Guinea pigs are one of the most loved of all pocket pets. As cute as they are, it is easy to want to give them all the delicious human foods we enjoy, like sugar snap peas! Nonetheless, numerous human foods aren’t safe for your guinea pig to eat. So, can guinea pigs eat sugar snap peas?
Dr. Jess will answer all the details of this question below:
What is a Guinea Pig?
A guinea pig is a type of pocket pet that resides in the cavie family of animals.
They are small animals that grow to a maximum of approximately 10-11 inches long, and can weigh up to 2.5 pounds as a healthy adult.
In captivity and with proper care it is quite common to see these pets live upto 8-10 years of age.
One of their main anatomical (body) “quirks” is that they are constantly needing to chew in order to file their teeth down, as their teeth are constantly erupting (growing longer and longer).
They are quite playful animals and love to socialize with the ones that they know and love.
They make great pets for responsible pet owners, and those living in small dwellings wanting a loveable pet that comes in a small package.
What Do Guinea Pigs Typically Eat?
These little buddies eat an assortment of things to keep them healthy and happy.
- High-quality guinea pig food and Timothy hay should be the main staples of their diet.
- Up to about 10% of their diet can be made up of an assortment of vegetables and fruits, with fruits and vegetables over 12-24 hours old being discarded as soon as possible.
- They require 30 – 50 mg of vitamin C daily from their diet, either in their guinea pig food, a vitamin supplement, or from fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C. I’ll get to this more here in a sec…
- Guinea pigs do best with diets low in fats and sugars.
- Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water. ‘Fresh water‘ means that is is changed daily. ‘Changed daily‘ means that new water is placed into a CLEAN water dispenser!
What are Sugar Snap Peas?
Sugar snap peas are a pod fruit, where the multiple peas are housed inside a protective pod.
Their green pods can grow to a length of 3 inches or more.
The sugar snap pea plant itself is a cold-weather, vine type of plant, easily climbing a garden trellis or fence line.
Sugar snap peas are a very popular type of green used for human consumption and cooking.
Snap peas are popular in salads when served fresh, and in stir fries or even steamed if cooked.
When eating mature sugar snap peas, one needs to remember to remove the “string”, the hard fibrous thread running from one end of the pea pod to the other or you may be in for one tough bite of pea and pod!
Types of Peas:
Sugar snap peas are a very popular type of pea, a sweet-tasting legume used for human consumption and cooking.
However, there are other types of peas out there, such as snow peas.
For the sake of this article, we are going to be talking strictly about sugar snap peas.
Sugar Snap Pea Nutrition:
According to Healthline’s description of the nutritional benefits of sugar snap peas:
Unlike your typical shelled pea, both snow peas and sugar snap peas are much less starchy — meaning they contain fewer carbs.
In fact, both provide less than 8 grams of carbs in 3.5 ounces (100 grams).
Both varieties offer various important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K and folate — while being low in fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Whichever pea you prefer can be a low-calorie, nutritious addition to your diet.”https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/snow-peas-vs-sugar-snap-peas#nutrition
#1- Vitamins & Minerals:
Sugar snap peas have a large supply of vitamin K that can help support proper blood clotting and the skeletal system’s bones.
Sugar snap peas are an excellent source of vitamin C!
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning that guinea pigs MUST have it in order to be healthy and for their body systems to function properly. Luckily, asparagus contains vitamin C!
Vitamin C helps support a healthy immune system and is in general “essential” because your guinea pig cannot produce it themselves.
Scurvy is just one example of a disease or health concern seen among guinea pigs which occurs due to lack of vitamin C in their systems.
Sugar snap peas also have a solid dose of folate to them!
#2- Low Fat:
Another thing that sugar snap peas are, is full of is water.
On top of a high water content, sugar snap peas are known to be very low in calories – two things, that when combined together, can help mitigate weight loss or at least help to stave off weight gain, which is important in our little guinea pig diets!
#3- Low Cholesterol:
Sugar snap peas are also low in cholesterol, keeping your cavy in tip-top shape!
Sugar Snap Peas contain antioxidants.
Antioxidants are plant compounds that help protect the body from damage by free radicals, which can cause degenerative diseases.
#5- High in Fiber:
Sugar snap peas also have a decent amount of fiber to help with digestion and can sometimes help in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
#6- Sugar Levels:
Speaking of sugar, sugar snap peas do contain a decent amount of sugar in them.
Therefore, we need to watch our guinea pig’s sugar ingestion if feeding these types of peas to your cavy.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Sugar Snap Peas?
Most guinea pigs like sugar snap peas, with their sweet, crisp crunch! Most guinea pigs will scarf a sugar snap pea right down!
Are Sugar Snap Peas Healthy For Guinea Pigs to Eat?
Sugar snap peas contain a low amount of fat so it a better snack if your pet is overweight or has diabetes than other treats with higher fat content.
Snap peas also have a high water content to help keep your little friend hydrated.
As mentioned in the nutritional content of sugar snap peas section, sugar snap peas have a high amount of vitamin C and K, etc. in it – vitamins that help with the protection of important body systems that keep the body running and functioning appropriately.
Sugar snap peas have a fiber content that will help your cavy keep their digestive system running smoothly and can also help with keep blood sugar level stable if you have a worrisome diabetic guinea pig.
Sugar snap peas are packed with a multitude of nutrients which are great for the health of your pet guinea pig.
So yes, sugar snap peas can be a great choice of snack for your furry friend.
