Green beans, also known as snap beans or string beans are popular additions to dinners worldwide. They contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are excellent for heart health, immune function, and general well-being in people. However, are they safe for guinea pigs to eat too?
As a rule of thumb, green beans are safe and healthy for guinea pigs in moderation. They contain a variety of great nutrients for piggies. However, limit green beans to 2-3 times a week in small quantities.
Green beans contain a nice variety of nutrients for your guinea pig. Below I’ll cover all the benefits of feeding string beans to your piggy, as well as some drawbacks and things you should know first.
*Important Note: The quantity of green beans shown in the photos is for visual purposes only and not indicative of the correct amount to feed your guinea pig in one serving.
You can also check out the Guinea Pig Food Chart for an alphabetical list of everything your piggy can eat and how often they can have it, along with calcium and Vitamin C levels for each food.
Benefits of Green Beans for Guinea Pigs
Green beans are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your guinea pig’s health in numerous ways. Check out the nutrient profile below to see some of the great nutrients that make up green beans.
Nutritional Content in Green Beans
- Calories: 31
- Fiber: 2.7g
- Protein: 1.83g
- Fat: 0.22g
- Sugar: 3.26g
- Sodium: 6mg
- Vitamin A: 690 IU
- Vitamin K: 43mg
- Vitamin C: 12.2mg
- Calcium: 37mg
- Phosphorus: 38mg
- Iron: 1.03mg
- Magnesium: 25mg
- Potassium: 211mg
- Folate: 18.2 µg
Green Beans Contain Vitamin C and Other Great Nutrients
Green beans are not overly high in Vitamin C, but they can help contribute some of this necessary nutrient to your guinea pig’s diet. Vitamin C is important for immune function and helps the body fight off disease and infection. Like humans, guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own Vitamin C and need to get it exclusively from their diet. If they are deficient over a period of time, they can also develop scurvy, a painful illness that causes weakness and immobility.
Green beans contain 12.2mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams, which works out to 3.35mg per 5 beans.
Guinea pigs generally require 10-20mg of Vitamin C per day, so it’s a good idea to feed green beans along with some higher Vitamin C foods to ensure your guinea pig is getting an adequate amount of this essential nutrient daily.
Green beans are also quite rich in Vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy eyesight, immune function, and proper growth and development. Additionally, they provide a good source of Vitamin K, which is responsible for bone health and effective blood clotting.
Green beans also contain some calcium, but a much lower amount than many leafy greens and other high-calcium foods that guinea pigs can consume. Along with the other variety of nutrients found in green beans, this makes them a great staple veggie in your guinea pig’s weekly diet.
Green Beans Are a Great Source of Fiber
Guinea pigs benefit greatly from a fiber-rich diet, as their ancestors’ bodies were built to constantly process lots of fibrous grasses and forage. Green beans are relatively high in fiber at 2.7g per 100 grams.
Green beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber that serve different functions in the body. Insoluble fiber aids in digestion, while soluble fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut. These healthy bacteria help to fight infections in the body and can also aid in lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
More Benefits of Green Beans
- Excellent Choice for Obesity: Green beans contain just 31 calories, are low in sugar, and have very little fat, making them an excellent option for chunky piggies.
- Good for Heart Health: These veggies are fiber-rich and contain no cholesterol, making them a very heart-healthy food.
- Low in Sodium: Raw green beans are very low in sodium which also reduces the risk of heart problems.
- Good Source of Protein: Green beans provide a source of protein that contributes to healthy fur, organs, and muscles.
- High in Manganese: This mineral is important for healthy metabolism, bone health, and effective wound healing.
- Antioxidants: Green beans also contain a variety of antioxidants that are responsible for neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body. Consuming high-antioxidant foods reduces the chances of your piggy developing cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses.
- High Water Content: This helps your guinea pig stay hydrated, especially if they’re not a big water drinker.
Risks of Feeding Green Beans to Guinea Pigs
Green beans are generally quite safe to feed guinea pigs in moderation. However, there are a few reasons why you should avoid feeding too many all at once. I’ll cover this topic below and then discuss the right serving sizes to offer your piggy.
Green Beans Contain Some Oxalates
Green beans contain slightly higher levels of oxalates (also known as oxalic acid) than most leafy greens and fruits. Since guinea pigs have such tiny bodies, they cannot handle very much oxalic acid in their diet.
The number of oxalates in green beans varies depending on the variety of green beans, but it’s generally not high enough to be a concern as long as the beans aren’t fed in high quantities. All varieties of green beans contain far less oxalic acid than other high-oxalate foods like spinach or swiss chard.
Green Beans May Cause Digestive Upset in Guinea Pigs
Legumes like green beans may take a bit of time for guinea pigs to adapt to eating. Green beans can potentially cause diarrhea or digestive upset in guinea pigs if they are fed in high quantities or introduced too quickly into the diet. However, they are less likely to cause these kinds of issues than cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, or cabbage.
As with all new foods, it’s best to start with small amounts, like a single green bean. Monitor your guinea pig for a day or two before trying more to give them time to adjust to the new food. If introduced properly, green beans shouldn’t cause any digestive issues in most guinea pigs. They are high in fiber and low in sugar and fat, which is ideal for guinea pigs. However, moderation is crucial with most foods in your guinea pig’s diet.
Pesticides and Waxes on Green Beans
Green beans are often grown with pesticides to prevent insect damage, and coated with wax to increase their visual appeal. These are not great for your guinea pig, so it’s a good idea to purchase organic if you can or rinse the green beans for several seconds before feeding.
