In this article, we are going to talk about a certain beverage that everyone likes – tea. Often, tea does not contain just herbal aromas, but fruit as well, which makes it even better for some of us. We love a hot cup of tea during the cold months when we snuggle up with the cup and a nice movie. Or, we love the cold version of it, the ‘ice tea’ which is basically cooled and sweetened tea. The tea is a delicious beverage that even pairs well with milk – English style of consuming it. Now let’s check if the guinea pigs are allowed to consume this drink.
Can guinea pigs drink tea? No, guinea pigs cannot drink tea. The main reason for this is that some types of tea contain caffeine, and this ingredient is not good for guinea pigs. Also, many types of tea contain more than just herbs. Some types have artificial sweeteners or even artificial colors, which obviously are bad for anyone, especially for the guinea pigs.
Tea is obviously a risky beverage for the guinea pigs. You can never know for sure which type of tea is organic and natural. Even those teas that are 100% natural still could have some traces of caffeine or other ingredients that are not good for the cavy. Of course there is always the option of boiling some tea at home, with herbs you have bought from organic food stores, but still, it is not worth to risk it. The guinea pig is better off without this. If you are interested to know more about tea and guinea pigs read the following section below.
Main Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Drinking Tea
The main reason why guinea pigs can’t drink tea is caffeine and theobromine content. These two will act as stimulants for the body (wide blood vessels, more urinating, irregular heart work…)
However, if they could sip some tea, the benefits would be antioxidant protection and good digestion.
Nutrition Facts on Tea
We will present the nutrition facts for 100 g (3 oz) of black tea, prepared with tap water:
- Low in calories – 1
- Low in carbs – 0.3g
- Zero protein
- Zero fiber
- Zero sugar
- Zero fat
- Riboflavin – 1%
- Folate – 1%
- Magnesium – 1%
- Manganese – 11%
- Caffeine – 22mg
- Theobromine – 2mg
Have you heard of the nutrient theobromine which is found in this tea? Theobromine is an alkaloid, a bitter one! It is found in the cacao plant and also chocolate, kola nut, and other plants. In the ‘Risks’ section below, we will cover the side effects of excess theobromine.
As you can see, this type of tea, for example, lacks many essential nutrients for the guinea pig. It lacks almost all vitamins, one of them is the vitamin C, the crucial survival vitamin for guinea pigs. It also has a lot of caffeine which is totally unacceptable for the guinea pig.
Risks to Consider When Giving Tea to Guinea Pigs
- Theobromine toxicity – if the guinea pig tries the black tea for example or similar tasting teas, it will be almost the same as eating large amounts of chocolate or having too much coffee! Yes, this nutrient is kinda addictive, and that is why we all love sweets and coffee. But, just imagine the bad effect this will have on the poor little cavy. If there is excess theobromine in the guinea pig’s system, it will have an effect of a strong stimulant. It will act as a diuretic (more urinating), also as a vasodilator (it will widen the blood vessels, and this is bad because it might cause fatal bleeding in certain organs)
- Also, too much theobromine can cause diarrhea and nausea. The guinea pig will feel ill and it wouldn’t be able to tell you! Notice any signs it shows, like strange movements, skipping, or upset sounds.
- No nutritional benefits for the immune system – tea lacks many nutrients that are good for the guinea pig. For example, it has no good vitamins. It lacks vitamin A which acts as an antioxidant for the whole immune system and all organs. Also, it lacks vitamin C that protects the guinea pigs from the scurvy disease (symptoms are: rough coat, loss of appetite, weight loss, bleeding, diarrhea, discharge).
What If I Boil Some Mild Herbal Tea for the Guinea Pig, Instead of the Strong Black Tea?
It is still not worth the risk. Even milder herbal teas contain some nutrients that could affect the guinea pig in a strange way. You can never know for sure how the organism of the guinea pig will react to the tea. Just to be safe, no tea for the guinea pig.
Fun Facts on Tea
- An average British person drinks 876 cups per year!
- The legend says that tea was discovered by Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor, back in 2737 BC. His herbs fell into some hot water, and tea was ‘made’ by accident.
- For centuries, tea was used as medicine.
- The Portuguese Jesuit Father Jasper de Cruz introduced tea to Europe back in 1560.
- The tea was called ‘China drink’ in the past, and it was introduced to the British people 4 centuries ago.
- Turks drink the most tea worldwide, even more than the Brits.
- Green tea and black tea are made of the very same plant!
- In America, people prefer to have the tea cold.
- Certain cultures add butter to the tea! In the Himalayas, the tradition is to add butter to black tea.
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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