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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pickles? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Brooke Bundy

By Brooke Bundy

guinea-pig-pickles

Vet approved

Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Athena Gaffud

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Pickles are a frequent lunchtime snack, but spark enormous controversy in the human world. Most people either crunch on them continuously or refuse to eat anything they’ve touched. Unfortunately, guinea pigs aren’t allowed to join in the debate since pickles are a salty food that’s strictly off-limits for guinea pigs. While cucumbers are a safe treat, the salt and vinegar found in pickles—not to mention any preservatives contained in commercially produced jars—aren’t safe for our piggies.

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Guinea Pigs And Pickles?

Sodium is a tricky subject. All animals need it to live, but due to its natural prevalence in many foods, most animals (and humans) are more likely to be at risk of having too much rather than not enough. Most vegetables naturally contain sodium in low amounts, such as celery and beets. Others are sodium-free, such as green beans, asparagus, and, ironically, cucumber.

Pickles have high levels of added salt for the pickling process. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and digestive issues which can be very serious. To be safe, you should avoid giving processed food such as pickles to your guinea pig and stick with fresh produce. Just be sure to give your guinea pig a well-balanced blend of hay, vegetables and fruits  so they receive all the nutrients they need, including sodium.

The vinegar in pickles can also harm your pig. Vinegar is too acidic for them and can irritate their tummy. While salt and vinegar are a tasty combination for humans, they’re a devastating duo for guinea pigs.

cucumbers for pickle
Photo Credit: JancickaL, Pixabay

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cucumbers?

Thankfully, your guinea pig can still enjoy the crunch of a fresh cucumber without the salty brine of a pickle. Fresh cucumbers are a hydrating snack that are a good source of vitamin C, which guinea pigs need to thrive. Too many cucumbers can lead to diarrhea though, so stick to a couple of slices per day to stay safe.

What Should I Feed My Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs are natural herbivores that thrive on hay, grass, and leafy greens. Dandelion greens, bell peppers, and kale are great meal additions to mix in with their Timothy hay, which should comprise about 80% of their diet. Limit calcium-binding vegetables such as corn, and avoid light green lettuce since it mostly consists of water with very little nutritional value.

Never give your guinea pig any processed food or meats. Since they’re herbivorous, meat will make them sick and some processed foods may be toxic, such as chocolate. Nuts and seeds are also not a good idea since they’re high in carbohydrates and could also be a choking hazard.

guinea pig eating basil
Photo Credit: TJ Images, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Because of the salt and vinegar, pickles aren’t safe for pigs. If you want your guinea pig to enjoy a satisfying crunchy snack, stick with fresh produce such as cucumbers and celery. Most of your guinea pig’s diet should consist of grass or Timothy hay. When you do feed them fresh produce, make sure it’s organic and wash it well to avoid subjecting them to pesticides.

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Featured Image Credit: PhotoMIX-Company, Pixabay

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