The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: linoleic (most common), high oleic, and NuSun developed for sunflower oil.
Each variety has its own unique levels of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
The information in this article refers mainly to the linoleic variety. (source)
Can guinea pigs eat sunflower seeds?
Let’s take a look at their nutritional data and find out more.
In particular, their acidic, water, sugar, fat, salt, calcium, and phosphorus content is of most interest as far as guinea pigs are concerned.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 2,445 kJ (584 kcal)
Sugars 2.62 g
Dietary fiber 8.6 g
Saturated 4.455 g
Monounsaturated 18.528 g
Polyunsaturated 23.137 g
Thiamine (B1) (129%) 1.48 mg
Riboflavin (B2) (30%) 0.355 mg
Niacin (B3) (56%) 8.335 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) (23%) 1.13 mg
Vitamin B6 (103%) 1.345 mg
Folate (B9) (57%) 227 μg
Choline (11%) 55.1 mg
Vitamin C (2%) 1.4 mg
Vitamin E (234%) 35.17 mg
Calcium (8%) 78 mg
Iron (40%) 5.25 mg
Magnesium (92%) 325 mg
Manganese (93%) 1.95 mg
Phosphorus (94%) 660 mg
Potassium (14%) 645 mg
Sodium (1%) 9 mg
Zinc (53%) 5 mg
Water 4.7 g
As you can see, sunflower seeds contain a little water, a hint of salt, a huge amount of phosphorus, acidic content, and fat content.
This means that they can’t eat them unfortunatley
Sunflower seeds are just tooo high acidic and phosphorus content plus fat content to be eaten by guinea pigs. If they were to nibble one or two, they would be fine but they shouldn’t eat large amounts of them or part of their regular diet.
For more foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat, check out our guinea pig food list.