Cheese is a dairy product that is made from pressed milk curds. The main components of cheese are water, milk fat, and milk proteins. Its production has been in practice for over 8,000 to 10,000 years by various cultures around the globe. Most of the time, we hear about how unhealthy it is and how negatively it contributes to our bodies.
When eaten in moderation, cheeses contribute to your health as they are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals and can help you avoid common health issues. Cheese is everyone’s favorite, but what about your pet, do your pets like to eat cheese? Can guinea pigs eat cheese? Before feeding your pet guinea pigs, we must always check if it is healthy for them. Let’s explore this topic.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cheese?
No, guinea pigs can not eat cheese because they lack the enzymes necessary to digest it completely. It would help if you kept in mind that you should never feed anything and everything you eat, as there is a high possibility that it will cause harm to your pet to some extent. Cheese, for example, should not be offered to guinea pigs as guinea pigs are lactose intolerant, so eating dairy products could cause them severe stomach problems or digestion problems in them. And instead of cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables should be given as snacks.
It is challenging for guinea pigs to properly digest and process food items containing lactose, like cheese, as they lack an enzyme called lactase. You must be aware of the fact that people who are lactose intolerant experience severe cramps immediately after eating dairy products.
Guinea pigs should not eat cheese because they contain a lot of fat. If, by any chance, your pet happens to eat cheese, it will most likely experience digestive problems like diarrhea and severe stomach cramps. Let’s know more about why guinea pigs can’t eat cheese.
Why Can’t Guinea Pigs Eat Cheese?
It is not advised for guinea pigs to consume cheese, because it has high calcium and sodium content and a lot of fat in it, and these creatures cannot digest it. They can not consume dairy products since they will cause serious health problems.
As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs are lactose intolerant, meaning dairy products should never be an option. The cheese will only damage their health since it contains a lot of salt, fat, and calcium, and its high sodium content makes them dehydrated, and they can have difficulty urinating. Since there are no great benefits from cheese for your piggie, you can give them a surprise treat by serving them bread, egg, oatmeal, etc.
5 Risk of Feeding Cheese to Guinea Pigs
The digestive system of guinea pigs is adapted to digest only plant-based food items like fruits, veggies, and grass, which is why they are considered herbivores. Their digestive system does not secrete the enzymes that are needed for the proper breakdown of dairy products, such as cheese so it should be strictly prohibited from their diet. The following are the risks of feeding cheese to guinea pigs:
1: They Can Get Obese
Cheese is high in fat and calories, and along with being nutritionally insufficient for your piggie and being harmful to their digestive system, cheese could make your guinea pig obese in no time and develop other health conditions too that tend to come along with obesity. However, a small amount of calories is healthy for guinea pigs, but that calorie should not come from cheese.
Obesity can make your guinea pig inactive due to too much weight and you need to understand that there is a big difference between feeding healthy to your pet which can make them gain weight and just being obese. So, if you observe your guinea pig is suddenly gaining too much weight, you should meet your vet soon.
2: It can Cause Bad Digestion
If you feed cheese to your guinea pig, their digestion after this will be terrible. Cheese has no fiber content which means painful digestion and even constipation. Cheese has some amount of sugar in it and they can not digest sugar well, so it will only increase cramps and other digestive issues as well. Instead of cheese, try to add yogurt and honey to their diet.
3: It Won’t Provide Prevention From Scurvy
Guinea pigs need vitamin C in their diet for survival. Still, one of the worst things about cheese is that it has no vitamin C. Without this vitamin, they are likely to get a disease called scurvy, which in some cases can be fatal. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss are some of the symptoms of scurvy.
4: Can Lead to Urinary Problems
Calcium and phosphorus are needed for strong bones, and due to the presence of these two minerals in cheese in excess amounts, it is very harmful to adult guineas. Excess of these minerals is one of the reasons for developing stones in the kidney and bladder in guinea pigs. And it leads to painful urination and bloody urine, and, in some cases, infections of the urinary tract and even kidney failure in worse cases. Hence please avoid feeding cheese to your little friend.
5: Can Majorly Cause Cardiovascular Problems
Cheese contains a lot of cholesterol and fats, which are unsuitable for heart health and the entire cardiovascular system.
Cheese, when consumed in excess, can lead to severe heart problems. Cholesterol and fat affect the circulatory system by clogging the arteries, which causes problems in the blood flow in the entire body, eventually leading to pressure problems.
Healthy Alternatives to Cheese in a Guinea Pig’s Diet
Now you know there is no alternative in dairy products to cheese that you can safely feed to your guinea pig. Naturally, they should eat grasses and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables instead of dairy. Still, there are certain fruits and vegetables with which you can provide your piggie the same satisfaction they might get from eating cheese. Below is a list of some healthy alternatives to cheese that you can feed your pet:
These foods will help keep your piggie healthy as they age and offer a pleasing texture that guinea pigs are naturally drawn to, but they may not taste the same as cheese.
Now it’s completely clear to you how cheese affects guinea pigs’ health. And the question that arose can guinea pigs eat cheese? It is now answered as no, and they can’t eat cheese because it is unhealthy and harmful for their pet. Not just cheese, guinea pigs should not even consume any dairy products as it can be hazardous to them. Feeding cheese can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances; even a tiny amount of cheese can have fatal consequences. And if your guinea pig eats cheese by accident and falls ill, you must visit the vet soon.
Cheese is unsafe for guinea pigs, and all dairy products are unhealthy, so you should avoid feeding them. And instead of cheese, you can consider giving some healthy food items to your guinea pig, like fresh fruits and veggies. By doing this, your pet will live a healthy and happy life.
Other Preferred Foods for Guinea Pigs
Foods Not Good for Guinea Pigs
Do guinea pigs like to eat cheese?
Yes, some guinea pigs do like cheese because of its delicious taste. But it’s preferred not to feed your pets cheese since it harms their health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dairy Products?
No, guinea pigs can not eat dairy products since they lack the enzyme needed to digest dairy products.
Is cheese safe for guinea pigs?
No, cheese is not safe for guinea pigs as they can not digest cheese, and even a tiny amount of it can cause severe digestive issues. It’s better if you don’t feed it to them.