Rice among the most versatile foods in the world. Countless human dishes make use of rice, while it is also popular in pet food. As rice is packed with carbohydrates, it makes a useful filler ingredient. In short, it helps an animal feel fuller for longer. Does this translate to guinea pigs, though? Can guinea pigs eat rice? Let’s find out!
What Happens if Guinea Pigs Eat Rice?
Rice is made of grain, and guinea pigs cannot digest grain. Ergo, guinea pigs cannot consume rice, whether as a meal or a treat.
This is a bit of a shame, as eating rice is believed to come with certain benefits. These include:
- Healthy function of vital internal organs, especially the heart
- Complex and reliable reaction of nerves
- Steady release of energy
- Reliable, consistent flow of oxygen in the blood
Sadly, this is all a moot point when it comes to small animals. Place a bowl of cooked rice down in front of a guinea pig and it might eat it. This is not a good thing, though. As guinea pigs cannot process grain, your pet will experience the following issues:
- Lack of Fiber – Rice contains very little fiber (brown rice is better than alternatives for this, bit still not ideal). This means that, if guinea pigs tuck into rice, they risk indigestion and constipation.
- Lack of Vitamin C – guinea pig’s bodies do not generate Vitamin C organically. They rely on their food for this, hence why fresh fruits are a good idea. Rice contains no Vitamin C, so your guinea pig will risk scurvy by eating it in favor of other, healthier snacks.
- Weight Gain – Rice contains sugar. Not enough for make it hugely palatable to guinea pigs, but enough to lead to weight gain. Guinea pigs must eat food that is low in sugar. It is one of the golden rules of caring for pocket pets and keeping them healthy.
As you’ll see, there is more than one reason why rice is not a suitable food. Guinea pigs are better off sticking to hay, muesli, pellets and fresh fruits and vegetables. The lack of Vitamin C in rice, alongside the other hazards associated with this ingredient, ensure your guinea pig is better off eating fruits and vegetables as an addition to a diet of hay. There is nothing to gain by allowing a guinea pig to eat rice.
Do Guinea Pigs Like to Eat Rice?
Guinea pigs like to eat, period. To guinea pigs, food is food – regardless of how good or bad it may be for them! Most guinea pigs will be fairly indifferent to taste of rice, though.
Guinea pigs cannot really taste anything in a bowl of rice. This means they’ll just be eating for the sake of eating. If a guinea pig were to eat rice, it would be consuming empty calories with no nutritional value or flavor. Hay might not be tasty, but it is at least healthy.
Is Any Kind of Rice a Good Food for Guinea Pigs?
We have stated that guinea pigs cannot eat plain rice, and we stand by that. We explained why this is above, and we’ll elaborate further below on why this is the case.
However, there is more to rice than just one product. Cooked rice in a bag is only part of the offering. Rice is found in a variety of different snacks and dishes, and you may be wondering these can be used as guinea pig food.
The reaction of a guinea pig to eating rice depends on the product itself. Let’s take a look a different kinds of rice cooking styles and products, and assess their suitability as guinea pig foods.
All rice contains grain, which makes it tough for guinea pigs to digest. This means that any kind of rice will leave your pocket pet facing the same issue. Uncooked rice is no different.
Limited nutrition remains an issue, and the rice will be small and tough. This could lead to a choking hazard. There many superior foods available for your small animal companion.
Cooked Rice and Boiled Rice
Boiled rice is another no-no for guinea pigs. These animals simply cannot eat cooked foods, no matter what form they take. Rice is not exempt from this. It’s an utterly redundant food for your pocket pet, and when boiled or cooked, increasingly dangerous.
If you absolutely must offer your guinea pig rice – we cannot think of one reason why this would be a good idea, but if you must – brown rice is the best of a bad bunch.
Of all the different kinds of rice out there, brown rice contains one of the highest amounts of fiber. Certainly more than white or jasmine rice. This fiber content is not enough of making it worth letting your pet eat rice though, regardless of color.
Rice Krispies are one of the most popular breakfast foods in the world. They are light as a feather, and your guinea pig will enjoy the snap, crackle and pop noise this cereal makes in milk. Does this make it suitable for guinea pigs, though?
Here’s one piece of positive news – your guinea pigs can enjoy Rice Krispies is they like them. As always, though, there are caveats surrounding the suitability of this food.
The cereal must not be coated in sugar or any other additives, and it certainly cannot be doused in milk. Small animals are lactose intolerant, so any dairy-based food is off the menu.
Rice Crackers and Rice Cakes
To wrap up, however, we are back in the realm of no-nos. Rice cakes and crackers are not suitable foods for guinea pigs. They probably won’t be appealing anyway, as rice cakes are odorless and comparatively tasteless. What’s more, they are still grain-based. This means they pose all the same problems as traditional rice dishes, and are even bigger – leading to more potential harmful effects.
You came to this page with a simple question – “can guinea pigs eat rice.” Now you know that guinea pigs cannot digest grain, and this means that guinea pigs should never eat rice – cooked or uncooked! It’s simply no good for a guinea pig. Ultimately, rice barely qualifies as food for your guinea pig. You risk a lot, and gain nothing, by letting a small animal eat rice.