Having guinea pigs at your farm or home is overwhelming and a great source of enjoyment. But at the same time, guinea pigs require great care and concentration. You have to take care of their health and be careful of what you feed them because you just cannot offer them anything to eat and think that it will not have any negative impact on their health.
A lot of people ask us questions like, can guinea pigs eat potatoes? Because they think that as guinea pigs are herbivores, they can eat anything related to plants, fruits, and vegetables. However, that is not true. In this article, we have explained whether if guinea pigs can eat potatoes or not, so let’s dive into it.
Can guinea pigs have potatoes
The simple answer to this question is, No! Guinea pigs can’t eat potatoes because potatoes are enriched with alkaloid toxins that are harmful to the health of guinea pigs. Potatoes can be healthy and energy-rich for humans but please keep them away from guinea pigs.
Moreover, potatoes contain a large number of calories, starch, and complex carbs that can have a drastic effect on the digestive system of guinea pigs.
Nutrients in potatoes
Potatoes have always been a healthy and high-energy food as they contain several important nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, calories, fat, water, carbs, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, etc. All these nutrients play an important role in keeping your body healthy and enable it to smoothly perform its functions such as vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fibers.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and it is found in different foods. It is very important for your body as it helps and supports your immune system to fight against invading pathogens and prevent many diseases.
Dietary Fibers: Dietary fibers are mostly found in plant products that cannot be digested by humans. They also hold crucial importance for humans as they maintain the cholesterol levels in the body. Moreover, they are also proven to be very effective against constipation, intestinal cancer and protect your body by keeping them at bay.
Potassium: Potassium is also an important nutrient required to the body. It prevents the body from different diseases like kidney stones. Lower levels of potassium in the body can lead to constipation and weaknesses in the body.
Now when you see all these health benefits of eating potatoes, you might be wondering why you cannot feed them to guinea pigs. Let’s find it out.
Why guinea pigs can’t eat potatoes
There are two main reasons why you should not be feeding potatoes to guinea pigs:
1- High Amount of Alkaloids
As we have even mentioned above that guinea pigs contain a large number of alkaloid toxins. Alkaloids are very harmful to the general health of guinea pigs and if consumed, they can lead to several different medical complications.
2- High Level of Starches
Always keep in mind that the digestive system of the guinea pigs is very fragile and sensitive and it cannot tolerate complex carbs, high amounts of starches, and calories present in potatoes. Therefore, feeding potatoes to guinea pigs can deteriorate the smooth working of their digestive system and damage their health.
Hazards of feeding potatoes to guinea pigs
If you are wondering what will happen if you feed potatoes to guinea pigs, here is a list of complications that can be caused if you offer potatoes to guinea pigs:
1- Urinary Problems
Always keep in mind that with increasing age, there is a decrease in the need for calcium in guinea pigs. They only need a considerable amount of calcium in the growing stages to grow and strengthen their bones. Potatoes are enriched with high levels of calcium, so if you will feed potatoes to guinea pigs, they will have more calcium in their body than they actually need. Excess amounts of calcium in guinea pigs can cause several urinary problems like kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and frequent pain while urinating.
2- Alkaloid Toxins
The alkaloid toxins present in potatoes can have a drastic effect on the general health of guinea pigs and can cause different diseases among them.
3- Digestive Problems
As we have already mentioned that the stomach and digestive systems of guinea pigs are very fragile and sensitive. It cannot tolerate the complex carbs and high amount of starches and calories present in the potatoes. Therefore, if you will feed potatoes to guinea pigs, it will exploit their digestive system and can cause serious digestive problems such as diarrhea, diabetes, and other intestinal problems.
Now as you know you cannot feed potatoes to guinea pigs, the next question in your mind would be, can you feed them potatoes in different forms such as raw potatoes, sweet potatoes, potato chips, and potato peelings, etc? Let’s find out that as well.
Can guinea pigs eat potatoes raw
No! Guinea pigs can’t have raw potatoes. Why? Well, raw potatoes contain solanine which is no less than poison for guinea pigs. If consumed, it can have a terrible impact on the health of guinea pigs.
Can guinea pig eat baked potatoes
No! Potatoes not an idea food for guinea pig no matter what they are cooked potatoes or raw potatoes.
Can guinea pig eat sweet potatoes
Although potatoes and sweet potatoes have a common name they belong to two different generic families. But that does not mean that you can offer sweet potatoes to guinea pigs. Sweet potatoes as the name shows have even more concentration of sugar and fats than normal potatoes and that makes them equally dangerous for guinea pigs.
Can guinea pig eat a peeled potatoes
No! Although potato peelings contain a lot of healthy nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, they contain even more amount of starch that is dangerous for the digestive system of guinea pigs.
Can guinea pig eat potato leaves
Always keep in mind that all the plant leaves belonging to the nightshade family contain poisonous solanine that is toxic and dangerous for guinea pigs. Therefore, you should never be offering potato leaves to guinea pigs as potato leaves also belong to the nightshade family and contain solanine.
Here you must keep in mind that sweet potatoes do not belong to the nightshade family. So the leaves of sweet potatoes are completely safe for guinea pigs. You can feed them sweet potato leaves only once or twice a week.
Can guinea pigs eat unsweetened potatoes
Potato chip? No! Guinea pigs cannot eat potato chips because they are deep-fried in oil and also contain an excess amount of salts and artificial flavors. They are much unhealthy for guinea pigs than normal potatoes.
Can guinea pigs eat french fries
Potatoes are prohibited for guinea pigs due to their high concentration of alkaloids, starches, calcium, and complex carbs. So avoid offering any kind of potatoes in any form to guinea pigs because it can have a terrible impact on their health. Instead, give them healthy and fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach and lettuce, etc.
Shannon work as nurse practitioner in Alliance Health Medical Group. She own pets and she love pets. With her knowledge in medicine, she know what can the pet eat and what can’t