Are Guinea Pigs Lactose Intolerant?

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A bigger part of your guinea pig’s survival depends on their diet. If you’re planning on feeding them dairy foods like milk, you need to be sure the lactose they contain is safe for your little pet.

Many animals are lactose intolerant, but are guinea pigs lactose intolerant too?

Yes, guinea pigs are lactose intolerant, which is natural. Moreover, giving them dairy foods is a bad idea. 

Lactose is bad for guinea pigs and can cause health issues for your pet. Unlike humans, guinea pigs’ digestive systems struggle to break down lactose very well.

As a result, a guinea pig can suffer digestive issues. They include bloating, gas, vomiting diarrhea, etc.

However, baby guinea pigs are an exception to lactose intolerance. They can always drink other milk when their mothers’ milk isn’t available.

It’s recommended you give them either goat milk or evaporated milk (diluted with water). These are good substitutes for guinea pig milk.

Now you know you shouldn’t feed guinea pigs milk as they’re lactose intolerant. But come to think of it – what happens if a guinea pig drinks milk accidentally?

Keep reading to find out!

What Happens if a Guinea Pigs Drinks Milk Accidentally?

Milk shouldn’t get into their system. However, the effect of the milk depends on the kind of milk and the amount they drink. 

A little bit of lactose can’t create health problems for guinea pigs. So, small quantities of milk (with lactose) aren’t harmful to your little pet. 

However, it’s bad if your guinea pigs accidentally drink too much milk (with lactose). In the same way, guinea pigs can get sick if they take milk that’s high in lactose, like cows’ milk.

In both of these cases, your guinea pigs can suffer from digestive issues such as:

  • Vomiting 
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea

Furthermore, if your guinea pigs accidentally drink lactose-free milk, you don’t have anything to worry about. Milk without lactose won’t be harmful to your pet.

Having known this, let’s discuss what you can do if your guinea pigs drink milk, especially one that contains lactose.

What To Do If Your Cavies Drink Milk?

First, you need to watch your guinea pigs closely for symptoms or any strange behavior. Guinea pigs will react depending on the quantity of lactose that got into their body.

As discussed earlier, a little amount of lactose can’t harm your guinea pigs. If your guinea pig starts getting uncomfortable, visit a vet right away.

What Milk Can Guinea Pigs Drink?

You should know that not every milk is harmful to guinea pigs. This is because lactose is not present in every kind of milk. 

Some milk is lactose-free while some are high in lactose content. Moreover, let’s look at these kinds of milk below to know if your guinea pigs can drink them.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Lactose-Free Milk?

This simple answer is Yes. Guinea pigs can have lactose-free milk. However, you should feed them small amounts of it.

The reason is that some lactose-free milk might also contain other substances that are dangerous in excess amounts.

However, to completely be on the safe side you can avoid serving them milk. It’s not even a guinea pig food in the first place.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Almond Milk?

Almond Milk - Not Healthy for Guinea Pigs

No, you should avoid feeding your cavy almond milk. This kind of milk is made from almonds. 

Almond milk is plant milk and doesn’t contain any lactose in it, unlike most dairy milk. However, you should know that almond milk is high in fat, which is unhealthy for guinea pigs. 

The fat content in it can promote unhealthy weight gain for guinea pigs. Getting overweight isn’t good for a guinea pig’s health, so avoid giving them almond milk. 

For this reason, almond milk isn’t safe for guinea pigs to drink. 

Of course, they’re okay for us as humans, especially vegetarians and people who are lactose intolerant.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Soy Milk?

Soy Milk - Healthy Milk for Guinea Pigs

Yes, guinea pigs can have soy milk. You should know that soy milk is lactose-free so it’s safe for guinea pigs to drink.

However, when feeding it to your guinea pigs, you shouldn’t offer them so much. Just like every other guinea pig treat, your guinea pigs should have soy milk in moderation. 

That’s if you want them to try it. I wouldn’t recommend you feed them this milk very often. Milk isn’t an ideal food for guinea pigs, especially adults.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Oat Milk?

Oat Milk - A Healthy Milk for Guinea Pigs

Yes, guinea pigs can drink oat milk. However, they can only have it in moderation.

Oat milk equally has no lactose in it, so it’s safe for guinea pigs that appear to be lactose intolerant. 

Oat milk equally has so much protein and low fats. This makes it healthy for guinea pigs to drink. Some oat milk you buy from stores may have added sugar to sweeten it.

Hence, you have to be careful about the amount you let your guinea pigs drink. Moreover, you shouldn’t let oat milk come into a cavy’s diet often.


Can Guinea Pigs Drink Evaporated Milk?

Evaporated Milk - Unhealthy for Adult Guinea Pigs

No, guinea pigs cannot drink evaporated milk. This milk has lactose, so it’s unhealthy for guinea pigs.

Nevertheless, you can offer evaporated milk to baby guinea pigs, but only after mixing it with water. The mixture should contain an equal amount of the evaporated milk and water(50:50)

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Goat Milk?

It depends. For adult guinea pigs, do not offer goat milk to them to drink. Goat milk contains lactose and it’s also fatty. 

This makes it unhealthy for adult guinea pigs to drink. However, goat milk is safe for baby guinea pigs to drink. 

In cases where a female guinea pig can’t feed her cubs, you can always use goat milk. it’s a good substitute for cavy milk.


Final Thoughts

In summary, guinea pigs are lactose intolerant. So, any milk containing lactose isn’t safe for them.

You should also know that some kinds of milk can be lactose-free but still unhealthy for guinea pigs to drink. 

This is because they might be high in sugar, fats, and other substances that are harmful to guinea pigs’ health.

Guinea pigs can drink soy milk and oat milk as they’re lactose-free and at the same time healthy for them.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t give them almond milk, evaporated milk, goat milk, and cow milk. These kinds of milk either have lactose, contain unhealthy substances, or both.

To be on the safe side, you should keep milk (all kinds) totally out of your guinea pig’s diet. No doubt, guinea pigs need fluid to survive. Water is always enough to do the trick! 

As guinea pig parents, it’s equally important that you know the different foods that aren’t safe for guinea pigs.

You can check out our full list of the 21 foods you shouldn’t feed your guinea pigs. 

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