Can guinea pigs eat bananas?
If you’re wondering whether it’s safe to feed your cavy fresh bananas, you’ve come to the right place.
We all know that fresh fruits like ripe bananas and apples are great for us, but are they healthy for cavies too?
What fruits are good for guinea pigs? Read on for the answers…
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bananas?
You can safely feed guinea pigs bananas; it isn’t toxic to them. As an occasional treat, eating bananas will not cause any immediate harm.
Bonus points to any pet owner who picked up on the words “infrequent treat” in the short answer above.
You see, while the many healthy nutrients in bananas can be beneficial for your cavy, there is the small matter of sugar content.
Something we’ll look at in-depth later…
For now, let’s just work on the premise that too much banana is bad news for your piggy friend.
So if that’s the case, what amount of banana fruit can you feed your cavy without the risk of health problems?
I’m glad you asked…
Banana Portion Size for Guinea Pigs
While the odd piece of banana is a way to boost your cavy’s vitamin and mineral intake, the high sugar content can be harmful to them.
Bananas are very much an occasional treat that can add a bit of variety and enrichment into your guinea pig’s diet.
Veterinary Dr. Leonie McKinlay told FeedingMyPet that a small bit of banana is enough.
That’s a slice about the size of a teaspoon or weighing roughly 10-15 grams. She goes on to say that you can give this amount once a week.
Related: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Apples?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Banana Peel
While it’s not something you’re likely to have considered eating yourself, banana peel is safe for both you and your guinea pig to eat.
A banana’s skin accounts for around 35% of its total mass, so that’s quite a bit of waste when you think we just throw them away.
Banana peel can actually make for a healthy snack for your guinea pig, although she is likely to prefer the fleshy part of the fruit.
Dietician Rachel Link writes that banana peel is rich in potassium, fiber, essential amino acids, and antioxidants.
More on how these benefit your cavy next…
One word of warning before we move on. Banana peel needs to be cleaned thoroughly before feeding it to your cavy. It could be contaminated with pesticides and other environmental nasties.
Banana Health Benefits for your Cavy
Of course, banana peel isn’t the only part of the fruit packed with goodness. The rest has lots of nutritional value to offer your cavy too.
Bananas contain 3 µg of vitamin A per 100 g. This vitamin is associated with maintaining eye health.
Cavies don’t have the greatest vision, and their eyesight can be affected by many common diseases over time.
By giving your cavy a vitamin A boost, you’re taking steps to help keep her eyes healthy.
Vitamin B6 plays an essential role in your guinea pig’s body. The vitamin is necessary for the healthy function of her immune and nervous systems.
Bananas contain 0.367 mg of B6 per 100g, so your cavy will get some of her daily B6 requirement through this occasional treat.
By comparison, watermelons contain hardly any B6 at 0.045 mg per 100 g. Read our article on whether can guinea pigs eat watermelon for more.
Working our way through the vitamin alphabet, vitamin C is super important for your cavy.
She can’t produce vitamin C within her body and relies solely on her diet to meet her daily requirements and avoid vitamin C deficiency.
If your cavy doesn’t get enough vitamin C in her diet, she can suffer from a condition called scurvy. Yes, like you hear mentioned in pirate movies!
Bananas contain 8.7 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. This is nothing compared to the 53.2 mg found in 100 g of orange.
However, the acid in oranges can spell trouble for guinea pigs.
Vitamin C supplements are readily available for guinea pigs, and these should be the primary source of vitamin C in their diet.
There is 2.6 g of fiber per 100 g of banana, which is relatively high.
Fiber helps to flush toxins and undigested food out of your cavy’s digestive tract.
Fiber can be found in the banana skin and flesh and helps to keep your cavy’s digestion running smoothly.
It’s worth noting that hay should be your cavy’s main source of fiber, don’t rely on supplemental sources.
Potassium and Magnesium
Magnesium and potassium work together and interact with other minerals in your guinea pig’s system. Bananas are notorious as a good source of potassium.
