Chocolate lovers pay attention because today we are discussing the tastiest thing in the world – chocolate! Truth be told, every single person loves to eat sweets, some more, some less. But, sweets like chocolate are the treat that is an all-time favorite in our history. Eating chocolate improves the mood and satisfies our cravings for sugar. It is so tasty that sometimes even our pets love it. But, is this the case with our guinea pigs? Let’s find out!
Can guinea pigs eat chocolate? No, guinea pigs cannot eat chocolate. The guinea pigs have fragile and very sensitive digestive systems because of that they cannot digest sugars well. Consuming sweets causes them cramps and pains or even stool changes.
Also, chocolate contains the nutrient theobromine, which has a similar effect to caffeine, and guinea pigs cannot consume caffeine as well. The reason for this is that caffeine can speed up the heart rate of the guinea pig and this can even be fatal.
It is a real bummer that our guinea pigs cannot enjoy this delicious treat. But, on the bright side, at least they won’t have digestive problems and they will be healthy if they don’t consume chocolate. Isn’t that the most important thing? Next time you get chocolate, don’t save a piece for the guinea pig, but feel free to eat the whole thing yourself. No matter how much the guinea pig sniffs around the chocolate and ‘begs’ for it, never let him eat a single piece. In the sections below we have more details for chocolate and guinea pigs, so keep on reading.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Chocolate
The guinea pigs cannot consume chocolate because it affects their digestion and heart pressure among other things. In a nutshell, chocolate is an unsafe food for the guinea pigs. However, if we imagine that they can eat chocolate, some of the benefits would be antioxidants, overall health and immunity and healthy blood. Still, the risks of bad stomach problems are just too serious for these benefits and you can also have all these benefits from other safe guinea pig foods.
Nutrition Facts on Chocolate
Here are the nutrition facts for 100 g (3 oz) of chocolate, dark:
- High in calories – 599
- High in carbs – 45.8g
- Protein – 7.8g
- Fiber – 10.9g
- High in sugar – 24g
- High in fat – 42.7g
- Vitamin A – 1%
- Vitamin K – 9%
- Thiamin – 2%
- Riboflavin – 5%
- Niacin – 5%
- Vitamin B6 – 2%
- Vitamin B12 – 5%
- Pantothenic acid – 4%
- Calcium – 73mg
- Iron – 11.9mg
- Magnesium – 228mg
- Phosphorus – 31%
- Potassium – 20%
- Zinc – 22%
- Copper – 88%
- Manganese – 97%
- Selenium – 10%
- Cholesterol – 2mg
Source: Dark Chocolate – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Risks to Consider When Giving Chocolate to Guinea Pigs
- Rapid weight gain – chocolate is full of calories, carbs, sugar, and fat too. All of these nutrients cause the most weight gain, especially if consumed in excess. We all know that sweets like chocolate cause weight gain, because they are addictive as well and nobody can just have a little bit. In this case, there is not even a little bit for the cavy. Weight gain is the least of problems for the guinea pig that eats chocolate, just read below!
- Digestion problems – in chocolate, there is also theobromine and sugar. These two nutrients will cause instant cramps and pains in the stomach of the guinea pig. The poor little thing might enjoy the taste of this treat, but immediately after that, it will feel ill. The sugars will upset the digestion, and the theobromine can even cause nausea.
- Heart pressure problems – the nutrient theobromine in chocolate also acts like caffeine. It stimulates the nervous system and it speeds up the metabolism, so it means the heart works faster too. This is dangerous mostly for small organisms, such as the small body of the guinea pig. The increased heart rate can be very dangerous for the cavy, even fatal! There is a risk of the high blood pressure along with the increased heart rate, and it is obvious why this is dangerous.
- Urinary problems – the two extremely dangerous nutrients in chocolate are the calcium and phosphorus. Of course, we mentioned the other dangerous nutrients above, but these two are the greatest threat to the urinary system of cavies. The calcium and phosphorus can cause bladder and kidney stones, blood in urine, painful urinating, and urinary infections too. If this is not cured in time, it can develop into renal failure (kidneys stop functioning).
My Guinea Pig Ate Chocolate! What Should I Do?
First, don’t panic. It depends on how much did the guinea pig eat. If it was just a little bit, the guinea pig will probably be fine, with some cramps or digestive problems, unfortunately. If it was a lot of chocolate, there could be severe digestive issues and diarrhea even, along with nausea too. Whatever the amount was, pay close attention to the guinea pig; how it behaves, does it look sick or nauseous, does it make upset sounds, and monitor the stool too.
It is a good idea to call the vet or see him if this happens. In the meantime, make sure the guinea pig drinks some water, or munches on some cucumber, or lettuce. This can help the cavy feel a bit ‘refreshed’ and hydrated.
Fun Facts on Chocolate
- Did you know about the strange invention of the M&Ms? They were invented for the purpose of soldiers carrying chocolates with them when the weather was hot.
- Chocolate doesn’t quite melt in the hands, it melts in your mouth!
- Often, in bookstores, there is a smell of chocolate, and this increases sales! A study found out that this scent made all book customers buy more and browse more books.
- The biggest chocolate bar in the world weighed 12.770 lbs and it was made in the UK.
- White chocolate is not chocolate, technically. It doesn’t have the brown cocoa solids as the regular chocolate. This is simply just sugar and cocoa butter, not a cocoa bean!
- To make one pound of chocolate, you need 400 cocoa beans.
- A cacao tree produces 2.500 cacao beans.
- For a tree to produce the very first cacao beans, you would have to wait circa 5 years.
- Red wine has 200 flavor compounds, but chocolate has more than 600!
- In the past, cacao beans were so valuable, they were used as currency.
- The tree that is used for making chocolate is called Theobroma cacao, and this also means ‘food of the gods’.
- The first chocolate bar worldwide was made by the English brand for chocolates, Cadbury, back in 1842.
- The famous Nutella was invented in WW2. The Italian chef and pastry maker mixed some hazelnuts into chocolate to increase the amount of this ‘food’ item.
Source: Chocolate: Facts, History, and Factory Tour | Exploratorium Magazine
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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