Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oats? (Risks & Benefits – Explained)

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Having a bowl of oats for breakfast is common for us humans. If you are planning to share your breakfast with your cavies, it is important to find how safe it is for them.

This makes me wonder, can guinea pigs eat oats?

No, it is not safe for guinea pigs to eat oats. Oats have a high amount of phosphorus, the mineral that often causes urinary diseases. 

Furthermore, oats also contain high quantities of carbohydrates and fibers aside from other nutrients. This helps in fast weight increase. 

However, it is only helpful if you have a weak and underweight cavy. Otherwise, oats are not healthy for your cavies.

Therefore, it is best to avoid feeding oats to your cavies or giving them small quantities of oats as a rare treat.

NOTE: If you have an underweight guinea pig at home, you might consider consulting a vet before giving them oats.  

If you are still planning on feeding them with oatmeal, it is important to know the safe amount and frequency for them.

Let’s find out through the following questions.

How Often Can Guinea Pigs Have Oats?

In general, vets recommend sprinkling a small number of oats over guinea pig pellets, once or twice a month at the most.

You must never feed oats more than two times a week to your guinea pig.

As mentioned earlier, it is best to feed oats occasionally as a treat to your cavies.

However, if your guinea pig is underweight, you can consult a vet and get the right frequency of feeding oats to them. 

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Too Much Oats?

No. You can occasionally sprinkle 2-3 grains of oats at the most on your guinea pig’s meal as a special treat for them.

Though oats are good for livestock animals, they are harmful to guinea pigs. Having high calories, oats cause several health risks to our cavies.

Even if you are feeding oats to an underweight guinea pig, you should never feed them too much. Restrict your oat grain count to 2-3 each time.

Risks to In Feeding Oats to Guinea Pigs

Oats contain components like carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, and others in high amounts that make them unhealthy for our guinea pigs.

There are several health risks to feeding oats to guinea pigs, and they can be explained below.

1. Causes Obesity:

The high carbohydrate content and calories of oats are highly responsible for fast weight gain and obesity in guinea pigs.

You must avoid frequent feeding of oats to your cavies if they have normal body weight. Too many oats make your cavies fat and lead to severe cardiac diseases. 

There is one more reason behind the unwanted obesity in cavies from oats. Too many oats also affect their metabolism which leads to chubbiness.

2. Affects digestion:

Apart from having too many carbohydrates and calories, oats contain fibers in higher quantities than the regularly required amount for cavies.

Eating a normal amount of dietary fiber improves bowel movement and digestion. But when cavies eat too many fibers, it affects their stomach. 

The result is indigestion, followed by loose stool.

3. Creates Problem in the Urinary System:

The high content of phosphorus and calcium affects the urinary system of a guinea pig.

Though phosphorus and calcium are good nutrients that make the cavies’ bones strong, they are not suitable for adult guinea pigs.

A growing guinea pig needs phosphorus and calcium for bone and teeth development. Once your cavy ages, phosphorus and calcium cause kidney and bladder stones in them.

When you feed too many oats to an adult guinea pig, they suffer from urinary problems. 

The common signs are the following:

  • Chronic urine infection
  • Kidney and bladder stones
  • Painful urination
  • Hematuria
  • And even failure of the entire renal system. (Renal failure can lead to your cavy’s death in no time.)

Nutrition in Oats

Before you buy packs of oats or oatmeal for your cavies, find out what are its nutritional questions.

Here is the nutrition chart for 100g of oats:

NutrientContent in 100 g of Oats
Energy389 Calories
Carbohydrate66.3 g
Protein16.9 g
Dietary Fibers10.6 g
Fat6.9 g
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)51 g
Vitamin B66 g
Calcium54 mg
Iron26 mg
Magnesium44 mg
Phosphorus52 mg
Zinc26 mg
Manganese246 mg

While we are discussing the nutritional content of Oats, it is worth mentioning here that the grain doesn’t contain any cholesterol.

