As America’s favorite legumes that parade as nuts, peanuts have become a dietary staple found in kitchen cupboards all around the nation. But the next time that you’re snacking on raw, roasted, or salted peanuts, you may find yourself wondering: Can my guinea pig eat these with me?
In short, no, your guinea pig cannot eat peanuts. While they’re not poisonous to your guinea pig, they have the potential to harm their sensitive digestive system. Add to that the fact that they’re a significant choking hazard, and it’s clear that peanuts are not something that you should add to your cavy’s diet.
To get the whole story on why your guinea pig shouldn’t eat peanuts, read on.
Peanut Nutrition Facts
Are There Any Health Benefits of Peanuts for Guinea Pigs?
In short, no. Even if you love peanuts and want to share them with your guinea pig, peanuts have none of the necessary nutrients for guinea pigs that will keep them healthy and happy. Even the fiber that would normally contribute to a guinea pig’s healthy dietary needs is made invalid by the extremely high presence of fats.
Why Are Peanuts Bad for Guinea Pigs?
Aside from their complete lack of nutritional benefit for guinea pigs, peanuts place your pet at significant risk of choking. Furthermore, peanuts’ extremely high fat and protein content puts your guinea pig’s digestive health in peril.
Think of it this way: You, as a human, are perfectly capable of eating a few handfuls of peanuts or a big scoop of peanut butter without feeling any ill effects. But a single peanut is so large in comparison to your guinea pig’s tiny body, it represents a huge serving of peanuts—as much as a pound or two of peanut butter for a human!
Another reason peanuts are considered dangerous for guinea pigs (and many other pets) is that their shells and hulls often contain a toxic substance known as aflatoxin. This is produced by various species of the Aspergillus family of molds (also referred to as fungi). Aflatoxins are toxic to both humans and animals. Unfortunately, they are more dangerous for your guinea pig than for you because of the relatively small size of a guinea pig compared to that of a human. High incidences of aflatoxins have been reported in peanuts in studies.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Peanut Butter? What About Peanut Shells?
Absolutely not on both counts. While peanut butter is not toxic to guinea pigs, it has too many risks associated with its consumption and does not offer any nutritional benefit. The same goes for boiled, roasted, salted, or otherwise prepared peanuts—none of these are suitable to feed to your guinea pig. Instead, opt for vet-approved leafy greens and hydrating fruits when you want to reward your cavy with a special snack.
What to Do If Your Guinea Pig Accidentally Eats a Peanut
Was your guinea pig roaming about while you were snacking on peanuts? If so, there’s a good chance that they saw fit to take a part of your stash. Keep a close eye on your pet’s bowel movements to make sure they’re neither constipated nor runny for too long, and take them to the vet if any signs persist for more than a day. It is best to seek prompt care if you realize that your guinea pig has stopped eating after consuming the peanuts, as this is problematic.
If your guinea pig has consumed peanut shells or husks, you should get veterinary care right away, even if they otherwise appear normal. Aflatoxin poisoning is a serious risk for guinea pigs and should be treated as quickly as possible.
Peanuts are not good foods for guinea pigs and should not be fed to them. Fortunately, they’re not toxic, so if your guinea eats a peanut dropped on the floor, there’s no cause for immediate alarm. However, it is best to seek veterinary care if you’ve realized that your guinea pig has gotten hold of several peanuts. The risk of digestion problems or aflatoxin poisoning warrants vet attention.
For more on guinea pigs, check out these posts:
- Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries? What You Need to Know!
- What Do Guinea Pigs Eat? The Best Foods to Feed Your Guinea!
- Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tomatoes? What You Need To Know!