Crackers have been commercially produced for humans since their inception in the early 1800s. The first cracker was made by an English confectioner and baker named Tom Smith. Nowadays, you can find different types of crackers in any convenience store, grocery store, and even family mart.
In fact, there are manufacturers who claim that their basic crackers are totally safe for pets like cats or dogs, provided that they are fed in moderation. But what about small animals such as guinea pigs?
Can guinea pigs eat crackers?
Guinea pigs can’t eat crackers. They are natural herbivores that mainly feed on plant-based diets of vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, and commercially certified processed pellets.
There are a few good reasons why this dried, baked food is unsafe and unhealthy for these animals. But first, we are going to take a look at the nutritional value of crackers.
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Nutritional Value Of Crackers
As we already know, crackers are a go-to snack that we can easily get no matter where we go. They are cheap, easy to produce, and can be kept for quite a long period of time. However, crackers aren’t recognized as one of the healthiest of foods.
These snacks lack some of the essential vitamins and nutrients that are important to humans and animals. This table shows the nutritional values for 100g of water crackers:
|Nutrients||Amount (per 100g)|
|Dietary Fiber||7.1 g|
|Vitamin A||0 µg|
|Vitamin B6||0.041 mg|
|Vitamin B12||0 µg|
|Vitamin C||0 mg|
|Vitamin D||0 µg|
|Vitamin E||0.29 mg|
|Vitamin K||1.8 µg|
|Energy (Calorie)||384 kcal|
|Lutein and zeaxanthin||17 µg|
Crackers contain ingredients that can cause health issues in guinea pigs such as cheese, salt, flour, oil, artificial colorings, and additional preservatives. Some of these issues are:
- Digestive problems
Crackers are rich in salt, oil, and flour, which can cause bloating, indigestion, gas, and other gastrointestinal problems in guinea pigs. Some crackers also contain too much sodium or salt that can lead to dehydration and excessive thirst.
Guinea pigs have a delicate digestive system that can’t handle the high amount of fat that most crackers offer per serving.
- Weight Problems
The amount of fat, carbohydrates, protein, and calories in crackers is too high for guinea pigs. Even if they eat it in just a small amount but frequently, this can lead to excessive weight gain.
For instance, cheese crackers are bad for guinea pigs because they contain too much fat and could cause obesity problems.
- Vitamin A and Vitamin C Deficiency
Like other animals, guinea pigs require essential vitamins to keep their bodies healthy. But most crackers don’t offer vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that helps in reducing free radical damage while controlling any sudden inflammation inside their bodies. It also helps in improving guinea pigs’ eyesight. When guinea pigs don’t get enough of this vitamin, they are prone to suffer from internal diseases caused by inflammation.
Meanwhile, vitamin C helps in boosting guinea pigs’ immune systems. Without this vitamin, they can easily suffer from scurvy and other immune-related diseases. Since guinea pigs can’t produce their own vitamin C, they need to get it from their food.
- Cardiovascular diseases
Crackers are high in sodium, calories, and other fat content. These ingredients are more than enough to induce cardiovascular problems in guinea pigs.
A high amount of sodium and fat in their body can lead to the restriction and blockage of the blood vessels, which in turn increase their blood pressure.
Aside from plain, basic crackers, there are other types of crackers that are available for consumption. Can guinea pigs eat other types of crackers?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cream Crackers?
Cream crackers are made from wheat flour, yeast, vegetable oils, and other flavorings. They contain around 35 kcal and are generally eaten with cheese, corned beef, margarine, butter, and other toppings.
Guinea pigs can’t eat cream crackers due to the high amount of fat that this food offers. Plus, cream crackers lack essential vitamins such as vitamin A and C that your cavies need.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Animal Crackers?
Animal crackers (or biscuits) come in different flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, “cotton candy”, colorful frosted varieties, cinnamon graham, and many more.
These crackers are baked images of animals including tigers, lions, elephants, bears, and other wildlife. Although animal crackers are made from simple dough, most contain sweeteners and cream coating on one side. Therefore, guinea pigs can’t eat animal crackers.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cheese-Flavored Crackers?
Obviously, cheese crackers are made from cheese and other ingredients such as corn starch, flour, butter, salt, seasonings, grain, and water. Some brands also use cheddar cheese and paprika to produce a cheesier taste in their crackers.
Like other crackers, cheese crackers are also not suitable for guinea pigs. Due to the high amount of fat and calories in cheese crackers, feeding them to your guinea pigs can increase their chance of becoming overweight.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Goldfish Crackers?
Goldfish crackers were first introduced to the United States by the founder of Pepperidge Farm, Margaret Rudkin in 1962. This company is now a division of Campbell Soup company and produces various flavors and varieties of Goldfish crackers. They also come in different shapes such as puffs, Christmas theme, cars, Mickey Mouse, and many more.
All of these crackers are cheddar flavored. Again, guinea pigs can’t eat goldfish crackers due to the high amount of fat contained in these crackers.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Peanut Butter Crackers?
Peanut butter crackers are high in sodium, saturated fat, and calories with a minimum amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Hence, there is no doubt that guinea pigs can’t eat these crackers.
Peanuts are high in fat and acid, which makes them harmful for guinea pigs to consume. The sticky texture of peanut butter can also impose a choking hazard on these small animals.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Prawn Crackers?
Prawn crackers are one of the common snacks in Southeast Asian countries, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia. They are made from prawns, tapioca flour, and water. These crackers are generally white but there are other multi-colored varieties made from additional colorings.
These deep-fried crackers aren’t suitable for guinea pigs. There are no health benefits of feeding your pet these crackers.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Salted Crackers?
Salted crackers are also known as saltines or soda crackers. They are made from white flour, yeast, baking soda, and oil before being sprinkled with some salt. These crackers are usually thin, square-shaped, and have perforations on their surface.
Saltine crackers can be treated as past-time snacks and commonly eaten with butter, peanut butter, cheese, and other spreads. Guinea pigs can’t eat saltine crackers due to the high amount of sodium or salt that can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Water Crackers
These crackers or biscuits have buttery flavors and crisp textures. They are made from flour, salt, cheese, olive oil, and water. Water crackers are commonly served with wine, cheese, beverages, and other high flavor foods.
Like other biscuits, guinea pigs can’t eat water crackers due to the ingredients that are unhealthy for these animals.
From their staple die to the smallest treats, you should always try to feed guinea pigs with healthy food and keep their diet free from any processed food.
No matter how safe you think the crackers are, try to avoid feeding them to guinea pigs. Whether they are cream crackers, saltine crackers, animal crackers, rice crackers, or even cheese crackers, these food are not beneficial or healthy for guinea pigs.