Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ice Cream? (Find Out Now)

So, you’re thinking about feeding your guinea pig ice cream, huh? Or maybe you’re just wondering if guinea pigs can eat ice cream. Well, unfortunately…

Guinea pigs can’t eat ice cream because they can’t digest it properly. Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant. They don’t produce the enzyme lactase, to digest lactose that’s found in diary products. Also, large amounts of sugar, calcium, and fat in ice cream can cause your guinea pig serious health issues.

a picture of guinea pigs wondering if they can eat ice cream

Let’s dive into some of the potential problems guinea pigs face (and the health issues caused) when eating ice cream.

1. Bloat Or Other Stomach Issues

An image that explains that guinea pigs can't eat ice cream because it'll mess with their digestive system and make them sick.
Ice cream is a big no-no.

No piggie parent is trying to roll out the red carpet for bloat, diarrhea, and stomach pain for their guinea pigs.

Unfortunately, that’s what you risk when you give your guinea pig ice cream. Not only is dairy difficult for their stomachs to digest, but sugar as well.

7 secret guinea pig hacks

Too much of either can cause some serious digestive issues that no one wants to deal with.

Like with other cold foods (like frozen veggies or ice cubes), ice cream is much too cold.

Typically, the digestive system of cavies do best when they’re fed room temperature foods. If you feed your piggies very cold or very hot foods, it’ll “shock” their digestive system.

Then you’ll have to deal with a guinea pig that’s not feeling well and isn’t very happy.

If your little friends eat some ice cream by accident (and yes, it could happen), watch them carefully for signs of:

  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • sluggishness
  • bloat (which can be deadly if it’s not treated)

If you notice any of these signs, take your guinea pig to the vet as soon as possible. Your guinea pig might some medication and special care until they’re feeling better again.

2. Diabetes

One risk of consuming ice cream is giving your guinea pig diabetes.

Diabetes is when the guinea pig’s body stops producing insulin and their bodies lose the ability to regulate the sugar levels in their blood.

Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the amount of glucose in your guinea pig’s blood stream. Over time, if you give them too many sugary foods (like ice cream) it can lead to diabetes.

Diabetes is pretty rare with piggies, but still…

When guinea pigs eat ice cream with high amounts of sugar, they’re at risk for developing diabetes later in life.

So, while guinea pigs might love the taste of ice cream, it’s not something that’s good for their health and should be avoided.

3. Malnourished (No Vitamins)

A picture of junk food that explains that guinea pigs will sometimes eat ice cream or other foods that aren't good for them.
Just because your piggies are willing to eat something, doesn’t mean that it’s good for them.

Ice cream is loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

And there’s very little in the way of essential vitamins and nutrients that cavies need in a scoop of ice cream.

There’s no way that your fur babies will get enough essential nutrients that they need to stay healthy if you stuff them full of ice cream.

If your guinea pig is eating a lot of ice cream, they won’t be getting the other important nutrients their body needs.

Like Vitamin C.

Cavies can’t make their own Vitamin C in their bodies, so they have to get it from their food. If they don’t, they’ll get scurvy.

Scurvy is an illness guinea pigs get when their bodies are deficient in Vitamin C.

Scurvy causes the following symptom:

  • causes your cavies’ teeth to fall out (yes, really)
  • extreme weight loss (it happens fast, too)
  • swollen joints
  • skin problems

Your piggies can actually die from scurvy.

If all your piggies eat ice cream (or even other junk foods) all the time instead of veggies or Vitamin C-enriched pellets, it could cause them to become malnourished.

4. Obesity

Overweight piggies are at higher risk for health problems like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, respiratory issues… the list goes on.

And all piggies can get fat and unhealthy pretty quickly if you give them too much of what they don’t need: like ice cream. 

The sugar content is just too high.

Hay is the main type of food that cavies need to eat to keep them lean and healthy. It should make up 80% of their diet.

It’s a low calorie food, but filled with fiber to help with their digestion. Plus, it’s a great fibrous food that helps them keep their ever-growing teeth ground down.

5. Dental Issues

a picture of guinea pig teeth that explains that sugar (like the kind found in ice cream) is bad for guinea pig teeth
Broken or unhealthy teeth can seriously mess with your piggie’s eating habits, which in turn can start health issues that you DO NOT want to deal with.

Just like with human kids, piggie parents need to protect their furry burritos’ teeth. And if you want your piggies’ teeth to stay in good shape, you need to keep them away from sugar.