So, if you are feeding oats in moderation or as a treat, it becomes a healthy treat for your cavies. The lack of cholesterol helps cavies in avoiding a sudden heart attack.

Health Benefits of Oats for Guinea Pigs

Oats are not completely unhealthy for guinea pigs. Oats can be beneficial for underweight, weak, or growing guinea pigs if you sprinkle 2-3 grains over their pellets.

Some of the health benefits of oats are:

1. Helps in Gaining Weight for Underweight Cavies:

If you have a skinny cavy at home that lacks appetite, sprinkling oats over its food is a healthy option. 

Though oats lead to obesity in healthy guinea pigs, it is helpful for underweight cavies as they gain a healthy weight after moderately eating oats. 

If your guinea pig is suffering from a disease like cancer, it can lose its appetite and weight. Oats are a suitable diet solution for such cavies to regain their health.

However, you must never provide your cavies with oats without consulting a vet, even if they are sick and underweight.

2. Develops Shiny and Thick Coat:

If your guinea pig is suffering from a skin disease that leads to patchy skin and loss of their fur, you can consult a vet about feeding oats to your cavy.

Oats are known to resolve skin and hair loss issues in guinea pigs. 

Experts say that moderate consumption of oats can help cavies develop a thicker and shinier coat. Even the bald patches of their skin heal and get softer.

What Parts of Oats Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Before you sprinkle oats over your cavy’s meal as a treat, it is important which parts are safe to eat.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Hay?

guinea pigs eating hay

Yes. Oat hay is safe for guinea pigs, especially baby cavies. 

Oat hay is high in dietary fibers and tastes different from the regular Timothy hay you feed to your cavies. It offers a change in taste to your pets.

Though oats are high in calcium and protein in general, the content is low in oat hay. This makes oat hay a good treat for guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Bran?

No. Oat bran is not a healthy food option for guinea pigs. 

Though oat bran is healthy for humans, it is not an ideal food option for cavies. Your cavies can even choke over oat bran.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Sprays?

Yes. You can feed oat sprays to your guinea pigs as occasional treats. 

However, you must keep in mind that oat sprays have the same nutritional benefits and problems as oats. Therefore, it is a recommended option for baby cavies.

If you have an underweight or weak guinea pig baby at home, you can consult a vet before feeding oat sprays.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Straws?

No. You must avoid feeding oat straws or straws of any kind to your cavies. 

First, oat straws are equally unhealthy, being rich in calcium, phosphorus, fibers, and carbs.

Second, they have sharp edges which might injure your cavy when they try to chew on the straws.

Furthermore, oat straws attract bacteria if not cleaned from your cavy’s cages. Hence, it is best to avoid oat straws.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Grass?

Yes. Guinea pigs can eat oat grass in moderation.

Oat grass is a tasty treat for your cavies. But, it still contains calcium, and high content of calcium can be fatal for guinea pigs.

Read Also: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass Instead of Hay?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Seed?

It depends. Like oat grains and grass, oat seeds are high in calcium and hence are not suitable for your cavies. However, you can crush oat seeds and sprinkle them on your cavy’s meal as a treat.

Oat seeds are highly available in the market. But if you must add it to your guinea pig’s meal, always remember to add not more than 1-2 seeds at once.

What Kind of Oats Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

a jar of oats

Before you buy oats for them, find out which kind of oats are suitable for you. Let’s discuss the different kinds of oat your guinea pigs can eat: 

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Quaker/Quick Oats?

Yes. Both Quaker/quick oats are safe for guinea pigs, but only in moderation.

Quaker oats are nothing but a brand of oats that you get in the market. However, all the content of Quaker oats remains the same as regular oats.

Therefore, you should give it to your guinea pigs only as a treat on occasions.

Quick oats, on the other hand, are nothing but roughly chopped rolled oats. These oats cook faster than regular oats; hence are favorites of guinea pigs. 

However, the ingredients of quick oats are acidic for your cavies. So, if you are feeding quick oats to your guinea pigs, restrict it to an occasional delicacy.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Plain Oats?

