One of the great pleasures of owning guinea pigs is getting to offer treats. For a guinea pig, food is everything. While small animals munch on hay, muesli and pellets throughout the day to keep their teeth filed, they also need fresh fruit and vegetables for vitamins and nutrition. You will also wish to offer treats on occasion too. How suitable is peanut butter?
Do Guinea Pigs Like Peanut Butter?
When it comes to food, Guinea pigs do not always consciously seek out healthy snacks. Just like many animals, cavies love the taste sensations of fat, sugar, and often salt. This is why you have to be careful when feeding guinea pigs. Food can quickly make or break the health of your small pet.
Peanut butter is a good example of this. Small animals often love the taste of peanut butter. You may find that a guinea pig begs you to share if you’re spending this ingredient over your toast or bagel in the morning. What a guinea pig wants and what a guinea pig should have, however, are often mutually exclusive.
Can I Give My Guinea Pigs Peanut Butter?
Let’s break this down, so the question is answered on no uncertain terms.
- Guinea pigs cannot eat peanuts. They are packed with fat and salt, both of which are bad for guinea pigs. Peanuts are pretty high on the no-no list for food for guinea pigs with almost any cavy expert.
- Guinea pigs cannot eat butter. Once again, it’s filled with fat that will cause problems for your cavy. In addition, guinea pigs are invariably lactose intolerant. This means that butter must be avoided.
Put this together and what do you have? The short answer is, a snack that your guinea pig must avoid!
Now, we know what you may be thinking. Peanut butter is not the same as regular butter. Besides, your pocket pet loves it. Surely it’s OK to let them lick a little peanut butter off your finger, maybe even spread it over another treat for a little taste?
Well, we’re sorry to be the fun police, but that’s still out of bounds. No matter how much small animals like the taste of peanut butter, this ingredient is out of bounds for your cavy and must be part of its diet. No ifs, buts or maybes.
Why is Peanut Butter So Bad for Guinea Pigs?
There are many reasons why peanut butter is inappropriate for a guinea pig. Let’s start to break them down in more detail.
- Fat, sugar and salt. This is the trinity of ingredients that makes peanut butter so tasty, but also completely inappropriate for a guinea pig’s digestion.
- Weight gain. Peanut butter will cause a small animal to pile on the pounds at a rate of knots.
- The stickiness of the texture. Peanut butter will get stuck in the mouth of a guinea pig and rot the teeth of your cavy.
- Lack of solidity. Small animals need to chew their snacks to file down their teeth. That’s clearly not an option here.
- Substantial amounts of protein, which will lead to digestive issues for your cavy. Lots of calcium too, which will lead to bladder problems.
- Absolutely zero nutritional value. Peanut butter contains barely any fiber, no Vitamin C … nothing that would actually benefit the health of your guinea pig to counteract the dangers of this ingredient.
Now, you may be thinking, “but I deliberately search high and low for peanut butter that is low in salt and sugar. Surely I can feed that to my guinea pig?”
Sorry, but the answer is still no. Even the ‘healthiest’ brands of peanut butter will contribute nothing positive to the diet of a guinea pig. It will still be filled with fat, and be sticky and tough to swallow.
There are many suitable guinea pig foods out there in the world. Peanut butter will just never be one of them, no matter what attempts you make to circumnavigate the issues with this ingredient.
Are There Any Advantages of Feeding Peanut Butter to Guinea Pigs?
No. Peanut butter offers absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever to a guinea pig. You’re just feeding dangerous empty calories. One teaspoon alone can be enough to wreak havoc in a small animal’s body. It really isn’t worth the risk.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Peanut Butter Crackers?
OK, so we have firmly established that peanut butter is off the table as a snack for a guinea pig. How about peanut butter-flavored crackers, though? Is this a fair compromise to keep your pocket pet happy?
Can you guess what we’re going to say here? Sorry, but crackers are still a no-no. For a start, these snacks will just leave a guinea pig craving more peanut butter. We have been pretty clear that this needs to be kept out of your pocket pet’s diet.
What’s more, crackers are also filled with sugar. Yes, your cavy will like the sweetness that one of these snacks can provide, but that’s beside the point. Your responsibility as a pet parent is to feed what is good for a small animal and ensure it enjoys a healthy, balanced diet. A peanut butter cracker will never be part of such an eating plan.
Alternatives to Peanut Butter for Guinea Pigs
If you want to treat your pocket pet, you’ll need to find something that is much lower in sugar and salt than peanut butter. Really, you’re best off sticking to fresh fruit and vegetables.
This sounds counter-productive. After all, peanut butter tastes in no way similar to chopped veg. Your cavy will still enjoy tucking into these treats, though. Pretty soon, it will forget all about the dubious charms of peanut butter.
You might feel mean for not allowing a guinea pig to eat peanut butter, but you’re honestly doing the right thing by your pet. This ingredient has absolutely no place in the diet of a small animal. There are many foods that you can offer a cavy to bring a little joy to its life. No matter what brand you buy, however, peanut butter will never be one of them.