The guinea pig body is largely driven by high amounts of fiber, which is why we recommend a diet based on unlimited amounts of grass hay. They are also unable to manufacture their own vitamin C. So when we are looking at other items to supplement the guinea pig diet, we are looking for items high in vitamin C.
Fruit can be an excellent source of vitamin C. Some are better for your guinea pig than others. However, it’s important to remember ALL fruits can potentially bother the intestinal tract of guinea pigs.
Most guinea pigs are like little kids — they love anything sweet, and fruit has a lot of sugar in it and tastes quite sweet to guinea pigs. Unfortunately, this can upset their system resulting in diarrhea, and if they eat fruit in large amounts, it can also cause nutritional deficiencies.
Should you choose to offer any fruit at all, do so in very small amounts and on an infrequent basis. Remember: Fruit is a treat. You should only offer a piece of fruit no larger than your pinky finger nail twice per week, and choose from our “healthiest” list from below.
Healthiest Fruits To Feed Your Guinea Pig
All can be offered raw, in pinky nail-sized portions:
- Apricot – contains Vitamin C and calcium
- Blackberry – source of fiber, vitamins C and A, and folate
- Cherry (without pits) – source of fiber, vitamins C and A, and calcium
- Kiwi (remove skin) – Vitamin C “superfruit,” also contains vitamins A, K, E and B, potassium, copper, folate, and fiber
- Kumquat – source of antioxidants as well as fiber
- Mango – source of vitamin C, fiber and manganese
- Cantaloupe – source of vitamins A, B, C, plus fiber, potassium, and magnesium
- Papaya – good source of vitamins C and A, as well as fiber, but high in sugar
- Raspberry – source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, B, and K, and potassium
Moderately Healthy Fruits To Feed Your Guinea Pig
Feed the following fruits with careful monitoring:
- Cranberry – acid balance in cranberries may bother both the intestinal and urinary tracts
- Elderberry – contains vitamin C, which is a plus, but acid balance may bother both the intestinal and urinary tracts
- Grapefruit – high in vitamin C, but may cause mouth sores
- Honeydew Melon – very high in sugar; be sure to remove seeds, which can be a choking hazard
- Orange – high in vitamin C, but may cause mouth sores
- Strawberry – high in sugar; also, as a soft skinned fruit, may contain higher levels of pesticides
- Banana – may cause constipation
- Rose hips – high in vitamin C; best fed fresh as dried rose hips may present a choking hazard
- Blueberry – good for vitamin C, but high in sugar
- Watermelon – feed primarily the rind, as the flesh is very high in sugar
Fruits To Avoid
It’s best to steer clear of the following fruits:
- Apple – very high in sugar; seeds may be toxic if eaten
- Grape – reports of toxicity associated with many different species of animals
- Raisin – may present a choking hazard, as well as a toxicity hazard
- Pineapple – highly acidic, which may disturb the intestinal tract as well as urinary tract; also high in sugar.
In summary, very small amounts of healthy fruits can be offered to a guinea pig fed an otherwise healthy diet (high in free choice hay and healthy leafy green vegetables). Many fruits we consider healthy aren’t so good for guinea pigs, and some can cause them significant illness. All should be fed with caution, and always remember to consult your veterinarian before starting your cavy on a new food.