Guinea pigs are fun pets to spend time with. You never know exactly what they will do when allowed out of their enclosed habitat to explore. They enjoy being held, and they will never pass up the opportunity to indulge in a tasty snack. However, your guinea should not eat anything and everything that you would eat. For example, cheese should not be offered to guinea pigs. Here is what you should know about feeding cheese to your guinea pig.
The Dangers of Feeding Cheese to Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs have digestive systems designed to only digest plant foods, so they are considered herbivores. As guinea pigs age beyond being weaned, they no longer possess the enzymes needed to properly break down dairy products, such as cheese, so they can be effectively digested and the nutrients assimilated. Therefore, guinea pigs do not get any nutrition that they require for good health by eating cheese. The issue is made worse by the fact that the inability to digest cheese often leads to issues such as impaction or bloating, which is very dangerous for guinea pigs, and requires prompt veterinary care.
Another thing to consider is that cheese is high in fat and calories. In addition to being nutritionally inadequate for guinea pigs and being harmful to their digestive system, cheese could make your guinea pig become overweight and develop health conditions that tend to come along with obesity.
Feeding your guinea pig cheese once a week could cause problems as time goes on. The negative health effects of eating cheese may not be apparent in your guinea pig right away. You may not even see any signs of a health problem until it is too late. So, don’t wait for your guinea pig to start acting ill before you stop feeding them cheese. Eliminate cheese from their diet now to ensure their good health both now and in the future.
Alternatives to Dairy Cheese for Guinea Pigs
Unfortunately, there are no dairy replacements that your guinea pig can safely eat. They should eat grasses, hay, and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables instead of dairy. However, certain fruits and veggies can offer your pet the same taste and texture satisfaction that they would get from eating cheese. Try one or more of the following options:
These foods may not taste the same as cheese, but they do offer a pleasing texture and the kind of flavor that guinea pigs are naturally drawn to. These foods will help keep your guinea pig both happy and healthy as they age.
Our Final Thoughts
Save the cheese for yourself, and give your guinea pig fresh, healthy fruits and veggies during meal and snack times. Your guinea pig will thank you for it with their good health, and they won’t need veterinarian care due to obesity or other problems. If your guinea pig does eat a piece of cheese, keep an eye on them to make sure that they do not develop any side effects and that they don’t do it again. If you’re in doubt about their well-being after they’ve eaten some cheese, you should promptly seek veterinary care for your pet. Let us know your thoughts on feeding cheese to guinea pigs in our comments section!