You may be asking yourself this question as I am sure you have noticed your guinea pig eating an apple, banana, or even a carrot but then again you aren’t sure if they can eat raisins. This is perhaps one of the most searched term relating to guinea pigs, so I thought I’d explore it in this article and determine whether guinea pigs can really eat raisins and what risks this might bring.
Can guinea pigs eat raisins? Raisins have a characteristically high sugar content that can cause several health issues for your guinea pigs. Moreover, raisins are sticky potentially causing dental problems. If guinea pigs eat raisins that are too large, they could choke on them.
Although most vets will recommend against feeding raisins to your guinea pig, if you are still keen on feeding raisins to your pet, you must feed it sparingly as a treat i.e. not more than once a month.
There are plenty of human snacks we wouldn’t want to eat, but none seem quite as questionable as raisins. Sure, a handful of these crunchy fruits makes our morning cereal extra tasty. However, for our guinea pigs, there are a number of reasons why they should just stay off the menu. To see why raisins should never be fed to guinea pigs, read on!
In this article, you will learn everything about feeding raisins to your guinea pigs, with both their health benefits and risks.
Are raisins healthy for guinea pigs?
While raisins are not the ideal snack for your little pets, there are some benefits that they can offer to them when fed in moderation. But what are these health benefits? You’re about to find out soon, but first, take a look at the table given below that depicts the nutritional value of raisins:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.106 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.125 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.766 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.095 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.017 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||5 mcg|
|Vitamin C||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin K||3.5 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||50 mg|
|Iron, Fe||1.88 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||7 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.318 gm|
|Phosphorus, P||101 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.229 mg|
|Selenium, Se||00.6 mcg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.22 mg|
|Sodium, Na||11 mg|
|Potassium, K||749 mg|
|Dietary fibers||3.7 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
If the table is any indication, it would be wrong to call raisins nutritionally empty. In fact, they are quite healthy for us. Now, let’s explore how your pet guinea pigs can benefit from eating them:
- Raisins contain a moderate amount of fibers, which are an essential part of guinea pigs’ diet. Fibers regulate their bowel movement and improve their overall digestive health.
- Although the calorific count of raisins is high, it is mostly due to sugar and carbs, not fat. In fact, the fat content of these dried fruits is lower than 1 gram (0.46 g). Since fatty foods can easily clog the blood vessels of guinea pigs, raisins being low in fat is good for their cardiovascular health.
- Thiamin (Vitamin B1) enhances the flow of electrolytes in the nerves and muscles of your pets.
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) helps them break down the nutrients from the food they consume and convert them into energy.
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) can benefit your pets in many ways: it improves their skin quality, eases away their joint pains, and lowers their cholesterol levels.
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) tends to have a calming effect on guinea pigs, as it can reduce their stress and increase the production of serotonin in their body.
- Of all the vitamins guinea pigs need, vitamin C is the one that is most essential for their survival. It strengthens their immune health, which is crucial to these rodents because they are quite fragile. Moreover, vitamin C can also prevent them from the fatal disease of scurvy.
- Vitamin C plays a key role in maintaining the skin health of your guinea pigs, in addition to preventing them from inflammatory diseases.
- Vitamin K, another vitamin present in raisins, is essential in producing prothrombin in your pet’s body. Prothrombin is a protein that is responsible for the efficient blood clot of guinea pigs.
- Calcium and magnesium can together strengthen their bones and muscles. Guinea pigs that are young and still growing need more of these minerals than fully grown adults.
Health risks involved with feeding raisins to guinea pigs
If, after listing all the potential health benefits of eating raisins for your guinea pigs, I’m still asking you not to feed it to them, you must be wondering why.
Well, the following are all the reasons how raisins can damage your pet’s health:
Guinea pigs can gain unnecessary weight by eating raisins
If you take a careful look at the table above, you will notice that the calorific count of raisins is quite high (299 kcal). This, combined with its high sugar and carb content, is a perfect recipe for weight gain for your guinea pigs.
The calcium content of raisins can be problematic for guinea pigs
We can all agree that calcium is an important mineral in your pet’s diet and can strengthen their bones and teeth. However, it is also worth noting that feeding your pets more calcium than they require can be problematic.
If they eat calcium-rich food (like raisins), the excess calcium will get deposited in their urinary tract, resulting in bladder and kidney stones, both of which are painful conditions.
Raisins are bad for the dental health of guinea pigs
What are the three main qualities of raisins? Their sweetness, chewiness, and stickiness: all qualities that are detrimental to your pet’s dental health. If these dried fruits get stuck in their teeth, it could cause tooth decay and gum diseases in guinea pigs.
The sugar in raisins can hurt the digestive health of guinea pigs
As a pet parent to guinea pigs, you must already be aware that the digestive tract of these rodents is susceptible. These little guys cannot digest sugar easily as it is.
This is why feeding them raisins with high sugar content is a bad idea and can lead to stomach cramps, runny stools, and diarrhea. In addition to that, too much sugar in their diet can also make guinea pigs moody.
The risk of diabetes
Did you know that the percentage of sugar in raisins ranges between 67% and 72%?
It might come as a surprise to many, but guinea pigs are vulnerable to diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. This is more reason to abstain from feeding them foods with high sugar content, such as raisins.
In case your pets are already suffering from diabetes, you needn’t worry too much. Unlike diabetes among humans (which often becomes chronic), you can easily get rid of diabetes in guinea pigs by controlling their sugar intake.
Raisins can be a potential choking hazard for guinea pigs
Guinea pigs are known for being chewers, so the chances of them not chewing raisins properly are improbable. However, it is still a possibility for them. And if a small raisin gets stuck in their throat, it could even end up killing your little pets.
Frequently asked questions
Are grapes safer for guinea pigs than raisins? Yes, grapes are much safer for your pets than raisins. It is because grapes contain water, which dilutes their sugar content, making it much lower than that of raisins. You can safely offer one or two grapes to your pets even thrice a week, while raisins should only be fed to them once a month, if at all.
Can salt kill guinea pigs? Guinea pigs cannot digest or process high amounts of minerals and salt, which is why they are sensitive to their overdose. Too much salt in their diet can lead to stones and kill them in the long run if not taken care of.
Which foods are potentially lethal to my guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs are small pets that have fragile health. Many things can easily make them sick.
Following is a list of some common foods that many people feed their pets but really shouldn’t:
- Nightshade plants
- Onion grass
- Dried beans
- Garden shrubs (like hemlock, privet, and so on)
- All kinds of lilies
- Cereals and grains
Conclusion: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raisins?
So there you have all of my reasoning for why guinea pigs should not eat raisins. I hope you enjoyed this article and I look forward to reading your views.
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Good luck on your guinea-pig-keeping journey!