Often, we see hamsters in some videos having fun eating sunflower seeds. We are aware that guinea pigs and hamsters are both rodents. With that being said, can guinea pigs eat sunflower seeds, too?
The quick answer is no and it is not recommended.
Though sunflower seeds contain many nutrients, the amount of fat, carbohydrate, and fiber does not match the proper diet of the guinea pigs. Therefore, it is better not to give them at all.
Now, you understand that you shouldn’t feed guinea pigs sunflower seeds. But, what if you accidentally give it to them? What would happen to your guinea pigs?
This article contains a lot of interesting facts that you should know about. So, we better get started now.
Table of Contents
What Happens When Guinea Pigs Eat Sunflower Seeds?
There are two things that may possibly happen when guinea pigs eat sunflower seeds: choking and fattening.
Let’s dig deeper into this question and find out how sunflower seeds can be harmful to the cavies.
Eating sunflower seeds can cause major choking danger among guinea pigs. If you give these seeds to guinea pigs, they will definitely enjoy eating them.
However, you should remember that sunflower seeds are hard to swallow especially for tiny pets like cavies.
The shells of sunflower seeds are dangerous, too. But, this is not the major problem because guinea pigs will not eat the shell.
The main cause of choking danger is the seed inside the shell as it is so hard and it can clog the throat of your tiny pet.
Surely, you don’t want to see them struggling to breathe just because of sunflower seeds, right? Therefore, keep in mind not to give these seeds to your guinea pigs.
Sunflower seeds are very rich in fats and they can cause fattening among cavies. It is good to know that guinea pigs require a strict low-fat diet, which is the complete opposite of sunflower seeds. Well, give them some veggies instead!
According to the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine, sunflower seeds do not fit in the low-carbohydrate, low-fat, and high-fiber diet of the guinea pigs.
Needless to say, an unhealthy lifestyle of a guinea pig will cause its early death.
Most commercial foods for pets are meant to attract the pet owners (since they are the customers) and not the pets.
A good example is the sunflower seeds for guinea pigs. These seeds are dangerous for the cavies and better not be given at all.
However, the eye-catchy packaging of the commercial food and its neat and decent-looking food inside attracts the pet owners the most. Thus, these factors will trigger them to buy believing it’s the best for their pets.
Well, as pet owners we should be responsible enough to know what to feed our pets.
As people usually say, “Good pet owners treat their pets not as animals but as family members.” Surely, we don’t want to put our family members in danger, right?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sunflower Stalks?
Yes, they can eat sunflower stalks. The stalks of sunflowers are crunchy like celery that guinea pigs can eat too.
Moreover, these stalks have low-fat, low-carbohydrates, and high-fiber content that can pass the required diet of the guinea pigs.
However, these are not the usual safe food for guinea pigs and there are many other better options. So, if you want to feed this food to your guinea pig, better give it once every two weeks or once a month (just like a treat).
On the other hand, rabbits are fed with these stalks but not often.
This only shows that food should always be given in moderation.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Sunflower Leaves?
Yes, they can eat sunflower leaves. Just like the sunflower stalks, the leaves and all the green parts of the sunflower contain low-fat, low-carbohydrate, and high-fiber.
Therefore, these parts are fine to feed to your guinea pigs.
Nonetheless, it is better to give these foods as treats (only given once or twice). It makes us better pet owners if we know what to feed our cavy. Healthy guinea pigs will live happier and longer.
Nutritional Facts Of Sunflower
Sunflowers contain important vitamins and minerals which include fiber and iron.
Here’s a table to show what benefits these nutrients can give to guinea pigs and the parts of the sunflower where these can be found.
|Nutrients||Benefits||Parts of Sunflower|
|Fiber||maintain the balance in the digestion process||flower head, seed, green parts|
|Protein||help in the maintenance of weight||green parts and flower head|
|Fats||prevents inflammation||flower seed, head, and green parts|
|Carbohydrates||provides energy||green parts and flower seeds|
|Pectin||avoid possible colon problems||flower head|
|Phosphorus||keep the teeth and bones strong||green parts|
|Vitamin E||protect the cells of the body||flower head and seeds|
|Zinc||strengthen the immune system||green parts, flower head, and seeds|
|Vitamin B||ensure the healthy brain function||flower head and seeds|
|Magnesium||support the nerve functions||green parts and flower seeds|
|Iron||help in improving the immune system||flower seeds|
|Manganese||secure the production of sex hormones||flower head and seeds|
Risks To Consider When Feeding Sunflowers To Guinea Pigs
Some parts of the sunflower are good for guinea pigs. However, we should always remember that food (of any kind) should be fed in moderation.
Here are the possible risks that your guinea pigs may experience when you feed them sunflowers.
1. Guinea Pigs May Experience Deadly Choking.
If you feed your guinea pigs with sunflower seeds, be ready for the choking possibility.
These seeds are too hard for the guinea pigs and can clog the throat which may lead to a deadly choking experience. It’s better not to give these seeds to your pets.
2. Guinea Pigs May Get Allergic Reactions.
Just like humans, animals like guinea pigs can develop allergies to some things like sunflowers. Although this is not always the case, it is still possible to happen.
The bottom line is we should know well what to give and not to give to our lovely pets.
How would you know if your guinea pig is having an allergic reaction? Here are some of the signs and symptoms that you may observe:
- Mouth swelling
If you notice these signs and symptoms, consult your veterinarian right away.
3. Guinea Pigs May Develop Heart Diseases.
One of the leading causes of death among guinea pigs is heart attack. The sunflower seed contains a lot of fats that are not healthy for the heart of your guinea pigs. This is deadly and should always be taken into consideration.
4. Guinea Pigs May Have Kidney Problems.
Sunflower contains other elements like sodium and cadmium that are both harmful to the kidneys. If you keep on feeding it to your guinea pigs, do not be surprised if they will develop kidney problems.
As always, be aware of what you should not give your cavies.
Here are some alternatives that you can give your guinea pigs instead of sunflowers.
|Green Beans||Cucumbers||Sweet Potato|
In this article, you learned that guinea pigs should not eat sunflower seeds, because they are too dangerous for them.
You also learned that regular feeding of this flower to your cavies may lead to some risks like choking, allergies, and some internal problems.
If you care about your guinea pigs you should know more about their proper diet. This will help you recognize which food is good for your guinea pigs and which is not.
Then, as always, keep everything in moderation.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Share this with your fellow guinea pig owners!