Most guinea pig owners want to add variety to their cavy’s diets. Offering different healthy foods to piggies is an excellent way to keep them strong and happy. However, guinea pigs have sensitive bodies, so you need to be careful which foods you give them. So, can guinea pigs eat mushrooms? Are they safe? Are there any benefits? Here’s everything you need to know about giving guinea pigs mushrooms.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms?
Yes, guinea pigs can occasionally eat mushrooms, but they should be store-bought, toxin-free mushrooms. Wild mushrooms can be bad for a cavy. Fresh, store-bought mushrooms can be fed to guinea pigs as a treat a few times a week, but it should not be the main part of their diets.
Mushrooms can be a healthy treat for guinea pigs, especially overweight piggies because they are pretty low in calories. However, mushrooms cannot be a replacement for other foods in their daily diets because it does not contain as many nutrients as their everyday foods.
The Benefits of Mushrooms
Firstly, mushrooms are very low in calories. One small white mushroom only contains two calories, making it a fun treat for guinea pigs. It is excellent if the cavy is overweight because they can snack on these a few times a week without worrying about gaining weight. Plus, mushrooms are rich in fiber, meaning that a guinea pig will feel fuller while aiding its digestion.
Mushrooms contain some healthy nutrients for guinea pigs, like vitamin B, which can support a guinea pig’s development and overall health. Niacin is a crucial nutrient for guinea pigs, which mushrooms contain! Mushrooms also contain a good amount of potassium which these furry friends need to keep their hearts healthy. Plus, mushrooms have fiber that can help a guinea pig with regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Mushrooms contain vitamin D, which is usually found in dairy products. However, small indoor pets like guinea pigs cannot consume dairy products. They need the sun’s UVB rays to synthesize vitamin D3 so they can absorb calcium. Therefore, mushrooms are a great way to help them do that, but since guinea pigs do not need that much calcium, mushrooms are not always necessary.
Mushrooms do contain vitamin C, which all cavy owners know is crucial to give to guinea pigs. However, it is much lower in calcium compared to the normal foods in their diet. Therefore, mushrooms are not a reliable source of vitamin C, but they can be a fun treat that still contains some vitamin C. Thus, while it can give a guinea pig vitamin C, it will not serve as a replacement for other foods rich in vitamin C.
More scientists are looking into mushrooms because of their possible immune-boosting benefits. A compound found in mushrooms is selenium. Selenium has been shown to enhance the immune system and ward off diseases, which is an excellent thing for any piggie.
Mushrooms may also eliminate free radicals. Free radicals occur naturally due to metabolism, but they damage cells and body parts if they are not adequately handled. Mushrooms contain antioxidants which are known to eliminate free radicals in bodies, including a guinea pig’s body. Therefore, mushrooms can prevent diseases in guinea pigs.
Surprisingly, mushrooms can be a brain booster for piggies. Mushrooms contain B vitamins, which have shown to have positive impacts on the brain. Of course, the brain is an integral part of any body, so the B vitamins in mushrooms can help a cavy’s brain operate in optimal function.
Mushrooms contain choline, which is great for enhancing muscle movement. The nutrient choline is in mushrooms, and it helps develop robust and healthy muscles, which can keep a piggie strong and active. Plus, choline can help improve the movement of muscles and coordination, making a guinea pig maneuver well throughout their daily activities and prevent accidents.
The choline in mushrooms may also reduce inflammation in piggies. Injuries and disease can cause swelling and soreness in guinea pigs, causing a guinea pig to feel pain and lethargy. Luckily, choline in mushrooms can help alleviate the symptoms, helping a guinea pig feel better until they fully recover from the disease or injury.
The Negative Health Effects of Mushrooms
Firstly, guinea pigs cannot have just any kind of mushroom. There are over 2,000 kinds of edible mushrooms in the world, but that does not mean your guinea pig can eat each variant. Wild mushrooms that you pick from the wild can be dangerous because wild mushrooms can be toxic to guinea pigs. Typical store-bought portobello, white button, enoki, oyster, etc., are usually fine for piggies.
Wild mushrooms can be a choking hazard to guinea pigs. Plus, they can cause symptoms like dizziness, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, etc. If a guinea pig exhibits these symptoms after eating a wild mushroom, they need to go to a vet right away. However, store-bought mushrooms like portobello and white button mushrooms are not toxic, so they will likely not experience these problems.
It is important to remember that guinea pigs cannot throw up. If they ingest anything that makes their tummy upset, they cannot simply vomit. Moreover, the bad food and toxins will go through their body, leading to a number of problems like poisoning. Therefore, sticking to safe mushrooms at the store is the best option when feeding a cavy mushrooms.
One of the most important nutrients that guinea pigs need is vitamin C, but mushrooms do not contain a lot of vitamin C. Their regular diets are usually high in vitamin C because they cannot store or make their own. Therefore, filling a cavy’s tummy with mushrooms will only make them feel full, but it will not provide much nourishment.
