Can guinea pigs eat fruit, and if so, what fruit can guinea pigs eat? Simply put, yes, guinea pigs can eat fruit — in fact, they love it! Fruit contains vitamins and fiber, both of which are essential for health. But it also contains sugar, and that can be too much of a good thing. Some fruits, such as apples and oranges, offer great benefits to your guinea. But fruits for guinea pigs, like most things, should be given in moderation.
Let’s take a look at what fruits guinea pigs can eat.
Is Fruit Safe For Guinea Pigs?
As a responsible pet owner, you have undoubtedly researched the proper diet for your guinea pig. While leading experts agree on feeding guinea pigs plenty of hay and leafy green vegetables, many have differing views on the nutritional value of fruit for guinea pigs.
A recent study in the Journal of Animal Health and Behavioural Science acknowledges the conflicting opinions on whether or not fruit should be fed to guinea pigs at all. Since the sugar content is so high in fruit, feeding your guinea pig too much of it could put your pet at risk for diabetes.
However, if fed in moderation, fruit can be beneficial to your guinea pig.
By incorporating small portions of fruit into your guinea pig’s diet, you can help ensure a healthy life for your pet. Let’s look at fruits for guinea pigs in more detail.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fruit?
Guinea pigs are herbivorous animals, and their diet in captivity should closely model their eating habits in the wild.
Your guinea pig’s diet should consist primarily of timothy hay or oat hay, along with natural pellet food.
In order to supplement nutritional requirements and add variety, you should also feed your guinea pig leafy green vegetables and occasionally some fruits.
Like humans, guinea pigs lack the ability to produce Vitamin C and must obtain it from their diet.
You can make sure your guinea pig obtains daily doses of vitamin C by choosing a pellet food fortified with the vitamin and feeding select fruits sparingly.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Fruit?
Guinea pigs usually like to try and nibble on pretty much anything that is given to them. But it’s more likely than not that they truly will like fruit!
After all, fruit is sweet, fresh, and juicy. We find it appealing, and so do our pets!
The appeal of fruit for guinea pigs is largely centered around the sugar content. But that’s also where the caution comes in.
Is Fruit Bad For Guinea Pigs?
Fresh fruit can be a tasty treat for your pet, but only in the right quantities.
Be especially mindful of the sugar content and err on the side of caution when feeding fruit. A few bites are more than enough! Also, be sure to wash all fruit thoroughly before feeding any to your guinea pig.
As with any other dietary changes, be sure to monitor your pet closely for any adverse reactions.
If you notice that your guinea pig develops any strange symptoms or behavior, consult a veterinarian immediately.
Is Fruit Good For Guinea Pigs?
Some fruits are very good for guineas, as long as they are given sparingly.
Guinea pigs need to get vitamin C from their diet. And certain fruits are a good way to provide that.
A small amount of fruit can also provide a healthy level of fiber.
However, again, fruit is best given as an occasional treat and in very small amounts, due to the high sugar content. And not all fruits are recommended.
So what fruits can guinea pigs eat?
What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Apples
Apples are a great way to add a little fiber to your guinea pig’s diet.
Start by cutting up a small slice and see how your guinea pig reacts to it.
If your guinea pig seems to enjoy the apple, you should be able to incorporate this as a treat once per week.
Check out our article here for more information.
What Fruits Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Plums And Apricots
Just as with many of the other fruits listed here, plums are safe for guinea pigs to eat as long as they don’t have too much.
Plums contain vitamins A, K, C, and E, as well as potassium. However, make sure not to let your guinea gnaw on the plum pit, as this is not safe for any animal.
Apricots are safe for guinea pigs to eat, but they are also high in sugar and should only be fed in moderation.
You can feed your guinea pig one or two small slices of apricot once or twice a week at the very most.
What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Bananas
You can feed your guinea pig banana slices as a treat, but only once or twice a month.
Bananas can provide an additional source of Vitamin C and more flavor variety in your pet’s diet, but they can also cause constipation and digestive distress in large quantities.
Monitor your guinea pig closely to see how he reacts to eating bananas, and only feed them as a treat sparingly.
What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Melon
Guinea pigs can eat melon as a treat about once a week.
All kinds of melon are suitable. However, cantaloupe beats out other types as the most beneficial, as it contains the most vitamin C and calcium per 100 grams.
Watermelon makes an especially refreshing treat on a hot day!
What Fruits Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Berries
Blueberries are another source of Vitamin C, but they are also especially high in sugar. You may feed your guinea pig a few blueberries every once in a while, but they should not be a regular staple in your guinea pig’s diet.
Cranberries are also high in Vitamin C and can help prevent urinary tract infections. Your guinea pig can eat them two or three times per week.
