Cavy owners constantly look for new fruits and veggies to feed their small and furry friends. Guinea pigs need lots of different foods to get all the nutrients their bodies need. One question many guinea pig owners have is, “Can guinea pigs eat avocados?” Here is a full informative guide to help people learn if avocados are good for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Avocados?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat avocados as an occasional treat. However, they can only eat the avocado’s flesh. The rest of the avocado is not good for guinea pigs. The flesh has lots of nutrients, but it can only be a rare snack for them.
Avocados have a lot of nutrients in them that are good for guinea pigs. However, it contains a lot of fat and some persin. Therefore, it will not be a regular treat for a cavy. Avocados cannot replace the regular fruits in their diets.
Health Benefits of Avocados
Avocados have a lot of nutrients in them, like vitamin C. 100 grams of avocado contains about 10 milligrams of vitamin C. Guinea pigs cannot create their own vitamin C, so they need to get it through their foods. That way, they will avoid developing issues like scurvy and a weak immune system. Therefore, a bit of avocado can supplement their vitamin C needs.
Avocados have a good amount of fiber in them. Fiber is important for all mammals because it helps the digestive system run smoothly. However, guinea pigs do not need that much fiber because too much can lead to constipation, diarrhea, pain, etc. A piece of avocado can only be a slight boost of fiber, but they should not have too much.
Avocados also have a lot of potassium, which some guinea pigs need. Potassium helps the muscles contract and the nerve to function properly. It also encourages regular heartbeat to promote a healthy heart. However, guinea pigs do not need that much potassium, so they cannot eat too much.
Vitamin A is also present in avocados, and it can help a guinea pig’s eyesight. Guinea pigs have fairly poor vision, and it gets worse as they age. Therefore, the vitamin A in avocados can potentially help them see. Vitamin A also aids in reproduction and strengthens the immune system. Plus, vitamin A helps organs like the lungs and heart function properly.
Vitamin E is another vitamin found in avocados that can benefit little piggies. One study shows that vitamin E can protect a cavy’s liver. Vitamin E also maintains the body’s eyes and skin, keeping a guinea pig healthy. Additionally, it can help a guinea pig ward off infection and diseases because vitamin E can strengthen the immune system.
Avocado is fairly low in sugar. It can be good for piggies to avoid diabetes, unstable blood sugar levels, obesity, etc. However, avocados still contain a lot of fat. Therefore, it is still not ideal for giving to piggies regularly because it can cause obesity.
Side Effects of Avocados
Humans love avocado because it is full of good, healthy fat. However, to guinea pigs, that fat is still fat. One tablespoon of avocado has about 2 grams of fat. While that is not a lot to humans, that is a lot of fat to a small animal like a guinea pig. So, it would not be an ideal treat for already chubby guinea pigs.
If a guinea pig eats too much avocado, they may gain weight and develop illnesses like pancreatitis. Guinea pigs can be greedy when it comes to food. Obesity is a problem in guinea pigs, but it is completely avoidable with the right diet and exercise. Therefore, if they have access to avocado, they will likely eat all of it and gain weight.
Guinea pigs with a more sensitive stomach and digestive systems may not tolerate avocados. There are some cases where the avocado got stuck in the guinea pig’s intestines. The avocado had to get removed via surgery. Therefore, guinea pigs with more sensitive bodies may find it hard to digest avocado.
Avocados are fatty fruits, so they can cause heart issues in guinea pigs. Typically, too much avocado would cause a piggie to be overweight or obese. Obesity often causes heart issues because the heart struggles to pump blood throughout the body. The heart would get weak and struggle, so the guinea pig may feel tired and sick.
Avocados are rich in sodium and calcium. In guinea pigs, too much calcium and sodium can cause urinary problems. Calcium can lead to stones in their kidneys and bladder, which is painful and may require surgery to remove. Sodium can make a cavy dehydrated. Additionally, sodium can contribute to kidney stones.
Are Avocados Poisonous to Guinea Pigs?
Yes, the skin, pit, bark and leaves of the avocado are poisonous to guinea pigs. The soft, green fleshy part of the fruit is ok for piggies to eat. However, the rest of the avocado contains a toxin that is dangerous for piggies. There is a high concentration of the toxin persin in the skin, pit, bark and leaves of an avocado. The avocado’s pulp contains a little persin, so it is fine for piggies in small amounts.
Scientists are not sure how much persin is bad for guinea pigs. However, it is likely that the skin, pit, bark and leaves of the avocado would have too much of the toxin because it has a lot of persin. Guinea pigs have sensitive bodies, so it is best to steer away from those parts of the fruit.
Persin can cause many issues in guinea pigs. Some symptoms of persin toxicity include increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, weakness, stomach upset, problems digesting, etc. There are studies that show that small animals can pass away 12-24 hours after eating a lot of persin. Therefore, guinea pigs can only eat a bit of the green inner flesh of an avocado.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Guacamole?
No, guinea pigs cannot have guacamole. Guinea pigs can only have plain avocado. Avocado mixed with other foods, such as guacamole, is bad for guinea pigs. The other ingredients are bad for guinea pigs, which can lead to many health problems. Guinea pigs do not get food like this in the wild, so a domesticated guinea pig cannot handle it.
How Much Avocado Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
Guinea pigs can have ⅓ of a slice of avocado. Healthy guinea pigs can have that amount 1-2 times a month. Do not give them more than that, even if the guinea pig wants more. There are better snacks to give them than avocado. However, they should not have avocado if they already had a high-fat snack recently.
Guinea pigs are not all the same. Some guinea pigs will have more sensitive stomachs than others. If a guinea pig has a history of stomach and digestive issues, it would be best that they do not try avocado. Overweight guinea pigs may also want to avoid avocado as well because it has a lot of fat.
How to Feed a Guinea Pig Avocado
Guinea pigs that are new to avocados should only have a smaller portion of avocado first. An adult piggie can try a ½ inch piece of avocado. Observe the guinea pig for any strange reactions throughout the day after they eat the avocado. They can try a bit more avocado again after a month if there are no problems.
To feed a guinea pig avocado, cut out the recommended portion. Be sure that there is no skin, bark or leaves on the avocado flesh. Those parts are toxic to guinea pigs and can lead to many complications. Therefore, the portion should only be the flesh of the avocado.
What Parts of the Avocado Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
As mentioned earlier, the leaves, bark, pit and skin of an avocado contains high amounts of persin. Persin is toxic to guinea pigs. However, the flesh of the avocado only has a bit of persin. Therefore, a guinea pig can only eat a small amount of the avocado’s flesh. They cannot eat any other part of the avocado.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Avocado?
No, a baby guinea pig cannot have avocado. Baby guinea pigs are more sensitive than adults, so they may react badly to trying new food. Plus, baby guinea pigs have specific needs. They will rely on their mother’s milk for a while then move onto new foods like hay. Guinea pigs can only try avocado when they are 7-8 months old and only eat solid foods.
All in All
Overall, guinea pigs can have a bit of avocado flesh 1-2 times a month. It contains lots of nutrients that can benefit most healthy adult guinea pigs. However, it is high in fat and potentially toxic to piggies. Therefore, it is only a rare treat for piggies, but it is fine to avoid avocado altogether.
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- Pub Med, ‘Vitamin E protects guinea pig liver from lipid peroxidation without depressing levels of antioxidants’, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7584603/, Accessed – 18 May 2021
- Lafeber Co., ‘Is My Guinea Pig Fat?’, https://lafeber.com/mammals/is-my-guinea-pig-fat/, Accessed – 18 May 2021