I love feeding my guinea pigs a varied diet, and because summer is coming, I decided to research whether guinea pigs can eat strawberries.
So, can guinea pigs eat strawberries?
Guinea pigs can eat strawberries, but it’s essential only to give them in moderation. Strawberries are pretty high in sugar, which can give the guinea pigs diarrhea and tooth decay.
A whole strawberry cut into slices will be enough to feed two guinea pigs.
As with any other pet, it’s important to give your guinea pigs a varied diet and supplement their everyday food with small treats, such as soft fruit.
There are plenty of things you can feed your guinea pigs and some things that should be avoided. Read on to find out more information about the best kind of diet for your pets.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Feeding Guinea Pigs Strawberries
As I mentioned above, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give your guinea pigs strawberries.
One of the best things about guinea pigs is that they’re not too fussy when it comes to food, and so they can be an excellent way to use up leftover fruit that you might not want to eat.
The biggest issue to address, however, is moderation. Although strawberries are healthy, guinea pigs are much more sensitive to sugar levels in soft fruit than we are, so you should only give them strawberries as a treat.
At maximum, I would recommend once a week, but I only really feed my guinea pigs strawberries when I have some leftover (which isn’t often).
Too much fruit, particularly sugary soft fruit like strawberries, can give your guinea pigs upset stomachs, which isn’t very pleasant to deal with.
And, considering it’s most probably you that will have to clean up if it does happen, it is something you should try to avoid. I would recommend about half a strawberry per guinea pig, as this will be plenty for such a small animal.
Giving guinea pigs a diet high in sugar (even “good” sugar found in fruit) can also lead to tooth decay, which is much harder to manage in a small animal such as a guinea pig because you can’t clean their teeth.
Their typical diet doesn’t involve that much sugar, so their teeth aren’t designed to cope with it. To limit the effects of sugar on their teeth, make sure there’s other food available and water, as this will reduce the level of tooth decay.
One of the most important things to do when feeding your guinea pigs strawberries is to wash the fruit thoroughly beforehand.
Fruit is often sprayed with pesticides, and while these aren’t good for humans either, they can be fatal to guinea pigs simply because they’re much smaller than we are.
Run them under cold water for a while, and then leave them to drain thoroughly before feeding them to your guinea pigs.
The best compromise I’ve found while keeping guinea pigs is to feed them the strawberry tops.
Considering these are the bit you won’t eat, it covers both the issue of throwing the tops away and giving your guinea pigs fruit you could be eating yourself.
Feeding them the tops also means you can give them slightly more, simply because there’s less actual fruit on them.
Choosing The Right Diet For Your Guinea Pigs
I’ve found that giving your guinea pigs a diet that covers all their health needs and is interesting for the animal isn’t that easy.
It can be tempting to give them a bowl of the same guinea pig food every day, but you might find after a while that your pets just aren’t eating it the same as they were.
Guinea pigs are funny animals because they’re both picky and not picky. They’ll eat almost anything put in front of them but won’t overeat because they like variety.
I’ve found that I’ve had to change their traditional food regularly to keep them eating well.
So from my experience, I’ve found that you should always make sure they have access to good quality dried food.
This can be pellets, or it can be bags of food with dried peas and other vegetables. Whatever you choose to use as their standard food, make sure it’s designed specifically for guinea pigs.
This should then be supplemented with various fresh fruits and vegetables, but always make sure they’re suitable for guinea pigs.
There are certain things you should always avoid, but I’ll cover these later. And of course, always make sure your guinea pigs have access to freshwater, which should be changed daily.
The other vital part of a guinea pig’s diet is fiber. Like rabbits, guinea pigs eat their poo, so they need enough fiber to pass it properly.
The best way to give them enough is by feeding them hay. Always make sure it’s good quality hay that’s dry and free from mold and is sold as food rather than bedding. It also helps to wear down their teeth and keep them nice and healthy.
Giving Your Guinea Pigs Vitamin C
Guinea pigs, unusually, don’t produce their own vitamin C, even though it’s something they need in their diets.
This means that you have to provide it to ensure they stay healthy, but there are several ways to do this.
Most good-quality guinea pig feed will have added vitamin C. This is why I said earlier always to make sure it’s designed for guinea pigs, as rabbit feed might not have enough (or any) vitamin C, meaning your beloved pets will be at a deficit.
Another option is to provide your guinea pigs with vitamin C as drops in their water or tablets crushed up into their food.
You should only really need to do it this way if the food doesn’t have enough or a vet has recommended you to increase their intake.
Also, many guinea pig treats contain added vitamin C for this exact reason, but always give treats sparingly, and make sure that you keep track of how much vitamin C they’ve taken in. After all, you don’t want to give them too much.
A healthy guinea pig needs 90mg of vitamin C every day. However, this should be perfectly possible with good quality dry food, but it can also be supplemented with fruit and vegetables. Plenty of fruit contains vitamin C, but make sure you still only feed it in moderation.
Foods To Avoid Giving Your Guinea Pigs
There are plenty of things you should avoid giving your guinea pigs. Most notably, and although I’ve already said it, is too much fruit and veg.
While this won’t be the end of the world, it can lead to bad stomach upsets, more unpleasant than deadly.
Most importantly, you should avoid giving them anything processed or high in sugar or caffeine. Chocolate is a definite no, as are dairy products. Guinea pigs are herbivores and so do not need anything dairy can offer.
It would be best to avoid any nuts or seeds that still have their husks on, as these can be a big choking hazard. If you can find seeds that have had their husks removed, then go ahead.
Any seeds or nuts in their dried food will have had their husks removed. Also, it would help if you avoided onions and garlic and any other alliums (leeks, for example).
The most important thing to ask yourself when deciding what to feed your guinea pig is what nutrition they’ll get from the food.
Always remember that they need fiber over almost anything else but also need plenty of vitamin C. Avoid very watery vegetables (such as iceberg lettuce), and if you’re ever in doubt about whether to give them food, avoid it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
So, although I found that guinea pigs can eat strawberries, it’s important to remember that you should only give them as a treat once or twice a week.
Guinea pigs aren’t designed to deal with large amounts of sugar, and for them, a strawberry or two is more than enough.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether to give your guinea pigs something, it’s better to be overly cautious and avoid it.
Can grapes kill guinea pigs? Although there’s no definite answer, some vets believe that grapes can lead to kidney problems for guinea pigs and so are best to be avoided. If you do decide to feed your guinea pigs grapes, make sure they’re seedless.
What vegetables can guinea pigs eat daily? The best things to give guinea pigs daily are leafy greens that aren’t too high in water, such as romaine lettuce, kale, or spinach. Additionally, these should be limited to a maximum of a cup per day and should always be given alongside their regular dried food.
Can guinea pigs eat peanut butter? Although peanut butter might seem like a tempting treat, it’s a big no for guinea pigs. It’s far too high in protein, sugar, and fat and doesn’t have anything of nutritional value for a guinea pig. Too much can make them seriously ill, and so it’s best to avoid it altogether.