Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cheese? Is It Harmful For Them? | Kidadl


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cheese? Is It Harmful For Them?

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Guinea pigs are little creatures that are very common household pets.

Guinea pigs are rodents that belong to the Caviidae family. Cavia porcellus, the guinea pig, is found all across the globe and is often used as test subjects in the trials of food, medicine, and other experimental products.

Pets are fussy eaters and what they eat is often the hardest thing for the owner. Such is also the case with guinea pigs. Certain food products are not well suited for particular creatures and thus, they should be handled with care. Milk, cheese, and other dairy products are harmful to guinea pigs, and you should not let your guinea pig consume them. Always refer to a vet for a diet for your beloved guinea pig and make sure that you follow the instructions and their advice carefully.

If you find our article informative and interesting then do not forget to check out our other special articles: why do squirrels chase each other? And why do rabbits thump?

Do guinea pigs and hamsters eat cheese?

Guinea pigs and hamsters cannot eat cheese. Certain foods work best on specific selective animals, which is also applicable to human beings. Similarly, the food that will be easily digestible for guinea pigs and hamsters should only be provided to them.

First of all, these animals are herbivorous, that is, they only feed on plants. Human food or cheese is a strict no for these little animals. There are numerous types of cheese like cream cheese or cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and other assorted dairy products, which can cause huge problems to the digestive systems of these animals. These creatures are lactose intolerant and thus their digestive tract will not be able to digest any of these dairy products. Moreover, these dairy products are high in fat, and feeding this food to your pet can cause severe diarrhea that can prove to be quite fatal.

Next, let us take a look at the guinea pig's diet. The chief constituents of the guinea pig's diet are fruits and vegetables. Grass, hay, vegetables like lettuce, and fruits are the healthiest foods that you can provide to your little pet. They can digest this fresh food, which also greatly enhances their immune system since these foods contain a high source of vitamins and other important minerals like calcium and phosphorus. The teeth of guinea pigs are ever-growing. Serving them with chewy toys or small bits of chewy food like hay or grass bits can provide them with the correct nutrition as well as those that contain important minerals like phosphorous and calcium. These creatures remain hearty after eating plants as they are herbivorous creatures. Since they are intolerant to lactose they are unable to consume any food products that contain lactose. Their body is devoid of all the necessary enzymes and chemicals that are required to ingest cheese, and thus, their body fails and reacts in a deadly way. However, remember to refrain from providing treats that have cheese in them so that your precious guinea pig does not fall ill.

What else should you feed them instead of cheese?

As we found out cheese is extremely harmful to guinea pigs. So let’s find an alternative to that food. It should also be kept in mind that the alternative should be good, meet the standards that are necessary nutritionally, and should be available easily. Finding the alternative to cheese for guinea pigs is relatively easy, so let us take a look at treats that you can provide to your precious guinea pig.

Since these little creatures are herbivores, it is essential that we provide them with food that is plant-based. Fruits and vegetables, thus, fit perfectly in being the best alternative to cheese for guinea pigs. Some examples of these would be grapes, bananas, berries, cucumber, sweet pepper, squash, pumpkins, and other similar edible plant products. All these food products have great nutritional value, are cheap, are easily found, and lastly, they are also beneficial for your little guinea pig’s body. These food products are rich in vitamins and important minerals like calcium and phosphorus, which are essential to the health of your guinea pig.

Little guinea pig on green grass looking for cheese.

What happens if a guinea pig eats cheese?

Failing to meet the proper nutrition and health of food your guinea pigs eat can make your guinea pig unwell, however, serious harm can befall upon your pet if your guinea pigs consume cheese or other dairy products. Here, we will take a look at the effects of consuming cheese by guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant creatures and thus, they cannot handle any foods that contain milk or cheese. Just like a lactose intolerant person would suffer serious distress if they consume milk, similarly, guinea pigs eating cheese would yield similar results. Plant products are the ideal diet that guinea pigs eat. Their diet consists of foods that contain hay, grass, fresh plants like lettuce, fruit, and other chewy treats to control their evergrowing teeth. This diet is perfect for guinea pigs as they contain important supplements like calcium and phosphorus.

