Can guinea pigs eat green beans? Yes, but only in small amounts–just one or two green beans, and only two to three times a week.
Fresh green beans are a favorite summer treat and a common sight on dinner tables across America. And whether you call them snap beans, runner beans, string beans, or haricots verts, they’re a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Unfortunately for guinea pigs, they’re also rich in calcium and contain oxalates, making them a known risk factor for the development of bladder and kidney stones.
Green beans are a fantastic addition to your cavy’s daily veggies, but only once in a while!
For those that are interested, we’ll take a closer look at why and how guinea pigs can eat green beans and consider the pros and cons.
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Are Green Beans Good For Guinea Pigs?
Yes and no.
Most guinea pigs love fresh green beans!
In addition to unlimited Timothy hay and fortified pellets, every healthy piggie needs a cup of fresh veggies every day.
Arugula, chard, and other leafy greens should be the heart of this salad, with additions to increase variety and help top-up your guinea pig’s nutrient intake, especially all-important Vitamin C.
Green beans can be a fantastic way to boost the vitamins and minerals your piggy eats, and they’re known to be a rich source of Vitamin C and fiber. They also offer reasonable doses of iron, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are essential nutrients.
Naturally sugar-free, they won’t increase your guinea pig’s risk of obesity or diabetes, either.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news.
Green beans contain roughly 37 mg of calcium per 100 grams, or about a third of the calcium of spinach. And like spinach, they’re relatively rich in oxalates, natural chemicals found in many plants that bind with calcium, which in guinea pigs (and human beings!) encourage the formation of tiny crystals that can later form bladder and kidney stones.
The bottom line: green beans are a great boost in nutrition, but they should only be offered in small quantities, 2 to 3 times a week.
Are Green Beans Bad For Guinea Pigs?
Fresh green beans aren’t likely to cause digestive issues, and they won’t push your piggy any closer to obesity or diabetes.
They’re completely safe–seed and all–for cavies, and we’re not aware of any choking hazard associated with them.
Just right for two piggies!
But because they provide the one-two punch of calcium and oxalates, it’s important that you limit consumption.
Oxalate-rich foods typically raise the risk of kidney and bladder stones in cavies, and they should be avoided as daily food choices.
And never feed your guinea pig cooked or canned green beans–fresh only!
How Should You Prepare Green Beans For Your Guinea Pigs?
Green beans can be tainted by pesticide residue, although they’re far from the worst fruits and veggies on that score. Washing proved particularly effective at removing these toxins, and so if you’re not buying organic or growing beans at home, we definitely recommend a thorough rinse in vinegar and water.
Here’s how we do it.
Simply fill a large bowl with one part white vinegar to four parts water. Submerge the green beans in this mixture and let them soak for 20 minutes.
Later, rinse each bean in fresh water and pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. You can offer your furry friend their beans whole–they’ll happily munch them down to size!
That should reduce any pesticide contamination to an acceptable level, but home-grown or organic are always best!
How Many Green Beans Should a Guinea Pig Eat?
Because green beans contain moderate amounts of both calcium and oxalates, they should be given as a treat rather than as a staple component of your piggy’s diet.
We recommend no more than 1 to 2 green beans, 3 to 4 times a week.
If your guinea pig has known bladder or kidney stone issues, even less is better.
Green beans can be a fantastic addition to your guinea pig’s diet, provided that you keep the following in mind:
- Green beans are rich in vitamins and minerals, but they’re also a source of both oxalates and calcium.
- That can lead to an increased chance of bladder and kidney stones.
- We recommend washing green beans in a vinegar and water solution.
- Never offer cooked or canned green beans to your cavy–fresh only!
- Green beans should only be given as a treat–never as daily food; 3 to 4 times a week is plenty.
- A good serving size is 1 or 2 beans.
If you stick to these guidelines, green beans can help ensure that your guinea pig gets the nutrition it needs to thrive.