Delicious both fresh and raw as well as steamed or cooked into a casserole, green beans are a favorite summertime food for humans. But can your guinea pig enjoy these crispy treats along with you?
In short, yes, guinea pigs can eat green beans. In fact, when fed in appropriate amounts, green beans and their peels can provide significant health benefits for your guinea pig. This does not mean, however, that you’ll want to make them a daily addition to your cavy’s diet.
If you’re keen on sharing fresh green beans with your guinea pig, keep reading to discover why they can be a great supplement to your piggy’s diet as well as how they can become dangerous if fed too often.
Health Benefits of Green Beans for Guinea Pigs
Just like us humans, guinea pigs are unable to create their own vitamin C within their bodies and must get it from outside sources. Adult guinea pigs need anywhere from 20 to 25 mg/day of vitamin C, and for pregnant guinea pigs, this requirement jumps up to 30 to 40 mg/day.
In every 100-gram serving of raw green beans, your guinea pig will enjoy supplementing their diet with just over 12 mg of vitamin C, making green beans an excellent source of this essential nutrient, as well as dietary fiber that will help to regulate their digestion.
Additionally, green beans are high in vitamin K, a nutrient that’s valuable in regulating blood clotting and preventing blood loss after injury. While there is no recommended intake requirement for vitamin K in guinea pigs, green beans provide a solid 43 micrograms per 100-gram serving.
Can Green Beans Be Bad for Guinea Pigs?
While green beans can offer significant health benefits for your guinea pig due to their density of vitamins and minerals, they also pose two potential problems:
How to Feed Green Beans to Your Guinea Pigs
Choosing fresh, organic green beans is essential to maintaining your guinea pig’s health. Never attempt to feed green beans that haven’t been organically grown to your guinea pig, as they can be filled with harmful waxes and pesticides at concentrations that are dangerous for small animals.
Instead, feed whole organic green beans to your guinea pig. The shells are very rich in fiber, which will help your pet to properly digest their meals. One or two whole beans is more than enough for a single serving for your guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Green Beans?
Guinea pigs absolutely cannot eat cooked green beans. Like many other small animals, guinea pigs thrive on a diet of fresh, uncooked foods. Introducing processed or cooked foods would cause them serious gastrointestinal distress. Thankfully, most guinea pigs will turn their nose up at cooked food rather than try to eat it in the first place.
How Often Should I Feed My Guinea Pig Green Beans?
Finding the right balance for your guinea pig’s diet can be tough with green beans, as they have the potential to be both helpful and harmful. We recommend introducing green beans into your cavy’s diet slowly and monitoring closely for signs of indigestion such as bloating or diarrhea. If they handle these initial feedings well, it’s safe to feed a small portion of green beans as a supplement to your guinea pig’s diet anywhere from one to three times per week.
A valuable addition to your guinea pig’s diet when fed in moderation, green beans can help them meet their regular requirements for vitamin C and provide a rich source of fiber as well. If overfed, they run the risk of producing problems for your cavy’s digestion and mineral metabolism. Keep green beans as a regular supplement to your guinea pig’s diet, and they’ll enjoy all of the benefits with none of the problematic side effects.