Yes, guinea pigs can have plain oats, but only as a special treat. 

Plain oats and regular oats are the same. It has a high content of carbohydrates and fibers, so it can lead to obesity in guinea pigs.

So, if you are feeding dried plain oats, ensure that you never feed too much.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Flakes?

Unfortunately, guinea pigs can’t eat oat flakes. 

Oats flakes can be very nutritious for human beings. But, these flakes have a very high content of phosphorus. 

The high phosphorus content of oat flakes often leads to urinary disorders, bladder stones, and even kidney failure. There it is best to avoid the oat flakes when you plan a meal for your cavy.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Honey Bunches of Oats?

Yes. Guinea pigs can eat Honey Bunches of Oats, but only as a treat. 

Just like Quaker oats, Honey Bunches is yet another brand for regular oats. So, Honey Bunches are also high in carbs, fibers, and calcium. Eating it can easily lead to obesity in cavies.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Old Fashioned Oats?

Not ideally. Old fashioned oats are oat grains that are flakey and flat, and high in carbs.

Just like regular oats, though your guinea pigs can eat old-fashioned oats, it is best to avoid them. It is only suggested to give old-fashioned oats as a treat to them occasionally to avoid obesity and diabetes.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rolled Oats?

No, it is not suitable to feed rolled oats. Rolled oats are not much different from regular oats. They have a high content of proteins and carbs, which can be harmful to your cavies when you feed rolled oats to them. 

You can give rolled oats only as a special treat to your cavies to avoid obesity and other health issues.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Steel Cut Oats?

No. Steel cut oats are just another breakfast cereal that is healthy for human beings but not healthy for your cavies.

Steel-cut oats are generally roughly cut coarse oats. It not only makes your guinea pigs obese but also poses a threat of choking.


Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raw/Dry Oats?

No. Both raw and dry oats are not healthy for guinea pigs. 

Be it raw or dry oats, the content of carbs and proteins is high and causes obesity in cavies. Furthermore, no dry food is suitable for guinea pigs.

However, if you still want to give raw/dry oats, serve them in very small quantities as a rare treat to guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oats Porridge?

Yes. You can give oats porridge as a treat to your guinea pigs. 

Oats porridge differs slightly from regular raw porridge. Instead of being flattened, oats porridge is usually available in ground form. 

The grains of oats porridge are so well ground that your guinea pigs will digest it smoothly. However, this type of oats doesn’t have any nutritional value; hence it should be avoided on a daily basis.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cooked Oats?

No. Guinea pigs can’t eat any cooked food. 

Cooked oats can be healthy for us humans but are not suitable for our cavies. You can give raw/dry oats as alternative treats to them.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oatmeal?

a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

No, it is not ideal to feed oatmeal to your guinea pigs.

The nutrient content of oatmeal remains the same as oats. Hence, it’s best to avoid it when feeding cavies. Furthermore, the phosphorus content is also high in oatmeal. 

Eating oatmeal usually leads to urinary problems and even kidney disorders.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oat Flour?

No. Eating oat flour can be very harmful to your cavies. 

Oat flour is high in fiber. When your cavies eat oat flour, they tend to suffer from a digestive disorder, loose stool, and similar issues. 

Therefore, it is best to avoid oat flour when it comes to preparing a meal for guinea pigs.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we learned that oats are not healthy for guinea pigs. However, if you want to give a treat to your pet occasionally. However, you must avoid feeding it regularly.

Oats are very low in nutrition but high in fiber, carbs, calcium, and phosphorus.

If your guinea pigs eat oats regularly, they can face several health issues like obesity, diabetes, stomach problems, loose stool, and more.

Though there are several health issues for guinea pigs in eating oats, it can be healthy if you have an underweight or sickly cavy at home. 

Oats help in weight gain and the development of coats in guinea pigs.

If you are aware of which parts and types of oats to feed, you can prepare a healthy treat for your guinea pigs. 

If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to share it with your guinea pig lover friends!

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