Ice cream has a lot of ingredients that causes cavities and tooth decay in guinea pigs so it’s best to avoid giving your guinea pig ice cream altogether.

Once again, if you want to give your little friend a special treat, then go with a small piece of an apple, a sprig of an herb, or a small piece of kale.

A Word About Ice Cream Alternatives

If you’re wondering if guinea pigs can eat ice cream alternatives like frozen yogurt or sherbet, the answer is no way!

These are similar dairy products that contain sugar and should be avoided at all costs. They also have lots of other ingredients in them which guinea pigs definitely don’t need.

So the next time you’re at the grocery store, skip the ice cream aisle (unless you’re shopping for yourself that is).

Get them a healthy alternative instead like a blueberry or strawberry top, or an endive leaf.

7 secret guinea pig hacks

What Happens If Guinea Pigs Eat Dairy?

If guinea pigs eat dairy, they can experience a lot of health problems.

Like I said before, guinea pigs are lactose intolerant, which means that they can’t digest dairy products easily (read: at all)

When guinea pigs eat foods like ice cream or yogurt regularly (and in large amounts), it leads to lots of stomach problems like diarrhea and gas.

It’s easy enough for guinea pigs to get diarrhea since their digestive system is so sensitive, but guinea pigs can also end up with bloat if they eat too much dairy.

Bloat is when a dangerous amount of gas builds up in your piggie’s stomach. This gas makes it impossible for guinea pigs to pass any waste, to eat, or to well – do anything really. It’s painful and very serious.

Bloat can be caused by lots of things:

  • lack of hay to help with digestion
  • too many cruciferous veggies (like cabbage, broccoli, kale)
  • cold foods

But, piggie parents should know that dairy products (especially cold dairy products like ice cream) increases the risk of bloat in your little friends.

Nutrition Facts About Ice Cream

Think that a low-sugar ice cream option would be a good solution?

Think again.

Even if the dairy wasn’t an issue for piggies (which it definitely is), the low sugar, low fat option actually has about the same amount of calories and sugars as regular ice cream.

 Regular Vanilla Ice CreamNo Added Sugar Ice Cream
Calories140115
Total fat7 grams5 grams
Cholesterol30 mg18 mg
Protein2 grams3 grams
Total carbs17 grams15 grams
Sugar14 grams4 grams

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Ice Cream Cones?

If you’re wondering if your guinea pig can eat ice cream cones, the answer is sadly no. The cone itself is filled with sugar and other processed ingredients that aren’t healthy for your guinea pig.

What Foods Are Toxic (Or Dangerous) To Guinea Pigs?

There are a number of foods that are toxic to guinea pigs. Here’s a few:

Some fruits and veggies are good for guinea pigs. Some are bad. Look at the list to see which ones you should never give to your little friends – cuz they’ll either make them sick or are choking hazards.

  • Nuts
  • Any kind of meat
  • Dairy products
  • Most seeds
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Grains
  • Cereals
  • Dried beans
  • Leeks
  • Avocado
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Hot peppers of any kind

Final Thoughts About Guinea Pigs and Ice Cream

So, as you can see, guinea pigs can’t eat ice cream. While it might seem like a harmless snack, it can actually cause your guinea pig serious harm.

If guinea pigs eat ice cream, they can get diarrhea or bloat which is very dangerous for guinea pigs because their digestive systems are so sensitive.

It’s also important to note that piggies have a lactose intolerance and won’t be able to digest the dairy in ice cream either!

So if you’re looking for a guinea pig-approved snack, give them a healthy alternative like Vitamin C filled fresh fruit or veggie slices instead.

Your guinea pig will thank you!

7 secret guinea pig hacks

Berkheiser, K. (n.d.). Ice cream: Nutrition, downsides, and best choices. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ice-cream#nutrients

Do Guinea pigs fart? All about bloating – Kavee blog. (2021, May 5). Kavee USA. https://kaveecage.net/blogs/kavee-c-and-c-cage-fleece-liner-guinea-pig/do-guinea-pigs-fart-all-about-bloating

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

Gastrointestinal disease in Guinea pigs and rabbits. (2013, February). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7128126/

Ice Cream Vanilla, Light, No Sugar Added FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169631/nutrients

An investigation into the relationship between owner knowledge, diet, and dental disease in Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126775/

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/

Petco. (2021, July 27). Guinea pig food list: What can Guinea pigs eat. Pet Supplies, Pet Food, and Pet Products | Petco. https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/food-nutrition/guinea-pig-care-diet-and-feeding-tips.html

Vanilla Ice Cream: FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/450193/nutrients

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