Can guinea pigs eat cheerios, you ask? They can, in some cases. But if you consider your guinea pigs’ health, then cheerios are not recommended to be fed to them.
This is mainly for those guinea pigs who are put under a strict diet.
Cheerios is a typical breakfast cereal. It is suitable for humans, and most of us enjoy having it for our most important meal of the day.
And I totally agree, since my morning will not be complete without a bowl of cereal! But, can guinea pigs have them too? Technically, cheerios are from whole grain oats with different flavoring added.
The number one reason why these breakfast cereals are not recommended to be fed to your guinea pigs is their high sugar content.
When cavies eat food with a ton of sugar, they develop high blood sugar, which causes so many complications to their bodies.
You’ll understand more if you read further!
Health Benefits Of Cheerios
Can guinea pigs eat cheerios? They can; cheerios contain vitamins and minerals in their ingredients; however, it’s not adequate as fruits and vegetables have, but for a sweet treat, it works well!
Rich in fiber
Fiber is what helps digest the food they eat. Guinea pigs will have a smooth bowel movement, which is essential so that the waste can leave their body.
Cheerios do not contain fat. You don’t want your guinea pigs to gain excess weight, so as alternative treats, cheerios are a possible choice. If there is no fat in food, it won’t clog up the blood vessels too.
You may think that vitamin C can only be found in fruits. Well, let this breakfast cereal prove you wrong. Cheerios contain this essential vitamin for your guinea pigs.
About 100 g of cheerios contain approx. 21.4 mg of vitamin C.
Cavies cannot produce Vitamin C independently or store it in their bodies. Once they eat food containing Vitamin C, their bodies immediately use that to boost the immune system.
The best protection Vitamin C offers is protection from scurvy. This complication is very painful for your guinea pigs. Symptoms like fatigue, discharge from the nose and eyes, swollen and aching limbs and joints, rough coat, and worse of all, internal bleeding.
You never want to let your guinea pig experience all this, so do feed them with food rich in Vitamin C.
Common complications for guinea pigs are stomach aches, bloating, and diarrhea. One of the causes of these complications is gluten.
Since Cheerios are gluten-free, if you feed them to your cavies, you don’t need to worry about facing their digestion problems.
You can research more about GMOs on your own. For this article, GMOs are not suitable for your guinea pigs. They are deemed unnatural and unhealthy that may cause problems to your pets’ health.
Rich in iron
If you want your guinea pig to have healthy blood, look for food rich in Iron. Lucky for you, cheerios have that mineral in their composition.
Risks In Feeding Cheerios To Guinea Pigs
Weighing out the pros and cons, Cheerios has higher cons compared to the pros. Let’s take a look at the different risks it brings so you can look out for these ingredients when you buy food for your cavies.
Excessive Calcium and Phosphorus
For humans, calcium and phosphorus are essential minerals needed to strengthen our bones and teeth.
Cavies also need to have strong bones and teeth, but cheerios have excessive calcium and phosphorus content which is unhealthy for your piggies.
Excess calcium and phosphorus that have bonded together can get stuck in a guinea pig’s bladder. Bladder stones are painful, and it leads to renal failure.
When your guinea pigs reach this level, you cannot do anything to save them and can be one of the reasons for your guinea pig’s death.
Although iron is essential for healthy blood but an excessive amount of this mineral can be toxic to your guinea pig.
When a huge amount of iron is present in the body, it can cause tissue damage, decrease growth, and eventually lead to death.
Counter-effect of Fiber
Fiber is good, but too much fiber is terrible. When you’re guinea pigs experience flatulence, gasses, and loose stool, this means that there was too much fiber in their diet.
Always keep food that is high in fiber to a minimum so that indigestion will not happen.
High Sodium content
Too much salt can cause bloating to your guinea pigs. It also makes them more thirsty.
Salt does not lead to severe complications, but it is better to prevent even the little ones. This is so that your guinea pigs can live a healthy and happy life.
Moreover, offering a balanced diet can be a way to make your guinea pig happy.
Are Other Dry Cereals Good For Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs love to eat cereal. They like the texture and the sweetness they bring. But, just like people, we love to have what we shouldn’t.
It is not that cereals are overall bad for your piggies, but it is better to choose a healthier snack alternative rather than breakfast cereals.
The digestive system of a guinea pig is the most sensitive part of its body. It cannot process complex carbohydrates just as well as we humans can.
This is why food is introduced to them gradually rather than immediately.
Take note that not all cereals can be fed to your guinea pigs. The ones that they can eat are mostly those made of whole-grain wheat.
Best Type Of Cheerios For Guinea Pigs
Cheerios come in different flavors. For your guinea pigs, the best one is the plain cheerios. This is the type of Cheerio that is preferred because it has the least amount of sugar in it.
How Much Sugar Should A Guinea Pig Have?
Sugar is a complex carbohydrate. Just like us, guinea pigs have a hard time processing them. Guinea pigs quickly get fat. Obesity or weight gain can eventually lead to diabetes.
That is also another reason why food with high sugar content is not advisable to be given to them.
But, sugar is not something you can altogether avoid since many fruits have sugar in them. With this, I advise that you give your cavies small portions of food that have high sugar content.
They are seen as occasional treats rather than part of the regular meal.
Other ingredients to look out for are calcium and phosphorus because they can lead to bladder stone formation in your guinea pigs.
Even if you fed cheerios to them as a treat, you must do it in the littlest amount possible, or better yet, turn to healthier alternatives.
Many fruits have sugar in them but are not as high as those in cereals. Plus, fruits have vitamins and minerals that help in the development of your guinea pigs.
But cheerios aren’t all that bad. They also have health benefits. They’re not much, but they’re helpful for your guinea pig’s diet.
Cheerios are my favorite cereal but I sometimes give my ginger tiny bits just to let my pet enjoy what I love! But to remind you, always feed in moderation.
Can guinea pigs eat cheerios? Taking everything into consideration, we do not recommend you to feed cheerios to your guinea pigs even as sweet treats. If you weigh out the pros and cons, there aren’t many pros to justify why Cheerios should be essential in your guinea pig’s diet.
Since, the excessive amount of sodium, oil, and fat can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diminished growth, weight gain, and bladder and kidney stones.
It is better to look for fruits with better nutrient and mineral composition. There are far better alternatives out there other than Cheerios.
Delbert Curtis is a senior writer at Petcosset, a leading online resource for pet care information. With over 10 years of experience in the pet industry, Delbert is passionate about helping pet owners provide the best care possible. He has written extensively on pet health, nutrition, training, and behavior. Delbert is dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the pet industry to provide the most accurate and helpful information to Petcosset’s readers. Delbert enjoys spending time with his pets and exploring the great outdoors when he’s not writing.