Chocolates have been loved by humankind since time immemorial. It satiates our cravings for sugar whenever we feel in the mood. Just like that, animals love the smell of chocolates too. They love everything sweet, just like us. Give a bite of chocolate to your pet, and you will literally see their eyes spark out of happiness. But, the question here is, are sweet things, like chocolates safe for animals? What about guinea pigs in particular? Read on to find out if your adorable guinea pigs should eat chocolates.
Can guinea pigs eat chocolate?
The answer is, NO!! Your guinea pig should stay far away from chocolate!! Guinea pigs are known to have a sensitive digestive system because of which they fail to digest sugar well. Ingesting too much sugar can lead to cramps or even changes in the stool.
Another fact is that chocolate contains a chemical found in caffeine, called theobromine. Caffeine is considered harmful for guinea pigs since it causes the heart rate of guinea pigs to speed up, which can even be fatal sometimes. There are chances that the same effects could be observed with chocolates too.
All that being said, it is disappointing to know that your cute pet cannot enjoy this yummy treat. But, on the brighter side, your friend will be free from digestive problems and remain healthy without chocolates. So, from now on, no matter how many times your guinea pig sniffs on your chocolate or makes a cute face begging for it, learn to look away and ignore the cute being.
Nutritional value of chocolates
No matter how chocolates affect a guinea pig’s health, it is also considered to be a nutritious food item. When guinea pigs consume chocolates, it can cause a lot of side effects such as heart problems, digestive issues, and so on. But, apart from all these, chocolate is also considered to be a very nutritious food.
If guinea pigs were to safely eat chocolates, it would have helped their body by increasing immunity since chocolates contain antioxidants and would also help in blood regulation. However, the risks far outweigh its positives when it comes to guinea pigs.
Nevertheless, here are the nutritional values of 100 gm of dark chocolate:
- 7.8 g protein
- 45.8 g carbs
- 10.9 g fiber
- 24g sugar
- 42.7 g fat
- 73 mg of calcium
- 228 mg magnesium
- 2 mg of cholesterol
- 11.9 mg iron
- 9% vitamin K
- 4% pantothenic acid
- 2% thiamin
- 31% phosphorus
- 5% riboflavin
- 88% copper
- 10% selenium
- 97% manganese
- 5% niacin
- 5% vitamin B12
- 22% zinc
- 2% vitamin B6
- 20% potassium
- 599 calories
Side-effects of Giving Chocolate to Guinea Pigs
Chocolates are harmful to your pet and should not be given at all. Some of the health risks associated with chocolates are-
Increased heart pressure
As mentioned above, the chemical theobromine found in both chocolates and caffeine is harmful to your guinea pig’s heart. This chemical speeds up the heart rate of the animal by stimulating the nervous system and increasing the metabolism rate. Such situations are harmful to an animal with a small body such as a guinea pig. The increased heart rate can be too much for your guinea pig to handle, and can even lead to death in some cases.
Rapid weight gain
Chocolate is very rich food, loaded with carbs, sugars, fats, etc. These nutrients cause maximum weight gain in humans as well as animals too. The same is the case with guinea pigs as well. Guinea pigs are known to be hoggers already, and giving them chocolates won’t make them stop at just one bite.
Apart from the harmful chemical in chocolates, there are other two nutrients in chocolates that are extremely harmful to guinea pigs. Calcium and phosphorus together can harm your guinea pig’s urinary system very badly. Excess presence of these nutrients can cause blood in urine, kidney and bladder stones, painful urinations along other urinary tract infections. If these issues are not cured on time, they can lead to more serious problems such as renal failure.
The presence of high sugars and theobromine in chocolates can instantly make your guinea pig feel sick. These contents will cause abdominal pain and severe cramps in guinea pigs. The sugar content can cause digestive complications in your pet while theobromine can make her feel nauseous.
What should I do if my guinea pig eating chocolates?
If you have left your chocolate open on the table only to find your guinea pig enjoy every bite of it, don’t panic!! Check the amount of chocolate your pet has consumed. If it’s only a small amount, then your pet should be fine. But, there are chances of some minor digestion problems, along with cramps. However, in case a big amount is ingested, there could be severe diarrhea along with digestive complications and nausea.
Keep your guinea pig under thorough observation and look out for these symptoms. Your pet must remain hydrated, so make sure to give her water and maybe some greens to chew on. Monitor for any serious signs, analyze the stool, observe if your pet looks sickly. If symptoms persist for long, then it is best to take your pet to the vet.
Chocolates are very healthy foods for humans, especially dark chocolates, but not so for guinea pigs. While guinea pigs will love the taste of chocolates, they are harmful and can lead to serious complications when ingested. From diarrhea to urinary tract infections, chocolates can mess up your guinea pig’s health system.
It is best to look for other alternatives as treats for your pet. There are delicious fruits that are safe and taste sweet, such as peaches, which your guinea pig will love. If at all, you are very keen on letting your pet try chocolate, you can give a tiny amount once in a blue moon.