Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bread?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bread-

We all love bread and sometimes we think our pets eat bread too. In fact, we confuse many of our foods to be pet foods as well. Sometimes we give these foods to our pets without knowing the dangers or merits to some of them. Some of them can be safe to eat by our pets, but other foods create discomfort or even serious health issues. If you keep a guinea pig, you have to admit that you often wonder about bread. What could go wrong if your cavy tried bread or something pastry-like? We think bread is such an essential and basic food that nothing could go wrong with such a neutral taste. So let’s find out whether your adorable guinea pig can enjoy some bread once in a while.

Can guinea pigs eat bread? The answer is no, they can consume it but it is not very recommended because they can die eating it. However, this is a very delicate answer. The bread doesn’t have many nutrients, especially for the guinea pigs and its processing in the digestive system is compromised. Also, if the bread is more crunchy it is generally safer for the guinea pig. If the bread is very soft and chewy, it is a hazard for the guinea pig because it might stick to their mouth and even choke them.

Benefits of Guinea Pig Eating Bread

Every once in a while, it’s good to treat the cavy to something special, even those foods called ‘forbidden pleasures’. They may not be the healthiest versions of foods, but we all cheat once in a while with tasty snacks, right?

Occasionally, bread crusts are ok for the guinea pig. In general, bread products are not good for the cavies and can make lots of health issues, from bloating to sticking to teeth and choking them. But, when you give the cavy stale or crispy bread crusts, it is not that bad. These crusts are digested easier (since the doughs soft part in the middle is dried out or removed), and such a crunchy snack is much healthier than plain, soft bread.

With the bread crusts, the cavy receives only a dehydrated part of the bread, without the dough-y soft part in the middle that is a risky one. Crusts will not stick to the teeth and mouth of the guinea pig, and they will be better digested, and there will be less or no bloating, gas, and diarrhea. So, we can say crusts are the ‘lesser evil’ when compared to soft, fresh bread.

So, we can say the only benefit cavies have from eating the crusts (or the bread for that matter) is simply the different taste incorporated in their diet, once in a while.

Compared to fruits and veggies that are packed with minerals and vitamins, bread has only empty calories and lacks the other nutrients, this is why the only benefit here is simply the taste variety in the cavy’s diet. Doesn’t this count as well? It does. There are benefits of occasionally incorporating forbidden foods or treats in the cavy’s diet. You can have the healthiest cavy in the world, but it will be super happy if it tries some extra tasty foods once in a while – even just for the taste!

Think of it this way; we humans also should avoid sugars or junk foods, but sometimes the greatest pleasure is trying those foods, even rarely. It is the same with guinea pigs; they also have a sense of what is tasty and not tasty, and nibbling on bread or crusts rarely can be a delightful treat prize for them.

Nutrition Facts of Bread

In general, bread does not offer much-needed nutrients the cavies need. In fact, for the guinea pigs, it has almost no nutritional value and great benefits, apart from just filling up the stomach with calories.

The bread as we know is dough and does not offer the cavies the essential vitamin C for their overall health. Here is what bread contains:

  • 74 calories in total
  • Proteins (for overall muscle health and energy) 2.9 g
  • Carbs (for fast energy all day long) 15.1 g
  • Fats (for optimal daily needs for energy) 0.7 g
  • Fibers (for good digestion) 1.2 g

Can the cavies eat other things similar to bread, maybe crackers or pretzels? These snacks, after all, are similar to bread and are basically dough prepared differently and baked.

Under no circumstances feed the cavy such things! Avoid crisps, chips, pretzels, crackers and similar snacks. They are too greasy, seasoned and with additives, so their digestion will be just as complex as the regular bread, if not worse.

Risks to Consider When Feeding Bread to Guinea Pigs

The greatest risk for guinea pigs that eat bread is the digestive system disturbance and imbalance. Unlike us humans, the guinea pigs do not digest pastries and doughs with ease and suffer from certain discomforts of this kind.

The most important thing is to offer bread rarely as a very special treat because too much and too often causes bloating. This can be very serious and impede the good digestion of your cavy. Notice if the belly of your cavy changes –  if it’s bloated it will look sort of rounder or distended. At least, this is gas buildup, but it can be worse sometimes. If it’s a more serious type of bloating, the cavy would breathe heavily, be restless in movements, have interrupted bowels, fatigue and visible lack of appetite. This can be very serious and if this happens, take the cavy to the vet as soon as you can. The treatment might include antibiotics, pain meds or even surgery, and sadly, bloating can repeat itself if nutrition is not improved.

Another risk factor is when the bread is too soft and fresh, almost chewy soft. This bread, when chewed can easily get stuck around the mouth and teeth of the cavy, making it suffocate or choke! Very white and especially soft bread is a great hazard of this kind.

White bread tends to create more side effects from bad digestion, compared to brown flour bread.

Other common problems in the gastrointestinal region are gases, vomiting, diarrhea, and pains.

You surely don’t want your guinea pig to suffer from such discomforts and pains, so avoid bread and doughs as much as you can. Give it only as a treat, in a very small amount, and very rarely.

Quick Facts on “Bread and Guinea Pigs’

  • Cavies can eat bread, technically, but it is not recommended
  • Digestion of bread is difficult
  • Excess consumption on doughs, pastries/bread can make the guinea pig bloated, constipated or can cause discomfort and gases
  • Chewy and very soft white bread can get stuck on their teeth and around the mouth and it presents a choking hazard
  • Bread is a treat for guinea pigs, not real food
  • White bread is bad for cavies, brown is a better option
  • There are no nutrients in bread for the health of guinea pig

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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Clarissa Moolbrock

Clarissa Moolbrock is one of the founders and editor at Guinea Pig Tube. She is also an author of "Complete Guinea Pig Care Guide: The Essential, Practical Guide To All Aspects of Caring for Your Guinea Pigs" (available on Amazon). Being a veterinary technician helping animals and sharing her experience and knowledge with other guinea pig owners is her passion. Her life goal is to popularise guinea pigs as pets and that is why she has started Guinea Pig Tube website.