Can guinea pigs eat grapes? The quick, simple answer is yes, they can, but only in moderation.
Grapes can prove to be toxic to many animals, but this fruit is not as dangerous for guinea pigs. However, that doesn’t mean that they should have large amounts of this fruit or any other.
Guinea pigs love fruit for its sweetness, but it’s exactly because of the sugar content that their fruit intake needs to be kept limited.
Let’s take a look at the question “can guinea pigs eat grapes” in a bit more detail, and weigh up the benefits and drawbacks.
Are Grapes Safe For Guinea Pigs
If you have dogs or cats, then you are probably aware that grapes and raisins are toxic to these pets. But can guinea pigs have grapes?
Guinea pigs can eat grapes in small quantities, and grapes do not appear to be as toxic to guinea pigs as they are to some other pets.
However, grapes do pose some risks that make them best reserved for a special treat. The largest problem is the amount of sugar involved in fresh fruit.
Does it make a difference what type of grape? Can guinea pigs eat green grapes, for instance? Can guinea pigs have grapes that are dried? What about the leaves? Can guinea pigs eat grape leaves?
Obviously, there’s a lot more to talk about. Let’s look at grapes for guinea pigs in more detail.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Grapes Safely?
European grapes were first introduced to the U.S. by Spanish explorers about 300 years ago. There are over 8,000 varieties of grapes. Some are used to make wine, while others, known as table grapes, are grown for fresh eating and for making raisins.
These berries come in a variety of colors, including red, green, yellow, pink, purple, and black, and there are even wild varieties of grapes native to the U.S.
Most of us think about grapes in terms of color. You may have a preference for green grapes or red, and if you live in the U.S., you may also be familiar with the sweet Concord grape.
This popular fruit is a favorite among kids and adults. But they have been proven to be dangerous to dogs and other animals, though research has yet to pinpoint exactly what makes them toxic.
Whatever the case, guinea pigs don’t seem to have the same problems with toxicity in grapes.
Guinea Pigs And Grapes
The natural diet of a guinea pig should be mostly made up of hay and fresh, leafy vegetables. Those items are what guineas would eat in the wild.
But fresh fruit can also form an important part of a guinea pig’s diet. Have you ever wondered why guinea pigs need fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets?
Like humans, guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. Pelleted guinea pig diets do contain vitamin C.
However, the amount of vitamin C decreases over time, which means guinea pig food that has sat too long on a shelf does not have enough vitamin C in it to meet your cavy’s needs.
The easiest way to make sure your guinea pig gets enough vitamin C in her diet is to provide plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Why Do Guinea Pigs Like Grapes?
If you have a guinea pig, you probably know that they are all about the fresh fruit.
The main reason that fruit like grapes provides such a treat for them is because of the sugar. Guinea pigs love the sweetness and freshness as much as we do!
But just as it’s not good for us to have too much sugar, neither is it a good idea to ply your cavy with sugar all the time, too.
Can guinea pigs have grapes? Sure — but not all the time.
Are Grapes Bad For Guinea Pigs?
As mentioned, guinea pigs are apparently unaffected by the potential toxicity of grapes. And the main problem is the sugar intake.
The Humane Society advises against giving your guinea pig too much sugar. In fact, it says the main problem with most commercially available treats is the high sugar level.
Fresh fruit is a good occasional alternative.
Are Grapes Good For Guinea Pigs?
We touched on it before, but guinea pigs need to get their vitamin C from their diet. A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to a condition called scurvy.
Scurvy is best known as a condition historically found among sailors who did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables for extended periods of time, but this type of malnutrition can also occur among pets.
Some veterinary hospitals diagnose over 50 cases of scurvy in guinea pigs a year.
Luckily, scurvy is avoidable. All you have to do is make sure your guinea pig is getting enough vitamin C in her diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best solution to this potential problem.
So fruit like grapes can be very good for a guinea pig — again, only if given in moderation.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Grapes For Their Main Source Of Vitamin C?
Grapes do contain vitamin C. These tasty, juicy fruits are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K. They are also high in sugar.
Guinea pigs eat very small portions of food. This means that we need to carefully select the best foods to feed them.
When selecting fruits, we must compare the sugar content to the vitamin C content.
Take oranges, for example. A serving of grapes contains almost twice the amount of sugar as a serving of oranges.
Since oranges contain about six times more vitamin C than grapes, this makes oranges a much better fruit choice for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Grapes?
What about different colors of grapes? Can guinea pigs eat green grapes? There are fewer resources available on the internet for guinea pig owners than there are for owners of dogs and cats.
This makes it hard to find scientifically-backed resources about guinea pig diets, but they are out there.
Ultimately, there is no difference between grape varieties when it comes to guinea pigs. The real question is more about, “Can guinea pigs have grapes at all?” rather than a specific type or color.
The answer to, “Can guinea pigs eat green grapes?” is the same as the answer to, “Can guinea pigs eat red grapes?” Or any other color, for that matter.
Provided that your guinea doesn’t eat a lot of fresh fruit, green grapes are an appropriate treat.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grape Leaves?
Once again, it can be difficult to find studies on this question. There are very few official answers to, “Can guinea pigs eat grape leaves?”
According to multiple reports from owners and pet sites, grape leaves should be safe for guineas. And the leaves don’t have the sugar content that the fruit does.
However, it is still advised that the main ingredient in your guinea pig’s diet be timothy hay and leafy vegetables.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Grapes That Are Dried?
Now we know about regular grapes, can guinea pigs eat grapes that have been dried? Raisins and other dried fruit are not advisable for guinea pigs.
This is because of the high sugar content. It is even more concentrated in dried fruit than in fresh fruit.
Can Grapes Treat Vitamin C Deficiency In Guinea Pigs?
Grapes and other fruit are usually cited as a good way to help treat a deficiency of vitamin C.
And they can help, to a certain extent.
However, if this is a problem for your guinea pig, we definitely suggest consulting with your veterinarian.
And it is a better idea to turn to dark leafy greens, such as spinach, to help with a vitamin C deficiency, as greens don’t carry the high level of sugar that fruit does.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes?
Guinea pigs of all ages can enjoy a small amount of fruit for a treat.
However, make sure to introduce new fruits to your little guinea slowly, to make sure that there is no stomach upset or distress.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes Every Day?
So we know guinea pigs can eat grapes as a treat, but can guinea pigs eat grapes as part of their every day diet? The biggest risk associated with feeding grapes to guinea pigs is sugar. Grapes might seem small to you, but to a guinea pig they are the equivalent of an entire cantaloupe.
Think of how you would feel after eating an entire cantaloupe. You might experience stomach upset, and if you ate an entire cantaloupe a day on a regular basis, you would quickly gain weight.
Some veterinarians caution against feeding high sugar foods, like carrots, grapes, and bananas, to guinea pigs. They warn that foods that are high in sugar can lead to obesity, potentially shortening your guinea pig’s lifespan.
Avoiding sugary treats like sugar-rich fruits and yogurt treats will keep your cavy trim and healthy, and there are plenty of fruit and vegetable alternatives. If your cavy loves grapes, there is still some hope.
Other veterinarians suggest grapes can be a tasty treat in small quantities, and even an important part of your guinea pig’s balanced diet—as long as you feed them safely.
Guinea Pig Grape Treats
We’ve answered the question “can guinea pigs eat graphes and know grapes can be fed to guinea pigs safely. The trick is moderation. Your guinea pig does not need an entire grape.
Instead, cut the grape up into thin slivers and divide it among your guinea pigs, giving each just a sliver or two.
Only feed grape slivers to guinea pigs a few times a week.
You can also reserve grapes for a reward or a special treat, and rotate grapes out with other fruits that are lower in sugar.
If you or a loved one has fed your guinea pig more grapes than recommended, and you are concerned, observe your guinea pig for signs of discomfort and make sure he has access to clean water.
Alternatives To Grapes For Guinea Pigs
If you’re concerned about the high level of sugar in grapes and interested in lower-sugar alternatives that your pet will still love, we suggest rotating through fruits rather than feeding the same one each time.
Lower sugar fruits include:
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes Summary
So, can guinea pigs eat grapes? The short and sweet answer is yes.
Grapes contain vitamin C, which is vital for guinea pig health, and guinea pigs usually love this sweet, juicy treat.
But, grapes are also high in sugar.
You can safely feed guinea pigs grapes by only offering a sliver of grape as a very occasional treat. For more information about cavy nutrition, contact a veterinarian with experience in exotic pets.
Have you given grapes to your guinea pig? You can let us know about your experiences with guinea pigs and grapes in the comments below.
References And Further Reading
- College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University, Care of Guinea Pigs.
- Oglesbee, B. (2011). Vitamin C Deficiency (“Scurvy”) in Guinea Pigs. Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal, Second Edition.
- Adirondack Veterinary Service, Guinea Pigs as Pets.
- Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital, Guinea Pigs.
- Humane Society, Feeding Guinea Pigs
This article is revised for 2019.