You are looking for food in your home that you can feed to your pet guinea pig, and you come upon a box of honey nut Cheerios. Then a question suddenly hit you: can guinea pigs eat Cheerios?
This breakfast cereal may be healthy and delicious for us humans. They have many health benefits that people need, like fiber, vitamins, and many more.
While those nutrients found in a bowl of Cheerios make people healthy and strong, but do guinea piggies need them?
Can guinea pigs eat honey nut Cheerios?
“Cheerios Protein” by JeepersMedia is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Some facts about Cheerios
There are many interesting pieces of info about this delicious morning cereal.
Cheerios originated in 1941 and were originally known as Cheerioats, which tried to include the word oats but made it all the more unappealing. It was changed to the present name, which stuck.
There are twenty flavors of Cheerios. The first flavor made was cinnamon nut Cheerios, and the second was honey nut Cheerios, which became more well-known.
The company that owns Cheerios is General Mills, which makes more than two hundred million pounds of the honey nut variety every year.
Cheerios have many essential nutrients like:
Cheerios contain lots of fiber, which guinea pigs need for regular bowel movements.
No fat content
Cheerios do not have fat, which works great for guinea pigs since they tend to overeat and become obese.
Vitamin C is usually found in fruits, which are another alternative for guinea pig treats. However, Cheerios can match the most delicious fruits in the market with their vitamin C content.
Vitamin C works by boosting your guinea pig’s immune system.
Gluten is usually present in other breakfast cereals but fortunately is very much absent in Cheerios.
When guinea pigs ingest food with gluten, they will have stomach aches, which leads to gassiness, bloating, and diarrhea.
High in iron
Cheerios contain lots of iron, which helps guinea pigs have healthy blood.
Some nutrients are not necessary to your guinea pig’s diet and health and may even be detrimental:
Phosphorous and calcium
These nutrients are crucial to human beings since they make their teeth and bones strong.
While guinea pigs also need calcium and phosphorous, Cheerios, unfortunately, have too much of them and become unhealthy.
Too much calcium and phosphorous in a guinea pig’s body will become bladder stones and get stuck in its bladder, which causes renal failure.
Too much fiber
Cheerios may have too much fiber that guinea pigs would not need, which leads to loose stool, gassiness, bloating, and flatulence. Check your pet’s stool after eating Cheerios to make sure that the cereals are not negatively affecting your pet.
Too much sodium
Cheerios contain too much salt that can cause bloating in guinea pigs and make them always thirsty.
For 100 grams or 3 ounces of Cheerios, there are:
- Dietary fiber- 10.01 grams
- Energy- 372 kilocalories
- Fat- 6 grams
- Carbohydrates- 73.2 grams
- Calcium- 352 milligrams
- Sugar- 3.5 gram
- Iron- 28 milligrams
- Zinc- 13.4 milligrams
- Potassium- 633 milligrams
- Sodium- 497 milligrams
- Phosphorous- 357 milligrams
- Magnesium- 114 milligrams
- Selenium- 24 micrograms
- Copper- 0.4 milligrams
- Vitamin A- 990 microgram
- Vitamin B6- 1.72 milligrams
- Vitamin B12- 6.77 micrograms
- Vitamin C- 21.4 milligrams
- Vitamin E- 0.4 milligrams
- Zeaxanthin plus lutein- 159 micrograms
- Niacin- 17.9 milligrams
- Thiamin- 1.4 milligrams
- Riboflavin- 0.2 milligrams
Can guinea pigs eat Cheerios or any other dry cereals?
Cheerios and other kinds of processed cereals like Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, etc., can be fed to guinea pigs but in moderation and as a treat only. Even though they may have nutrients that guinea pigs need, they are too much and over what their bodies require.
How many Cheerios can guinea pigs eat?
Cheerios and other brands are unsweetened dry cereals that have oats, corn, barley, wheat, and rice as their main ingredients. They are often eaten as breakfast food by people due to their high fiber content.
But how many cheerios can guinea pigs eat? Or, for that matter, how much cereals can guinea pigs eat?
As mentioned in the above table, they contain nutrients that are excess of what guinea pigs need. Eating them too much might make them obese.
Cheerios should only be fed in tiny amounts two times a week or less. Avoid feeding it to guinea pigs if they are still young.
Can guinea pigs eat other brands of cereals?
Guinea pigs can eat Cheerios and other brands of cereals because they are sweet-tasting and have a crunchy texture that they will like. They are also detrimental to their health if eaten too much.
