Anytime you want to feed your little pets, you must take a lot of things into consideration. Before you give your guinea pig anything new, you need to research that specific food in order to see if it can harm your pet. You don’t want to give them foods that are detrimental to their health. As in some cases, an improper diet can even lead to fatal outcomes.
The truth is, just like humans, many pets like guinea pigs are allergic to certain kinds of food. So, owners must be very careful not to feed them toxic foods, but foods that will be beneficial to their health, growth and help them to fight against any diseases. Now, let’s find out is avocado good for guinea pigs.
So, can guinea pigs eat avocado? Guinea pigs can’t eat avocados because of their high-fat content. Foods high in fat can cause them digestion problems and intestinal malfunction. Also, there is a toxin called “persin” in avocados (especially in avocado leaves), which can be very dangerous if consumed by guinea pigs.
Avocado is a very nutritious and exotic fruit that is often found in many of the human meals. However, avocado can be damaging to animals such as guinea pigs, cats, horses, dogs, etc. In the following sections, you can read more important information about the guinea pig and avocado. Find what are the risks of including avocado in their diet, what happens if you feed avocado to them, and more. Let’s start!
Nutrition Facts of Avocado
The following is a nutritional chart for the 100 grams of avocado:
- Energy – 160 kcal
- Protein – 2 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 14.66 g
- Carbs – 8.53 g
- Dietary Fiber – 6.7 g
- Sugars – 0.66 g
- Calcium – 12 mg
- Iron – 0.55 mg
- Magnesium – 29 mg
- Phosphorus – 52 mg
- Potassium – 485 mg
- Sodium – 7 mg
- Zinc – 0.64 mg
- Copper – 0.19 mg
- Selenium – 0.4 µg
- Vitamin C – 10 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.257 mg
- Vitamin A – 7 µg
- Vitamin E – 2.07 mg
- Vitamin K – 21 µg
- Folate – 81 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 271 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Avocado to Guinea Pigs
Avocados can be extremely toxic to guinea pigs. The skin, flesh, and seeds of the avocado contain an oil-soluble compound called persin. The highest quantities of this toxin are present in the leaves of the avocado and can be very harmful and poisoning for guinea pigs and many other animals.
We can’t say how much of avocado is fatal for different animals as that depends on the animal species. Some of the symptoms of avocado poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, fluid accumulation around the heart and lungs. Unfortunately, all these symptoms can lead to death. So, feeding avocados to guinea pigs should be completely avoided.
Bad for Digestion
The high-fat content in the avocado meat is also not good for guinea pigs. It can affect and slow down its digestive process. Even naturally, guinea pigs do not enjoy eating avocados. You definitely don’t want to force something that is both unhealthy and distasteful at the same time on your guinea pigs.
As we’ve said, avocados are high in fat, and due to that, there is a possibility of developing pancreatitis in guinea pigs. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the organ called the pancreas. So, avoid feeding avocados to guinea pigs and provide them foods that are low in fat. This is very important because pancreatitis can be fatal to guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are unfortunately very prone to getting some urinary problems, and their diet affects that a lot. Food rich in calcium and sodium can result in urinary difficulties, such as bladder or kidney stones. Signs of these problems may be blood in the urine, loss appetite, and usually, guinea pigs will have difficulties with urinating or will be unable to urinate as well. This is important because there is also some calcium and sodium in avocados, so it would be better to avoid them in guinea pig’s daily diet.
Avocados are relatively high in fat, calories, protein, and carbs in comparison to other vegetables. Guinea pigs usually have problems with weight and obesity if fed with foods that are high in these nutrients. This is one more reason why avocados are not preferred as food for guinea pigs. Obesity can lead to many health issues.
This can maybe confuse owners because people who have problems with obesity have avocados in their diet. That’s because avocados keep them feeling full for a long time and can reduce appetite, but there is no evidence that avocados cause weight loss. Also, guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they usually eat foods that are low in fat.
Problems with Cardiovascular System
When we talk about obesity, it’s important to mention that obesity and weight gain can lead to severe cardiovascular problems. Avocados are fattening, and they are not good for guinea pig’s blood vessels and, in general, for their blood and cardiovascular system. Also, as we have mentioned above, there is a possibility of avocado poisoning, and one of the symptoms can be fluid accumulation around the heart and lungs.
Avocados are not a good fit for guinea pigs and other similar animals. Even for humans, the hard skin and the seed have to be removed first before eating. If your guinea pig eats some avocado accidentally, don’t panic. Just pay attention to the guinea pig and if it has some symptoms mentioned above, then you should visit the vet.
More Information About Avocado and Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Avocado Leaves?
Guinea pigs can’t eat avocado leaves because these leaves are the most toxic part of the avocado. Leaves contain the largest amount of toxin persin, so feeding avocado leaves to your guinea pig can be very risky. These leaves can actually kill your guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Avocado Pit / Avocado Seed?
Guinea pigs can’t eat avocado pit or avocado seed because this seed also contains the toxin persin. We’ve already said how dangerous this toxin can be to guinea pigs. But, even ignoring that, an avocado seed can be a choking hazard to them. This is why it’s important to avoid feeding guinea pigs with avocado seeds.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Avocado Skin?
Avocado skin is also unsafe for guinea pigs, and they can’t eat it. This skin also contains an oil-soluble toxic poison called persin, just like any other part of the avocado. Furthermore, avocado skin has a hard texture that can be very difficult for them to digest.
If the guinea pig ate just a small amount of the avocado skin, do not panic. Your guinea pig will be alright. Still, keep an eye on its behavior for any changes. Now, if your guinea pig overate on the avocado skins, immediately visit the vet. Sometimes you can’t leave anything to chance, and the vet can help your guinea pig by applying proper medicine to cure the effects of the poison. Just keep your head cool, and everything will be okay.
Quick Facts on Avocado
- Avocado (sometimes called an avocado pear or alligator pear) is a popular and highly prized fruit.
- It has a wide range of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals.
- Avocados have a lot of fat (total 60%) derived from oleic acid, palmitic acid, and linoleic acid.
- Many people confuse avocado as a vegetable, but in fact, avocado is a fruit.
- There are around 500 types of avocados in the world.
- Avocados can be eaten either raw or cooked in meals.
- Avocados are usually grown and cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates around the world.
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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List of Sources
National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Laboratory Animal Nutrition, Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995., Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1995.
Norman, R., Wills, A. P., An Investigation into the Relationship between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus), Animals: an open access journal from MDPI, 2016.
Witkowska, A., Price, J., Hughes, C., Smith, D., White, K., Alibhai, A., Rutland C. S., The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig, Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science, 2017.
Kovalkovičová, N., Sutiaková, I., Pistl, J., Sutiak, V., Some food toxic for pets, Interdisciplinary toxicology, 2009.