Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pretzels

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pretzels? [ What About Other Wheat Snacks? ]

Guinea pigs are cute, little rodents that make for great pets. One other thing they’re great at is eating all the time. After getting one, you would start to wonder if they ever stop chewing. This non-stop eating habit necessitates an understanding of their diet as a pet owner. We all love our pretzels dipped, topped, sugared, or salted. But, can guinea pigs eat pretzels? and attached to all these tasters…

Here’s the kicker:

Basically, guinea pigs can eat pretzels. However, pretzels don’t constitute any nutritional advantage to guinea pigs. In other words, a pretzel shouldn’t be a regular nack for your pet. Better still,  guinea pigs shouldn’t eat pretzels, especially when it comes with tasters like sugar or salt. If you must give them some, make sure it’s without any dippings or tops. They can nibble on this from time to time. There are several healthier and nutritious options for their diet.

In this article, we will learn why pretzels aren’t great for cavies. Going further, we’ll extend this discussion to other wheat snacks (bread and crackers). There will also be details on the healthy snack options for your cavy. Let’s dive right in. 

Related article: “Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chinchilla Food?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pretzels With Salt?

No, guinea pigs can’t eat pretzels with salt. We did say that cavies can nibble on some pretzels provided it is plain, nothing else added. This applies to salting, sugaring, dipping, or topping. In the case of salt, they don’t need any of that extra salt that a salted pretzel will give. They get all the salt (sodium) they need in their hay and pellets. Cavies don’t sweat, hence they cannot excrete excess sodium as we can. An offering of extra salt can mean serious health problems for your pet. This includes bladder sludge or stones. There’s also a risk of dehydration with excess salt. Another health problem is the formation of recurring urinary tract calculi or stones. This usually needs surgical attention, which is something we never want a pet to go through.

Dr. Kenneth Welle, an exotic pet veterinarian says that your pet may need salt licks to drink more water. This also applies if the pet is somehow eating mineral-deficient hay. Use the colored salt-and-mineral licks instead of plain white salt. 

cavies can nibble on some pretzels provided it is plain, nothing else added. This applies to salting, sugaring, dipping, or topping. In the case of salt, they don’t need any of that extra salt that a salted pretzel will give

What Snacks Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

You should know that cavies are herbivores. Hence, base their diet on 80% hay. The hay should be that of guinea pigs, high in quality. Complement this with guinea pig pellets. Give them the occasional snack made of fruits or vegetables. The rule is more vegetables, less fruit. Introduce vegetables to your pet one at a time. Their daily serving can amount to one cup daily.

Serve them fresh and organically grown veggies. If you can, cultivate the greens in your yard. There are a variety of vegetable options to choose from. They include peas, broccoli spears, spinach, artichokes, and kale. You may also give them tomatoes(fruit only), green and red bell peppers, carrots, and carrot tops. Veggies also provide guinea pigs with essential vitamins and minerals. If you’re buying them, wash them thoroughly to remove chemicals. Do not serve the vegetables cold. 

Your pet should snack on less fruit because of the high sugar content in fruits. Bite off some fruit occasionally and offer it to them as treats. This provides adequate vitamin C to them. They easily get deficient in vitamin C because of their inability to synthesize it. They can eat oranges, apples, pears, cucumbers, peaches, papayas, strawberries, and blueberries. Remember to wash thoroughly and do not serve when cold. 

Related article: “Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chamomile?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pretzels

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bread Or Crackers?

Cavies can eat bread, albeit in very little amounts. It’s not advisable to feed them bread more than a few times a month. Bread is high in sugar and calcium. Guinea pigs need very little amounts of these. Bread are also low in vitamins and minerals which are the nutrients needed by your pet. But, bread contains some fiber. Fiber helps guinea pigs during digestion. It also alters the absorption rate of sugar in the body. 

How about crackers? Do not feed your pet with crackers. Crackers contain a lot of flour, salt, and oil. These are difficult for their digestive systems to process. Guinea pigs may experience some digestive symptoms due to this. These include bloating, constipation, excessive thirst, and passage of gas. 

Dr. Kenneth Welle, an exotic pet veterinarian says that your pet may need salt licks to drink more water. This also applies if the pet is somehow eating mineral-deficient hay. Use the colored salt-and-mineral licks instead of plain white salt. 

What Happens If Guinea Pigs Eat Bread?

We have mentioned the fiber content of bread as a benefit when guinea pigs nibble on bread. But, the risks of eating bread far outweigh the benefits. Research has shown that high amounts of phosphorus seen in bread are unhealthy for guinea pigs. This is because they can lead to growth inhibition in them and can shorten their life spans. 

It’s common knowledge that bread contains a lot of sugar, being a carbohydrate. This can lead to unhealthy weight gain in guinea pigs, and the resultant obesity. Obesity can lead to problems like hypertension and heart problems in cavies. 

Another unhealthy component of bread for cavies is the milk. Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant. This means they lack the enzyme to process milk in their digestive systems. Hence, they can suffer digestive problems like bloating and constipation from bread consumption. 

Considering the inherent danger to pet health, eating bread is best limited to a few times in a month. Crackers are more or less an unhealthier version of bread. This makes them a food to avoid for cavies. 

Related article: “Can Chinchilla Eat Maple Leaves?

Final thoughts

Guinea pigs enjoy eating. As pet owners, we may get carried away by their constant need to chew and feed them unhealthy food. Can Guinea pigs eat pretzels, bread, or crackers? As we have explained earlier, pretzels and bread are okay once in a while. The pretzels must be plain. No tasters. Crackers are best avoided. It’s even better if you avoid all these foods altogether. The nature of these foods and the digestive tracts of cavies makes that the better option. 

Ensure that a cavy’s diet contains 80% high-quality guinea pig hay. Support this with guinea pig pellets. Feed them fruits and vegetables, but more vegetables, fewer fruits. Handle their diet this way and, they will lead healthier and longer lives. 

 

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