We all know that one of the healthiest foods in the world are the nuts and seeds. In this article, we will be talking about the walnuts. Well, I have to admit, any type of sweet treat is better with walnuts, and I can’t imagine eating chocolates or cakes without crushed walnuts in them. For me, they make any dessert tastier and healthier, but they are also perfect as stand-alone snacks, in trail mix, and other recipes too. And you are probably wondering if our guinea pigs can eat walnuts? Well, let’s find out!
Can guinea pigs eat walnuts? No, guinea pigs cannot eat walnuts because walnuts can cause allergic reactions in guinea pigs. There is also one more danger from walnuts for a guinea pig, the sharp parts of the walnut when consumed can cause small, dangerous cuts in the digestive system of the guinea pigs.
You probably thought that walnuts are a safe food for guinea pigs this is why assuming which foods are ok for the guinea pig without proper research is a wrong method! Just because the walnuts are vegetarian-friendly, it doesn’t mean they are good for the guinea pigs by default.
There are also more risks that guinea pigs can get from consuming walnuts and if you are interested to know more about walnuts as food for the guinea pigs check the following section below.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Walnuts
The guinea pigs cannot eat the walnuts due to the allergy risks and possible stomach cuts during digestion. Still, if they could eat them these would be the benefits:
- Good satiety for guinea pigs with the amount of calories, proteins, carbs, and fats that walnuts have.
- Normal and healthy digestion because of the fibers.
- A healthy cardiovascular system from the high amount of healthy fats in walnuts.
- Prevention from a disease called scurvy because walnuts have a good amount of vitamin C.
- Healthy blood from the copper and iron
No need to worry, walnuts aren’t the only food with these benefits for your guinea pig. There are also foods that offer good energy sources, fibers, good fats, vitamin C, and nutrients good for the blood. You can always find healthier alternatives for foods that guinea pigs cannot consume.
Safer Alternative Foods for Guinea Pigs
Yes, the walnuts are incredibly healthy and beneficial for us, but they aren’t for the guinea pigs. And that’s why it is a good idea to find a substitute for such ‘foods’ and feed it safely to the guinea pig. The cavies will still get the same good nutrients, but without the risks that come with walnuts. So, the pellets are always a must, but also you can feed the cavy some greens (pepper, cucumber, parsley), and some fruits (apples, apricots, blueberries, grapes).
Nutrition Facts of Walnuts
These are the nutrition facts for 100 g (3 oz) of walnuts:
- High in calories – 654 calories. Wow, this is a lot, right? Well, walnuts are healthy food, but even for humans, it is recommended that you eat just a small handful of them daily. Walnuts in large amounts can be very fattening food.
- Proteins and carbs – in walnuts, there are 15.2 g of proteins and 13.7 g of carbs. These amounts can also be fattening if this is consumed in excess.
- A moderate amount of fiber – 6.7 g. Walnuts have a normal, moderate amount of fiber. This is good, because a deficit of fiber causes constipation, and excess of it causes loose stool.
- Sugar – 2.6 g. Even though walnuts have a neutral taste, they still contain sugars. Sugars aren’t very well digested by the guinea pigs, and in excess, they cause belly cramps and bowel problems.
- High in fat – 65.2 g. Walnuts are famous for their high-fat content, but these are the healthy type of fats that are healthy for the heart or the cardiovascular system. However, a high amount of fats like, in this case, could be fattening if consumed in excess.
- Vitamin C – 2 %. Naturally, the guinea pigs cannot produce this vitamin and they need it in high amounts.
- Thiamin – 23%. The other name for this vitamin is B1. The B1 vitamin stops any possible complications with the nerves, brain, heart, muscles, intestines, and stomach. And, it also creates a better flow of electrolytes to the nerves and muscles.
- Calcium – 98 mg. Calcium is a much-needed mineral for creating healthy and strong bones. The guinea pigs need it only while they are young and still growing. But, when they grow up fully, a high amount of calcium is harmful to their urinary systems.
- Iron – 2.9mg. Every cell in the body contains iron, but the red blood cells have the highest amounts of iron. This mineral removes fatigue and boosts immunity.
- Copper – 79%. Copper is another nutrient that is essential for the body of a guinea pig because it forms the red blood cells. With this, bones are healthier, nerves and blood vessels too, and the immunity is better as well.
- Phytosterols – 72mg. Phytosterols are plant sterols that can reduce the cholesterol in the blood.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Walnuts to Guinea Pigs
- Urinary complications – walnuts contain quite a lot of calcium. This mineral can seriously damage the urinary systems of guinea pigs. With excess calcium, there is a risk of kidney and bladder stones, painful urinating, blood in the urine or even frequent urinary infections.
- Digestion problems – the sugar content in walnuts is not too high, but it must be mentioned as a potential risk for the digestion. If guinea pigs consume sugars, the digestion can be painful, resulting in loose stool.
- Rapid weight gain – if guinea pigs could eat walnuts, and if they consumed them often, there would be the risk of rapid weight changes. Walnuts have a lot of calories, carbs, and fats – all of these nutrients contribute to weight gain if consumed in high amounts.
- Risk of allergies and choking – the organisms of guinea pigs are very gentle, so you can’t really know whether the guinea pigs will have a walnut allergy or not but walnut allergies are very common for them. Also, the walnuts have an uneven shape and they are crunchy, and this could be a choking hazard for the cavies.
- Risk of cuts in the stomach – walnuts can even cause minor injuries and cuts in the gut. After chewing and ingesting them, they can tear the inner stomach lining with the sharp bits that aren’t properly chewed.
Quick Facts on Walnuts
- Walnuts cultivation dates back to 7000 BC.
- The Romans and Greeks used the walnuts for medicinal purposes.
- The walnut is native to the Balkans, then to the east to the Himalayas, all the way to the southwest of China.
- Romans called walnut the ‘Jupiter’s royal acorn’.
- In ancient Persia, walnuts were kept aside only for royalty. This is why even today, walnuts are also called ‘Persian walnut’.
- The walnut oil is very popular as a salad dressing.
- California produces the most walnuts worldwide.
- The term ‘walnut’ comes from the Old English; their word for this was ‘wealhhnutu’ meaning ‘foreign nut’. The walnut was called like this because it was introduced to them from Italy.
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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