Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ham? (Risks, Facts & More)

Ham goes well with everything. This food item is perfect for those moments when we feel lazy to cook, so we choose to make a sandwich, a wrap, toast, or something similar. Ham is the meat of an animal that is preserved in special ways like dry or wet curing, with or without smoking it. This is processed meat, so it is quite salty and often very caloric.

Guinea pigs cannot eat ham. In general, they cannot eat any type of processed food or meat. Guinea pigs are herbivores and vegetarians, so they can only consume veggies, fruits, certain herbs, and roots. Ham and similar processed meats are not good for guinea pigs, and they can cause various health problems.

Is Ham Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits

Is Ham Good for Guinea Pigs

Unfortunately, guinea pigs cannot eat ham. The guinea pigs are perfectly fine without meats and processed foods. That is why they consume only fresh produce and some herbs or roots.

The same nutrients in ham that offer energy, vitamins, and minerals, can be found in the foods your cavy can eat, so don’t risk it! Instead of ham or cured meats, you can always give your cavy some of his favorite veggies and fruits that also have proteins, vitamins, and other beneficial nutrients.

Nutrition Facts of Ham

Nutrition Facts of Ham

Here are the nutrition facts for 100 g (3 oz) of ham:

  • High in calories – 145
  • Carbs – 1.5 g
  • Protein – 21 g
  • Fat – 6 g
  • Vitamin E – 1%
  • Thiamin – 22%
  • Riboflavin – 16%
  • Niacin – 28%
  • Vitamin B6 – 20%
  • Vitamin B12 – 6%
  • Pantothenic acid – 7%
  • Calcium – 1%
  • Iron – 4%
  • Magnesium – 5%
  • Phosphorus – 29%
  • Potassium – 287 mg
  • Sodium – 1.203 mg
  • Zinc – 12%
  • Copper – 24%
  • Manganese – 1%
  • Selenium – 45%
  • Cholesterol – 53mg

Is Ham Bad for Guinea Pigs? | Possible Risks

Is Ham Bad for Guinea Pigs
  • Urinary complications – Ham contains calcium and phosphorus in quite large amounts. This is definitely bad for the guinea pigs and will cause serious problems in the urinary tract. There is a risk of bladder and kidney stones, painful urinating, bloody urine, or urinary infections. And, if this is not cured in time, there is the risk of fatal renal failure.
  • Cardiovascular problems – Ham has a lot of cholesterol. When cholesterol builds up in the arteries, it creates a blockage of blood circulation. It will affect the blood pressure, and water retention in the body. Also, the heart will not work properly when the blood flow is obstructed.
  • Upset stomach and digestive system – Ham has a lot of fats and salt, and this doesn’t digest well in the stomachs of guinea pigs. They will get cramps, indigestion, flatulence, and probably even diarrhea with cramps.

More Information About Guinea Pigs and Ham

More Information About Guinea Pigs and Ham

If the Guinea Pig Cannot Eat Ham, Can It at Least Eat Organic Meat Cooked Without Salt and Oils?

The guinea pig should cannot eat meat cooked without salt and oils. Animal products of any kind, such as meat, are definitely not good for the guinea pig.

Try to give him only proteins that are plant-based because the guinea pigs are vegetarians and herbivores. Meats of any kind will only make problems for the digestive system of the cavy.

My Guinea Pig Ate Some Ham While I Wasn’t Looking! What Will Happen?

No need to panic, the guinea pig will most likely be fine. Try to give him some lettuce and water to kind of wash down anything digested so far. The guinea pig will be fine, with some mild cramps possibly. If he has craps or stops being active, take him to the vet!

Fun Facts on Ham

Fun Facts on Ham
  • Ham is mostly made of pork meat, any meat part of the pig.
  • When the ham is dry-cured, it is rubbed with lots of salt. But when it’s wet-cured, it is made with the liquid brine (water with more than 5% salt inside, used for food preservation).
  • The National Ham Day is April 15.
  • The first canned ham was sold in 1926 by the Hormel Company in Austin, Minnesota.
  • ‘Country ham’ is quite dry, with a sharp flavor because it has lots of salt.
  • The artist Dwight Kalb once made a statue of Madonna, fully made of 180 lbs ham!
  • The most bought ham types in the world are Mainz, York, Smithfield, prosciutto, Parma, Westphalian, Virginia, Bayonne, Dijon, Serrano, and others.
  • Some people prefer the ham that is made from the left leg of the pig. Why? Apparently, the pigs scratch themselves with the right leg. This means the right leg has more active muscles, which makes the meat tougher there!
  • According to the ‘Larousse Gastronomique,’ the encyclopedia for gastronomy, the French people invented the smoking and salting of pork meat for making a ham.
  • If you are in Australia and you eat ham that has a bone, it means you eat organic meat, i.e. domestic pig. The frozen meats that are imported to Australia can never travel with a bone!

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.

List of Sources

An Investigation Into the Relationship Between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia Porcellus)

Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition

The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig