Not all animals or humans eat meat. That’s what separates them into groups of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.
However, unlike humans who can choose to be in any of these categories, animals cannot choose what they can and cannot eat.
So, if you’re wondering whether guinea pigs can eat meat or not, the answer is NO!
Why Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat Meat?
The digestive system of guinea pigs is not equipped to digest anything but plant-based food.
They don’t have the necessary enzymes and the gastrointestinal mechanisms to digest any meat at all.
In fact, feeding them meat can make them seriously ill.
Guinea pigs are herbivores and this means they can only take a diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains.
These adorable little creatures cannot consume anything that doesn’t belong to the category of plant-based foods.
You can’t even feed your cavies processed meat. They cannot process meat at all. In most cases, they won’t even try to eat it because it doesn’t seem appealing to them.
Let’s delve deeper into this topic and see why meat is a big no for guinea pigs.
Why is Eating Meat Unsafe for Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs have a digestive system that is only designed to process vegetables and even that is a two-step process.
After having a nice vegetarian meal, guinea pigs produce poop that is actually super concentrated balls of protein and vitamin (called caecotroph) that they eat again.
Yes, you read that right.
Guinea pigs eat their own poop! As gross as it may sound, it’s something that’s very normal for them.
There are some other reasons too for why guinea pigs can’t eat meat. Let’s take a look.
Meat Contains a Lot of Iron
Meat is one of the most iron-rich foods.
Such high levels of iron may be beneficial for humans but can be very dangerous as far as guinea pigs are concerned.
Their bodies are too small and they get all the iron they need from vegetables and fruits.
This is why it’s also recommended that you don’t give them too much spinach or other vegetables that have too much iron.
Excessive iron can cause abdominal discomfort, liver problems, heart issues, and cancer.
Meat Is High in Cholesterol
The cholesterol content of meat is quite high.
Just like excessive cholesterol can be bad for the human heart, the same applies to guinea pigs too.
The only difference is that our bodies can tolerate more of it than guinea pigs.
This means eating meat can greatly increase the risk of heart disease in guinea pigs
Meat Is High in Saturated Fats
Meat also has a lot of saturated fats which can again cause the cholesterol levels in the guinea pig’s body to rise and lead to heart failure.
Eating Beef May Expose Them to Tapeworm
This parasite contained in beef can lead to severe intestinal infection causing nausea, weight loss, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
It is usually present in raw or rare beef or beef products.
Meat Based Diet Can Increase Risk of Diabetes
Meat ranks among the top foods that are associated with dietary risks for diabetes mellitus.
The risk of developing diabetes is greatly increased in guinea pigs because of their small body size.
Meat Can Lead to Obesity
Guinea pigs are already susceptible to getting obese even on a vegetarian diet.
Giving them meat will only make it worse because meat is one of the foods that is generally associated with increasing the chances of obesity.
Meat Reduces Lifespan
Looking at all the complications that meat brings to the table, it’s understandable that a meat-based diet will reduce the lifespan of your guinea pig.
It affects all the vital organs of the body. Research proves that vegans tend to live 3-4 years longer as compared to those who eat meat on a regular basis.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why guinea pigs must not eat meat.
Not only would it be incredibly bad for their health, but their bodies are not even designed to digest it.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Processed Meat?
No. Guinea pigs are strictly herbivores and cannot process any kind of meat or meat products at all.
This also includes cat or dog food. Also, processed foods are also not good for your guinea pigs even if they are not meat-based.
You should feed your cavies fresh fruits and veggies only.
Can Guinea Pigs Be Given Meat Soup?
This too is a big no! Guinea pigs cannot drink meat soup. Some guinea pigs might not even be ready to taste it if you do give them some.
The best drink for guinea pigs that you should stick to is plain water.
What Others Food You Should Avoid Feeding Your Guinea Pigs?
Now that we know how meat should never be an option to feed your cavies, here’s a list of some more foods you should avoid feeding your guinea pigs.
Since guinea pigs are herbivores, their digestive systems can’t cope with dairy either.
This includes all kinds of dairy such as milk, cheese, butter, kefir, eggs, yogurt, and even yogurt drop treats.
Dairy products can make your guinea pigs ill in no time.
Cauliflower, Cabbage or Other Vegetables That Cause Bloating
These vegetables can cause gas and make your guinea pigs feel bloated. While we have some tolerance to deal with this condition, guinea pigs do not.
Therefore, avoid giving your cavies these vegetables.
Iceberg lettuce and other lighter lettuces can give guinea pigs diarrhea so keep them away from your little ones.
Onions, Garlic, and Rhubarbs
These vegetables can be poisonous to your guinea pigs as they contain high amounts of certain compounds that guinea pigs cannot tolerate.
One such compound is oxalic acid which can lead to the formation of kidney stones and cause urinary tract infections.
These vegetables can also lead to blood disorders in guinea pigs.
Avocados are one of the healthiest foods but their fat content can be too much for guinea pigs.
Even though it’s all good fat, it can still lead to obesity in guinea pigs. So, do not clog their metabolic mechanisms by feeding them avocados.
Tomato Leaves and Stalks
Tomatoes are safe for guinea pigs but the green parts of the tomato plant such as the leaves and stalk are toxic so make sure you have removed them before giving tomatoes to your guinea pigs.
Beans and Potatoes
Beans and potatoes also lead to the formation of excess gas in the stomach.
Guinea pigs cannot get rid of excessive gas and bloating and it can make them severely ill.
Seeds can be one of the worst food choices for guinea pigs. They contain a lot of fat which is not good for your guinea pigs.
Also, they are difficult to chew and can, therefore, be a choking hazard for guineas.
To Sum Up
When it comes to selecting the right diet for your guinea pigs, you have plenty of options but you must never forget that they are herbivores and should never be given meat or any kind of meat products.
Whenever you’re in doubt about what foods you should give your guinea pigs, it’s best to do some research first.
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