Cheerios and the other cereal brands are the same in this regard, so if you want to give them to your guinea pigs to eat, do so in strict moderation.
What is the best kind of Cheerios for guinea pigs to eat?
Cheerios have many types of flavors that people can choose from. There is the honey nut, multi-grain, or just plain Cheerios.
Honey nut Cheerios have honey, which has a bad effect on guinea pigs.
Multi-grain Cheerios have whole grains included, along with sugar and other substances. All of these will make guinea pigs gain too much weight or become obese since they cannot fully digest these.
If you are planning to feed Cheerios to your guinea pig as a treat, choose the plain Cheerios since it has the lowest amount of sugar and has the least potential to affect it.
How much sugar can guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs have a difficult time processing sugars in their bodies. They tend to eat too much sweet-tasting and easily get fat.
It is why experts recommend that guinea pig pet owners only feed their pets food that has less or no sugars at all.
However, sugar cannot be avoided since it is also found in fruits, which are better alternatives to be given to guinea pigs as treats.
If you, as a guinea pig pet owner, already know that the food you are going to feed has sugar in it, give it in small amounts only. This way, you can mitigate its supposedly ill effects.
Risks of eating too many Cheerios
Feeding Cheerios and other breakfast cereal brands to guinea pigs definitely come with risks:
Kidney and bladder stones
As mentioned earlier, the amount of sodium and calcium in Cheerios is too much of what guinea pigs need. Their residual substances will remain in their urinary system and become kidney or bladder stones.
It will make urinating painful for guinea pigs, which will lead to renal failure then death.
The main attraction of Cheerios and other cereal brands is their fiber content, which helps in a human’s digestive system and bowel movements.
However, the amount of fiber in cereals may be too much to accommodate the little body of a guinea pig. While it needs the health benefits that grain-type foods bring to the table, too much has adverse effects on its digestive system.
You guinea big will regularly have a range of stomach-related issues like diarrhea, gassiness, and many more.
From the above-mentioned list, Cheerios absolutely have lots of calories, including fat and sugar, which is alright for humans but are too much for guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are herbivores, after all, which means they eat only plants and plant-based food. Its required calorie intake usually comes from the fruits, veggies, and other components in its diet.
Cheerios have too many calories that your guinea pig’s body can handle and, as a result, will make it gain weight.
Cheerios are made to be hard and get softened once added with milk. Even a guinea pig has powerful choppers that can gnaw on wood, and the O shapes also make it difficult for your guinea pig to take a bite of, thus making it a choking hazard.
If you think your guinea pig might be choking or experiencing some other distressing symptom, observe them carefully and consult a vet if necessary. You can also learn the different guinea pig sounds and what they mean, so you can easily know if something is wrong.
Cheerios are cereals that are packed with iron, which is healthy and essential for humans’ diet. But this can be completely damaging to a guinea pig. Too much of it can be dangerous and toxic, which causes tissue damage, stunted growth, and even demise.
Cheerios have lots of oil and sodium that can lead to heart problems, like high blood pressure. It is not advisable to include it in a guinea pig’s regular diet.
Whenever you’re looking for anything your guinea pig can eat, check the nutritional content and ingredients, especially if these are processed products.
Ideal foods that guinea pigs eat
An ideal guinea pig’s diet
Some guinea pigs eat in excess, and some do not. It will completely depend on the kind of food they eat – processed or fresh. Also, look out for added preservatives.
Since Cheerios and other cereal brands are not ideal treats, you should avoid these as much as possible. There are other healthier options that guinea pigs can eat:
Commercial guinea pig pellets
Choose pellets with a high amount of vitamin C and other essential vitamins that do not happen to have dried seeds and fruit added. The right amount is a one-eighth cup of pellets once a day plus fruits, veggies, and hay as supplements.
Timothy hay is the best kind, which your pets need for fiber and gnawing its teeth.
Fruits and veggies
These should be given fresh to your guinea pigs and are better treats compared to Cheerios. Here are the best veggies:
- Romaine lettuce
- Sweet potato
- And other leafy green veggies
Always have fresh and clean water in the guinea pig’s cage at all times, either in a water bottle or dish.
“Guinea Pig” by Lyn Lomasi is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Can guinea pigs eat Cheerios? They are fine, but not too much.
It is up to you, as a guinea pig pet owner, to be responsible for its welfare and food intake. This way, you can extend the life span of guinea pigs in your home, and you and your furry little buddy can be together for a long time.
Featured image credits:
“Honey Nut Cheerios Bowl” by chrismetcalfTV is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/