Can Guinea Pigs Eat Almonds? Are they Safe?

Guinea pig owners know that their small friends have very sensitive bodies. So, figuring out what a guinea pig can and cannot eat can be tricky. One common question cavy owners have is, “Can guinea pigs eat almonds?”

Almonds are safe for humans, but can guinea pigs eat them as well? In this article, we take an in-depth look into the real answers and facts about almonds for guinea pigs. 

can guinea pigs eat almonds

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Almonds?

Yes, a guinea pig can eat almonds. Almonds contain a lot of nutrition that can benefit many guinea pigs. However, almonds should only be a rare treat for guinea pigs because too many almonds can be bad for them. Moreover, guinea pigs cannot eat all kinds of almonds.

What Are Almonds?

Almonds are a kind of edible seed. Surprisingly, almonds are a type of seed because they are not true nuts. They resemble true nuts like hazelnuts, so people often call them nuts. 

What Happens if a Guinea Pig Eats Almonds?

In most cases, nothing will happen if a guinea pig has almonds if it is done properly. Almonds are safe to give to most healthy piggies in small amounts. So, it is unlikely that they will have negative reactions. 

However, there is a risk of choking. If the almond pieces are too big for a guinea pig to chew, they could accidentally swallow a large chunk and choke. Moreover, guinea pigs can only have plain almonds. Some store-bought almonds contain a lot of salt, which is bad for their health.

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Are Almonds Bad for Guinea Pigs?

No, almonds are not bad for guinea pigs. When cavy owners choose the right kind of almond and serve it properly, it will be fine for most guinea pigs. If it is a rare treat for guinea pigs, it can be beneficial for their health.

Almonds can be a choking hazard to guinea pigs if cavy owners are not careful. They can accidentally swallow a big piece and start choking. Therefore, it is best to offer small pieces to guinea pigs and supervise them while they eat the almonds.

Additionally, it is best to avoid store-bought almonds that contain extra ingredients like salt. Salt is bad for guinea pigs, and it can cause health issues like bladder stones. The minerals from salt can build up in the guinea pig’s bladder, which can make it difficult or unable for a guinea pig to urinate.

Almonds are not an ideal treat for overweight guinea pigs. Almonds have a lot of calories and fat compared to other guinea pig treats. One almond may not be a lot for a human, but it is a huge amount for a small cavy. The fat and calories in almonds can lead to obesity, increasing a guinea pig’s risk of illnesses like heart disease. 

Will Almonds Make Guinea Pigs Sick?

Yes, almonds can make guinea pigs sick, but only in large amounts. The fat and calories in almonds can lead to obesity if they eat too much of it. Obesity causes many health problems like heart disease, shorter lifespan, etc. On the off chance that a guinea pig eats almonds with salt, they can develop heart issues, bladder stones, etc.

Health Benefits of Almonds for Guinea Pigs

Almonds contain tons of nutrients that are great for piggies. For instance, almonds contain lots of fiber to aid digestion since it contains about 12.5 grams of dietary fiber. It can help a guinea pig that struggles with digestion issues like constipation.

These seeds are full of vitamin E because they contain around 26.2 milligrams of vitamin E. Vitamin E could help a guinea pig regulate its blood sugar levels. Moreover, vitamin E is an antioxidant, so it can protect the cells from oxidative damage. Antioxidants can potentially prevent certain diseases like cancer and could delay the aging process.

Almonds can actually help a chubby guinea pig lose weight. Guinea pigs only gain weight from almonds when they eat too many almonds. Almonds are high in protein, which can help a cavy feel satisfied and full for a longer time. When they feel satisfied, they will be less tempted to eat more than they should. 

Almonds can prevent and reduce cholesterol. Therefore, it could prevent cholesterol and control cholesterol issues in guinea pigs to prevent many conditions. Moreover, almonds can help chubby guinea pigs by regulating blood sugar and boosting metabolism.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Dried Fruit and Nuts?

Generally, guinea pigs cannot have dried fruit and nuts. Most dried fruits and nuts are not healthy for guinea pigs. Dried fruit has a lot of sugar and calories, and guinea pigs cannot eat certain nuts. Moreover, the almonds in dried fruit and nuts mix could contain harmful additives like salt.

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What Kind of Almonds Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

There are two kinds of almonds, which are sweet almonds or bitter almonds. Guinea pigs can only have sweet almonds. Bitter almonds are poisonous to guinea pigs. Bitter almonds contain a compound that breaks down when ingested, creating deadly chemicals like cyanide. A very small amount can be lethal to guinea pigs, so they should only eat sweet almonds.

Recommended Article: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes? Are They Safe?

How Many Almonds Can Guinea Pigs Eat? 

How many almonds a guinea pig can eat is unknown, but it should be given in small amounts as an occasional treat. Ideally, guinea pigs can eat 1-2 slivers of almonds. Guinea pigs can have almonds every 1-3 weeks. 

How to Feed a Guinea Pig Almonds

It is best to serve almonds to guinea pigs as thin slices. That way, they can pick up and chew the almonds properly. Chunks of almonds are a choking hazard to guinea pigs, while slivers are easier to chew. Moreover, guinea pigs should not eat the skin, so be sure to peel off the almond skin first. 

Make sure to supervise the guinea pig when they have almonds. Even if it is a thin slice of almond, it still poses a choking risk. Watch the guinea pig eat the almond and wait for about 10-15 minutes to look for signs of choking. 

What Nuts Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs cannot eat any kind of nut. Almonds are an exception because they are seeds, not true nuts. True nuts are high in carbs and fats, while guinea pigs need a diet low in carbs and fat and high in fiber. True nuts are difficult for piggies to digest. The fat in nuts can cause dangerous conditions like a fatty liver. A very small serving of a true nut may not do much harm, but it is still best to avoid giving true nuts to guinea pigs. 

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Moreover, true nuts could potentially trigger allergic reactions in guinea pigs. True nuts could also cause physical harm to a guinea pig’s body. If a guinea pig eats a sharp part of a true nut, it can wound the cavy’s digestive tract. Wounds in the digestive tract can lead to many problems like bloody stool, infection, etc.

Nuts can also affect the gut system of a guinea pig. Nuts can offset a cavy’s digestion and disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria. Therefore, bad bacteria would spread, and the bad bacteria will feed on sugar and oxalates. 

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Have Almonds?

No, baby guinea pigs cannot have almonds. A baby guinea pig’s body is still developing, so they should only consume their mother’s milk and food that is appropriate for them. Their sensitive stomachs may not be able to tolerate almonds when they are young. They can try almonds when they are about 10 months old and only eat solid foods. 

All in All

Overall, almonds are safe for guinea pigs to eat because they are not true nuts. They have lots of nutrients that will be great for many piggies. However, guinea pigs cannot have too many almonds, and they can only eat sweet almonds without the peel.

References:

  1. Live Science, ‘Why aren’t peanuts, pecans and almonds real nuts?’, https://www.livescience.com/what-are-nuts.html, Date Accessed – 17 May, 2021
  2. Sawnee Animal Clinic, ‘Bladder and Urinary Tract Stones in Guinea Pigs’, https://sawneeanimalclinic.com/downloads/bladder_and_urinary_tract_stones_in_guinea_pigs.pdf, Date Accessed – 17 May, 2021
  3. Harvard T.H. Chan, ‘Almonds’, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/almonds/, Date Accessed – 17 May, 2021
  4. National Public Radio, ‘How Almonds Went From Deadly To Delicious’, https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/06/13/732160949/how-almonds-went-from-deadly-to-delicious, Date Accessed – 17 May, 2021

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