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Home > Guinea Pigs > Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bean Sprouts? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bean Sprouts? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bean Sprouts

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Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Guinea pigs eat everything—or at least, it can seem like it at times. Even though their main food source is hay, they love to have veggies, herbs, fruits and other plant food on the side. But does that include bean sprouts? The answer is yes! A small serving of bean sprouts every once in a while can be a good addition to your guinea pig’s diet if they enjoy them.

But serving size is important— bean sprouts should be an occasional treat and shouldn’t take center stage.


What Are Bean Sprouts?

If you’ve never heard of bean sprouts, you aren’t alone. This food source was once pretty rare in the US, but it’s become more popular in the last few years. The most common type of bean sprouts are mung bean sprouts—they are a common ingredient in pad thai, pho, and many other Asian dishes. But you can also find sprouts from any kind of bean.

Bean sprouts are seed beans that have just started to grow. The first thing that grows is a white, crunchy root—the “sprout” of the bean sprout. And these roots are full of both flavor and nutrients, making them a great choice to add on occasion to your guinea pig’s diet. You can buy bean sprouts in many grocery stores or grow them yourself.

bean sprouts on white plate
Image By: inewsfoto, Shutterstock

Bean Sprout Benefits and Health Breakdown

So why would you include bean sprouts in your guinea pig’s diet? Bean sprouts are a low-calorie food that is relatively high in protein and fiber—two important nutrients in your guinea pig’s diet. One cup of sprouts has only about 30 calories, but it has 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

Bean sprouts are also relatively low in oxalates—organic acids that can bind with calcium and other minerals, leading to guinea pig bladder stones.

But the biggest reason to feed your guinea pig bean sprouts is that they contain vitamins and other nutrients that can be beneficial. Here are a few of the nutrients found in bean sprouts:

Vitamin C: Most mammals can create their own vitamin C, but guinea pigs need it in their diet. That makes it one of the most important vitamins to feed guinea pigs—it prevents a vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) and helps boost your guinea pig’s immune system.

Calcium: Calcium has both benefits and drawbacks for guinea pigs. It’s an important mineral that leads to strong bones and teeth, but too much of it can contribute to the formation of bladder stones. Bean sprouts have a moderate amount of calcium, which means that a small serving of bean sprouts can be beneficial.

Iron: Iron is needed for red blood cell function and oxygen transport around the body. Too little iron can cause anemia, leading to lethargy and a weakened immune system.

Potassium: Potassium is a mineral that acts as an electrolyte. It is needed for muscle and nerve function. This means that guinea pigs need some potassium to be energetic and alert.

Safely Feeding Bean Sprouts

Even though bean sprouts can be a healthy food for guinea pigs, you shouldn’t have a bean sprout buffet. Too much bean sprout isn’t healthy or safe for your guinea pig and will lead to an imbalanced diet—in fact, it should only be an occasional food. About 85% of your guinea pig’s diet should be hay ( and grass). The last 15% should primarily be a mixture of different fresh vegetables and a small amount of guinea pig pellets and fruit. No one vegetable has all the nutrients your guinea pig needs but leafy greens are usually the best options.

himalayan guinea pig eating hay
Image By: PHOTO FUN, Shutterstock

Do Guinea Pigs Like Bean Sprouts?

One of the fun things about guinea pigs is that they each have their favorite foods, just like humans. Some guinea pigs like the pleasant crunch and earthy flavor of bean sprouts, while others find the strong taste and smell off putting. Your guinea pig might also be an adventurous eater or more cautious around new food.

When adding any new food to your guinea pig’s diet it’s important to avoid sudden changes and introduce new foods very gradually and in small amounts. Monitor your piggie for any adverse effects after feeding, particularly digestive upset.


Final Thoughts

Bean sprouts can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your guinea pig’s diet. Even if your guinea pig loves this crunchy treat be sure not to overfeed them as they should just be an occasional snack.

Featured Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

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