Bananas are a sweet tropical treat that are lovely in recipes or just on their own. And they’ve become so important to our society that even entire world governments have been manipulated just through banana sales alone. Safe to say, they are a staple in the fruit industry and even further. But what about when it comes to feeding this delicious treat to your pets?
Can guinea pigs eat bananas?
In the short, yes! Cavies can eat bananas.
However, there are definitely some precautions you’ll want to take when feeding them to your little porker. Read on for more details.
Are Bananas Good for Guinea Pigs?
Bananas are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals for humans, and the same holds true for guinea pigs. And the biggest two contributors to the health benefits of bananas are potassium and vitamin C.
Potassium Benefits for Guinea Pigs
Potassium is one of those minerals that is absolutely essential to your guinea pig’s life. In order for their internal organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.) to function properly, your guinea pig needs to have a standard intake of potassium. And bananas are a great place to get it.
Bananas have approximately 3.6mg of potassium in a single gram!
This means bananas have more than enough potassium to serve your guinea pig. Aside from keeping your internal organs in check, potassium helps regulate healthy blood flow, minimizes muscle cramping, protects against osteoporosis, fights arthritis, and even prevents the formation of kidney stones.
So, if you’re looking to give your guinea pig a nutritious potassium boost, bananas are a great place to start.
Vitamin C for Guinea Pigs
One of the most important vitamins for guinea pigs is vitamin C. It provides an awesome boost to your furball’s immune system, helping them to stave off illness and infection. It also helps with maintaining your guinea pig’s connective tissue and keeping their internal organs in balance.
Another thing that vitamin C does is to help prevent scurvy. Scurvy is an illness brought on via vitamin C deficiency. And believe it or not, scurvy is actually relatively common in guinea pigs when compared to other animals.
Are Bananas Bad for Guinea Pigs?
Well, here’s the thing. Bananas can be harmful to your guinea pigs, BUT only in certain situations.
First, guinea pigs don’t do too well with sugar, and bananas are loaded down with it. Feeding your guinea pigs an excess of bananas can accelerate your chunker’s path to obesity and diabetes.
Another thing to look out for is bloat, cramps, and gas. This is caused by bananas’ very fibrous nature. However, these first two issues are extremely avoidable. Just don’t give your guinea pig too much banana. A small piece here and there is just fine. But try not to exceed 10-15 grams of banana a week.
The most serious health issue that can arise is kidney problems. Now, previously we mentioned that bananas are good for your guinea pig’s kidneys — which is absolutely true. However, if your guinea pig has pre-existing kidney problems, they will have a hard time processing the excess potassium out of their bodies. And this can ultimately lead to death. But this situation only happens when your guinea pig has pre-existing conditions.
How Much Banana Should I Feed My Guinea Pig?
Giving your guinea pig freedom on a whole banana isn’t a wise idea. You’re going to need to regulate their intake. But how much is too much and what’s just right?
You need to take into consideration the size of your guinea pig and make a responsible judgment call. They’re small animals and can’t handle too much food. Typically, a good pinch between your forefinger and thumb is a good estimate into how much banana you should feed your guinea pig.
And don’t feed them banana every day either. Three times a week should be more than sufficient as a snack.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat the Peel of Bananas?
Technically, yes. But we don’t really recommend it.
While it’s true that the peels are edible and contain way less sugar, they’re also loaded down with lots of fibrous material. And it’s much easier to give your guinea pig constipation through eating a little bit of banana peel one time, than giving them diabetes through banana fruit feeding three times a week.
Plus, there’s a good chance that they’re not going to be too interested in the banana peel anyway.
So, should you give your guinea pig bananas? Well, that depends. If your guinea pig is suffering from any kidney problems or is already obese or diabetic, then no. Absolutely not.
However, if your porker is doing just fine and is happy and healthy, a small pinch of banana every few days isn’t going to do any harm. As a matter of fact, it’ll be a great treat they’ll probably love and that’ll be healthy for them too.
Featured Image: Simon Markhof, Shutterstock