But sugar snap peas do not come without their nutritional drawbacks too. So before giving your guinea pig this sweet snack, read on to find out more!
Can Cooked Sugar Snap Peas Be Served To Guinea Pigs?
It is not advisable to serve cooked sugar snap peas to guinea pigs.
Not only do nutrients leave the pea if overcooked, but cooked peas can also be difficult for guinea pigs to digest properly, leading to gas and bloat, and other symptoms of gastric upset, such as anorexia, constipation, diarrhea, and/or vomiting.
How To Serve Sugar Snap Peas to a Guinea Pig:
Serve only fresh, raw sugar snap peas to your pet guinea pig.
Begin by washing the sugar snap peas thoroughly as you’ll need to remove any bacteria, pesticides, or other chemicals that may have been placed on the pea pod.
Then, you may chose to remove the pod from the peas inside.
Cut the pea pod into small bite-sized pieces if you are keeping the pea pod intact and serving the peas inside the pea pod.
Do not add any fats or oils or spices of any kind to the peas!
Remove any uneaten peas from the cage within a few hours of serving so that bacteria does not form and grow on it.
- fresh, raw sugar snap peas
- Serve only fresh, raw sugar snap peas to your pet guinea pig.
- Begin by washing the sugar snap peas thoroughly as you’ll need to remove any bacteria, pesticides, or other chemicals that may have been placed on the pea pod.
- Then, you may chose to remove the pod from the peas inside.
- Cut the pea pod into small bite-sized pieces if you are keeping the pea pod intact and serving the peas inside the pea pod.
- Remove any uneaten peas from the cage within a few hours of serving so that bacteria does not form and grow on it.
Contact your veterinarian before changing parts of your pet's diet. Stop the feeding of asparagus immediately and contact your veterinarian if any signs of ill health appear.
Can Sugar Snap Peas Be Bad For Guinea Pigs?
Sugar snap peas are a relatively safe treat to feed your pig in moderation.
One worry that comes up from time to time is the unfortunate allergic reaction, which can happen when any pet eats something for the first time, not just sugar snap peas.
It usually catches everyone by surprise when it does happen so contact your veterinarian if you sense that your pet is not themselves after ingesting something new or different to be on the safe side.
Another worry is the choking hazard which also exists with everything that a guinea pig puts into their mouth, including sugar snap peas.
Too much of a good thing should be another warning to guinea parents.
Feeding too many sugar snap peas to your pet can lead to gastric upset with signs of vomiting or diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and other health issues.
As discussed in one of the previous sections of this article, gas and bloat can be a product of eating too many sugar snap peas or for ingesting cooked sugar snap peas, for some guinea pigs.
Sugar snap peas have a high sugar content, so feeding your pig too many of these peas could lead to too much sugar ingested.
Lastly, sugar snap peas contain oxalic acid, which can lead to calcium stones to be produced in the kidney or bladder.
Kidney and bladder stones in a guinea pig can lead to a multitude of problems, especially if not treated, ultimately leading to death if not addressed and allowed to go without veterinary help.
How Many Sugar Snap Peas Can a Guinea Pig Have?
Like with every type of food you should never go overboard.
Vegetables, like sugar snap peas, and fruits are only supplements in their diet (see “Guinea Pig Diet” section above for reference).
If you increase the intake of vegetables and fruits too much, their diet of mainly of hay and feed will become disproportionate, giving your guinea pig the chance of suffering from various disorders discussed later.
If you are thinking about introducing sugar snap peas or any other new food into your pet’s diet, make sure that you do so gradually.
Start out with a small bite-sized piece and wait 24 hours to see how the guinea pig reacts.
If your furry friend enjoys the sugar snap pea treat and doesn’t show signs of abnormal behavior, then try a second small piece of sugar snap pea in the next day or two.
A common rule of thumb is to serve no more than approximately 1-2 small sugar snap peas per offering.
Try to mix up the offered sugar snap pea pieces with other vegetables and prepare a salad for your guinea pig.
The right combination of sugar snap peas and other safe vegetables such as pieces of cucumbers, bell peppers and lettuce would be a great addon to your guinea pigs diet.
How Often to Feed Guinea Pigs Sugar Snap Peas:
It is pretty safe to say that sugar snap peas can be used as a more frequent treat for your guinea pig over many other choices of fruit and vegetable treats.
You can safely feed a snack-sized portion of sugar snap peas to your guinea pig up to 1-3 times per week but remember to gradually work up to this frequency.
Strict monitoring should be done to avoid negative effects because too much of this food could lead to gastrointestinal (GI) upset with symptoms such as decreased appetite and energy levels as well as diarrhea and/or vomiting.
No fun, right?!?
For instance, if you are serving your guinea pig sugar snap peas 2 times per week but your furry friend doesn’t eat the offered peas 2 times per week, then back down the offerings to 1 time per week and see how they react to the snack at a decreased frequency.
This may help with ‘the desire’ to eat the sugar snap pea pieces.
Fruit & Vegetable Alternatives For Guinea Pigs:
- other squash
- Butternut Squash
Your cute little guinea pig deserves the best – best home, best health, and best treats.
Treating your pet to some of your favorite snacks, like sugar snap peas, is just fine as long as that store-bought and properly-cleaned sugar snap peas is prepared properly, served correctly (correct amounts and correct frequency), and only fed to healthy piggies.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your local vet before feeding sugar snap peas to your buddy.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.