When it comes to the foods that a guinea pig can eat, there are some that offer the most nutritional value. Then, there are some that offer no nutritional value. What about onions? Can guinea pigs eat onions?
No, your pet piggy should never have onions. While they can offer some nutritional value to your pet, they are toxic to them and can lead to serious health complications. If your pet eats it, he or she will suffer from a discharge from its eyes and nose.
Onions have a high concentration of vitamin C and are essentially rich in antioxidants. However, they have a compound called disulfide. It can lead to severe anemia which can be fatal. But that’s not all, let’s dig in further.
Guinea Pigs Eating Onion – Risks And Potential Concerns
Disulfide in onions is a serious health hazard for your pets. If your pet is exposed to it he or she will likely suffer from a number of complications. These include:
- Irritation in the eyes.
- Increased salivation.
- Secretions from the nose.
- Respiratory complications
The list does not end here. They can also affect the red blood cells in the body of your pet guinea pig. As a result, there will be a problem with the transfer of oxygen in your pet’s body.
This will further lead to a greater risk of anemia in your pet guinea pig. In some cases, it might lead to fatigue and poor immune system health as well.
To further help you understand things better, let’s have a detailed insight into onions and their effect on guinea pigs.
1) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Red Onions?
In short, no they cannot eat red onions. This is due to the fact that they too contain toxic elements that will take a toll on your pet piggy’s health. Even if you feed your pet a small amount, it will lead to health issues.
The biggest concern here is the fact that they cause red blood cell damage. It affects the supply of oxygen to different parts of your pet guinea pig’s body. Due to this, it will eventually suffocate your pet’s organs.
If you’re wondering about the skin part of red onions, so the answer to that is NO too.
2) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Shallots?
Unfortunately, they cannot have shallots either. Just like onions, they too are toxic to your pet guinea pig’s health. Just like onions, they also have disulfide in them, which makes shallots inedible for your pet guinea pig.
Additionally, they also have thiosulphates. Both of these compounds are toxic to your pet and are strictly not recommended to be fed to guinea pigs.
3) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Onions? (Scallions)
Once again, the answer is no. They cannot have green onions either. They are also referred to as scallions and are a hazard to your pet guinea pig’s health.
Even trace amounts such as 6 or 7 g can be devastating for your pet and are certainly not worth the risk. The reason why people may consider green onions or red ones is the fact that they have vitamin C in them.
Due to the presence of vitamin C in onions, people often think of them as healthy snacks for guinea pigs. But, as you can see, this is certainly not the case here.
Alternatively, you can feed them the green tops of these onions. They are rich in vitamins and are surprisingly low in sugar content. Due to this, they can be consumed safely by your pet guinea pig.
One thing that you need to make sure of is to wash them thoroughly. The top part might have pesticide residue on them and it is wise to wash them to remove the pesticides and chemicals from them.
4) Why Are Onions Not Safe For Guinea Pigs?
The primary reason why onions are not safe for your pet guinea pig is the fact that they contain toxic compounds. Here is a detailed insight into why they are harmful to your pet guinea pig.
A) Contains Toxins:
The disulfide present in onions is a potentially life-threatening hazard for your pet guinea pig. Even the slightest or smallest serving could end up being fatal to your pet guinea pig.
To understand this better, let’s put it this way. Your pet guinea pig usually weighs between 1.5 – 2.5 or 3 pounds. 2.5 grams of disulfide per lb can be life-threatening for your pet guinea pig.
Now based on this, even a small serving size such as 6 or 7 grams can end up being deadly for your pet guinea pig. It might seem sad but in simpler terms, it is a slow death for your adorable little guinea pig.
The reason why it is a slow death is that it lowers the oxygen supply in your pet guinea pig’s body. Due to this, it will eventually suffocate your pet’s cells and lead to death.
B) Calcium And Phosphorus Content:
In addition to the toxins, onions are also rich in calcium and phosphorus content. In the unfortunate event that your pet consumes both of these compounds in excess, it will take a hit on your pet’s health.
Your pet guinea pig needs to consume calcium more than phosphorus. But, onions contain a whopping 37 mg of calcium and 47 mg of phosphorus.
Since the concentration of phosphorus is higher than calcium, it is bad for your pet’s health.
5) Can You Remove Toxicity Of Onions?
Unfortunately, you cannot remove the toxicity of onions. The reason why many people may wonder this is that many foods contain toxins, which can be removed by simply cooking them or boiling them.
However, when it comes to onions, there is no chance of removing the toxic compounds. No matter how much you cook them, there is simply no way to remove these toxins.
On a side note:
Never feed your pet piggy any cooked or processed foods. Even though you might be able to remove the toxins from some foods by cooking them, but they still aren’t safe for your pet guinea pig.
Cooking or processing foods usually removes most of their nutritional value. Due to this, they are not as beneficial for your pet as they would be raw.
Additionally, processed foods usually have additional substances added to them. Due to this, it leads to an imbalance in the concentration of certain nutrients which makes them harmful for your pet guinea pig.
6) How Common Is Onion Poisoning In Guinea Pigs?
Onion poisoning is pretty common in guinea pigs. Even the slightest exposure to the toxins in onions will put your pet piggy in immense amounts of intolerable pain.
Not only will it put your pet in pain, but it will also impact the red blood cells in your pet’s body. Due to this, it will open the pathway to other health complications as mentioned above.
The symptoms will initially appear and may be as simple as irritation in the eyes and secretion from the nose.
However, things will escalate pretty quickly and the symptoms can worsen within a short passage of 24-48 hours.
So, if your pet consumes onions accidentally and you notice any such adverse reactions, you should take your pet to the vet immediately.
7) How To Prevent Onion Poisoning In Guinea Pigs?
Onion poisoning is pretty common in guinea pigs. It may even be potentially life-threatening which makes things even worse. This is why you need to know how to prevent onion poisoning in guinea pigs.
Here’s how you can help lower the chances of onion poisoning in guinea pigs:
- Avoid feeding your pet piggy any vegetables from the allium family.
- Never put onions around your pet guinea pig or even if you let them roam around, you need to hide away the onions from them.
- Store onions in a place where your pet will not try to look for food. You certainly do not want your pet to accidentally have a taste of these onions.
- If you are growing onions on your property, you need to put some protective measures in place. Try fencing the produce area to avoid accidental consumption of onions.
Nutritional Content Of Onions
Onions are rich in some nutrients but that does not make them safe for your pet guinea pig’s consumption.
The reason why we are revealing the nutritional content of onions is to help you understand that your pet is not missing out. Here are the nutritional facts of onions based on a serving size of 160 grams.
- Water content – 90% (It is essentially normal and not high).
- Calories – 64 (It is considered high for the size of your pet guinea pig)
- Protein – 1.74 grams
- Total fat – 0.1 grams (very low)
- Fiber – 2.7 grams (considered high for the size of your pet guinea pig)
- Sugar – 6.78 grams (considerably high)
- Calcium – 37 mg (considerably high)
- Phosphorus – 47 mg (considerably high)
- Potassium – 234 mg (considerably high)
- Sodium – 6mg (considerably normal)
- Vitamin C – 7.4mg (considerably a good amount)
The nutrients in onions may be tempting but you should not forget that even the smallest serving of onions can be dangerous for your pet.
4 Risks To Consider When Feeding Onions To Guinea Pigs
For starters, you need to avoid feeding your pet guinea pig onions at all costs. However, if your pet accidentally eats onions, there are a number of things that can go wrong with this.
1) Urinary Complications:
Even though onions are rich in vitamin C and should improve the immunity of your pet guinea pig but the calcium content is what makes things go bad.
Adult guinea pigs do not require a high dose of calcium. Since onions are rich in calcium, it can lead to urinary complications. It will put your pet in miserable pain and also cause urinary infections.
This does not end here. It will also lead to urinary stones and end up making urination painful for your poor little guinea pig. The reason why urinary stones may form is due to the fact that calcium builds up in their kidneys.
2) Digestive Complications:
Onions contain a decent amount of fiber and sugar. While they are beneficial when fed in small amounts, but when overfed, they can lead to digestive problems.
In the unfortunate event of overfeeding or excess of fiber and sugar in their diets, it will lead to complications like:
- Poor digestion (it may be painful for them)
- Loose stool
- Gastrointestinal complications
3) Exposure To Toxins:
Due to the presence of disulfide in onions, it can worsen the health of your guinea pig. It can lead to irritation in the eyes and increased nasal secretion. Additionally, it will also lead to an excess of salivation.
4) Risk Of Other Health Complications:
Other health complications caused by onions include:
- Increased risk of anemia
- Breathing complications (poor supply or lack of oxygen)
- Painful body
- Poor oxygen circulation
- Inability to stay active
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Feeling cold most of the time
Luckily, all of this can be avoided by simply not feeding your pet guinea pig onions.
The Correct Diet Is Important
To keep your pet guinea pig in the best of its health, all you need to do is give your pet piggy the correct diet. The primary food of guinea pigs is usually from the grass family.
However, there are other foods as well that your pet friend will love to have a go at. Here is what the correct diet for your pet guinea pig looks like.
- Fresh hay – Feed your pet an unlimited supply of fresh grass hay. Since your pet piggy mostly focuses on the grass family, hay would be the perfect means of nutrition for your pet.
- Feed your pet piggy vitamin C supplements or guinea pig pellets. Since your pet guinea pig cannot produce vitamin C in its body, it needs it from outside sources.
