5 Big Reasons Yogurt Drops Are Terrible For Guinea Pigs

You give your guinea pigs a friendly pat before you settle down to have a snack. As you reach for a bag of yogurt drops, you wonder, can guinea pigs eat yogurt drops? Well, good thing you made your way here first, because…

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat yogurt drops. Although they’re not poisonous to guinea pigs, yogurt drops are high in sugar, fat, and calories, which guinea pigs should avoid. Too many yogurt drops will cause them to put on too much weight, which will lead to health problems.

a picture of a guinea pig in a basket indignant because he's been told that he can't probably can't eat yogurt drops

Just like humans, piggies have different dietary needs. While yogurt drops might be a great snack for you, they’re not the best choice for your guinea pig friends.

Here are five reasons why guinea pigs shouldn’t eat yogurt drops:

1. Guinea Pigs Are Lactose Intolerant

Just like some humans, guinea pigs are lactose intolerant. Guinea pigs can’t digest lactose because their bodies don’t make the the enzyme lactase.

Because guinea pigs can’t digest lactose, they shouldn’t eat dairy (yes, that means that regular yogurt, cheese, milk are out of the question).

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Their digestive systems are only designed to process and pull nutrients from raw veggies, fruits, hay, herbs, and grasses.

Throwing dairy products like yogurt drops into the mix is a surefire way to upset the delicate balance of their digestive system.

If cavies eat yogurt drops, they can end up with serious tummy troubles like diarrhea and gas-problems that will make them uncomfortable for days on end – especially if you overfeed them this sugary snack.

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 is easy for cavies to get diarrhea since they have a sensitive digestive system. If they eat too much dairy, they might bloat.

Bloat is when a lot of gas builds up in your guinea pig’s stomach. This makes it hard for them to pass any waste, eat, or do anything really. It also hurts them and is very serious. In fact, cavies can die from bloat.

Guinea pigs end up with bloat for a number of different reasons, including:

  • Not having enough hay: hay is the primary food of ALL piggies; it helps keep their teeth ground down and the fiber helps piggies digest their food.
  • Eating way too many and too much cruciferous veggies (like cabbage, broccoli, kale)
  • Being served very, very cold foods or water: the shock of the cold can mess up their digestive systems

2. Causes Weight Gain

Since yogurt drops are teeming with an insane amount of sugar (like most sweet treats), cavies that eat them on a regular basis can easily become dangerously overweight.

When guinea pigs are overweight, they’re more likely to get sick, have joint pain, and suffer from lots of other health problems.

Think about it: piggies have such delicate digestive systems, so they don’t have much room for error when it comes to their food intake.

You gotta make sure that you’re feeding your fur babies the right things-like hay, fresh veggies, and fruit-and avoiding processed snacks like yogurt drops.

3. Not Enough Good Nutrients

I’m sure that there’s SOME vitamins in yogurt drops, but honestly – whatever’s in there, doesn’t do much to off set the ton of junk that can be found in them.

Seriously.

Just read the ingredients label and you’ll see what I mean.

There’s a reasons why there’s so much debate and worry about piggie diets. Their overall health is riding on what you feed them and how often you feed it.

(I know. No pressure, right?)

But, since a healthy, balanced diet is so important to the health of your fur babies, you want to make sure that what you do feed them is going to be packed with good-for-them nutrients.

And yogurt drops just don’t make the cut.

They’re not a good source of fiber, they’re low in proteins, and most don’t even have Vitamin C. Yeah, no Vitamin C. That totally important vitamin that ALL furry burritos need daily if they’re going to avoid getting scurvy

Scurvy is a disease that results from a lack of vitamin C. Guinea pigs can get scurvy if they don’t eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Symptoms of scurvy include swollen gums, bleeding from the nose, and sore still joint. Oh, and piggies can die from scurvy, so that’s definitely something you want to watch out for.

Plus, all that sugar is going to do nothing but mess with your piggies’ blood sugar levels and give them cavities.

No bueno, my friend.

4. Encourages Selective Feeding

I think that we can all agree that cavies can be a little picky about what they do and don’t eat.

It’s not their fault. They’re creatures of habit and not especially adventurous eaters.

But, if your piggies develop a certain affinity for yogurt drops, it can be tough to get them to try anything else. And that’s the gist of selective feeding -when your fur babies only eat a few types of food and refuse to try anything else.

If all they’re eating is yogurt drops (or any other processed snack), then they’re not getting the right amount of nutrients their little bodies need.

When you give your little buddies yogurt drops, you’re basically rewarding them for being picky and not wanting to try anything new.

And that’s definitely not a good habit to get into!

You want your guinea pigs be inquisitive about their food (or at least open to you badgering to try new food) -not just eating the same  old things every day.

Plus, if your fur babies get used to only eating yogurt drops, they might start to refuse to eat their hay or other essential food items.

If your fur babies get used to only eating yogurt drops, they might start to refuse to eat their hay or other essential food items.

