Dozens of fruits and vegetables are good for domestic guinea pigs, and the list includes snap peas too. But pet vets often put a warning on this particular food, making many pet enthusiasts wonder if snap peas are safe for guinea pigs. Over the years, I heard this question on numerous occasions. Well, I am Robert, and today, I’ll provide you the answer in details.
Yes, guinea pigs are comfortable with snap peas but only if 1-2 pods are given once or twice a week. These peas are best served raw to retain the most essential vitamins and nutrients. Any other method like cooking, boiling, or freezing should be avoided.
As you got the answer, I would like you to go deep into the read because you should know why snap peas are being considered in the first place and what happens to the cavies as they eat them.
Taste and Nutritional Values of Snap Peas
Snap peas are the result of a cross between garden and snow peas. Most flavorful of all, snap peas are sweeter than snow peas but equally crisp and tender. Rich in important nutrients such as folate, vitamin C and K, these peas contain low amounts of cholesterol, fat, and sodium.learn about best food for guinea pigs.
Fewer carbs in these peas make them much less starchy and contribute to its being a low-calorie addition to the daily diet. Your guinea pig receives the following nutrients in the specified amounts from a 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving.
|Nutrients||Amounts (1 Cup or 100 Grams of Snap Peas)|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||12.7 Milligrams|
|Omega-6 Fatty Acids||73.5 Milligrams|
|Vitamin A||462.3 Milligrams|
|Beta Carotene||379 Micrograms|
|Vitamin C||12.2 Milligrams|
|Vitamin K||43 Micrograms|
|Lutein + Zeaxanthin||640 Micrograms|
Besides these, snap peas contain lots of other nutrients in small amounts per 100 grams of serving. While most of these nutrients can ensure certain health benefits for your guinea pig, some of them may cause harms, especially when served in larger amounts or too frequently.
Let’s see which particular nutrients are essential to the growth, immunity system, and survival of a guinea pig and which can do more harm than good.
Table of Contents
The Good: Vitamins, Fiber, Protein, and Water
Each of these nutrients provides your guinea pigs with some sort of strength it needs in the process of development and survival.
Are you one of those keepers who find it difficult to get their rodents to drink water? For a guinea pig to stay healthy, at least 80-100 milliliters of water is required. Snap peas can be an excellent solution, a supplement for the water requirement, I would say.
Water helps the little creature not only to stay hydrated but also combat some health problems, which give you all the more reasons to keep peas on the list of diet sometimes, if not always (I’ll explain why).
Few sources of antioxidant can be as good as anything that contains vitamin C. The antioxidant part of the vitamin is associated with certain functions such as reducing risks of heart diseases, improving blood pressure, preventing scurvy, and boosting the immunity system.
Vitamin K, as supported by many studies, is critical to the improvement of bone density and strength. It also aids in various functions, including bone metabolism and blood clotting. Deficiency of this nutrient is strongly linked with osteoporosis.
Some researchers believe this vitamin helps with heart problems by preventing calcification in the blood vessels. Many studies lead experts to believe that the vitamin may relax the constricted vessels and allows the heart to pump blood through the guinea pig’s body. The good thing about these functions is that they help lower the blood pressure.
When it comes to preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar, fiber gets a very high regard due to its contribution to a rodent’s digestive health.
It is one of the essential nutrients for guinea pigs, especially when their growth is in discussion. These herbivorous creatures are known to achieve noticeable physical growth when given protein-rich diets.
The Bad: Sugar and Minerals
I’ve kept these nutrients on this side of the argument, but it doesn’t indicate their absolute uselessness. I merely suggest that they can be good or bad for your guinea pig’s health depending on how much of them is being passed onto the pet’s system through foods including snap peas.
Sugar has long been known to have negative effects on the pet’s gut flora as it promotes the excessive growth of what we call “bad” bacteria. Too much of peas in the diet increases the sugar content which may contribute significantly to obesity and affect the balance of bacteria in the digestive system of a guinea pig.
Calcium and Phosphorus
Calcium is not harmful unless we’re looking at an intake of high levels which leads to bladder stones and urinary tract issues. If too much of phosphorus enters the animal’s system, its growth will be slowed down and the lifespan will be shortened.
However, calcium deficiency is a bad thing too for its causes lethargy, muscle spasms, and loss of appetite in rodents, and gradually dental and bone issues characterized by brittle teeth and bones.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Snap Peas? My Answer
If I say snap peas are okay, it appears to be an understatement. Well, they are ideal, but you must be careful about the way and the amount you’re feeding. So, I’ll be answering these questions here:
How to Prepare the Pea?
Get fresh ripe peas and wash them properly to get rid of the dirt or invisible germs. Whether to keep or remove the skin from the pods is your choice, but it is better to have it removed. Mix those peas with other recommended vegetables.
Unlike some vegetables, snap peas are better off without the leaves, sprouts, and shoots. Don’t forget to remove all of them before allowing guinea pigs to eat.
How Much to Serve?
Since green veggies can be a part of a guinea pig diet, feeding some peas shouldn’t be a big deal. But don’t give more than 2 peas at a time. Don’t be obsessed with the number of pods in them. They are fine.
How Often to Feed?
If you settle on 1 pea at a time, you can do it twice a week. 2 peas at a time can be good once a week. Regardless of the number of peas, stay within the limit of 2 times a week.
Cooked or Frozen or Raw? What Is the Verdict?
There are enough evidences for us to believe that cooking degrades or destroys some nutrients, especially water-soluble nutrients including vitamin C. The result may not be same in case of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin K.
Boiling or steaming may cause loss of vitamin C by up to 25% and pressure-cooking or microwaving may reduce it to 10%. In addition, common recipes often include onions and garlics which are considered toxic to the little cavies. So, I don’t think you should take this unnecessary hassle just to make a difference in the taste.
I would say no to canned or frozen peas as well because frozen peas are usually boiled and some preservatives are added in the process. All these combinations make it difficult for guinea pigs to process the food (peas).
You see that the only choice left here is to feed raw peas. This way, you can rest assured that you aren’t doing anything to hurt the pet’s digestive system.
Now that facts about snap peas are clear to you, I guess I should remind you one matter. Adding these peas to the regular diet may seem an attractive choice, but you shouldn’t even consider this.
Hay is a very useful source of vitamins for these animals. Anything like snap peas, if added, makes a supplementary source of nutrients. Don’t overfeed because excess intake of certain nutrients can only cause your prized pet some major health complications.