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Guinea pigs have become a regular household companion, but not all caregivers have enough information to meet their basic needs. This can lead to both physical and psychological problems, hence the importance of getting to know this species well before taking it home..
Being a basic pillar for the welfare of the animal, in this AnimalWised article we review what is the most appropriate diet and answer the question of whether guinea pigs can eat bread or not, since, being such a common food in our diet, it is not surprising that at some point we want to share a piece with our best friend.You may also be interested in: Can dogs eat bread? Index
- The digestive system of guinea pigs
- Can guinea pigs eat bread?
- How to properly feed a guinea pig?
- Can guinea pigs eat stale bread?
The digestive system of guinea pigs
The first thing to know when adopting a guinea pig is that it is a herbivorous rodent. In addition, it eliminates what is known as cecotroph, a feces composed of undigested food that they are going to ingest and it is important that they do so because with this they manage to cover their needs for group B vitamins and vitamin C.
On the other hand, guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system, so it is relatively common for them to suffer from diseases related to it. Stress, sudden changes in diet, the ingestion of foreign bodies or hair will hinder your intestinal transit and cause an accumulation of gas that ends up distending the abdomen. Other times, the origin of gastrointestinal problems is in the teeth. In guinea pigs, both the incisors and molars grow continuously throughout their lives. Hence the need to wear them down with proper nutrition. They can also suffer from diarrhea from eating the wrong food, living in stressful situations or having intestinal parasites. Given the importance of diet, we answer below if guinea pigs can eat bread.
Can guinea pigs eat bread?
As we have pointed out in the previous section, guinea pigs are herbivorous animals that, in their natural environment, feed on different types of vegetation. At home, a suitable diet should contain approximately 70% grass hay, 20% fresh vegetables and fruits and, finally, 10% feed formulated specifically for guinea pigs. Then, ¿can guinea pigs eat bread? As we see, bread is not an essential component of your diet, but it is not considered a prohibited food.
On the other hand, the correct supply of vitamin C is essential to avoid diseases such as scurvy, since guinea pigs cannot synthesize it. Foods rich in vitamin C and that can and should be part of the guinea pig's diet are kale, parsley, spinach, broccoli, yellow peppers, tomatoes, kiwi or orange. If our guinea pig shows reluctance to eat this type of food, in a few days it can manifest scurvy symptoms such as bleeding. To avoid this, if your usual diet lacks the necessary amount of this vitamin, we can give it in supplement form, always according to the recommendation of the veterinarian. Commercialized feeds usually contain the adequate amount of vitamin C, but they must be stored with caution so that it is not degraded.
How to properly feed a guinea pig?
It has been proven that guinea pigs have a tendency, from a young age, to develop preferences for certain foods. This can lead to them focusing on consuming only one type we offer and refusing to try others, resulting in an unbalanced diet that would end up causing physical problems or even a life-threatening fast. Therefore, although guinea pigs can eat bread, it is not appropriate for them to consume it daily, as they could stop eating other foods that are essential for them..
On the other hand, guinea pigs are very sensitive to changes, so they can stop eating a food just because we give it to them in a different presentation than usual or if we change the brand of feed. To combat it, it is good that from the first moment let's present a variety of foods so they get used to all of them and miss none. In addition, it must be borne in mind that any modification must be made gradually.
Likewise, it is recommended that guinea pigs have at all times hay. The feed can be weighed or also on demand, depending on the conditions of each specimen. As for fresh ingredients, they have to be well washed. They are made available to the guinea pig for a few hours and, afterwards, what has not been consumed is removed.
For more details, do not miss our article on Feeding the guinea pig according to its age.
Can guinea pigs eat stale bread?
Guinea pigs can consume cereals, but it is better to offer them without the processing involved in making bread. What's more, its consumption has to be occasional and in very small quantities, almost by way of prizes, just like nuts, seeds or parsley. On the other hand, we can offer them celery, aubergine, zucchini, tomato or carrot a couple of times a month. About once a week they can be given chard, artichokes, broccoli, spinach, cucumber, lettuce, or fruit. Foods such as red or green peppers, lamb's lettuce, cauliflower, endives, cabbage or arugula are recommended for daily consumption. On the contrary, it is completely forbidden to give them meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, sweets, potatoes, onions, preserved foods or juices.