Onions are well-known aromatic vegetables that bring magnificent flavor to any salad or cooked meal. Its irritant properties might bring tears to your eyes while you chop it, but the health benefits of onions are numerous!
However, even though this is a vegetable, and our guinea pigs are vegetarians, you must check if they can eat onions.
Can guinea pigs eat onions? Guinea pigs cannot eat onions, as they are poisonous to them. It contains a disulfide compound that can cause eye irritation, excess salivation, nasal secretions, and respiratory problems. Also, it can damage their red blood cells, which can cause anemia, fatigue, and weakened immune systems.
In this article, you will learn the onion’s nutritional facts, risks to consider when you feed it to your pet, or if there are any health benefits your guinea pig can get out of this vegetable!
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Are Onions Good for Guinea Pigs? | Health Benefits
Sadly, the only benefit from onions a guinea pig can get is vitamin C. However, since they cannot consume the onions, they can’t get vitamin C from this vegetable.
Consuming onions cause serious health problems for guinea pigs as they are toxic. There will be complications of internal and external organs, and also, the aroma and taste of onions are very strong for their fragile stomachs.
Note that onions are beneficial to humans and not to most animals, especially guinea pigs.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Onions to Guinea Pigs
If the guinea pigs consumed onions, they would cause great damage to their urinary system. This is because onion has calcium, and when calcium piles up in their kidneys, there is a risk of urinary stones, which make for painful urination.
Also, there will be a risk of blood in the urine or urinary infections, and all this can be fatal.
The onion contains fibers and sugar. If the guinea pig consumes too much fiber or excess sugar together with the fiber, it will have painful digestion, loose stool, and similar gastrointestinal complications.
Other Serious Complications
The compound disulfide in onions will mostly affect the respiratory system of the guinea pigs. This also damages red blood cells – the main carriers of oxygen in the body.
So, when the organism doesn’t get enough oxygen from head to toe, breathing is the first and most serious problem noticed.
Lack of oxygen in the body results from damaged red blood cells, later developing anemia. When anemia is diagnosed, the symptoms are loss of appetite, weight loss, paleness, fatigue, and feeling cold all the time.
Other complications due to disulfide are secretion from the nose, irritation of the eyes, and increased salivation in guinea pigs.
Quick Facts on Onions
- People have consumed onions for more than 7,000 years, and the first traces of onions were found to date back to 5000 B.C.
- The ancient Egyptians liked onions a lot and even worshipped them. They believed the shape of the onion and its many layers inside signify eternity. They used to put them on pharaohs’ tombs for a good afterlife.
- Onions were once considered a currency! Back in the Middle Ages, when someone didn’t have money for rent, he would offer onions instead. They were also given as gifts too!
- You may shed tears in your eyes when you cut the onions because they contain a sulfuric compound, which then turns into sulfuric acid that irritates the eyes (hence, irritation in guinea pig’s eyes too).
- The largest grown onion in the world was found in the UK, and it holds the record of an amazing 18 pounds!
- Onions are a natural remedy for skin issues, such as bug bites or burns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Onion Skin?
Onion skin cannot be fed to your cavy. It also contains disulfide compounds that are toxic to your pet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Onion?
Guinea pigs should never eat cooked foods, especially onion. They should be fed raw and fresh food, as any cooked foods are harmful to them. But one should never give them even the raw onion.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Onions?
Green onions or scallion can be fed to guinea pigs in moderation, but only the top green leafy section. The onion bulb is not beneficial for your pet and as it contains nutrients toxic to them.
Can Guinea Pig Eat Red Onion?
Guinea pigs cannot eat onions. Just like other types of onions, it is toxic to them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Garlic Instead of Onion?
Guinea pigs cannot consume garlic either because this veggie contains oxalic acid. This compound could cause an allergy for the guinea pig. Also, garlic is a bulb veggie, and guinea pigs can’t eat these veggies.
Plus, garlic has an even stronger aroma and taste than onion, which would certainly accentuate digestion problems and stomach pains!
Nutrition Facts of Onions
These are the nutrients in 100 g (3 oz) of onion:
- Relatively low in calories – The onion is not very caloric; it has 40 calories per 100 g. This caloric amount is not bad for maintaining a healthy weight in general.
- Carbs and proteins – There are 9.3 g of carbs and 1.1 g of protein. These two give energy and warmth for the whole day ahead. These amounts might not be much, but they are enough considering this is a vegetable.
- Fiber – 1.7 g. Onions have a bit of fiber too, which is an essential compound for good digestion and healthy bowel movements.
- Sugar – 4.2 g. This amount of sugar is not good for the guinea pig because it will cause bad digestion and stomach pains. But, of course, cavies cannot eat onions in the first place, so this shouldn’t worry you anyway.
- Low in fat and no cholesterol – 0.1 g fat and also zero cholesterol. The low-fat amount won’t affect weight in any way, and also, together with the zero cholesterol, this contributes to healthy and unclogged blood vessels. So, the whole cardiovascular system works well because of these amounts of fat and cholesterol.
- Vitamin C – 12 %. Vitamin C is essential for everyone’s health. Mostly, it is vital for repairing the body tissues, internal and external ones. Also, it forms collagen, which is crucial for tissues in the body and healthy skin.
This vitamin also speeds up the healing of wounds and makes immunity stronger. For guinea pigs, it keeps them safe from scurvy, but sadly they can’t receive this vitamin from an onion because they can’t consume it.
- Vitamin B6 – 6 %. This vitamin is good for fetuses’ proper growth and development, especially for good brain development. Also, B6 creates the happy hormone serotonin that reduces stress and anxiety and helps with better sleep.
- Calcium – 23 mg. This amount of calcium is too much for guinea pigs if we consider they could eat onions, which isn’t the case. Too much calcium creates many urinary problems in guinea pigs.
- Potassium – 146 mg. This compound regulates blood pressure and balances the water and electrolytes (salts) in the body. Overall, this makes the cardiovascular system much healthier.
With food, you should be careful what to choose. If you are not sure what to feed them but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats, check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas.