If you have guinea pigs, you know how fun the feeding time can be as these lovely pets will munch on whatever you give them. But should we give them everything we eat? Our adorable guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they can eat only fresh fruits and veggies, this includes some roots, herbs, and even flowers. What about the garlic? This superfood for humans has numerous benefits for our health. However, is it the same for guinea pigs? Let’s explore this in more detail.
Can guinea pigs eat garlic? Guinea pigs cannot eat garlic or any other bulb vegetable. This includes onions, chives, leeks, and potatoes. The bulb plants are poisonous or toxic for guinea pigs and must be avoided as much as possible. Of course, if the guinea pig accidentally tries garlic, it won’t kill it, but serious side effects will arise.
Garlic is a super-nutritious food for humans, with countless benefits. But small animals like guinea pigs are sensitive creatures with a delicate digestive system, and garlic is a food that can only cause them pain. Now, let’s see the nutrition facts and all of the risks that can occur from guinea pigs eating garlic.
Nutrition Facts of Garlic
The following are the nutrition facts for 100 g (3 oz) of garlic:
- Energy – 149 kcal
- Protein – 6.36 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 0.5 g
- Carbs – 33.06 g
- Dietary fiber – 2.1 g
- Sugars – 1 g
- Calcium – 181 mg
- Iron – 1.7 mg
- Magnesium – 25 mg
- Phosphorus – 153 mg
- Potassium – 401 mg
- Sodium – 17 mg
- Zinc – 1.16 mg
- Copper – 0.299 mg
- Selenium – 14.2 µg
- Vitamin C – 31.2 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 1.235 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.08 mg
- Vitamin K – 1.7 µg
- Thiamin – 0.2 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.11 mg
- Niacin – 0.7 mg
- Folates – 3 µg
- Carotene, beta – 5 µg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin – 16 µg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Garlic to Guinea Pigs
Stomach or Digestion Problems
First of all, garlic is very bad for guinea pigs because it can upset their stomach and irritate the gastrointestinal tract. As we have said, garlic is from a bulb, and guinea pigs have difficulties digesting these foods. Some of the symptoms of an upset stomach and problems with digestion are diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, dehydration, loss of appetite, and depression.
If your guinea pigs accidentally eat a small amount of garlic, don’t worry, nothing serious will happen. Just provide them with a lot of water. But, if a lot of garlic has been eaten by a guinea pig, immediately go to the vet for help. Garlic is toxic for them because they can’t digest it.
One of the risks of garlic is that it has calcium and phosphorus. These two nutrients work together to create strong bones and bone tissues. But, if these nutrients are found in excess in the body of rodents or guinea pigs, they can cause more problems than benefits! For example, extra deposits of calcium will create bladder or kidney stones in guinea pigs. This makes urination painful, with even possible blood in the urine if not cured in time. If left untreated, the kidneys could stop working.
Risk of Anemia
Garlic and other Allium family members such as onions and leeks contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to small animals, such as guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. Thiosulfate is a compound that can cause damage to red blood cells, which results in hemolytic anemia in guinea pigs. Anemia symptoms are rapid breathing, weakness, irregular heartbeats, dark-colored urine, yellowish skin, etc.
That’s why guinea pigs shouldn’t eat garlic or other similar veggies such as onions and leeks. According to scientific studies, the amount of garlic and onion that may cause toxicity in animals is equal o 0.5% of the animal’s body weight. Since garlic is more concentrated than onion, it is more dangerous for guinea pigs.
Some guinea pigs suffer from allergies to certain foods, and garlic is also one of them. Symptoms that may appear if they are allergic to garlic are diarrhea, hives, breathing difficulties, swelling of their face, lips, tongue, or throat. Guinea pigs that have an allergy to garlic often are sensitive to some other similar vegetables such as onions, leeks, ginger, etc.
Garlic has a specific spicy flavor, and this flavor can cause a burning sensation in the guinea pig’s mouth and throat. So, it’s better not to feed garlic to guinea pigs in order to avoid these unpleasant problems.
More Information About Guinea Pigs and Garlic
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Wild Garlic?
Wild garlic is a perennial bulb plant that grows in the moist woodlands and has long green leaves and white flowers. This plant is entirely edible for humans, but what about wild garlic for guinea pigs? Guinea pigs can’t eat wild garlic because it is also from the Allium family and has a distinctive garlic flavor. Also, wild garlic leaves smell like garlic. The botanical name for wild garlic is Allium ursinum and is also known as ramson, wood garlic, bear leek, etc. Due to all that we have mentioned, wild garlic is toxic to guinea pigs just as regular garlic.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Baby Garlic?
Baby garlic is immature garlic before it develops into bulbs. It has green stalks/leaves with a small white bulb and a bright, fresh grassy flavor, milder than mature garlic. Even if this garlic is milder and sweeter in taste when compared to the mature garlic, guinea pigs still can’t eat baby garlic. It also can cause different health problems in guinea pigs, such as diarrhea, vomiting, mouth irritation, allergies, stomach pain, anemia, urinary problems, and many others.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Garlic?
Guinea pigs can’t eat dried garlic. Fresh garlic is toxic for them, and dried garlic in some cases can be even worst. Guinea pigs can’t eat dried herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Dried foods lose their nutrients, and guinea pigs have difficulties digesting them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Garlic Bread?
Guinea pigs can’t eat garlic bread. This is primarily because they can’t even eat bread, and the combination of garlic and bread is just terrible. They are herbivore animals, and any cooked or processed food will upset their digestion. Also, garlic bread or any other bread type is a choking hazard for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Garlic Chives?
Guinea pigs can’t eat garlic chives because they are also from the Allium family. Garlic chives are botanically classified as Allium tuberosum and are also known as Oriental garlic, Chinese chives, Asian Chives. This plant is native to Asia, and today is cultivated all around the world. Garlic chives have long green leaves with an inedible small white bulb and edible white flowers. Their flavor is described as a mix of garlic and onion.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Garlic Mustard?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat garlic mustard because this plant contains a poison which is known as cyanide. If your guinea pigs eat too much garlic mustard, the cyanide in this plant will cause serious health problems to them. Garlic mustard isn’t related to garlic, and it is called garlic mustard because its leaves smell somewhat like garlic when we crush them.
Quick Facts on Garlic
- Garlic originates from central Asia, and today China has the largest garlic production worldwide.
- Garlic is known as one of the healthiest foods on earth and has both medicinal and culinary purposes.
- There are several hundred different types of garlic.
- Garlic was cultivated 4000 years ago and was one of the first herbs to be cultivated.
- National garlic day is April 19th.
- You can use garlic to make glue.
- Some people have a fear of garlic, and that’s called Alliumphobia.
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.