Guinea pigs should not eat canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is heavily processed and contains preservatives, chemicals, and toxins that could make your guinea pig sick. Stick to feeding your guinea pig raw, uncooked pumpkin.
Fall is the season of all things pumpkin spice. You have some extra pumpkin puree in the pantry and you want your furry friend to join in on the fun. But is it safe to feed your guinea pig canned pumpkin?
A healthy diet consisting of hay, pellets, and various fresh fruits and vegetables is important for guinea pigs to thrive.
Why Guinea Pigs Should Not Eat Processed Food
Guinea pigs have very sensitive digestive systems. Their bodies are only meant to digest grass, hay, and other types of plants.
Essentially, you should only feed your piggie foods that they would naturally eat in the wild. This means no processed food of any kind, even foods that have been cooked!
Processed or manufactured foods can contain dangerous ingredients like added sugars, dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals that can make your guinea pig sick. They also can’t digest food that has been cooked. For example, you can feed your piggie raw vegetables, but not cooked vegetables. This is because cooking food changes the natural state of the plant, and your piggie can’t digest it.
Consuming cooked or processed foods can cause digestive problems, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, or urinary problems. Certain chemicals can also harm guinea pigs’ liver and kidneys.
Is Canned Pumpkin Bad for Guinea Pigs?
It’s best to avoid feeding your piggie canned pumpkin since it’s usually processed or cooked. Canned foods also contain harmful preservatives and chemicals.
Many canned pumpkin products are meant for pumpkin pie filling. They contain added ingredients such as sugar, dairy, eggs, and spices.
Even if the ingredient list says 100% pumpkin, it could still contain trace amounts of added sugar. No added sugars should ever be fed to a guinea pig. Sugars are not easily digested and can cause stomach pain and diarrhea.
High quantities can even cause a disease called Enterotoxemia, caused by a bacteria that is boosted by sugar and carbohydrates in a guinea pigs’ digestive tract.
Even homemade pumpkin purees should be avoided, as these have been cooked and processed.
Guinea Pig Tooth Health
It’s also important to note that because guinea pigs’ teeth grow continuously, they need to chew hard, fibrous foods to wear them down. This is another reason to choose raw vegetables over cooked and pureed veggies for your guinea pig’s diet.
Canned pumpkin is pureed and soft and doesn’t need to be chewed. While soft foods are alright once in a while, it’s much better to choose the raw alternatives to keep your piggie’s teeth at a comfortable length.
Emergency Critical Care
In rare cases, some guinea pig owners feed their piggies canned pumpkin puree in a critical care scenario for a sick guinea pig. This is only used in emergency situations when a guinea pig does not have an appetite and is not eating enough.
The canned pumpkin is mixed with mashed-up pellets and water and fed to the sick guinea pig with a syringe. In critical care cases, organic pumpkin puree should always be used, and only until the guinea pig is well again and can eat independently.
Alternatives to Canned Pumpkin
Since you shouldn’t feed your piggie canned pumpkin, what can you feed them? You’re in luck because there are a variety of other fruits and veggie options to choose from!
Guinea pigs can eat raw, peeled, and deseeded pumpkin and winter squash in small quantities. In fact, pumpkin is a significant source of vitamin A and carotenoids, which are antioxidants that can help keep your guinea pigs’ eyes, skin, lungs, and kidneys healthy.
However, only feed them about a finger-sized amount at a time. Pumpkin is higher in sugar and relatively low in other important nutrients. Also, pumpkins are high in calcium, which is good in moderation. Too much calcium, however, can cause urinary tract problems for adult guinea pigs. Serve pumpkin only as a special treat!
Other Vegetables and Fruits to Feed Your Guinea Pig
When choosing other fruits and veggies to feed your guinea pig, look for foods high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a crucial part of a guinea pig’s diet because their bodies cannot produce it, so they have to get it all from the foods they eat.
Some raw veggies that are good choices for your piggie include beetroot, bell peppers, carrots, dandelion leaves, kale, romaine lettuce, and corn. Raw fruits should be given less often than veggies, but some healthy options are kiwi, apples, cranberries, and strawberries.
When introducing new foods into your guinea pig’s diet, start slowly, with tiny amounts, and gradually build up. Changing diets too quickly can upset your guinea pig’s stomach. New fruits and vegetables should be introduced one at a time.
Sometimes guinea pigs are scared of trying new foods. If your guinea pig turns something down, try again at a later time to see if they might like it. Each piggy has different food preferences, so try different things to find out what your guinea pig likes!
Do Guinea Pigs Like Pumpkins?
Yes, most guinea pigs love raw pumpkin as a sweet treat! Offer your pet a small amount to see if they like it.
Because pumpkin is higher in sugar, it should not be given as part of their regular diet. But an occasional treat is safe to feed your piggie no more than two or three times a week.
Canned Pumpkin Doesn’t Offer Proper Nutrients
Although guinea pigs can’t eat canned pumpkin, they don’t have to miss out on all the autumn fun! Choose raw pumpkin over canned pumpkin if you want to treat your furry friend to a pumpkin snack.