However, the main problem arises when guinea pigs eat cheese. Cheese has an adverse effect on the body of your little guinea pig body and causes immense distress to the gastric tracts that lead to diarrhea. Stopping diarrhea is extremely crucial as it can be fatal to your pet. Consult a vet immediately and follow the advice and directions of the vet at all times. Before taking your pet to the vet, you can try to induce vomiting by feeding your little creature with saline solution. Although it is best to seek help from a veterinarian. The vet will then undergo numerous procedures on the little one before discharging them. Cheese and other similar products prove poisonous for guinea pigs as these are herbivorous creatures and are not meant to eat cheese. If by chance, they feed on these food products as a part of their diet, their body will not be able to digest them. The body of a herbivorous animal that is lactose intolerant in nature, lacks the necessary enzymes and other chemicals required to digest cheese and other similar dairy products.

Can your guinea pig eat vegan cheese?

As we already know, all dairy products are harmful for guinea pigs to eat, but what if you could give them vegan or dairy-free cheese? The answer to that is no, the contents of vegan cheese will still harm your guinea pig.

First, let's discuss what is vegan or dairy-free cheese and what it is made of. Vegan cheese is made of entirely animal-free ingredients. They contain ingredients, like peas, agar, various nuts, arrowroot, tapioca, vegetable oil, soy, and more. A lot of them also contain thickeners, like carrageenan or xanthan gum, and added starches. The process of making vegan cheese follows the same process as any other normal animal milk cheese, so some nutrients in vegan cheese stay the same as animal milk cheese.

Next, let's see the nutrients similar in both vegan cheese and animal milk cheese: sodium, calcium, and protein. They are found in lesser amounts in vegan cheese, but they are still present. For example, in dairy cheese, the fat content is about 20-30%, whereas, in vegan cheese, that comes down to about 12.5% per serving. About 31% of this 12.5% stays in a saturated form. When compared to the amount of fat a guinea pig should have, this amount is much more than that. Saturated fat leads to obesity in a guinea pig and causes poor blood flow in various organs of their body. It also contains salt similar to dairy cheese. If the intake of sodium is too high, it will cause dehydration and urinary stones in your pet. In the end, your pet will get sick from vegan cheese if you give them a small amount even once.

Vegan cheese might not cause all the health issues similar to animal milk cheese, but it will cause health problems nonetheless and veterinary care should be sought out.

What other foods should your guinea pig not eat?

You have learned that cheese is harmful to your guinea pig, but there might be more harmful things that your guinea pig could eat that you might not know about, like meat, garlic, nuts, candy or chocolate, seeds, beans, and more.

Here are a few things that might cause minor health problems in your guinea pig or might cause poisoning in them:

Any kind of meat: the digestive tract of a guinea pig is not made to eat or digest any kind of meat and that includes dog food and cat food. It will not only cause digestive problems, the excessive amount of iron, and cholesterol will also affect the other organs of their body.

Garlic: garlic can be poisonous to guinea pigs. It contains excessive amounts of phosphorus and calcium, which are harmful to them. Garlic can cause digestive issues, bleeding problems, low blood pressure, respiratory problems, and pain in your pet.

Vegetables of the onion family: onions, chives, shallots, leeks, and more are members of the onion family. These all contain two compounds, disulfide, and thiosulphate, which are very harmful to guinea pigs. It can cause hypersalivation, digestive issues, urinary problems, anemia, and even death.

Beets, rhubarb, spinach, and endives: these few vegetables, along with sweet potatoes, star fruit, turnip greens, and more are high in oxalic acid. Similar to excessive calcium, oxalic acid can cause stones to form in your pet's urinary tract and kidneys. It will lessen the survival chance of your pet significantly.

Chocolate and other candies: chocolate or any type of other candies can be poisonous to guinea pigs and can even kill them. Chocolates contain theobromine, caffeine, and high levels of fat. All these can be extremely harmful to the very sensitive to the tiny health system of your guinea pig.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for can guinea pigs eat cheese then why not take a look at how far can a skunk spray or guinea pig facts pages?

<p>With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature.&nbsp;</p>

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