We know that milk has lots of benefits for humans, not least the high calcium content.
So it could be reasonable to think that guinea pigs would benefit from the calcium milk provides, given their ever-growing teeth.
But before we give any new food or drink to our pets we should always check to make sure that they are safe.
That’s why this article is going to focus on milk and guinea pigs. I’ll answer whether guinea pigs can drink milk and I’ll run through a selection of dairy and non-dairy milk options.
Guinea pigs should not drink milk or eat dairy products. Guinea pigs are lactose intolerance. They may be able to handle tiny amounts of milk but there is a large risk of digestive issues. There are some non-dairy milk alternatives that guinea pigs can drink in small quantities.
As a rule, you should avoid giving your guinea pig any dairy products, they are herbivores and therefore their digestive system is built for plant-based foods.
Health risks of guinea pigs drinking milk
Milk does have health benefits, but guinea pigs are just not able to process it effectively and it will ultimately do more harm than good.
This is due to an intolerance that is pretty common in the animal world, and it’s much more common amongst people than you might think as well.
Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant, which is the main reason they should not be given milk.
It isn’t really surprising that guinea pigs are lactose intolerant, most animals are.
In fact, outside of north-western Europe and the USA most humans are lactose intolerant too.
In Southern Africa and Asia for example it is estimated that around 70%-80% of people are lactose intolerant.
As a result of being lactose intolerant drinking milk will cause a digestive upset in your guinea pig’s system and may lead to vomiting or diarrhea, this, in turn, can lead to further complications as the body is not able to absorb the required nutrients from its food effectively.
Can guinea pigs drink full fat milk
Full-fat milk actually has a lower lactose content than other dairy milk varieties due to the exclusion of milk solids.
Therefore, it may actually be less likely to make your guinea pig feel unwell.
I still recommend that guinea pigs should not drink full-fat milk as the lactose content does pose a risk to your guinea pig.
Can guinea pigs drink soy milk
Guinea pigs can drink soy milk.
Soy milk doesn’t contain dairy so the risk of lactose intolerance is removed. It also contains proteins that can be good for your guinea pig’s health.
Can guinea pigs drink coconut milk
Guinea pigs can drink coconut milk, but only in very small amounts
Coconut milk is full of beneficial vitamins and minerals, but it should be served in small quantities and infrequently.
Too much coconut milk can act as a laxative, leading to diarrhea, so always keep the quantities low.
I would recommend giving your guinea pig no more than a teaspoon of coconut milk.
Can guinea pigs drink almond milk
Guinea pigs should not drink almond milk.
Some bitter almonds are toxic to guinea pigs.
Almond milk is also very high in fat which can quickly lead to weight gain.
In reality, your guinea pig would most likely be fine having the occasional spoonful of almond milk every now and again, so if you have already given them a little almond milk today then don’t panic.
But given the potential toxicity, combined with the high-fat content, there really isn’t any beneficial health reason to give your guinea pig almond milk.
Can guinea pigs drink oat milk
Guinea pigs can drink oat milk.
Oat milk is dairy-free and quite low in fat. It also contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Oat milk is also high in fiber. That’s fine for a guinea pig as they require a huge amount of fiber in their diet.
You should be able to give your guinea a spoonful of oat milk without any problems.
Can guinea pigs eat milk chocolate
Guinea pigs should not eat milk chocolate.
Chocolate of any kind contains a chemical called theobromine, which is poisonous to guinea pigs.
Theobromine is toxic to many animal species and can affect the heart, nervous system and kidneys.
Theobromine content is higher in dark chocolate, so dark chocolate is the type that is by far the most dangerous.
Milk chocolate also contains Theobromine but at much lower levels.
However, due to the high sugar and fat content of milk chocolate I would still recommend you don’t feed it to your guinea pig.
Can guinea pigs eat cream
Guinea pigs should not eat cream.
Guinea pig’s lactose intolerance means that cream is not suited to their digestive system and is very likely to make them unwell.
Additionally, the fat content of cream is very high so there is no benefit to giving your guinea pig cream.
Should I feed my young or baby guinea pig milk
You should not feed young guinea pigs milk.
The risk of inflicting digestive issues on a potentially lactose intolerant guinea pig by feeding them milk is not worthwhile as they won’t gain much additional value from the milk anyway.
How much milk can a guinea pig drink
Guinea pigs should not drink any milk containing dairy at all.
Since guinea pigs are lactose intolerant they should never be fed any type of dairy product.
You can treat your guinea pig to the non-dairy alternatives I have listed in this article, but even they should be served in small quantities and infrequently.
Non-dairy milk should certainly not be regarded as part of a normal daily diet for a guinea pig.
Always approach new food or drink with caution
You should always take caution when feeding your guinea pig any new food or drink.
Your guinea pig may still not react well even to the non-dairy milk types I have listed above.
Older guinea pigs, in particular, may have digestive difficulties with new foods or drinks.
You should check for signs of digestive issues or discomfort for a day or so after feeding your guinea pig something new.
The symptoms can be hard to spot in guinea pigs but signs may include diarrhea or a noticeable decrease in their activity level.
If you have any concerns then stop feeding your guinea pig milk straight away, if the symptoms persist then you may want to consult with your vet.