That’s right, easy healthy homemade treats for guinea pigs, using only 2 ingredients. What’s not to love?
Hey guinea pig parent and welcome or welcome back to I C Cinnamon, I’m so happy to share this cookie recipe with you!
So let me give you a quick background on how I wanted to invent this recipe. Long story short, I was feeding the remaining hay from the hay box to my guinea pigs and saw tons of third-cut hay, also known as hay clippings.
Some of these hay are so small they look like sand. And that was why I wanted to use up the hay clippings. Since it’s almost Christmas, I decided to try and find a treat recipe on the internet that uses hay clippings.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a recipe that meets my needs; for it to be digestible and somewhat healthy, as well as being able to use at least some of the hay clippings.
What’s more, a lot of treat recipes for guinea pigs on the internet are very unhealthy. For example, many recipes require oats and bananas, both too high in carbs. Moreover, raw and baked oats are very hard for guinea pigs to digest. Bananas also have an insane amount of sugar.
That being said, the treats for guinea pigs in pet shops are even worse.
- “Treats” from Pet Shops vs This Recipe
- Treat Recipes on the Internet
- Easy Homemade Treats For Guinea Pigs – Summary + Tips
“Treats” from Pet Shops vs This Recipe
Let’s take a look at the ingredients in a single cookie I found in PetSmart, shall we?
Product: Vitakraft® Crunchy Bears Treat (source here)
What they claim:
Vitakraft Crunchy Bears Treat for Small Animals are fun, oven-baked rewards for rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and other small animals. Each ultra-crunchy bite is made without any artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives and helps encourage chewing to promote healthy toothwear.
Key Benefits: Oven-baked. Crunchy. No artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives. Promotes healthy teeth
Ingredients (brace yourself):
Wheat Flour, Corn Flour, Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Corn Protein Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Powdered Cellulose, Salt, Malt Extract (colour), Vanilla, Paprika Extract (colour)
Oh my pig, it’s worse than I thought 🙁
Let’s break these ingredients down one by one:
|No! guinea pigs’ stomachs are not acquainted with wheat flour! THEY ARE herbivorous.
|Are you kidding me right now? Straight-up white sugar for humans? I shouldn’t need to explain further.
|If your guinea pig is sick, your vet suggests this option to you, sure. But a regular adult healthy guinea pig shouldn’t be having oil.
|Powdered Cellulose is used as a thickener, moisture absorbent, fibre supplement but is sometimes used as a food additive
|Corn protein concentrate
|also known as corn gluten meal. Think of it as protein powder for guinea pigs. This amount of corn protein concentrate is fine with me.
|This is basically a calcium supplement. If your guinea pig has had bladder stones or is on a low-calcium diet, you’ll want to stay away from this.
|I think this is fine since malt extract helps with digestion.
|This is an ok for me, sometimes you gotta add a bit of salt to boost the flavour. Guinea Pigs also like to lick salt, for the electrolytes.
|Malt Extract (colouring)
|just a flavouring, but I never knew guinea pigs liked the taste of vanilla
|The good news, paprika extract isn’t spicy. Phew!
|Paprika Extract (colouring)
|Good news, paprika extract isn’t spicy. Phew!
To wrap up, the first four ingredients, which have the largest amount in one guinea pig cookie, are super unhealthy for your guinea pigs. Even if we look past how unhealthy the ingredients are, we can’t deny the fact that one cookie from PetSmart can cause some serious digestion issues to your guinea pig.
Treat Recipes on the Internet
I spent an hour scrolling the internet, Pinterest and YouTube to find a healthier recipe for my guinea pigs that contains hay clippings. However, most of the recipes’ ingredients have oats and bananas, which are both too high in carbs.
Adding to that, raw or baked oats are very hard for guinea pigs to digest, and bananas have an insane amount of sugar as well.
Why should I make my own treats for my guinea pigs?
Treats from pet stores have a bunch of trashy ingredients that are not only unhealthy but also super hard for your guinea pig to digest.
Moreover, making your own treats for your guinea pigs is easy and rewarding, not to mention more natural and healthy. This recipe is for you!
I want to buy treats for my guinea pigs from Amazon. Any healthier suggestions?
Yes, not all treat products online are as bad as the one I showed you. Here are two that I like very much
Pea flakes: One of the most popular and healthy “treats”, pea flakes are high in protein, packed with vitamins and safe for your piggies.
100% Timothy Hay sticks: Made out of 100% timothy hay, 38 sticks per can, these hay sticks promote better dental and digestion health.
Easy Homemade Treats For Guinea Pigs – Summary + Tips
In this recipe, we only need two ingredients: Hay Clippings and unsweetened applesauce.
I recommend using the little tiny bits of hay clippings that are also like sand because the more sandy the hay is, the more “realistic” the cookies seem. You can find hay clippings at the bottom of your hay box or bag, but make sure they are free from mould, and dust, and are safe for your guinea pigs to eat.
As for the applesauce, we only want the ingredients to be apples and water. If your applesauce has something called “ascorbic acid”, it’s fine, the ingredient is a fancy name for vitamin C :). However, please use UNSWEETENED pure applesauce – the natural sugars in fruits are already a lot for a guinea pig’s cute body. Trust me, unsweetened is already sweet enough.
This recipe makes 6 cookies, but feel free to double or triple the batch – I’m so happy that even Coffee, the picky eater, loved it too 😀
Finally, one last thing – the cookie treats are “brown” not because it’s burnt, but because the hay clippings are already in that colour (the ones I picked are safe, I promise:D ), and also my camera has some issues. Happy baking!
- 1/3 cup sifted fine hay clippings
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened pure applesauce
- preheat oven to 150c / 305f. Line a piece of parchment paper on a small baking pan ( I use a small brownie pan)
- filter out the hay clippings. Scoop out the fine clippings and place them over a sift (not with tiny holes). Place a bowl underneath the sift and sift out the fine hay. We want the little pieces
- once you’re left with about 1/3 cup hay clippings (they should be very small, like sand), pick out the bigger hay that is sticking out in the bowl.
- Check the ingredients in your applesauce. Does it have water in it? if so, move on to the next step. If not, mix 1 1/2 tbsp of applesauce with 1/2 tbsp of water
- Add applesauce to the fine hay and mix until they are all combined. The sough should be wet but still holds together nicely
- Roughly shape the dough to 6 equal balls, place them on the baking sheet, spreaded out.
- Then, use your spoon or hand to press the cookies down to flatten them. They should be no more than about 5mm or 1/4 inch tall. It’s normal If there’s a little bit of apple juice spilling out from the sides,
- bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are not wet when you touch it, and starts to brown a little
- take the cookies out of the oven, and leave it to let cool for at least 10 minutes, until completely cooled. The cookies will firm and crisp up as you leave it there
- serve and enjoy!