Watch Out! These Foods are Toxic for Your Skinny Pig!
Today, we're diving into a crucial topic for all skinny pig parents – knowing what foods are off-limits. Not everything is safe for your skinny pig to eat, some cause major digestive upset and others are toxic. Here is a list of what foods to avoid in order to keep your skinny pig happy and healthy.
Chocolate for skinny pigs - it's a big no-no. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to these pets. White chocolate contains less of these compounds but should still be avoided due to the high fat and sugar content. Even a small amount can cause serious health issues, so keep those chocolate bars well out of reach!
While we love our guacamole, avocados are harmful to skinny pigs. The pit, skin, leaves, seeds, stem, and the fruit contain persin, a substance that can cause cardiovascular damage and congestive heart failure in skinny pigs.
Skinny pigs are herbivores and so do not have the enzymes to digest animal protein that omnivores and carnivores have. Feeding them animal products like eggs, dairy and meat can cause digestive upset, obesity, and dysbiosis, a condition that disrupts the natural balance of microbes in the gut.
Skinny pigs can't process lactose, making dairy products a bad idea. Feeding them milk, cheese, or yogurt can lead to digestive problems and discomfort. Stick to their regular diet to keep their tummies happy.
Chives, Leeks, Onions and Garlic
These kitchen staples can cause blood disorders in skinny pigs. Their bodies aren't equipped to handle the Allium compounds in chives, leeks, onions, and garlic, leading to potential health complications and toxicosis.
While not toxic, iceberg lettuce is a poor choice for your skinny pig. It's low in nutritional value and can cause diarrhea. Opt for darker, leafy greens instead.
Avoid citrus fruits like grapefruit, limes, and lemons as they are high in acidity, which may lead to digestive issues and upset stomachs in skinny pigs. Oranges have a high Vitamin C content and can be given very occasionally to your skinny pig as a treat.
High Oxalic Acid Veggies
Spinach, rhubarb, dill, beetroot, and parsley, although rich in nutrients, contain high levels of oxalic acid that can contribute to kidney stone formation, a risk skinny pigs are more susceptible to.
These are high in starch and contain an alkaloid called solanine which can upset your skinny pig’s tummy and give them a stomach ache, leading to decreased appetite and lethargy.
This is high in fat and due to its thick consistency is a choking hazard for your skinny pig, so keep those PB&J’s out of reach!
Fruit Seeds and Pits
The seeds and pits in many favorite fruits contain trace amounts of cyanide - so take care to remove them before feeding fruits like apples to your skinny pig. Even if you think the amount of cyanide is not likely to hurt your skinny, these small seeds and pits pose a choking hazard and should be avoided.
Unripe tomatoes, as well as the leaves and stems of the tomato plant are not safe for your skinny pig to eat because they contain tomatine (a glycoalkaloid poison). Ripe tomatoes in moderation are alright to eat occasionally, but be aware these are high in oxalic acid and so can cause problems if fed to your pet too frequently.
These contain capsaicin which irritates the digestive system and will probably burn your skinny pig’s mouth. Do not feed them any hot peppers - rather opt for bell peppers in all colors as a safe option.
Human foods like cookies, breads, pasta, rice, chips, cakes, and crackers should all be avoided. While not toxic, they are not nutritionally appropriate because they are packed full of starch and sugar and can lead to obesity and digestive upset. Processed foods are also often full of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, which are not all that great for humans, so imagine how much worse they are for the tiny digestive system of your skinny pig.
Say no to sugary treats! Skinny pigs lack fur, and their skin is more prone to infections - excess sugar can lead to acne breakouts just like humans. Sugar can also compromise their immune system, making them vulnerable to skin issues and other illnesses.
Giving your piggy a safe and healthy diet is one of the best gifts you can bestow on them. It will keep them happy and healthy and limit the vet visits - it’s a total no-brainer, so be sure to feed them appropriately from the start.
Keep giving your pets the best of natural life!
April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H