Guinea pigs love food – who doesn’t in fact? These cute fluffy pets are the adorable munchers and they are famous for this. Yes, they chew on food in the cutest possible way. And, they love everything we humans eat. Even if something is not so healthy for them, they will like it because of the taste. Still, it’s hard to determine for certain what is bad for them and what is good. Today we will talk about one mouthwatering exotic fruit – the date. We have many benefits from this tasty fruit, but what about the cavy?
Can guinea pigs eat dates? The answer is no. The dates are not toxic for guinea pigs – this fruit is not the disastrous poison item that cavies must stay away from. Dates lack some very essential nutrients for cavies. And, dates are rich in sugar, which means they are practically a sweet treat or fruit-dessert. Sugary foods are not good for guinea pigs.
Now, let’s presume you are going to give dates as a form of a treat. They have some benefits but many risks. Let’s take a look!
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Dates
Even if you should not give dates to your guinea pig they are a good source of natural fruit fiber. Maybe the best natural mild almost-like laxative fruit! It works up the intestines well for healthy bowel movements.
Also, there is almost no fat! This means a healthy cardiovascular system and blood vessels. The dates also have natural proteins. The date-fruit protein is very good and gives enough energy for the day ahead.
There are vitamins here too. For example, vitamin A is chasing away diseases, and the vitamin B6 keeps mood good and serotonin hormone balanced. For pregnant cavies, the benefit comes from the folate too. Folate is essential for healthy DNA and for good growth of the body and brain during pregnancy.
Not to mention potassium, magnesium, manganese – for healthy muscles, electrolyte balance, no illnesses. Iron for healthy blood and zinc for fast wound healing and great metabolism!
Nutrition Facts of Dates
For a serving of 3 oz (100 g) of dates, there is:
- Total of 282 calories (highly caloric and energetic)
- 75 g fiber (high amount of fiber for good digestion)
- 2 g fat (low amount of fat and this is good for the blood vessels and cardiovascular health)
- 63 g sugar (too much sugar for cavies, it’s even too much for humans too! Must be eaten in moderation)
- 8 g protein (source of slow-release energy)
- 3% vitamin A (a very strong antioxidant that prevents many diseases, also keeps the brain, kidneys, lungs, heart, skin healthy. Also, immunity is much better)
- 0% vitamin C (this is very bad for cavies. It’s not scary for humans, but this is very bad for cavies – they need vitamin C for survival and optimal health)
- 6% calcium (for strong bones, but this mineral is bad for cavies and creates urinary issues)
- 5% iron (for strong blood)
- 15 mcg folate (a B vitamin for healthy DNA and also for healthy growth and development of fetuses. This is useful for pregnant cavies)
- 12% vitamin B6 (crucial vitamin for the healthy development of the brain before birth. Also, this vitamin regulates the mood hormones and reduces stress. It balances the good-mood hormone, the serotonin)
- 15% potassium (a mineral that prevents from stroke, heart problems, kidney issues, high pressure, also stress and anxiety. It also balances the electrolytes in the body and keeps the nervous system healthy)
- 14% magnesium (a mineral for healthy bones, prevention of diabetes, healthy muscles and healthy heart muscle, prevention from aches and pains all over)
- 15% manganese (a very strong antioxidant that chases away diseases)
- 6% phosphorus (for healthy and strong bones, like calcium. But, this mineral also makes urinary problems for cavies)
- 3% zinc (important for the good immunity, also for healthy DNA, good metabolism, fast healing of wounds and healthy development and growth)
The dates should be considered as treats if you really want to give them to your guinea pig but they must be avoided as well. It’s not scary to let the cavy try them; after all this is a very tasty fruit.
Once a week should be enough. Also, a bite or two – avoid giving the whole date, or even a few dates!
Dates are sugary, caloric and they have no vitamin C. These are the main reasons why they are bad for the guinea pig.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Dates to Guinea Pigs
The dates are very tasty and super creamy and chewy, but they are extreamly caloric. This is not good even for us humans. Every time someone wants to eat dates, it’s recommended that he eats a small amount because the sugar content can create problems with the blood sugar. This, of course, would happen with eating too many dates on regular basis. But, for the cavy, let it just try the date once in a blue moon! And it will not get chubbier this way too! Besides, sugars create imbalance of the gut flora in the cavies.
The worst of all risks is that there is no vitamin C in dates. Literally, zero vitamin C! And this vitamin keeps the cavy healthy; it is essential to get from supplements or foods. If the cavy doesn’t get enough of this vitamin, it will get scurvy (bleedings, rough coat, skipping, loss of appetite, no energy).
Dates are sticky and will most definitely get stuck in the teeth of the poor fellows.
And finally, the dates have calcium and phosphorus. These two nutrients are healthy for humans and create strong bone tissues. But, if the rodents, or cavies, have excess calcium and phosphorus, they will get urinary problems. Very likely, the cavy would have painful urination, bladder stones, or kidney stones. In most serious cases, there is a failure of the kidneys or urinary system.
Also, there are fibers, so excess fibers from dates will upset the tummy of the cavy. Symptoms will be loose stool, diarrhea, pains, gas and similar.
Quick Facts on Dates and Guinea Pigs
- Dates are not food for cavies, they are just a treat
- Give them very rarely, if possible never
- Serving should be no more than a bite
- There is fiber, proteins, vitamins, minerals in dates
- Also, dates have too much sugar which is unhealthy
- Dates have zero vitamin C – this is the worst thing about dates as treats for cavies
- Also, there is calcium and phosphorus (they make urinary stones in cavies)
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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