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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Peanuts? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

America’s favorite legume that parades as a nut, peanuts have become a dietary staple that’s found in kitchen cupboards all around the nation. But the next time that you’re snacking on raw, roasted, salted, or peanut butter treats, you may find yourself wondering: can my guinea pig eat this with me?

In short, no – your guinea pig cannot eat peanuts. While they’re not poisonous to your guinea pig, they’re loaded with the potential to harm your guinea pig’s sensitive digestive system. Add to that a significant choking hazard, and it’s clear that they’re not a food 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.

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Peanut Nutrition Facts

According to Nutritionvalue.org, peanuts contain the following guinea pig-related nutrients in a 100-gram serving:

  • 567 calories, coming mainly from a whopping 49 grams of total fat and 6.3 grams of saturated fat.
  • 16 grams of carbohydrates, including 4.7 grams of sugar and 8.5 grams of dietary fiber.
  • 26 grams of protein, but not a complete source of amino acids.
  • No vitamin A or vitamin C.

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 also place your pet at significant risk of choking. Furthermore, they’re extremely high fat and protein content put 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 when even a single peanut is so large in comparison to your guinea pig’s tiny body, this represents a huge serving of peanuts – as much as a pound or two of peanut butter for a human!

We imagine that you’d have a pretty badly upset stomach after eating that many peanuts, too.

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Image: Pikrepo

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Peanut Butter? What About Peanut Shells?

Absolutely not on both counts. While again, neither peanut butter nor peanut shells are toxic to guinea pigs, neither confers any nutritional benefit. The same goes for boiled, roasted, salted, or otherwise prepared peanuts – none of them are suitable to feed to your guinea pig. Instead, opt for vet-approved leafy greens and hydrating fruits when you’re wanting 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. If they aren’t choking, never fear: The worst that’s likely to happen is a bad tummy ache, and possibly diarrhea. Keep a close eye on your pet’s bowel movements to make sure that they’re neither constipated nor runny for too long and take them to the vet if any symptoms persist for more than a day.

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Final Thoughts on Feeding Peanuts to Your Guinea Pig

We’ll say it once more, loud and clear: peanuts are not a good food for guinea pigs and should not be fed to them. Thankfully, they’re not toxic – so if your guinea got into peanuts on accident, it’s no cause for immediate alarm. Simply keep a careful eye on them and provide them with plenty of clean water and fresh hay to flush the fatty substances out of their system. No doubt that after eating a regular diet for a day or two, they’ll be feeling completely back to normal.

For more on Guinea Pigs, check out these posts:


Featured Image: Pxfuel

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.