Welcome to our complete guide to guinea pigs and raspberries! Giving you the information you need about feeding guinea pigs this tasty fruit. And answering that all important question – can guinea pigs eat raspberries safely?
Guinea pigs and raspberries
Red, plump, and juicy raspberries can tempt anyone into eating this lovely fruit. Not only do they look scrumptious, raspberries are packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Raspberries are a wonderful treat for people, so is it any wonder why we want to treat our pets to these berries?
Today, we’re going to discuss whether or not raspberries are safe for guinea pigs and the pros and cons of raspberries for guinea pigs.
Are raspberries safe for guinea pigs?
For the most part, guinea pigs should be eating a diet that is similar to what they would eat in nature. Their natural diet consists of fresh grass hay, herbs, vegetables and fruit.
Keep in mind that fruit and vegetables in the wild have a lower amount of natural sugar than farm fresh fruit and vegetables. The reason for this is because people have selected for fruit and vegetables for their size and sweetness.
Therefore, guinea pigs actually need less of the same fruits and veg that they would normally get in the wild.
Most of your guinea pigs diet should consist of fresh grass hay.
This is essential to keeping your little furry friend healthy. It contains a high amount of fiber, which is necessary for proper digestion.
Fresh hay also keeps your guinea pig’s teeth clean and prevents them from getting too long.
In terms of vegetables, they should be getting around 1 cup of fresh vegetables per day, which should include dark leafy greens.
But what about fruit? Can guinea pigs eat raspberries? The short answer is, yes.
Fruit is okay in general, although it should be given sparingly. However, in small quantities, raspberries are safe for guinea pigs to eat.
Do raspberries contain xylitol?
You have probably heard of the sweet compound xylitol, which occurs naturally in some fruits, and is also made synthetically as a sugar-substitute.
It can be highly dangerous in non-primate species, including guinea pigs. Why is it dangerous?
Xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which causes a release of insulin. This sudden rise of insulin causes a significant decrease in blood sugar levels, known as hypoglycemia.
Raspberries are one of the fruits that contain a high amount of xylitol compared to other fruits. Giving a guinea pig too many raspberries could cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which could be fatal depending on the dose.
Although it is not known exactly how many raspberries are toxic to your furry little friend, it is best to feed very few raspberries as a treat here and there.
Start by feeding your guinea pig a single raspberry, then wait an hour to see how your pet responds.
If it is well tolerated, then try again in a couple of days time. When you have fed this small amount you can be confident it’s okay to give your guinea pig one or two raspberries now and again. As a tasty treat!
Are raspberries bad for guinea pigs?
Raspberries are full of natural sugar, are acidic, and have low calcium to phosphorus ratio.
First, let’s address the sugar content. Just as it is true for human beings, too much sugar can be a bad thing for guinea pigs. In high quantities, sugar consumption can lead to obesity and diabetes.
That is why you should feed your guinea pigs with small quantities of raspberries as a treat, and not make it a main staple in their diet.
Second, raspberries have low calcium to phosphorous ratio, which can lead to bladder problems. Guinea pigs are prone to urinary tract problems to begin with, since they are low to the ground and easily pick up bacteria from unclean bedding and droppings. Too many raspberries will only exacerbate the problem.
Third, fruit acids can irritate the lining of their mouths, so it is best to limit them to just a few of the juicy red berries. Some guinea pigs will find the berries too tart, while others may enjoy the taste.
Are raspberries good for guinea pigs?
Just like humans, guinea pigs are unable to manufacture their own Vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary to create and maintain connective tissue, including blood vessels, bone, and skin.
Studies have even shown that guinea pigs who receive less vitamin C are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
Lack of Vitamin C has even been shown to cause problems with the regulation of iron and copper in your guinea pigs blood.
Guinea pigs need to get their Vitamin C through dietary intake just like us. If your guinea pig does not get enough Vitamin C, he could get scurvy. Scurvy results in the breakdown of connective tissue, which affects both people and guinea pigs.
Raspberries contain a high dose of Vitamin C, which can supplement your guinea pig’s intake of this vital nutrient. Guinea pigs need between 10 to 30 milligrams of Vitamin C per day.
This said, guinea pigs can get most of this through their guinea pig complete food and daily vegetable intake.
So although it seems helpful, it is not actually a good idea to give lots of raspberries to your guinea pig just to supplement Vitamin C.
Can guinea pigs eat raspberries?
As we have seen, guinea pigs need a varied diet that includes vegetables and some fruit.
But the amount of fruit that your tiny pet requires is very small, especially when you consider that the fruit we have grown for us is higher in sugar than that which they would have found naturally.
So the answer to can guinea pigs have raspberries is yes, but in moderation.
Since raspberries contain antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C, it is perfectly fine to give your little cavy this delicious treat occasionally. But if you feed him them too often or in larger amounts then it could have health implications you would rather avoid.
One or two raspberries once or twice a week as a special treat would be a good rule of thumb.
What about you?
Do your guinea pigs love raspberries? Or did the possible problems with the high sugar put you off giving fruit as a treat? Why not let us know in the comments section below!
- Brutlag, Ahna. Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs. VCA Hospitals. December 13, 2010.
- Chojkier, M et al 1983. Specifically decreased collagen biosynthesis in dissociated from an effect on proline hydroxylation and correlated with body weight loss. In vitro studies in guinea pig calvarial bones. Journal of Clinical Investigation
- Crosta, P. Scurvy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. Medical News Today.
- Drs. Foster and Smith. Nutrition in Guineas: Why Vitamin C is Essential. Doctors Foster and Smith.
- Guinea Lynx. A Medical and Care Guide for Guinea Pigs.
- Marshall Findlay, G. 1921. The blood and blood vessels in guinea pig scurvy. Journal of Pathology.
- Milne, DB & Omaye, ST. 1980. Effect of vitamin C on copper and iron metabolism in the guinea pig. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research.
- Simon, J.A. 1992. Vitamin C and cardiovascular disease: a review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition