Ever looked in your fruit bowl and wondered ‘can guinea pigs eat apples?’
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away!’ That’s how the famous old phrase goes, isn’t it?
And that’s certainly true (especially if your local doc has an fruit phobia…).
But while we all know how good fruit is for us humans, what about our pet guinea pigs?
Do guinea pigs like apples?
Ask a guinea pig owner, ‘do guinea pigs eat apples?’ and they might well laugh.
Put a piece of fruit or vegetable in front of a guinea pig and – trust us – they’ll eat it!
These pet rodents, also known as ‘cavy’, love nothing more than nibbling on fresh fruit or salad ingredients.
But there’s often a worry among their owners that some of these natural foodstuffs might not be entirely suitable for their tiny little constitutions.
After all, not every animal has the same diet.
What’s nutritional for one species could well be damaging to another.
So it’s important to be curious and double check.
Is it okay to feed guinea pigs apples?
Asking ‘is it okay to feed guinea pigs apples?’ isn’t a silly question, it’s a perfectly natural one.
And we’re glad you asked it!
We’re going to go into a little detail here and explain the whole debate.
We’ll throw in a little science, a few fun facts and plenty of useful information on what to feed guinea pigs (and – crucially – what not to).
But before we do all that, let’s cover the main topic nice and quickly… Is it okay to feed guinea pigs apples?
Well, in a word – yes!
But keep reading for more about what parts of the apple are best and how much is too much.
Amazing apple facts
Apples are one of the most plentiful and popular foodstuffs on the planet.
In fact, an almost unbelievable 81 MILLION metric tons of apples are eaten every year across the world.
Apples account for almost 15% of all the fruit grown and consumed on Earth.
There are more than 2,500 different types of the fruit.
The three most popular varieties of apple worldwide being Golden Delicious, Gala and Red Delicious.
The first apples were grown in Central Asia back in 6500 BC – in Kazakhstan – and planting quickly spread.
The region still produces huge amount of the red and green fruit, with China responsible for 49% of the world’s apple growing.
61% of the world’s apples are eaten fresh, with 21% used for apple juice and cider and the reaming 18% finding themselves used in apple ‘products’.
Why people feed apples to guinea pigs
Guinea pigs love food and are, obviously, vegetarian.
Their natural diet comprises of mostly grasses, so the number food they love is, well, grass.
Hay comes a close second.
But they love almost all fruits and vegetable too.
And we love apples, so it makes sense to feed the guinea pig with the odd slice, doesn’t it?
Also, there are often apples kicking out the house, so sooner or later, the curious owner will want to give a little fruit from their personal supply to their furry little friend.
Are apples safe for guinea pigs?
Yes, apples are a safe treat for your guinea pig, as long as they’re enjoyed in moderation (isn’t it always the way?)
Guinea pigs aren’t typically over-eaters, but apples contain far more sugar by volume than grass or hay.
Which means they can easily consume too many calories by eating apples (and the same goes for all fruits).
Consuming too many calories of course leads to weight gain, which in turn can lead to diabetes, difficulty grooming, and strain on your guinea pig’s internal organs.
Can guinea pigs eat green apples?
Some apples types of apples are also unsuitable for guinea pig consumption.
The more sour-tasting apples should be avoided as they contain acids which can cause cavy mouth irritation and discomfort.
Opt for more sweet- and plain-tasting red apples instead.
Finally, Don’t feed rotten or pre-ripe apples to your guinea pigs.
How much apple can I feed my guinea pig?
Apples should only be used as a bit of a treat for your guinea pig.
They’re tasty and contain Vitamin C, so they can form as part of your pet’s diet, but make sure that hay pellets (or similar) are still their primary source of nutrition.
Remember, too much sugary fruit and your guinea pig may gain weight and suffer medical complications because of it.
So be sensible with portion control, and only offer your guinea pig fruit once or twice a week.
Can I feed my guinea pig the whole apple?
The flesh of the fruit is fine, but try to avoid feeding cavies the entirety of an apple.
Here are a few more questions about what parts of the apple are okay to feed guinea pigs:
Can guinea pigs eat apple peels?
Sure. In fact, you’ll probably find that’s the part of the apple love the best. There’s even a little fiber in apple peel, so that’s an added bonus.
Can guinea pigs eat apple pips?
No. Avoid giving them the seeds.
Apple seeds contains trace amounts of cyanide which can become toxic if they accumulate.
Don’t panic if your cavy munches down a couple of pips, but don’t feed them apple pips regularly.
Can guinea pigs eat apple cores?
They can provided you’ve cleared the pips or seeds out.
You might miss some, so it’s best to avoid feeding your guinea apple cores and stick with the good juicy bits.
What happens if my guinea pig eats too much apple?
If it’s the flesh of the apple, you need not worry too much.
Your pet may bloat a little and even suffer with a minor bout of diarrhea, but there should be no long-term medical issues from eating a lot of apple.
If they do become slightly sick, take away any remaining apple and replace it with normal hay-based pellets.
Then, make sure you’ve provided your pet with plenty of fresh, clean drinking water.
Especially if the the apple has loosened their stools.
If any issues persist, visit your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible – it is always better to err on the side of caution.
My guinea pig has eaten apple – what should I do?
Sit back and hope they enjoy it!
So long as they eat apples in moderation, there’s no issue here whatsoever.
Just make sure that fruits like this are treats that supplement your guinea pig’s normal diet and do not make up a significant part of it.
The health benefits of guinea pigs eating apples
Cavies require at least 10mg of Vitamin C a day.
Fresh fruit and vegetables help with this enormously, so that’s a great health benefit of apples.
The peel contains fiber, which is good for digestion.
You can even feed your guinea pig apple leaves – if you’re lucky enough to have an apple tree in your yard, perhaps try puting a whole small branch into their hutch or run.
They’ll eat the leaves, strip the bark to keep their teeth trim, and play among the arms and twigs!
Apples leaves also contain calcium, which is also good for guinea pigs, as it is for all animals.
Will my guinea pig like apples?
Can guinea pigs eat apples? Yes.
Should you feed them apples? Also yes. Though only in small portions.
Will they like apples? Well, that’s another question altogether…
As we’ve already touched upon, rodents love fruit and veg.
So unless you have a particularly fussy little pet, there’s very little chance that they won’t enjoy a nice munch of apple.
But we’re all individual and if your guinea pig doesn’t like apple, just try something else instead!
Guineas pigs & apples – a summary
So, to sum up… If you want to give your guinea pig pieces of apple, go for it!
Apples are a good source of Vitamin C. Their peels contain fiber, and their leaves are a source of calcium too.
However the fruit is also high in sugar, so keep apple fruits as a treat for your pet.
Aim for no more than a small portion once or twice a week, and discard the core and pips first.
Guinea pigs can’t exactly overdose on apple, but fruits like these should be supplementary to your guinea pig’s main hay-based diet, not a core part of it.
Do your guinea pigs adore apples?
Have you ever tried feeding them the leaves as well?
Tell us your pigs’ favorite fruity snacks in the comments section below!
References and further reading
The Story of the Apple; Juniper, B & Mabberley D; 2009.
The Guinea Pig Owners Guide: How To Choose and Look After a Healthy and Happy Guinea Pig; Debanks M; 2012.
Social experience, behavior, and stress in guinea pigs; Sachser, N & Lick, C; Physiology & Behavior, Vol. 50, Iss. 1.
A Comprehensive Review of Apples and Apple Components and Their Relationship to Human Health; Hyson, D; Advances in Nutrition, Volume 2, Issue 5.
Apples: Health Benefits, Facts, Research; Nordqvist, J; Medical News Today.