Selecting snacks and meals for your guinea pig is fun. These adorable little guys and girls love nibbling all sorts of things and a varied diet makes, of course, for a very happy piggie. That said, can guinea pigs eat plantains?
While a nibble or two won’t hurt and your guinea pig will probably love them, plantains are not good for your piggy in excess. These fruits are very high in sugar, though the leaves are going to be less-so and okay in moderation.
In this article, we’ll tell you more about plantains and how they relate to your guinea pig’s diet. We’ll talk about different ways that plantains are prepared and whether or not this makes them more suitable for snacking.
Let’s take a closer look at plantains and your piggies!
What are plantains?
Also called ‘green bananas’ and ‘cooking bananas’, plantains are a type of banana that has a bit of a tougher skin and starchy texture inside. When cooked up with a bit of oil and sugar, they can taste amazing, and they are healthy for humans… but not so much for guinea pigs.
Nutritionally, they are high in carbs, fiber, and good old vitamin C, but they also have a very high sugar and water content and this is definitely not good for your piggy!
Are fried plantains okay for guinea pigs to eat?
So, what if that plantain is fried? Frying certainly makes them delicious for us and your piggy might well stuff their face with fried plantain for as long as you will let them. Unfortunately, with fried foods, you get some of the same problems that you would with humans.
First off, frying something in oil means that you are eating oil with your food. That’s not good for you or for your piggy, who doesn’t eat those oils as any part of their natural diet. Further, plantains are usually fried up with additional sugar to make them tastier and with the natural sugar that they already contain, this means double-trouble for your piggy.
A tiny bite of fried plantain would be okay but this should never be a regular food for them.
Can guinea pigs eat dried plantains?
Okay, so fried plantains are bad, what about dried and preserved plantains? Well, here we still run into the problem of a high sugar content and while the water factor is reduced, the sugar factor is still a deal-breaker.
Finally, there is also a matter of the preservation process. Depending on how the dried plantains were prepared, there might be added preservatives present to go with that excess sugar and so dried plantains are not much better than regular plantains.
Can my guinea pig have plantain leaves?
With plantain leaves, the rules are going to be a little different. In moderation, they can actually have some good benefits for your piggies health, you just want to make sure that you only give them to your guinea pig in small, measured amounts.
Dried, broad-leaf plantain leaves have the following perks:
- They can act as a natural diuretic, helping your piggy to get rid of excess water and salts.
- They can work as a decongestant and expectorant, helping your guinea pigs immune system by making it easier to cough up and expel mucus.
- They are high in fiber and good for your guinea pig’s skin.
While these benefits sound great, keep in mind that most of them are medicinal, and like any medicines too much can be a bad thing. So, minute amounts of plantain leaves might be fine, but we are talking about just taking a ‘pinch’ of them to put in your guinea pig’s enclosure if you are looking to go with the immune-boosting benefits of the leaves.
Further reasons why they are not good in volume relate again to that high sugar content. Leaves store excess sugar in the form of starch, and plantains are pretty starchy to begin with. The leaves are going to be even more so, which makes them unsuitable for your guinea pig and your piggy might not even like them in the first place!
So, plantain leaves DO have some good qualities but if you use them then you should only stick to miniscule amounts.
Some final words on guinea pigs and plantains
As you can see, while your little piggies might certainly love a little plantain on occasion, if you feed them this food then you really need to keep the servings moderated. Plantains are simply too sweet and in cases like dried or fried plantains, then you’ve for to worry further about oils and preservatives that healthy piggies simply would not encounter in their natural diets.
So, if plantains are on the menu, keep the servings down to a single, tiny piece at a time and eat the rest yourself… Plantains are definitely not good for your guinea pig!