Strawberries are another fantastic source of Vitamin C, but they do contain quite a bit of sugar as well. You can offer a strawberry to your guinea pig once or twice per week as a treat. One is plenty! Be sure to wash it thoroughly and cut it into small pieces.
Your guinea pig can eat the leafy green part on top too – try saving the hulls for your guinea pigs when you’re preparing strawberries for the rest of your family!
Raspberries should be given even more sparingly, due to a low calcium to phosphorus ratio.
What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Cucumbers
Wait a moment, I thought this article was about fruits guinea pigs can eat! Is a cucumber a fruit?
Yes, although cucumbers are typically thought of as vegetables, they are technically fruits. And yes, guinea pigs can eat them! In fact, guineas tend to prefer crunchy, juicy foods. And cucumbers definitely qualify.
Cucumbers also are a good source of vitamin C, K, A, and potassium.
However, cucumbers contain a high concentration of water. This means that eating too much could lead to diarrhea or stomach upset in a small animal like a guinea pig. So, again, only give your pet small amounts.
What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Oranges
Oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C, and your guinea pig can occasionally have a small slice of an orange as a treat.
Be sure to peel the orange beforehand.
If you notice that your guinea pig begins to develop mouth sores, discontinue feeding him any citrus fruits, as they are highly acidic.
What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Pears
Pears can also be a healthy snack for your guinea pig, but only about once or twice per week.
Since they are acidic, they can cause digestive issues and mouth sores if fed in large quantities.
Try feeding your guinea pig a few small bites of pear once per week to see how he adjusts to this new treat.
What Fruit Can Guinea Pigs Eat — Cherries
Guinea pigs can eat sweet or sour cherries very sparingly – only once per month to be on the safe side.
Cherries can provide another source of Vitamin C, but they are also extremely sweet.
Be sure to remove the stem and pit, and cut the cherry into small bites.
Remember how little your guinea pig is – one cherry is enough!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Fruit?
Can guinea pigs eat fruit that has been dehydrated? There’s a world of difference here between “can” and “should.”
Dried fruits are very high in calories and sugar. In fact, they are far denser in both than fresh fruit is. And sugar is the main concern with fruits for guinea pigs.
Teeny tiny quantities of dried fruit won’t hurt your guinea pigs, but they really are a “Christmas and birthdays only” kind of treat.
If you do feed them, try and stick to organic brands without chemical preservatives added.
But most of all, bear in mind that compared to their diet in the wild, fresh fruit is already an epic treat for guinea pigs. There’s really no need to offer dried fruit too!
Fruits Guinea Pigs Should Not Eat
Few fruits are actually poisonous to guinea pigs, but there are a couple to avoid.
First, the leaves and stems of tomatoes and tomatillos. The flesh is fine, but the leaves and stems are toxic to our little piggie pals.
Secondly, rhubarb should be avoided. This is technically a vegetable anyway (it’s true!), and highly poisonous to guinea pigs.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Fruit?
Baby guinea pigs have similar nutritional requirements to grown guineas. So the answer to this question is, yes. However, again, the fruit should be given in moderation.
And since young guinea pigs are even smaller than grown ones, “moderation” should mean even smaller amounts.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fruit Every Day
As we’ve covered in the sections above on what fruits guinea pigs can eat, the amount of fruit and the frequency they can have it varies depending on the fruit. This, in turn, depends on the amount of sugar in the fruit.
That being said, it isn’t recommended that guinea pigs eat fruit every day of the week.
It is best to leave fruit for guinea pigs as a special treat, perhaps once or twice a week.
Alternatives To Fruit For Guinea Pigs
The main purpose of fruit for guinea pigs is providing vitamin C.
However, there are other, potentially healthier sources of this vitamin.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Fruit?
Trying out different fruit treats and getting to know their tastes is a fun way to bond with your guinea pig. What kind of fruit can guinea pigs eat?
The best fruit for your guinea pig is one that he loves, and which he only eats in small amounts. By feeding fruit to your guinea pig in moderation, you can provide a healthy diet full of fresh variety.
Keep in mind that your guinea pig may take a liking to these fruit snacks, and he might try to persuade you to feed him more!
No matter how cute and persuasive your guinea pig may be, it’s important to limit his portions of fruit to keep him healthy.
Have you given fruit to your guinea pig? You can let us know about your experiences with fruits for guinea pigs in the comments below.
References And Further Reading
- Rhubarb — Vegetable or Fruit? Gardena
- Schertel, E.R. et al (2016). Guinea pig history and care recommendations. MedVet.
- Sawnee Animal Clinic, Scurvy in Guinea Pigs.
- National Research Council (1995). Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals, Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- Quesenberry, K.E. et al (2018). Introduction to guinea pigs. Merck Veterinary Manual, 2018.
Updated for 2019.