It is breakfast time! When you skip the sugary and unhealthy cereals, what is the next thing that pops to your mind which is a healthy quick breakfast? The oatmeal of course! It is very easy to prepare, highly nutritious and very versatile when it comes to adding different toppings to make it tastier. This type of breakfast has a ton of health benefits for us, but can we feed oatmeal to our guinea pigs too? Let’s find out.
Can guinea pigs eat oatmeal? No, guinea pigs cannot eat oatmeal. In very rare cases, oatmeal might be recommended by a vet if your guinea pig is very underweight or has no appetite at all – in order to rapidly increase the weight. Otherwise, if you have a healthy guinea pig that has a normal weight, the oatmeal is not good as a regular part of the diet.
So, in order to better understand the confusion you might have between oats and oatmeal, the oats are just the grains, and the oatmeal is a porridge meal that is oat-based. In other words, the oatmeal is a type of coarse flour that is made from groats or hulled oats. These oats used for oatmeal flour are rolled, ground, or steel-cut. Basically, the oatmeal is mostly mixed with water, milk, or yogurt (or juice, whatever you choose) to make a porridge. However, this is a very caloric and carb-rich meal, so oatmeal is not a good type of food for the health of a guinea pig.
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Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Oatmeal
There are some benefits that guinea pig will get from consuming oatmeal. But, this goes only for those that are unhealthy underweight or if they have some type of hair loss due to illnesses. For example:
- Healthier weight – If your guinea pig has no appetite due to an illness (like cancer for example), it will lose weight. The vet will recommend feeding him oatmeal (or oats for that matter) so that the cavy can gain weight rapidly to stay alive and maybe get healthier.
- Better quality of the fur and the skin beneath the fur – The oatmeal might be good for the guinea pigs that also suffer from losing hair of their fur. With this, the skin underneath that lost the hair is also damaged, fragile or even too dry. The oatmeal could help in prevention or stopping the hair loss because once the appetite is better, and nutrients are received, the hair will stop falling and the skin quality will be good too.
Caution: Remember, when feeding the guinea pig oatmeal or oat-based food, you must consult a vet before doing so. He will estimate if your guinea pig’s health is in danger and if it needs oatmeal in the diet!
Nutrition Facts of Oatmeal
So, we have mentioned that oatmeal is simply oats prepared with a liquid to make a porridge meal – oatmeal. Below, you will see the nutritional value for oats only, because oatmeal will have different nutritional values based on what liquid is it mixed with. Per 30 g (1 oz) of oats, here are the nutrients:
- High in calories – 109 calories. Imagine how much this is for such a small portion of oats. And if milk or juice or anything else is added to make the oatmeal porridge, this becomes a very caloric meal.
- High in carbs and proteins – There are 18.6 g of carbs and 4.7 g of proteins. This means oats by themselves are very nutritious and even too high in carbs, a.k.a. fattening food (even without any liquid added!)
- Fibers – 3 g. This amount of fibers is a lot for such a small portion of 1 oz. Fibers are essential for good digestion, but in high amounts, they can cause loose stool and stomach pains.
- Fat – 1.9 g. The fat, the carbs, and protein together with the calories overall, this content will surely affect the weight of the guinea pig.
- Vitamin C – 0%. Oats lack the most crucial nutrient for scurvy prevention in guinea pigs. This is another reason why oats are not good food for your beloved pet!
- Thiamin – 14%. This is the B1 vitamin and it helps with healthy nerves, heart, prevention of intestine problems and stomach problems overall. It is responsible for transferring electrolytes in and out of the nerves and muscle tissues too.
- Riboflavin – 2%. This nutrient converts the fats, carbs, and proteins into energy, and helps with a better flow of oxygen thru the whole organism.
- Pantothenic acid – 4%. This is the B5 vitamin. It is crucial for creating blood cells and also for converting all that guinea pigs eat into energy.
- Calcium – 15.1 mg. The calcium is great for forming strong bones in guinea pigs that are young and still growing. But, for grown guinea pigs, it will cause them serious urinary complications.
- Magnesium – 49.6 mg. This mineral removes body aches and especially muscle aches. It keeps the heart muscle in great shape too. Also, it prevents diabetes, anxiety, and cardiovascular diseases too.
- Phosphorus – 146 mg. This mineral is almost the same as calcium, and it binds with calcium in order to create strong bone tissues. But, it causes the same damage to the urinary system of guinea pigs as calcium does.
- Manganese – 69%. Oats don’t have vitamin A (antioxidant), but they have the manganese which is also a strong antioxidant, maybe the best out of all for the organism. It removes free radicals damage that can cause many diseases.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Oatmeal to Guinea Pigs
- Obesity – The oats are packed with nutrients, but mostly they are high in calories, carbs, even proteins and fat too. All of these nutrients will increase the risk of obesity for your healthy guinea pig. Unless the cavy is seriously underweight (due to illness or similar reasons), it is not a good idea to feed him oatmeal!
- Urinary complications – Oatmeal contains calcium and phosphorus. For grown guinea pigs, this will damage their urinary tract with bladder stones, among other urinary problems. Cure this in time and avoid the fatal renal failure that can kill your beloved guinea pig!
- Problems with digestion – Oatmeal is very fibrous. Excess of fibers causes pain during digestion, and loose stool or flatulence and cramps.
Quick Facts on Oatmeal
- The oats for oatmeal are the most popular in Ireland and Scotland because the climate there is convenient for grains; plenty of rain and humidity
- There is a place called Oatmeal in Texas. Yes, it’s true! And nearby in Bertram, Texas, there is also an Oatmeal Festival every year!
- The oats, apart for oatmeal, are also used for ice cream (to stabilize the consistency!)
- Oatmeal can be also an Oatmeal Brulee – a tasty version of this porridge, topped with caramel sugar and forest fruits.
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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