If you’re new to pet ownership and wondering what kind of fruits you can safely feed your guinea pig – you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll be sharing a list of safe fruits for guinea pigs so you can provide your furry companion with optimal care and attention.
Because guinea pigs are herbivores, it’s important that their diet includes the necessary nutrients and vitamins from plants to ensure optimal health. While hay and grass are essential, just like humans, guinea pigs also require fruits and vegetables in their diet. In this article, we’ll focus on safe fruits to feed your guinea pig as well as give you tips on how much and how often you should provide them as part of their diet.
What do Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs are herbivores and what they eat in the wild should be replicated in captivity. Their diet must include natural pellet food, timothy hay or oat hay along with a range of fresh leafy green vegetables and few fruits too.
A new study in the Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science recommends giving fruits to guinea pigs in moderation, as the sugar content can be too high for them and potentially cause diabetes. However, in small amounts fruit can be beneficial for more variety and should be given as a treat.
Safe Fruits for Guinea Pigs
The appeal of fruits for guinea pigs is largely centered around their sugar content. Fruits contain essential vitamins (including Vitamin C and fiber) that are important for guinea pig health. Let’s have a look at the following fruits you can give your guinea pig:
- Strawberries (including the leafy green tops)
- Red Tomatoes
Fruits Not Safe for Guinea Pigs
Few fruits are actually poisonous to guinea pigs, but certain parts of edible fruits must be avoided. Make sure you steer clear of feeding guinea pigs the following:
- Tomato stems and leaves
- The seeds and pips of fruits
- Dried fruits
Dried fruits are very high in calories, sugar, and far richer than fresh fruit. It’s important to keep a small watchful eye on your guinea pig while offering fruits and to maintain portions to keep them healthy.
Feeding Guinea Pigs Fresh Fruits
It’s important to prepare fruits in a safe way to avoid causing any harm to your guinea pig. Remember, feeding fruits should be a treat, not a primary source of their diet. Here are some tips:
- Wash all fruits thoroughly before serving
- Remove any harmful parts of the fruit such as seeds, pips, stems, or leaves
It’s essential to monitor your guinea pig for any unusual symptoms, behavior or adverse reactions to fruits. If you notice any of these, consulting a vet immediately is highly recommended.
How Often Should You Give Fruits to Your Guinea Pig?
Providing fruits to guinea pigs is great, but remember to do it moderately. Some guinea pig-friendly fruits can be given once or twice a week at most. Remember to keep portions small to keep your furry friend healthy.
Although baby guinea pigs can have small amounts of cavy-safe fruits, young guinea pigs are smaller and should be given less. Always follow instructions and read feeding guidelines carefully.
Vitamin C and Scurvy in Guinea Pigs
Just like humans, guinea pigs require Vitamin C in their diet to prevent scurvy. By providing your guinea pig with fruits and natural pellet food fortified with Vitamin C, you can ensure that your guinea pig gets their daily dose of nutrients.
To add additional variety to your guinea pig’s diet with a lower sugar intake, some other alternatives you can consider are:
- Fresh grass
The Bottom Line
Guinea pigs can safely eat many types of fruits as long as the appropriate amount is provided in their diet. Keep your guinea pig healthy and happy by following guidelines and providing them with fruits as occasional treats.
Have you tried feeding fruit to your guinea pig? Please share your experience in the comments below!
References and Resources
- Rhubarb — Vegetable or Fruit? Gardenia
- Schertel, E. (et al), ‘Guinea Pig History and Care Recommendations’, MedVet (2016)
- Sawnee Animal Clinic, ‘Scurvy in Guinea Pigs’
- National Research Council ‘Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals’, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press (1995)
- Quesenberry, K. (et al), ‘Introduction to Guinea Pigs. Merck Veterinary Manual (2018)
- Donnelly, T. & Brown, C. ‘Guinea Pig and Chinchilla Care and Husbandry’, Veterinary Clinics Exotic Animal Practice (2004)
- The Effects of Diet on Anatomy, Physiology and Health in the Guinea Pig.