Cereals are the edible part of grains that includes wheat, corn, barley, rice, oats, etc. There are also some processed dry cereals like Corn flakes, Oatmeal, Rice Krispies, etc. that we often enjoy as snacks or breakfast. But are these dry grains good for our guinea pigs? Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dry Cereal? Let’s find out!
Unsweetened dry cereals, including Corn flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Oats, etc. can be served to our guinea pigs but only in a small quantity. Cereals are high in carbohydrates that can lead to obesity in our guinea pigs. Avoid it altogether if your guinea pig is obese or very young.
Guinea pigs that have a digestive disorder or are obese should not be fed with any kind of cereals, including processed cereals.
Guinea pigs have a fragile digestive system that cannot handle complex carbohydrates and sugar very well.
Thus, serving such cereals to a guinea pig that is already having digestive problems can lead to a severe health problem in them.
Also, not all types of cereals can be served to our guinea pigs. Thus, you must first ensure if the cereal is safe for your guinea pigs or net before serving it to your guinea pigs.
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What kind of cereal can guinea pigs eat?
Dry cereals are not a staple part of our guinea pig’s diet. Yes, they can eat a small portion of dry cereal but only as a treat.
When we think of cereal, what usually comes in our mind is a bowl of cereal or a bowl of milk and cereal as a meal.
However, you cannot feed a bowl of cereal to your guinea pigs, nor can you serve the cereals with milk.
Once your guinea pigs grow to pass the four-week mark, their digestive system develops enough to process foods like hay and vegetables. Some studies also show that they tend to develop an intolerance to milk or lactose itself.
Thus, milk should be avoided even if you want to feed cereals. Also, other significant ingredients to look out for are nuts, Sugar, Honey, etc.
These ingredients contain a lot of fats that can lead to obesity and other health issues in guinea pigs.
So, to conclude, we can say that guinea pigs can only eat unsweetened dry cereals in small quantities.
Some of the popular types of cereals that can be fed to your guinea pigs include:
- Oats Cereal
- Unsweetened Corn Flakes
- Rice Krispies
- Barley or Bran flakes
- Whole-grain crackers, Etc.
There are some of those you should definitely avoid as well. These includes:
- Fruit loops
- Frosted flakes or frosted oats
- Honey oats cereal
- Any other sweetened cereal
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Nutrition in dry cereals?
Source: Food Data Central
|Nutrition(100 grams)||Oats||Cornflakes||Rice Krispies||Bran Flakes|
|Vitamin A||990 µg||490 µg||1136 µg||749 µg|
|Vitamin B-6||2.39 mg||21 mg||2.35 mg||1.7 mg|
|Vitamin C||21.6 mg||1.79 mg||63.3 mg||0 mg|
|Vitamin D||3.4 µg||3.6 µg||6.2 µg||3.3 µg|
|Fiber||9.4 g||3.3 g||0.4 g||18.3 g|
|Protein||12.09 g||7.5 g||6.75 g||9.9 g|
|Fat||6.73 g||0.4 g||2.05 g||2.1 g|
|Carbohydrates||73.23 g||84.1 g||85.05 g||80.5 g|
|Calcium||401 mg||5 mg||5 mg||44 mg|
|Phosphorous||481 mg||102 mg||125 mg||449 mg|
|Sugar||4.36 g||9.5 g||9.87 g||18.6|
Health benefits of cereals for guinea pigs
Cereals may not contain a decent amount of Vitamins in it, but it is definitely an excellent source of other minerals, including Protein, Fiber, and Iron.
Here are some benefits of feeding cereals to your guinea pigs:
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps in maintaining good eyesight and smooth skin. It also aids the immune system
- Vitamin B-6: Vitamin B-6 helps the body in the absorption of iron and other essential nutrients at the same time help in keeping the fur and skin soft and shiny.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is essential as it helps in preventing diseases and maintaining a robust immune system.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D also aids the immune system and helps the body absorb the calcium that keeps the bones and teeth strong.
- Iron: Iron helps in maintaining a robust digestive system, preventing anemia and also helps in transporting oxygen throughout the body.
- Calcium: Promotes stronger bones and teeth
- Protein: Protein helps the body in building and repairing tissues. It also aids to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.
