Can Guinea Pigs Eat Crackers?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Crackers

Guinea pigs are super-adorable and cute. What makes them so adorable is the way they munch on things and foods. After all, they are rodents and their job is to chew on something all the time! The owners of guinea pigs often get carried away and feed their cavies with anything. Sadly, they can’t eat every ‘human’ food, and sometimes this means no ‘human junk food’. You need to get informed if you can or can’t feed your cavy with these delicious treats.

Can guinea pigs eat crackers? The answer is: no. Guinea pigs technically can eat everything, even crackers, but it doesn’t mean they should. Crackers belong to the group of unhealthy snacks (even for humans!) and cavies shouldn’t eat them either. This type of food has an excess of salt and oil and is made with flour. These things make it unfit for the digestive system of guinea pigs. Guinea pigs feed on fresh produce; fruits and veggies mostly. Their organisms are not made for digesting 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 cavy some crackers here and there? The cavy must like crackers because they are forbidden food, right? Well, cavies can like something, but it’s up to the owner if they will have it as food. Snacks are tasty for humans and pets, but for pets, they can be a health hazard. Let’s find out more about crackers as a snack for cavies.

Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Crackers

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 cavies. After all, many nutrients are lacking in crackers, so this is a minor, unimportant benefit.

A possible ‘benefit’ is the taste and nothing more. If this counts, then yes, the cavy has the benefit of trying something delicious (instead of just veggies!). Still, the cavy’s health is more important than the amazing taste.

Another benefit might be the ‘no fat’ in crackers. This is good for those on a diet or those that need filler foods. But, cavies are not concerned with calories, weight, or ‘fitness’ snacks. For cavies, zero fat in foods is not important, but nutrients are important, and crackers have no nutrients.

So, since regular crackers offer nothing healthy for guinea pigs, what are the alternatives? If you think crackers in pet stores are ok, you’re wrong.

Instead, make your own crackers for the lovely cavy! You can make sweet snacks from water, pellets, veggie oil, fruit and oat flour. Mix these into a dough, and use a cookie cutter to make the crackers. Bake them on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes, on 350 degrees and cool them after baking.

Or get dehydrated veggies, mix them with water, pellets, and oat flour cut shapes from the dough, and bake them.

Also, try mashed carrot, pellets, oats (and oat flour), parsley and water. Make the dough, cut the shapes and bake! Alter the recipe if you want with other veggies. The cavy would love this!

Nutrition Facts of Crackers

Crackers are not the healthiest brand of food there is. This is a snack, for both humans and pets, but not necessarily a good one. This is why it’s eaten in moderation.

Cavies are not supposed to eat these foods, because they lack nutrients for cavies. Let’s see what is in those crackers. Crackers have some good things in small amounts, but they have no nutritional importance for guinea pigs.

The nutritional values for one cracker:

  • Total of 14 calories
  • 3 g fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol (good, because cholesterol clogs up blood vessels)
  • 27 mg sodium (this amount of salt is too much for cavies. Cavies cannot process this much salt)
  • 3 mg potassium (important for blood pressure, heart, and kidneys, muscles, metabolism, water balance, and the nervous system)
  • 4 g carbs (for fast, instant energy)
  • 0 g fiber (fiber is needed for good digestion. Crackers have no fibers and this complicates digestion for cavies)
  • 2 g protein (for slow release of energy and muscle strength)
  • 0% vitamin A (vitamin A is antioxidant protecting from free radical damage. Also, it fights inflammation. Crackers don’t offer this vitamin)
  • 0% vitamin C (the much-needed vitamin for cavies. The essential life-saver for cavies. Crackers also lack this vitamin too)
  • 0 % calcium (no calcium in crackers is good for the cavies because this mineral won’t make bladder stones)
  • 2 % iron (for healthy blood)

We won’t tell you how often you can give the cavy crackers. It’s obvious that crackers cannot be given as food.

In fact, this food is a huge no-no for guinea pigs, so give it as rare as you can. Almost never, or once in a blue moon. In other words, if your cavy tried a cracker today, make sure the next cracker is going to be days or weeks from now, or even more!

Let’s go through the more crucial ingredients of crackers.

Cavies cannot consume salt, or too much salt in processed foods. This snack has too much salt and this cannot be digested well by guinea pigs. One merit of the salt in excess could be that guinea pigs would crave drinking water more if they forget to sip water constantly.

Also, there is no fiber in crackers. Guinea pigs need fiber desperately for their fragile digestive systems. And without fiber, food can only get stuck and make cavies bloated.

Another thing is that crackers don’t have vitamins, especially vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for the health of guinea pigs.

Risks to Consider When Feeding Crackers to Guinea Pigs

The crackers lack many important nutrients that are needed for the optimal health and functioning of guinea pigs.

For example, they lack the holy grail of vitamins, the vitamin C. This vitamin is crucial for guinea pigs, and without it, cavies get many illnesses and problems. Mostly, when cavies lack vitamin C they get scurvy. This disease happens when the cavy lacks vitamin C severely. In other words, cavies cannot make their own vitamin C, so they need it from foods. Without this vitamin, they don’t produce enough collagen. Without collagen, blood vessels get weaker, and bones get weaker too. Simply put, the gums and mouth of the cavy will suffer the most.

Another risk of feeding the cavy crackers is that there’s no fiber. Crackers have zero fibers, and it is known that cavies (and everyone else) need fibers for good digestion. The digestive system of cavies is delicate and the belly will be upset after eating crackers. The extra oils, salt, and flour will cause bloating, gasses, excessive thirst, no nutrients, or even food getting stuck if undigested.

Quick Facts on Crackers and Guinea Pigs

  • Crackers have no important nutrients for cavies
  • Pet store crackers are also unhealthy as regular crackers
  • Crackers have too much salt and no fiber; this makes upset stomach and bad digestion
  • Crackers don’t have vitamin C – this vitamin is essential for a healthy guinea pig
  • With this snack, there is a risk of complex digestion problems

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.

If you found this post useful, would you mind helping out by sharing it? Just click one of the handy social media sharing buttons below so others can also learn about guinea pig food and diet!

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.