In as much as guinea pigs are herbivorous animals, certain plant materials are not good for them. As such, you may have to learn a few things about each type of food before feeding it to your pet.
Through this, you will be able to keep your cavy safe from toxins that may cause serious health complications.
Finding the right food for your guinea pig can be somewhat challenging because cavies are some of the most delicate pets.
Any slight mistake can result in life-threatening complications or the death of a guinea pig. And we both know that is the last thing any pet parent would want.
Potatoes may seem like a nice snack to your guinea pigs, but is it good for them? Let us find out;
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes?
Guinea pigs should not eat potatoes because they contain alkaloids, a class of naturally occurring toxins that can harm the health of your guinea pig. Also, potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, which are not good for a guinea pig’s digestive system.
Nonetheless, this does not mean that a guinea pig won’t eat potato if you present it to him/her, and this makes it even more dangerous because some pet owners may accidentally serve their pets potato.
If your guinea pig eats potatoes by accident, you should keep a close eye on the pet for any changes in behavior.
To add to this, you should also check the droppings since potatoes can easily affect a guinea pig’s digestive system.
As stated earlier, the toxins in potatoes can make your guinea pig sick, so you should take your pet to see the vet in case you notice any problem with your pet.
Also, potatoes contain calcium, meaning that they can cause kidney stones in guinea pigs. This mineral is essential in bone formation, but guinea pigs may not require it as much when they reach a certain age.
Can I feed my Guinea Pigs Potato Peels?
You should not feed your guinea pig potato peelings because they are almost similar to the white fleshy part.
This means that the peels can also expose your pet to alkaloids and other toxic compounds that may harm your pet.
However, potato peels contain a substantial amount of vitamin C, so they would make a good supplement in your pet’s diet. Still, you should not give your cavies potatoes because the drawbacks outweigh the benefits.
What about potato chips, can I feed them to my Guinea Pig?
As you are eating that bag of chips, you can easily be tempted to give your cavy a small piece.
Nevertheless, that would be a bad idea because the chips are not in any way different from raw potatoes.
This means that they can still poison your pet, so it is best to avoid them. Plus, the fact that they are cooked makes them even more dangerous for guinea pigs because cavies don’t eat cooked foods.
Some potato chips also contain seasoning agents that may predispose your furry friend to other serious health complications.
If you want your pet to snack with you as you eat your chips, you should get the guinea pig some hay since it is what they like most.
What is Solanine and how can it harm my Guinea Pig?
In a nutshell, solanine is a naturally occurring glycoalkaloid poison that is found in plants that are in the nightshade family. And since potatoes are grouped in this category, they contain a lot of solanine.
As a chemical compound, solanine is highly poisonous to guinea pigs and may cause convulsions and fits if consumed in excessive amounts.
In worst-case scenarios, this compound can also cause heart failure, thus resulting in death.
Solanine can be found in any part of the potato plant, meaning that pet parents should not even consider feeding potato leaves to their cavies.
The same applies to the stem and any other part that you may have thought of feeding your pet.
Can Potatoes Kill Guinea Pigs?
Aside from the poisons, potatoes contain lots of starch, and guinea pigs don’t do well on a diet that is filled with starch.
They only need a small amount, which they can get from hay and other supplements. As such, if your guinea pig eats too much starch, the pet may suffer from illnesses that may cause death.
Potatoes can also cause diarrhea in guinea pigs due to the presence of sugars. This will, in turn, lead to dehydration and loss of body weight.
Are Boiled Potatoes Bad for Guinea Pigs?
Potatoes are dangerous to guinea pigs regardless of whether they are raw or cooked.
Besides, some of the toxic compounds like solanine cannot be destroyed through boiling, so you should just keep your furry friend away from potatoes.
Also, boiling potatoes does not reduce the starch content, thus giving you even more reason why you should not feed your pet this vegetable.
By now you must have noticed that being a guinea pig parent is not easy. You have to research regularly to avoid feeding your pet the wrong foods.
Some foods like potatoes can poison your guinea pigs, so they should be avoided at all costs.
From the discussion above, you have seen some of the toxins that are present in potatoes and the effect that they can have on your pet.
There are other healthy vegetables that you can feed to your guinea pig without exposing the pet to poisonous substances.
However, even vegetables that are non-poisonous should be fed to guinea pigs in small amounts since they can cause other complications.
When it comes to guinea pigs, hay should always be at the top of the list, followed by other foods.
Regarding potatoes, we have collected some of the basic facts to give all guinea pig parents a better understanding as to why they should not feed this vegetable to their pets.
As such, we hope that you will share this knowledge with other guinea pig parents so that you can save the lives of more piggies out there.
- Male Vs. Female Guinea Pig: Which One is Better?
- Why Do Guinea Pigs Have Red Eyes? (Reasons, Any Solutions?)
- Guinea Pig Sleep: Everything You Need to Know
- Can Guinea Pigs Live Alone?
- How Many Hours Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?