Bad Reactions or Allergies to Green Beans
Like with other foods, there is always a chance that your guinea pig is allergic or has a bad reaction to green beans. This is rare, but it’s always important to introduce new foods gradually and keep an eye on your guinea pig in case they have an adverse reaction.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Beans?
Guinea pigs can eat 1-2 green beans 2-3 times a week. Green beans contain a variety of nutrients in pretty balanced amounts, so they are a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet. However, green beans should not be fed daily to guinea pigs.
Feeding green beans every day can cause gas and indigestion in piggies, so it’s crucial to feed green beans as a small portion of their diet a few times a week along with other fruits and vegetables. As with all new foods, introduce green beans gradually and try to spread out the days that you feed them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Bean Seeds and Pods?
Guinea pigs can eat the entire green bean with the skin or pod and seeds intact, as long as the beans are immature and suitable for human consumption.
Mature beans with hard seeds should not be given to guinea pigs. It’s also best to cut off the stems on the end of the bean. Green beans that are sold in stores for human consumption are generally immature with soft seeds, which pose no choking risk and are perfectly safe for guinea pigs.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Green Beans?
In my experience, many guinea pigs love green beans. I had a pretty high success rate with my herd of 13! All of them were more than happy to try a few bites on the first try.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs will often test a new food by taking a few bites and walking away to see if it upsets their stomach afterward.
If your guinea pig doesn’t want a whole bean at first, that’s perfectly normal! Keep offering it every few days and your guinea pig will likely eat more over time.
If you try the green beans a few times and still have no success, that’s perfectly fine too. All guinea pigs have their own preferences when it comes to food, just like people do!
You can always try some other fruits and veggies to spice up their diet some more. Some good options that guinea pigs usually love include radicchio, carrots, blueberries, endive, tomatoes, watermelon, and fennel. Keep trying new and different foods, and you’re bound to find your guinea pig’s favorite foods eventually!
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Green Beans?
Baby guinea pigs over 3 weeks of age can begin to eat green beans in very small quantities. These veggies provide a great variety of vitamins and minerals, so they are excellent for the growth and development of young piggies.
Green beans are also high in fiber and fairly easy to digest compared to some other veggies, so they do not usually cause digestive upset in small amounts. However, like all new foods, it’s crucial to introduce them to baby guinea pigs in very small amounts to be on the safe side.
How to Prepare and Feed Green Beans to Guinea Pigs
Before introducing green beans into your guinea pig’s diet, there are a few things you should know.
First of all, guinea pigs should only eat raw green beans. Cooked and frozen beans lose some of their nutrients, Vitamin C in particular, and also makes it more difficult for guinea pigs to digest. Raw green beans are much more natural for your piggy and it keeps all the nutrients intact so your guinea pig is maximizing the nutrients they absorb from the food.
It’s also crucial to avoid canned green beans as they are high in sodium, which guinea pigs don’t tolerate well. They may also contain other types of preservatives to make them shelf-stable.
When choosing green beans for your guinea pig, select some that are bright green, crisp, and free of black spots. Green beans often start to develop black spots after just a few days in the fridge, so try to feed them to your guinea pigs shortly after buying them.
You can feed green beans whole or chop them up for your guinea pig. It’s also best to cut off the little stems on the end of the bean, as these can pose a choking risk.
It’s also a good idea to rinse the raw green beans thoroughly under cool water to wash away any pesticides or dirt before offering them to your guinea pig.
When you first start feeding green beans to your guinea pig, it’s best to do so gradually. Start with one green bean as a trial and monitor your guinea pig afterward for any diarrhea or abnormal behavior from your piggy. If all is good, you can slowly increase the amount after a few days and try some more. However, be sure not to exceed a couple of beans 2-3 times a week.
If your guinea pig is hesitant to try the green beans initially, you can try leaving them in the cage for a couple of hours to give them time to nibble it at their own pace. Be sure to remove any uneaten food after a few hours. If they don’t eat much, try it a few more times, as guinea pigs often take their time to try something new.
More Guinea Pig Safe Vegetables
While green beans make an excellent addition to your guinea pig’s staple diet, it’s always important to mix up your guinea pig’s diet with a variety of fresh foods so they are getting different types of nutrients and antioxidants to keep them healthy and happy. Here are some more great options to try out with your guinea pig:
- Pears: These sweet fruits are full of antioxidants and make a delicious treat for your guinea pig on occasion.
- Celery: This veggie is popular with guinea pigs and can be fed 2-3 times a week.
- Strawberries: These sweet berries are full of nutrients and Vitamin C! They make a wonderful addition to your piggy’s diet.
- Asparagus: This food is antioxidant-rich and full of vitamins but it should be introduced slowly to prevent stomach discomfort.
- Corn on the Cob: Guinea pigs can eat raw corn on the cob, plus the silk and husks.
- Kohlrabi: This cruciferous veggie is nutrient-rich and offers a lot of benefits for guinea pigs.
- Apricots: These sweet fruits can be enjoyed on occasion, but they need to be limited due to their sugar content.
- Bok Choy: This veggie can be gassy but it is full of nutrients and makes a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet in moderation.
Green beans make a healthy and delicious addition to your guinea pig’s weekly diet. They contain a nice variety of nutrients for your piggy and most guinea pigs love them!
However, it’s always good to mix up your guinea pig’s veggie rotation with a variety of different foods for a balanced and well-rounded diet.
There are so many safe fruits and vegetables for your guinea pig to try, and there are bound to be plenty of undiscovered foods that may become staple favorites in your guinea pig’s life.
For more ideas of what you can feed your furry potato, check out our complete list of safe foods for guinea pigs.