A lack of these minerals in your guinea pig’s diet can lead to stunted growth, loss of fur, reduced activity, poor coordination, and limb stiffness.
This highlights the importance of feeding your cavy a well-balanced diet!
Packed full of essential vitamins, bananas are clearly good as an occasional treat.
However, your regular guinea pig foods should meet the primary means of satisfying her dietary requirements.
Guinea Pigs and Bananas – The Health Risks
With all of the health benefits I listed above, it can be easy to forget that you’re not supposed to be feeding your guinea pig large amounts of banana.
Let’s explore why…
Just like their owners, guinea pigs will gain weight if they eat too much. Hay and pellets should make up the majority of your guinea pig’s daily diet.
The occasional healthy, tasty snack will add some variety, but too many can will to weight gain and the many health problems associated with obesity.
High Sugar Content
One of the things that make bananas taste so good is their high sugar content. They contain 12.23 g of sugar per 100 g.
Excessive sugar can cause some serious health problems for your cavy. These can include diarrhea, poor digestion, and diabetes.
Like humans, large amounts of sugar and obesity contribute to guinea pigs contracting type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Treatment and diet correction can resolve the situation, but it’s better not to go there in the first place.
Not All Banana Products Are Good
Some banana-based products are worse still for your cavy.
A banana drink, banana chips, and banana bread can all contain other ingredients that could be harmful or even toxic to your pig.
It’s best to keep raw bananas as an occasional treat and avoid all other processed banana drinks and products.
Guinea Pig Banana FAQs
How much banana can I give my guinea pig?
While it is safe to feed your guinea pig banana, the high sugar content means you should limit the amount to 10 to 15 grams once a week. More than this puts your guinea pig at risk of obesity and diabetes.
Can guinea pigs eat banana peels?
Yes, it is safe to feed your guinea pig banana peels. In fact, it’s safe for you to eat them too! Banana skin has the same healthy nutrient profile but is lower in sugar than the rest of the fruit.
Can guinea pigs eat bananas? That’s the question behind this article.
You learned that bananas are not toxic or especially dangerous for your cavy, but that their sugar content means moderation is key.
This sweet treat offers various vitamins and minerals that can help keep your cavy healthy from head to tail.
But too much banana runs the risk of your cavy becoming overweight and suffering from obesity-linked diseases such as diabetes.
Vets recommend you feed a slice of banana no more than 10 to 15 grams once a week.
This strikes a good balance between enjoying the benefits of bananas without the associated risks.
Bananas aren’t the best option when it comes to treats for your cavy.
There are plenty of vegetables that would serve as healthier alternatives. Banana chips are definitely a no!
Thanks for reading. I’m sure your cavy is grateful you’ve taken the time to research healthy treats before feeding. It shows you care!
- Hughes, E 2020, FeedingMyPet, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://www.feedingmypet.com/can-guinea-pigs-eat-bananas/>.
- Link, R MS RD 2019, Can You Eat Banana Peel?, healthline, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/can-you-eat-banana-peel>.
- Banana Raw 2020, U.S. Department of Agriculture, viewed 2 June 2021,<https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102653/nutrients>.
- Eyes n.d., Guinea Lynx, viewed 2 June 2021, <http://www.guinealynx.info/eyes.html>.
- Nohr, D 2016, Vitamin B6, Science Direct, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780081005965010763>.
- Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals: Fourth Revised Edition 1995, The National Academies Press, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://www.nap.edu/read/4758/chapter/6>.
- Scurvy in Guinea Pigs n.d., The Unusual Pet Vets, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://www.unusualpetvets.com.au/scurvy-in-guinea-pigs-and-the-importance-of-vitamin-c/>.
- Herbert, J DVM n.d., Nutrition for Guinea Pig, Centre Vétérinaire Laval, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://cvlaval.com/en/exotic-services/fact-sheet/nutrition-guinea-pig.html>.
- Guinea Pigs with Diabetes n.d., Guinea Lynx, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://www.guinealynx.info/patriciasimon_diabetes.html>.
Can guinea pigs eat bananas? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.
Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.
Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts.