When caring for guinea pigs, food is always a key consideration. While guinea pigs tuck mainly eat hay, they also need other foods as treats and for essential vitamins. Knowing what to feed guinea pigs is key to keeping them healthy. Many pocket pets love nuts, so you may wish to consider offering almonds. Can guinea pigs eat almonds? Let’s explore the answer to this question.
What are Almonds?
While almonds are often considered to be nuts, they are actually seeds. Almonds are plucked from the almond tree, most commonly found in the Middle East. Your guinea pig will not notice the difference, though – such mean little to guinea pigs.
Many health experts recommend almonds as part of a healthy diet, as these ingredients can boost human health. As we all know, however, guinea pigs have very different dietary needs. This means that you must not automatically assume that what is good for you is also good for guinea pigs.
Are Almonds a Good Food for Guinea Pigs?
Let’s assess the biggest question at play here – namely, can guinea pigs eat almonds. The answer is yes with an if, and no with a but. Allow us to explain in a little more detail.
If you allow your pocket pet to eat almonds, it will enjoy certain health benefits. Almonds have positive traits for humans and guinea pigs alike. There are many reasons why almonds are considered a healthy snack for humans.
This means that almonds are great if fed correctly. On the other hand, here’s the but – eating too many almonds is hugely dangerous for guinea pigs.
Advantages of Giving Almonds to a Guinea Pig
There are certain perks to letting guinea pigs enjoy almonds, mainly due to the fiber content of these ingredients. Almonds are high in a number of important vitamins and minerals, making them good for guinea pigs. Just don’t let your pet eat them too often – almonds should be offered in small doses, very occasionally.
If you allow guinea pigs to eat the seeds of the almond tree, they will enjoy the following perks:
- Almonds are high in fiber, ensuring that guinea pigs enjoy good digestion.
- Almonds do not contain much water, ensuring that guinea pigs will get plenty from the high nutrient content
- Almonds taste sweet and crunchy, so guinea pigs adore being allowed to eat them
This suggests that the answer to, “can guinea pigs eat almonds” is yes. Be aware, though, there are other factors that mean pocket pets cannot eat almonds all the time. Let’s take a deeper to dive into the pros and cons of letting guinea pigs feed on almonds.
Risks of Giving Almonds to a Guinea Pig
There are more risks to letting guinea pigs enjoy almonds as a snack than there are advantages. The high fiber content of almonds, and their great taste, is tempered by the following drawbacks.
- Almonds contain no Vitamin C, so guinea pigs need to fond this from elsewhere
- Almonds are very high in fat and sugar, so they are calorie-dense. Guinea pigs quickly gain weight if they eat too many.
- Almonds are high in calcium and phosphorus, leading to gas and bloating, as well as potential urinary tract issues.
Think about the content of almonds before letting guinea pigs develop a taste for them. It’s hard to resist begging from a pocket pet, but almonds can be harmful to guinea pigs.
Feeding Almonds to a Guinea Pig
The whole purpose of this article is to discuss, “can guinea pigs eat almonds.” As we have now established, it’s fine to feed these nuts in small quantities. They make a great treat.
Almonds will never be the first choice of guinea pig foods, though. If you plan to let your guinea pigs eat them, you must know how to feed almonds responsibly. If you want to feed almonds to guinea pigs, there are a number of steps that must be taken.
To feed almonds to guinea pigs, pick up long, narrow products. Never offer short, squat almonds to guinea pigs. These almonds are toxic to small animals. Thankfully, they also taste very bitter. Guinea pigs are likely to spit these almonds out if they accidentally taste them.
Guinea pigs cannot gorge on almonds unsupervised, and they should only be offered from time to time. Two small servings in a month are more than enough.
Before offering almonds to guinea pigs, they need to have the skin removed. For the avoidance of doubt, we mean that you need to skin the almonds, not your guinea pig!
Chop or grind up the almonds and sprinkle them into the food bowl of your guinea pigs. This will add fiber and protein to your pocket pet’s diet. What’s more, your pet will have a great time crunching on the chopped almonds.
Let’s take a look at almond derivate products. Can guinea pigs eat almond butter, for example? The short answer is yes, but this is not a recommended guinea pig food.
Almond butter is not toxic to a small animal, as long as you feed it in very small amounts. All the same, it is not as high in nutritional content as conventional almonds. This product is also sticky, so it may cling to the mouth and teeth of your guinea pig. That can quickly become uncomfortable.
If you want to let guinea pigs eat almond butter, make it an extremely occasional reward to be licked from your finger. While your pocket pet will like the taste of this product, when it comes to food, guinea pigs are better served sticking to something more substantial.
Guinea pigs cannot process dairy. Like all small animals, cavies are lactose intolerant. This makes conventional cow’s milk a strict no-go. How about almond milk, though?
Like almonds themselves, do not offer your guinea pig almond milk all the time. Guinea pigs need a constant supply of cool, freshwater. This keeps them hydrated, which in turn keeps your guinea pig healthy. Guinea pigs must never be allowed to grow dehydrated.
Sometimes, however, guinea pigs show a reluctance to drink. This is especially common in young guinea pigs. If this situation arises, offer your pocket pet a teaspoon of almond milk. Guinea pigs like the smell and taste of this, so it will inspire them to drink. You can then encourage your guinea pig to drink more water.
Can guinea pigs eat almonds? Yes, they can – but you’ll need to watch your pocket pet’s weight if it tucks into these nuts regularly. As almonds are so high in fat, they must be an occasional treat food. Under no circumstances should almonds be a cornerstone of the diet of your guinea pig.