Peppers can be defined in several ways, so it can be confusing to mention just the word pepper. But, we can all assume that the word peppers are usually referred to the bell peppers. Today we are going to discuss if guinea pigs can eat peppers, and which kind of peppers exactly.
Can guinea pigs eat peppers? Yes, guinea pigs can eat peppers but not all types are good for them. They can eat sweet peppers (bell peppers) and they can benefit from them. Spicy/ hot peppers like jalapenos have just too much heat in them and can cause serious problems in guinea pig’s stomach and for these reasons are not recommended as food for guinea pigs.
As we said, they can eat the bell peppers so they are going to be the focus for the rest of the article. There are four main types of bell peppers:
There are also white and purple bell peppers but they are not that common. Green bell peppers have the least amount of sugar, so they are the most recommendable for the guinea pigs. The red peppers have more sugar, so they are given rarely as a treat. It is the same with yellow and orange peppers, they are also high in sugar. This means that green pepper is the best option.
Some owners give their guinea pigs a slice of pepper daily but to avoid any health problems (like bad digestion), try a slice or two every other day or 2-3 times per week.
Peppers are a very tasty veggie for guinea pigs and they come with many health benefits for them as well! The nutrients in peppers improve the health overall but they also have some nutrients like sugar, which is not so beneficial for the guinea pigs. Now, let’s see all the details regarding peppers (bell peppers) as food for the cavy. We have covered everything for this veggie in the sections below.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Peppers
- Good digestion – the peppers have a normal amount of fibers and this can be good for the digestion, of course, if peppers are served in moderation to guinea pigs. Too much fiber can cause loose stool but a normal amount or a serving size will improve the bowel movements.
- Healthy blood vessels – The low amount of fat will keep the blood vessels unclogged for longer, and with this, the cardiovascular system will be in good health too.
- Antioxidants – vitamin A in peppers will ‘hunt down’ the free radicals in the body and prevent their damage. There will be less risk of different diseases and the immunity will be kept in good shape.
- Scurvy prevention – in peppers there is also vitamin C, and we know that this vitamin is a must-have for a healthy guinea pig. Without it, the poor little cavies can get scurvy, which is a deadly disease for them.
- Healthy blood – the pantothenic acid in the peppers helps in creating blood cells, and the iron helps the organism to fight off anemia and to have healthy red blood cells.
Nutrition Facts of Peppers
For the nutrition facts, I have chosen the red pepper. For 100 g of red peppers, this is nutritional information:
- Low in calories – 31 calories. The pepper is not very fattening from the calorie content. Just 31 calories per 100 g of pepper sounds like a good deal!
- Carbs and proteins – there is a normal amount of the main energy sources in the pepper, only 6.3 g of carbs and 1 g protein. This should be more than enough carbs and proteins for guinea pigs, coming from a veggie source.
- Fiber – 2.1 g. A normal amount of fibers that will contribute to good digestion. Lack of fibers will result in constipation, and excess of fibers causes diarrhea.
- Sugar – 4.2 g. Peppers have a lot of sugar in them, and this amount is too high because we are talking about a vegetable, not a fruit. Excess sugar can cause obesity and painful digestion.
- Low in fat – 0.3 g. Less fat is usually good because it won’t affect the blood vessels, so the cardiovascular system will work perfectly.
- Vitamin A – 63 %. This vitamin is an antioxidant and it helps with diseases and inflammations.
- Vitamin C – 213 %. Peppers are loaded with vitamin C! This is amazing because guinea pigs need this vitamin in abundance to survive and be healthy.
- Vitamin E – 8 %. This vitamin keeps the skin healthy, reduces inflammation, keeps the eyesight in good health, and even reduces the risk of some cancers.
- Riboflavin – 5 %. Known also as the B2 vitamin, it helps with better transfer of oxygen in the body and also breaks down the food into energy.
- Niacin – 5 %. Niacin is the B3 vitamin. It lowers cholesterol and eases up the pains in the bones as well.
- Vitamin B6 – 15 %. The B6 vitamin can prevent anemia, but also it reduces stress, helps in producing more serotonin (happiness hormone) and also it helps with better sleep.
- Pantothenic acid – 3 %. This is the B5 vitamin, and it converts the consumed foods into energy. Also, it helps in the creation of blood cells.
- Calcium – 7 mg. This mineral is crucial for the formation of bone tissues but not good for fully grown guinea pigs. They need this mineral only when they are young and still in development, otherwise, calcium causes serious urinary problems in fully grown guinea pigs.
- Iron – 2 %. This mineral is crucial for keeping the blood healthy, and it is found in the red blood cells. The deficit of iron shows through fatigue, anemia, bad immunity and loss of appetite.
- Magnesium – 3 %. The magnesium in peppers removes pains in the muscles, but it also prevents diabetes, migraines and heart diseases too.
- Zinc – 2 %. The zinc helps with faster wound healing and reducing skin irritations.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Peppers to Guinea Pigs
- Painful digestion and stool changes – if you feed the guinea pig too much pepper or too often, there could be some problems with the digestion. Excess of fibers and also the sugar will cause painful digestion, flatulence and gasses, and most likely loose stool along with tummy cramps.
- Urinary problems – when your guinea pig is fully grown, it doesn’t need that much calcium compared to when it was young. In fact, excess calcium can cause bladder and kidney stones. But, also there is a risk of bloody urine and painful urinary infections too.
Serving Size and Frequency of Peppers for Guinea Pigs
Serving size is simple – half a cup of peppers. You can even go for a full cup but guinea pigs need to have a rich diet full of different veggies in combination with hay and pellets. As for the frequency, it should be 2 times a week but if you don’t have any other vegetables on hand you can give them peppers 3 times a week.
Preparation is simple, cut the peppers in small slices and feed them to your guinea pig. Of course, you need to thoroughly wash every vegetable you are going to feed your pet
Quick Facts on Peppers
- The red bell peppers are in fact green peppers that were left to ripen fully.
- There is more vitamin C in red peppers than in green ones.
- Peppers originate from South and Central America.
- The seeds for bell peppers were brought to Spain back in 1493, and from there, they were introduced to other European countries, as well as Asia.
- Most common colors of the peppers are red, orange, yellow and green, but there are also other types like purple, white and brown.
- China produces the most bell peppers worldwide, then there are also these countries: Turkey, Mexico, the USA, and Indonesia.
- The packs of 1 green, 1 yellow and 1 red pepper are called “Traffic Light Peppers” in many supermarkets!
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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