Mushrooms are low in calcium, and that is good because too much calcium in adult guinea pigs can cause bladder stones. However, mushrooms contain phosphate, which can cause phosphate stones, which is another type of bladder stone. Ideally, guinea pigs should get a balance of phosphate and calcium in low doses to prevent stones. Therefore, only small servings of mushrooms are recommended, but omitting it may be better for unhealthy guinea pigs.
It is also important to note that not all guinea pigs are the same. Each guinea pig has a different body and different immune system. Therefore, some guinea pigs would not tolerate mushrooms as well as other guinea pigs. Moreover, some piggies may even be allergic to mushrooms. If a guinea pig experiences any odd symptoms or reactions after eating mushrooms, stop feeding them mushrooms immediately. Additionally, a cavy may need to see a vet if their symptoms persist.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Wild Mushrooms?
No, as stated earlier, guinea pigs cannot eat wild mushrooms. Finding random mushrooms in the outdoors and feeding them to a guinea pig is dangerous because they can contain toxins that can significantly harm piggies. Ideally, pet owners should buy safe mushrooms from the store that are free of pesticides and other chemicals.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushroom Stalks?
Yes, given that it is a safe mushroom from a supermarket, a guinea pig can consume mushroom stalks. Regular mushrooms like portobello, white, button, etc., do not have any toxins in their stalks, so guinea pigs can happily munch on them. However, the stalks can have dirt on them, so it is ideal to wash them well before feeding them to a guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw Mushrooms?
Yes, it is best for guinea pigs to eat raw mushrooms. Ideally, the mushrooms should be fresh, free from any black or rotten parts. The fresher, the better. If the mushroom looks old or a bit off, it would not be good for a guinea pig because it can upset their stomachs. Raw, well-washed and cut mushrooms are ok for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Mushrooms?
No, anything that is cooked is not good for guinea pigs, and that includes cooked mushrooms. Cooking mushrooms will get rid of any little nutrients that it contains, so it will provide less nutritional content for a cavy. Plus, cooked foods are not part of a natural guinea pig’s diet. Therefore, their bodies will not tolerate cooked foods as well as humans, so feeding them raw and fresh mushrooms is better.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushroom Soup?
No, as mentioned earlier, guinea pigs cannot have cooked food, so mushroom soup will not be good for guinea pigs. The only safe drink that guinea pigs can enjoy is water. Plus, mushroom soup often contains a lot of additives, like seasonings and salt, that can harm your guinea pig. These additives are too much for a small cavy’s body, so skipping on mushroom soup entirely would be best.
How Many Mushrooms Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
An adult guinea pig can safely eat a small amount of mushrooms. Typically, a half an inch cube of a portobello mushroom or a small slice of a baby bella or white mushroom is ok for piggies. Remember, guinea pigs have much smaller stomachs than humans, so this amount is enough.
If the adult guinea pig has never had mushrooms before, it would be best to introduce mushrooms to them slowly. That way, pet owners can see if their guinea pigs can tolerate mushrooms. Giving a quarter or half of the recommended serving should be more than enough to observe if a guinea pig has any adverse reactions. If nothing bad happens after twelve hours, then the guinea pig can eat mushrooms.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms?
A healthy adult guinea pig can eat mushrooms once a week. However, it may be ideal to give it to them once every 2-3 weeks, especially if they are not accustomed to mushrooms. Therefore, a mushroom is only a treat for piggies.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Mushrooms?
No, baby guinea pigs cannot eat mushrooms. A guinea pig will require their mother’s milk for the first part of their lives, and then they will start slowly consuming solid food while still drinking their mother’s milk. However, it may not be ideal to give them mushrooms until they have solely been eating solid food for many months. Therefore, a cavy may have to wait until they are 7-9 months old until they can eat mushrooms.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Mushrooms?
It will depend on the guinea pig. Some guinea pigs enjoy mushrooms, while others may not have any interest in mushrooms. Pet owners can offer a small portion of mushrooms to their guinea pigs, but it is normal if they do not want to eat mushrooms.
Guinea pigs can occasionally consume raw, fresh mushrooms as a treat, but it will not be a regular part of their diets. Store-bought, clean mushrooms can offer some benefits for overweight piggies, but they do not have as many nutrients as alternative treats.
- Fresh Mushrooms, ‘Mushroom Nutrition’, https://www.mushroomcouncil.com/nutrition-benefits/, Accessed – 10 May 2021
- SAGE Journals, ‘Nutritional Studies with the Guinea Pig. B-Vitamins other than Pantothenic Acid.’, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.3181/00379727-85-20947?icid=int.sj-abstract.similar-articles.1, Accessed – 10 May 2021
- The National Academics of Sciences Engineering Medicine, ‘Nutrient Requirements of the Guinea Pig’, https://www.nap.edu/read/4758/chapter/6, Accessed – 10 May 2021