Guinea pigs are social animals that require adequate care and space. They love to eat and even if something is not so healthy for them, they will like it because of the taste. However, their diet should consist of only hay, vegetables, fruits, healthy pellets, and occasional treats that are appropriate for them. This article will discuss whether or not date fruit is a suitable treat for guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat dates? Guinea pigs can’t eat dates. The dates are not toxic for guinea pigs, but they contain high sugar levels, which is bad for them. The sugar content in dates could cause serious health issues. Another risk is that dates lack some very essential nutrients for guinea pigs. Also, dates are a bit sticky and can cause choking, so it is best to keep guinea pigs away from this fruit altogether.
In the following sections, we will give you a brief insight into the nutrition facts of dates and possible risks that guinea pigs can develop from eating them. Let’s take a look!
Nutrition Facts of Dates
For a serving of 3 oz (100 g) of dates, there is:
- Energy – 282 kcal
- Protein – 2.45 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.39 g
- Carbs – 75.03 g
- Dietary fiber – 8 g
- Sugars – 63.35 g
- Calcium – 39 mg
- Iron – 1.02 mg
- Magnesium – 43 mg
- Phosphorus – 62 mg
- Potassium – 656 mg
- Sodium – 2 mg
- Zinc – 0.29 mg
- Copper – 0.206 mg
- Selenium – 3 µg
- Vitamin C – 0.4 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.165 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.05 mg
- Vitamin K – 2.7 µg
- Thiamin – 0.052 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.066 mg
- Niacin – 1.274 mg
- Folates – 19 µg
- Carotene, beta – 6 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 75 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Dates to Guinea Pigs
The dates are delicious, super creamy, and chewy, but they are extremely caloric. This is not good even for us humans. The sugar content can create problems with blood sugar. Besides, sugars create an imbalance of the gut flora in guinea pigs.
Lack of Vitamins
There is no enough vitamin C in dates. This vitamin is crucial for guinea pigs and keeps them healthy. They can’t produce vitamin C on their own, so it is essential to get it from supplements or foods. If guinea pigs don’t get enough of this vitamin, they will get scurvy disease with symptoms such as bleedings, rough coats, skipping, loss of appetite, no energy, etc.
Dates are sticky and hard, so they may present a serious choking hazard for guinea pigs. They will most definitely get stuck in the guinea pig’s teeth, which will be dangerous for them.
And finally, the dates have calcium and sodium. These two nutrients are healthy for humans and create strong bone tissues. But, if the guinea pigs receive too much calcium and sodium, they will develop urinary problems. Guinea pigs will get the following symptoms such as painful urination, bladder stones, or kidney stones.
Quick Facts on Dates
- The word ‘date’ comes from the Greek word ‘daktylos’, which means finger because dates look like the tip of a finger.
- Date fruits have been consumed as a local food for 7000 years in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
- There are as many as 200 varieties of dates in the world.
- Very small number of people are allergic to this fruit.
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.