- Fiber: It is useful for maintaining a healthy digestive system. It also improves stool movement in guinea pigs.
Hazards of feeding dry cereals to guinea pigs
Cereals are not the staple part of our guinea pig’s diet. Thus, it can be difficult for our guinea pigs to digest the same.
Apart from that, most of the commercial cereals also contain added preservatives, sugar, saturated fats, flavoring, etc. that are not good for our guinea pigs digestive system.
Most of these cereals are unfit for our guinea pigs. Some of the common types of cereals found in most households are:- Fruit loops, Honey flakes, raisin bran, frosted flakes, etc.
However, you should definitely avoid all these cereals as they contain added sugar and fat that is terrible for our guinea pigs.
Cereals that are suitable for our guinea pigs should not contain any added sugar, preservatives, or flavorings.
Some of the most common ones are:- Rolled Oats, Cornflakes, Rice Krispies, Bran Flakes, Shredded Wheat, and Weetabix.
However, even these cereals should only be fed in moderation as these don’t possess many benefits for our guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat Cornflakes?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat unsweetened cornflakes but only as an occasional treat.
Avoid overfeeding corn flakes to your guinea pigs as it doesn’t provide much nutrition to our guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat Rice Krispies?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat Rice Krispies but only in small quantities.
Rice crispies contains a decent amount of Vitamin C that is much needed by our guinea pigs.
However, it also includes a lot of sugar that can lead to obesity and other health issues in our guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat Oats?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat oats but only in small quantities. Oats contain a lot of calcium and phosphorous in it that can lead to bladder stones and sludge in guinea pigs. Thus, make sure you feed only a small quantity of oats to your guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat Cheerios?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat cheerios but only in small quantities.
Although cheerios are low in fat and sugar, it does contain some added preservatives that can be harmful to our guinea pigs digestive system if fed in excess.
Thus, make sure you only feed a small number of cheerios to your guinea pigs.
Can guinea pigs eat Bran Flakes?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat bran flakes in moderation. Bran flakes contain a decent amount of fiber and protein needed by our guinea pigs.
However, the excess sugar that it contains can be terrible for our guinea pigs. Thus, only serve a small number of bran flakes to your guinea pigs.
How much cereal can a guinea pig eat?
Cereals are more like a treat for our guinea pigs. The portion serving of cereals should be controlled to avoid health issues, including obesity and unhealthy weight gain in guinea pigs.
In general, it is recommended to feed less than ½ teaspoon of cereal treats to our guinea pigs once a week only.
It would be best if you avoided feeding cereals more than once a week as it can lead to health issues in our guinea pigs.
If you are still unsure what the portion size looks like here is a small table for your help:
|Cereals||Portion size for guinea pigs|
|Corn Flakes||1-2 pcs|
|Bran Flakes||1-2 pcs|
|Shredded Wheat||1 pcs|
|Rice Crispies||1/2 tsp|
|Rolled Oats||1-2 pcs|
|Chex Types||1-2 pcs|
You should always make sure that cereals are more like occasional treats for our guinea pigs.
You should only feed cereals if your guinea pig is healthy and is supplied with a well-balanced diet regularly.
To conclude, we can say that guinea pigs can eat dry cereals but only as an occasional treat.
Overfeeding dry cereals or feeding the wrong type of cereal can lead to serious health issues in our guinea pigs; thus, you should be careful about the same.
Never try to make cereal a regular part of your guinea pig’s diet. Feed it once a week or so that too in the right quantities only.
Also, keep in mind that most of the cereals marketed today as low fat, high protein, etc. are actually filled with fillers that don’t provide the right balance of nutrients.
Granola and muesli are also spiked with artificial fats and flavoring that reduces the vital nutrients present in it.
Raw rolled oats and unsweetened cornflakes are some of the best types of cereals you can feed to your guinea pigs; however, you must still keep the quantity low.
Also Check: Best treats for your guinea pigs
Sources: Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs, Dietary Vitamin C, and Vitamin E on Guinea Pig Immune Responses to Mitogens, Vitamin C requirements of the guinea-pig, Is Your Guinea Pig’s Diet Providing the Right Nutrients? Care of Guinea Pigs.