Can guinea pigs eat bananas? Bananas are one of the most popular and recognizable fruits in the world. They are easy to transport and even easier to eat.
In addition to people, many pets love to eat bananas. But are bananas safe for guinea pigs to eat? For that matter, are bananas healthy for guinea pigs to eat?
We are about to dive into this topic!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bananas?
As Vet Explains Pets outlines, bananas can be a part of a healthy diet plan for guinea pigs.
Bananas are packed with nutrients that your guinea pig needs – and, as a bonus, they are delicious!
Learn About Banana Nutrition for Guinea Pigs
If your time is limited, this short and sweet YouTube video hits all the highlights of what banana has to offer your guinea pig nutritionally.
Learn about the most important nutrients, how much to feed and how often to feed banana to your guinea pig.
What Nutrients Can Bananas Provide to Guinea Pigs?
Bananas are not just delicious. They are also literally jam-packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Healthline reviews the list of the nutritional properties contained in a banana:
Potassium is the number one nutrient that bananas have to offer. Guinea pigs need potassium to help build and maintain a strong and healthy central nervous system, keep muscles functioning properly and support optimal fluids in the body.
– Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a vital nutrient to protect and strengthen the immune system. Without enough Vitamin C, guinea pigs can develop a disease called scurvy.
You may recall scurvy as being a sailor’s disease. When people went to sea for long periods of time and went without fresh fruits, they would develop scurvy, which causes painful joints, swelling, bleeding, lethargy, poor appetite, and, ultimately, death.
Guinea pigs are very susceptible to scurvy because, like people, they can’t make their own Vitamin C. As Veterinary Information Network explains, guinea pigs need to intake anywhere from 10 to 25 milligrams of Vitamin C each day to stay healthy.
One banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium. The recommended serving for a guinea pig is much less than one banana, of course! We will discuss that more in the following sections here.
– Vitamin B1.
Vitamin B1 is also called thiamin. Thiamin is an essential nutrient to help with muscle contraction, nerve messaging, and conversion of carbohydrates from food into usable energy.
– Vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is vital for healthy cell function. Pyridoxine also helps to create new blood cells and regulate healthy metabolism.
– Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is vitally important for guinea pig babies to help develop healthy vision and immune system function.
Vitamin A is also essential to help the heart, lungs, kidneys, and major organs do their jobs properly.
Without copper, your guinea pig can’t make red blood cells. Copper is also an essential trace mineral required to help your cavy’s body absorb iron and maintain healthy bones and circulatory system function.
Calcium is essential to maintain strong, healthy bones and teeth. But calcium also helps transmit messages between the brain and the body.
Iron is a vital nutrient to help the blood make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that has the important job of carrying oxygen from the lungs to all the cells.
Manganese helps your guinea pig’s body fight inflammation, create healthy bone early in life and maintain it throughout life and it also helps blood to clot after an injury.
Magnesium is very important to help your cavy’s muscles and nerves function properly, stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar levels and create new bone and DNA.
Antioxidants are properties that help protect your guinea pig’s cells from damage and fight back against serious diseases like certain types of cancer.
Bananas also contain essential energy in the form of carbohydrates and protein. They have very little fat. Overall, a single medium banana (skin off) is about 100 calories.
Of course, you don’t want to feed a whole banana to your guinea pig in a single serving. After all, the banana is almost the same size as your cavy!
Read on to find out how much banana your cavy can safely eat and how often you can feed banana.
What Is the Right Serving Size for Feeding Banana to Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs need a varied diet to stay healthy and strong. While up to 90 percent of your guinea pig’s daily diet should be hay and a complete and balanced pelleted guinea pig food, 10 percent should come from vegetables and fruits.
This not only offers your guinea pig extra variety and enrichment to keep their daily diet interesting and tasty, but it also helps ensure a full-spectrum intake of essential nutrients.
That 10 percent of the diet that is fruits and vegetables should be fed in a regular rotation, which means you won’t be offering banana every single day (even if your guinea pig hopes you will!).
While bananas do offer a full complement of essential vitamins, trace minerals, and nutrients as you just learned in the previous section here, it is far too soft to help wear down those constantly growing front incisors.
This guinea pig owners forum explains that offering a slice of banana every other week or so is just fine (a slice being a half-inch round).
While people don’t prefer to eat the skin of the banana, it is fine to offer banana with the skin on to guinea pigs.
Not only does the skin have nutrients and dietary fiber, but it is also a bit more challenging to chew and can give your guinea pigs some extra chewing fun and enrichment.
Are There Any Risks From Feeding Guinea Pigs Banana?
Overall, banana is perfectly safe for guinea pigs to eat. If your cavy was in the wild and happened across a tasty banana, you can bet they would gobble up as much as they could hold!
But when you are the one controlling the menu and portion sizes, you want to be aware that banana is a fruit that is quite high in sugar – this is why banana tastes so sweet!
Guinea pigs are so little that they can easily put on weight if fed a diet that is too rich or sugary.
Banana is also known to be constipating to guinea pigs if fed too frequently or in too-large portion sizes.
Should Guinea Pigs Eat Banana?
There is no reason why your guinea pig should not eat the occasional small round of banana – unless your veterinarian specifically advises you otherwise.
Interestingly, some guinea pigs won’t touch bananas. Unless guinea pigs are offered novel foods early in life, some may be quite reluctant to try new foods in adulthood.
In a wild setting, this is a protective survival instinct to avoid foods that might be toxic or poisonous.
So there is certainly no need to try to force your guinea pig to eat bananas if they don’t want to try them. There are plenty of other foods that can offer similar nutrient benefits to help round out your cavy’s diet.
If you offer your guinea pig banana, wait 24 hours to see how your pig’s digestion handles it. If all goes well, you can add banana to the regular treat rotation.