t be attracted to meat because they cannot be drawn by its scent as they are not meat-eating creatures. But it could still happen that a curious guinea pig will come across some and decide to try it out.
What do you do in that situation? First, do not freak out.
Ascertain the amount that they have ingested. If it’s just a small piece, observe them for about a day providing enough water to help cleanse out the digestive tract.
They may experience stomach upsets but everything should be okay.
However, if they decided to go on a meat-tasting spree and chewed up a considerable chunk of meat, that could be a serious case. You should call a vet right away.
What should guinea pigs eat
As we have seen, guinea pigs should never indulge in meat. The only food they should eat must be plant-based.
Let’s look at the ideal diet for your piggies.
Hay is the standard meal for guinea pigs. It should always make up the biggest part of their food, that is, 80% of the guinea pig diet.
Timothy hay is generally more nutritious compared to alfalfa hay which is dense in calcium and proteins, nutrients that affect guinea pigs when in high quantities.
Hay is a good aid in their digestion processes. You should always provide fresh hay and make sure that it’s much more than their daily needs.
Feeding your pet one meal all through will become monotonous and boring. This is why you should ensure that they have other foods like fresh vegetables and leafy greens.
This also enables them to have a fully balanced diet that’s vital for their health. Include veggies like spinach, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, and bok choy in their diet.
Guinea pig pellets are usually made with the animals’ Vitamin C need in mind. They are packed with the vitamin which guinea pigs lack and cannot naturally produce.
This makes them a great addition to their foods.
Guinea pigs have a sweet tooth and fruits are a great remedy for that. Fruits make for great treats and your adorable pet will enjoy having them.
Make sure that you provide fresh fruits because dried fruits are packed with much more sugar which is harmful to guinea pig health. Give them fruits like apples, watermelons, berries, and oranges.
Water is a huge necessity for all living creatures and guinea pigs are not an exception. Do provide water bottles with enough water for their drinking needs.
Ensure that there are two or more bottles so that they have extra in case one decides to leak.
Guinea pigs are herbivores with the likes of cows, goats, and rabbits. So giving them meat is a big no-no.
Only provide them with their body’s dietary requirements of plant-based foods and enough water for good health.