Guinea pigs are super adorable and cute and what makes them so adorable is the way they munch on their food. The owners of guinea pigs often get carried away and feed their pets with almost anything. Sadly, they can’t eat processed or cooked “human” food, which also means no junk food. You need to get informed if you can or can’t feed your guinea pigs with these delicious treats. Now we are going to talk specifically about crackers and if guinea pigs can eat them.
Can guinea pigs eat crackers? Guinea pigs can’t eat crackers because they are a type of processed food. Crackers have a lot of salt, oil and are made with flour. These things make it unfit for the digestive system of guinea pigs. Their organism can’t digest snacks and sugars (among other things).
It’s normal sometimes to be confused about snacks. Are they good in moderation, at least? What’s wrong with giving the guinea pigs some crackers here and there? Well, snacks are tasty for humans but for pets, they can be a health hazard. Let’s find out more about the risks of crackers as a snack for guinea pigs.
Nutrition Facts of Crackers
Crackers are not the healthiest brand of food. They are snacks for humans, and not necessarily a good one. Guinea pigs are not supposed to eat these foods because they lack important nutrients that are vital for their health. The following are the nutritional facts for 100 g of water crackers:
- Energy – 384 kcal
- Protein – 7.14 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 7.14 g
- Carbs – 72.81 g
- Dietary fiber – 7.1 g
- Sugars – 0 g
- Calcium – 0 mg
- Iron – 0 mg
- Magnesium – 20 mg
- Phosphorus – 100 mg
- Potassium – 99 mg
- Sodium – 571 mg
- Zinc – 0.65 mg
- Copper – 0.133 mg
- Selenium – 31.3 µg
- Vitamin C – 0 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.041 mg
- Vitamin B-12 – 0 µg
- Vitamin A – 0 µg
- Vitamin E – 0.29 mg
- Vitamin D – 0 µg
- Vitamin K – 1.8 µg
- Folates – 24 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 17 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Crackers to Guinea Pigs
Lack of Vitamin C and Vitamin A
Crackers lack many important nutrients that are needed for the optimal health and functioning of guinea pigs. For example, they lack the essential and most important vitamin C. This vitamin is crucial for guinea pigs, and without it, they can develop many illnesses and health problems. Mostly, when guinea pigs lack vitamin C, they get a disease called scurvy. This disease occurs due to a severe deficiency of vitamin C. In other words, guinea pigs cannot create vitamin C on their own, so they need to get it from foods.
Also, there is no vitamin A in crackers. Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that protects guinea pigs from free radical damage. Also, this vitamin fights inflammation, and it is beneficial for improving guinea pig’s eyesight.
Another risk of feeding the guinea pigs with crackers is that they contain a lot of fat. The digestive system of guinea pigs is delicate, and their belly will get upset after eating crackers. Also, guinea pigs cannot consume too much salt. This snack has too much salt, and this cannot be digested well by guinea pigs. The extra oils, salt, and flour will cause bloating, gases, excessive thirst, or even constipation. All of this can have fatal consequences.
Crackers contain a lot of calories, carbs, protein, fat, and if guinea pigs consume them, they can gain weight. Crackers with cheese are especially bad for guinea pig’s weight because cheese also contains many fats. All of these nutrients aren’t good for guinea pigs and can lead to obesity and shorten their lifespan.
Crackers, especially ones with salt on them, contain a lot of sodium. Too much sodium isn’t good for guinea pigs because it can cause an increase in blood pressure. Also, crackers are very caloric and contain too much fat, which isn’t good for blood vessels and blood pressure. All of this can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in guinea pigs.
One benefit of the crackers is that they have no calcium. This might be good for the cavy because calcium creates bladder and kidney stones in guinea pigs. However, this one benefit does not make crackers good for guinea pigs. After all, many nutrients are lacking in crackers, so this is a minor, unimportant benefit.
List of Some Crackers Guinea Pigs Can’t Eat
1. Ritz Crackers
2. Graham Crackers
3. Animal Crackers
4. Goldfish Crackers
5. Saltine Crackers
6. Club Crackers
7. Cream Crackers
8. Oyster Crackers
9. Peanut Butter Crackers
10. Prawn Crackers
11. Rice Crackers
These are just some of the most common crackers but it is important to note that guinea pigs can’t eat any types of crackers. They are simply herbivore animals and they can’t eat processed foods. With all of this in mind simply avoid crackers in their diets.
Quick Facts on Crackers
- John Pearson made the first cracker in 1792.
- The word “cracker” originated from the crackling sound created by the accidental burning of the biscuit.
- The holes on crackers are there for a reason, and they allow steam to flow during cooking.
- There are many varieties of crackers in the world.
- Crackers are typically shaped circular or square.
- Crackers can also be made in other shapes, such as different animals, fishes, stars, and triangles.
- Crackers are commonly eaten as snacks, with sliced meat, cheese, and vegetables.
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
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.
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.
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