Which can lead to some serious health problems down the road.

So, yeah – avoid giving your little friends yogurt drops (or any other junk food) at all costs!

They might seem like a good treat to share, but they’re just not worth the risk.

5. Not Good for Their Teeth

This is kind of related to #s two and three, but guinea pigs need their teeth! They use them all the time when they eat hay (which should be most of their diet).

Your piggies teeth need to be in top notch condition. Mainly because any issues that stop your piggies from eating can be life-threatening.

Cavies that can’t, don’t, or won’t eat won’t live very long, because their digestive system has to always be working to process food.

When guinea pigs eat yogurt drops, they can end up with dental issues that cause pain or problems eating.

Cavies that can’t, don’t, or won’t eat won’t live very long, because their digestive system has to always be working to process food.

Cavies need their teeth in order to properly munch on hay and veggies-which is what guinea pigs should be getting most of their diet from anyway!

That’s why you really shouldn’t be feeding your cavies yogurt drops-they’re not good for their health in any way, shape, or form! 

Yogurt Drop Treat Alternatives

Now enough with the gloom and doom. Just because you shouldn’t feed yogurt drops to your fuzz spuds, doesn’t mean that you can’t treat them. There’s plenty of guinea pig treats available on the market!

For one, you could always try giving your furry potatoes fresh fruit and veggies instead.

It’s just as tasty (if not tastier) than yogurt drops-and it has lots more nutrients that they need to stay healthy.

Just make sure that you feed the foods in the right amounts and the right frequency.

Just take a look at the list below of some foods that make awesome treats for guinea pigs:

Now, you’ll notice that there’s a number of vegetables on that treat list. That’s because many guinea pigs prefer vegetables (or herbs) over the sweetness of fruit.

Piggies are funny, aren’t they? It’s one of those things that you have to keep in mind when you bring one home.

Their taste buds are a bit different than ours, so don’t be surprised if they turn their noses up at some of the treats that we love and that we THINK they should love.

But, with a little bit of patience and the right strategies , you’ll be able to get your fuzz spuds to eat a bigger variety of foods.

It’s all about being creative and finding what works for you and your guinea pigs!

What Should Guinea Pigs Avoid Eating?

Guinea pigs are herbivores, so their diet should mainly consist of hay, fresh vegetables (with fruit as an occasional treat), and a small number of Vitamin C-enriched pellets. Fresh water must always be available to guinea pigs.

On pain of the guilt of giving your piggies serious (but preventable health problems) you should never feed your piggies:

  • Onions, leeks, or chives. They’re from the onion family These may look like healthy snacks, but they’re actually highly toxic to guinea pigs!
  • Chocolate. The caffeine and sugar in chocolate can be poisonous to piggies.
  • Dried or cooked beans. Beans are too difficult for cavies to digest and can cause both.
  • Mushrooms. Not a good choice either.
  • Iceberg lettuce. This type of lettuce contains a harmful substance called lactucarium that can make guinea pigs very ill. Plus there’s no nutritional value to it.
  • Any and all dairy products. Ice cream, butter, cheese, and milk are all off limits.
  • Cooked veggies. Their tummies can’t easily digest cooked foods.  Plus cooking foods leeches a good portion of the nutrients out of them. 
  • Any kind of human or piggie “junk food”. You know the stuff we’re talking about. Potato chips, candy bars, etc. These are bad for both piggies and people!
  • Sugary drinks like soda or energy drinks. Just like with chocolate, the sugar in these drinks is awful for your little friends.
  • Yogurt drops. (I couldn’t resist!). These sweet treats may seem like a good idea, but they’re actually bad for cavies’ teeth and digestion. Instead of yogurt drops, try giving your guinea pigs fresh fruit and vegetables. They’ll love them!

Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good starting point. As long as you’re providing them with a healthy diet full of hay, fresh vegetables, and Vitamin C-enriched pellets, they’ll be just fine!

Let’s Wrap Up

So there you have it – five reasons why you shouldn’t feed your guinea pigs yogurt drops! Let’s do a quick recap:

  • guinea pigs should eat a diet mainly consisting of hay, fresh vegetables (with fruit as an occasional treat), and a small number of Vitamin C-enriched pellets
  • piggies are herbivores, so the diet should mainly consist of hay, fresh vegetables (with fruit as an occasional treat), and a small number of Vitamin C-enriched pellets
  • guinea pigs should never be fed onions, leeks, or chives, chocolate, dried or cooked beans, mushrooms, iceberg lettuce, cooked vegetables, human junk food (potato chips), sugary drinks like soda or energy drinks,

If you’re looking for a healthier (and safer) alternative to yogurt drops, then try giving your guinea pigs some fresh fruit and vegetables.

Just make sure to mix up the types of vegetables you give them, so they get a variety of nutrients.

Happy guinea pig-keeping!

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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/

Guinea pig diet. (n.d.). Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. https://mgpr.org/newsite/GP_Info/Guinea%20Pig%20Diet.htm

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

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