- Unlimited supply of water – Apart from hay and other foods, your pet also needs an unlimited supply of water. Make sure you refill your pet’s water bottle once a day.
- Fresh fruits and veggies – To ensure your pet receives all of the nutrition it needs to stay healthy, you need to feed him or her fresh fruits and veggies. 1 cup a day would suffice and will be more than enough for your pet piggy.
- Guinea pig chewable toys – Your pet’s teeth never actually stop growing. They grow on a daily basis and need something to help limit their growth. Giving them chewable toys will help them scale down their teeth so that they do not suffer from pain while eating.
Besides, it will also keep your pet piggy entertained since they can get bored pretty easily.
What Should I Not Feed My Guinea Pigs?
For starters, you should never feed your pet guinea pig onions. Your pet guinea pig has a very sensitive digestive system. Due to this, there are some foods that you should never feed your pet guinea pig.
These will only make your pet sick and lead to other health complications. So, you need to avoid feeding them foods that are too much for their sensitive stomachs.
Such foods contain toxins and other chemicals that can be harmful to your pet guinea pig’s health. To get you started, here is a general list of foods that you need to avoid feeding your pet guinea pig.
1) Dairy Products:
Your pet piggy should only be fed leafy greens. They love having a go at leafy greens such as grass hay and other green veggies. Their digestive system cannot process dairy products and should never be fed.
Avoid feeding your pet piggy dairy products like:
Unfortunately, a guinea pig’s digestive system lacks the necessary enzymes that will help them process these foods.
So, you should avoid feeding them dairy products to avoid ultimate discomfort and digestive complications.
2) Foods Having A High Concentration Of Sugar:
Your pet’s digestive system is also not able to process high amounts of sugar. As a result, your pet will put on excess weight and become obese. Additionally, there is also a risk of diabetes in your pet guinea pig.
Foods with a high concentration of sugar include:
- Some fruits and veggies are also rich in sugars and you’ll have to feed them in moderation.
3) Other Foods To Avoid:
Foods like potatoes should also not be given to your pet guinea pig. This is due to the fact that they too contain harmful alkaloids that can take a toll on your poor little pet’s health.
It will eventually end up being fatal to your pet guinea pig and should be avoided at all costs. Here are some other foods that you should avoid feeding your pet guinea pig.
- Sweet peas
- Peanut butter
- Cooked foods
Apart from this, you should also stick to their diet only. Do not feed them the diets of other animals like rabbits.
43 Healthy Alternatives To Onion In A Guinea Pig’s Diet
Your pet cannot have onions, but that is not where it ends for your pet guinea pig. They can have diets like Mangoes, Peaches, Blackberries, Cauliflower, Raspberries, Parsley, Brussels sprouts. There are a lot of other healthy fruits and veggies that you can include in your pet’s diet.
These will provide your pet piggy with the same or even more nutrients than onions so don’t worry, your pet isn’t missing out.
Here are some fruits and veggies that your pet piggy can have safely.
|Bibb lettuce||Escarole||Beet tops||Cilantro||Radishes|
|Bell pepper||Cabbage||Summer squash||Pumpkin||Mint|
|Pineapples||Green beans||Artichoke||Swiss chard||Carrot|
|Carrot tops||Romaine||Asparagus||Yu Choy||Zucchini|
As long as you feed them in moderation, there is nothing that should worry you or your pet guinea pig. Besides, if you feed your pet piggy these treats by hand, be prepared for bites since they will absolutely love such snacks!
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Can Guinea Pigs Eat Onion Skin?
Unfortunately, the disulfide toxic that is present in the flesh part is present in the skin as well. This is why it is not a good idea to feed your pet guinea pig the skin part of an onion.
2) Are Guinea Pigs Allergic To Onions?
Generally speaking, they are not allergic to onions. But, onions will still make your pet sick and can take a significant hit on their health. This is why they should be avoided at all costs.
3) Do Guinea Pigs Like Eating Onion?
Fortunately, they do not like eating onions. They simply do not show any interest in them due to the fact that onions have a strong smell. Although they might sometimes get curious and try exploring it.
The reason behind their curiosity is the fact that not all guinea pigs are alike. Some might even like the strong smell and try taking a bite from these onions.
So, to avoid any accidental feeding on onions, you need to keep onions out of their reach. This way you will not have to worry about getting your pet piggy sick.
Can guinea pigs eat onions? No, they should never be fed onions. Whether it is red onions or green onions, both of them contain a harmful toxin referred to as disulfide.
When exposed to disulfide, your pet will immediately be struck with miserable pain and it will lead to numerous health complications. One of which is damage to the red blood cells in your pet guinea pig’s blood.
As a result, it will only be downhill and lead to complications like irritation in the eyes, secretion from the nose, and other health complications. Similarly, the calcium and phosphorus content will also make your pet sick.