Guinea pigs enjoy snacking on a variety of tasty treats, many of which you can find in your fridge and kitchen. One of those snacks you may be tempted to feed your guinea pig is strawberries. But can guinea pigs eat strawberries?
Guinea pigs can eat strawberries in small portions. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C and other essential minerals that contribute to a guinea pig’s health. However, they should always be given in moderation as they contain sugar, which must not be fed in excess to guinea pigs to prevent health issues like obesity. Like many other fruits, strawberries also contain acid, which can also lead to health concerns in high quantities or over a long period.
Is Strawberry Good for Guinea Pigs?
Strawberries provide a significant amount of health benefits, which makes them a good addition to a guinea pig’s diet. Here are some benefits of this fruit:
- Strawberries are a great source of vitamins
Strawberries contain a huge amount of vitamin C, which is essential for a guinea pig’s diet. Guinea pigs are unable to synthesize or store their own vitamin C and are highly susceptible to scurvy without adequate amounts in their diet. Scurvy causes joint, bone, and skin problems, and can also interfere with blood clotting factors. Strawberries also contain smaller amounts of other notable vitamins such as vitamin K and vitamin B6.
- They may reduce inflammation
Strawberries are packed with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation by binding to and suppressing inflammation-promoting molecules known as free radicals present in the body.
- They contain considerable amounts of fiber
Strawberries contain fiber, which is tremendously helpful in maintaining the digestive tract and gastrointestinal health in guinea pigs.
- They promote better cardiovascular health
Strawberries contain anthocyanin and quercetin, two chemical compounds that help to lower a guinea pig’s cholesterol and subsequently promote better cardiovascular health in your pet.
- They can help regulate blood pressure
While strawberries don’t contain as potassium as bananas, they contain more than enough to keep your little guinea pig going. Potassium is particularly helpful in regulating blood pressure.
- They contain calcium and phosphorus
Calcium and phosphorus are an integral part of a guinea pig’s diet as they promote teeth growth and proper bone development and fulfill other nervous system needs.
How Often Can My Guinea Pig Eat Strawberries?
It’s best to give your guinea pig strawberries once a week. They should never be added as a meal replacement – they work best as a light snack. While they’re undeniably nutritious and delicious, strawberries can be harmful to guinea pigs if served in excess.
Guinea pigs can show signs of digestive upset like dehydration, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased eating when they eat too many strawberries. These symptoms can lead to more concerning health issues if not addressed by your vet.
Although strawberries are relatively low in sugar, guinea pigs have small bodies, so giving them the same amount of strawberries that humans consume in a sitting can leave them susceptible to obesity and diabetes.
Another issue stems from the acidic nature of strawberries. Increased acidity in a guinea pig’s diet can result in mouth sores and other medical issues
Although the calcium in strawberries can help in bone and teeth formation, too much of it can cause kidney or bladder stones.
How Many Strawberries Can Guinea Pigs Eat a Day?
About one tablespoon or so ( a small strawberry) should meet the dietary requirement for your guinea pig. Technically, 1-2 piggy-bite-sized strawberries are enough. That said, the exact quantity depends on the precise food portion, as guinea pigs eat different amounts depending on age, health, sex, and whether pregnant or lactating.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Leaves?
There’s no reason not to give your guinea pig strawberry leaves. They’re not poisonous, so they can be safely included in the leafy greens portion of your guinea pig’s diet. However, like with the fruit, avoid giving too much of it, and whenever possible, mix it with other veggies. Other leaves that guinea pigs can safely eat include spinach, celery, lettuce, cauliflower leaves, and corn leaves.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Stems?
Guinea pigs can consume strawberry stems. Just like strawberry leaves, strawberry stems are just as risk-free for your cavy to eat. Some guinea pigs even enjoy strawberry stems more than the berry itself, so feel free to provide this part of the fruit.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Seeds?
Your guinea pig should have no problem eating a fresh slice of strawberry with the seeds intact. Strawberry seeds are very small and won’t cause any problems, so there’s no need to remove them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Wild Strawberry Leaves?
Wild strawberry leaves are just as good as leaves on store-bought strawberries. What’s more, guinea pigs can’t even tell the difference and will happily munch away. However, make sure you clean thoroughly before giving wild strawberry leaves to your beloved cavy.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries Cold?
Cold or frozen fruit – including strawberries – can cause stomach aches and severe digestion issues for your guinea pig. Always remember to warm cold strawberries to room temperature before serving them to your cavy. Also, make sure that you feed guinea pigs fresh strawberries for safety healthwise.
Alternative Fruits for Guinea Pigs
The following fruits are safe for guinea pigs to eat in small amounts along with a balanced diet of hay and leafy greens.
Apple slices are a great occasional treat for cavies. They are a great source of vitamin C, which helps to prevent scurvy. Apple peels contain fiber, which is good for a guinea pig’s digestive system.
Bananas contain vitamins C, A, B1, and B6, which help to maintain the guinea pig’s immune system, reproductive system, and eyesight. Bananas are also packed with potassium which is essential in regulating fluid balance and nerve signaling.
Plums are a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and bind to toxins, respectively. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, K, C, and E, which make them natural immune system boosters.
Small amounts of blueberries are great for guinea pigs because they’re packed with antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamin C and K.
Oranges are a source of vitamin C and fiber, both of which are important components of a healthy guinea pig diet.