Can guinea pigs eat potatoes? Potato is a nutritious vegetable that many enjoy eating. Being a guinea pig owner, you should know that a strict diet is essential for their health. Being herbivores doesn’t mean they can consume any kind of vegetable or fruit.
So, what about potatoes? Can guinea pigs eat potatoes? The simple answer is no. They shouldn’t eat potatoes. Their digestive system is not made to consume complex carbohydrates. Usually, guinea pigs eat hay, fresh veggies, and pellets available at pet stores.
Are you curious to know why potatoes aren’t safe for guinea pigs? What are their risk factors? Here we have summed up all the answers to your questions. So, let’s dive into the details.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potatoes?
Well, it’s not good for your guinea pigs to eat potatoes as they are harmful to them. In contrast, those foods are good for them that are rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates like, hay or grass.
The digestive system of guinea pigs can’t deal with a high amount of carbohydrates. So, you should better avoid feeding potatoes to your furry friends.
What Makes Potatoes Toxic to Guinea Pigs?
Unlike humans, animals can’t enjoy every fruit and vegetable. That’s because some of them might be poisonous to animals. The same is the case with potatoes. You should know that cooked potatoes also can cause harm to guinea pigs.
Here are some harmful substances for cavies that are found in potatoes:
Alkaloids are the main reason that potatoes are lethal to guinea pigs. Potatoes contain an abundant amount of alkaloids. Alkaloids adversely affect the digestive system of piggies and are toxic to them.
The study suggests that the average guinea pig requires 8g of calcium per kg. Calcium is important for their growth and bones development.
However, the excess calcium results in urinary infections and kidney stones as potatoes are rich in calcium which can become toxic for guinea pigs.
· Abundant Fructose
Guinea pigs are quite sensitive to high sugar levels found in potatoes. Besides, potatoes have plenty of complex sugars that can also make your guinea pig prone to diabetes.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potato Skin?
Potato skin provides many advantages along with fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. The starch found in the skin balances these nutrients and benefits.
Because starch is unhealthy for them, it makes the potato skin inappropriate to feed them. Hence, a fiber-based diet like grasses and herbs is beneficial for guinea pigs.
Do You Know About Parsley?
Lots of snacks are safe for guinea pigs, but some snacks you should not give your pet. We sat down and did some research, and our vet has verified it: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Parsley?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Potato Leaves?
Solanine is a toxin present in potatoes. As potatoes belong to the nightshade family, that’s a good reason to avoid feeding potato leaves to cavies. Potato leaves and sprouts are harmful to guinea pigs as well as humans.
Are Potatoes Good for Guinea Pigs?
Because you enjoy cooking potatoes, you feed some of them to your piggies. However, it’s better to avoid potatoes to them, considering their risks.
But potatoes also contain some important nutrients that are:
· Vitamin C
Potatoes contain vitamin C, which is essential for the bone formation of guinea pigs. Further, vitamin C also boosts their overall health. The fact is that they can’t synthesize vitamin C themselves.
Fibers found in potatoes are important for digestion and removing excess cholesterol. Moreover, fibers also aid in maintaining the gut health of cavies.
Some minerals, for instance, potassium, calcium, and copper, are found in potatoes. These minerals help in combating heart diseases. In addition, bone strengthening and red blood cell formation are also important functions.
3 Risks Involved in Offering Guinea Pigs Potatoes
Here are 3 risks that are related to feeding potatoes to cavies. These include,
1. Digestive Problems
The excessive alkaloids in potatoes cause diarrhea, stomach upsets, and occasionally death in guinea pigs.
2. Urinary Tract Complications
The high level of calcium leads to kidney and bladder stones. As a result, severe pain, inflammation, and blood in their urine are reported.
3. Sudden Weight Gain
Rapid weight gain causes heart diseases in guinea pigs. Besides, it also leads to other health problems in them.
They contain plenty of carbs, calories, and a significant amount of sugar. The fructose sugar content also causes digestive issues in cavies.
Final Thoughts – Can guinea pigs eat potatoes?
Can guinea pigs eat potatoes? No, they can’t. Avoiding potatoes will help your guinea pig to stay healthy and happy. Alkaloids and high calcium levels make them unsuitable for your furry friend.
Digestive and urinary problems and rapid weight gain are risks associated with feeding potatoes to them. Moreover, some vegetables, hay, pellets, and freshwater should be added to their diet. Broccoli, carrots, apples, and bananas are best for guinea pigs.