Choosing the right food for your pet can be overwhelming, so you may ask yourself: can guinea pigs eat strawberries? If you are looking for an online guide, here it is.
Strawberries are tasty little fruits that we often add to salads, turn into yogurt, and make into ice cream or smoothies.
The question of whether they are safe for our furry little friends may linger in your mind if you’re new to guinea pig care. After all, many foods aren’t meant for animals that are okay for humans.
To make sure you have the right information, read our guide below to find out more. This will help you find out if guinea pigs and strawberries do mix (and how much to give them, if that’s the case).
- Information on strawberries
- Health benefits of strawberries
- Can guinea pigs eat strawberries?
- Are strawberry tops and leaves safe for guinea pigs?
- How do strawberries benefit guinea pigs?
- How many strawberries to feed for a guinea pig
- Feeding a guinea pig with strawberries
- Should I remove strawberry seeds?
- How about strawberry jam?
- What happens if my guinea pig eats too much strawberry?
Information on strawberries
Strawberries have been used around the world for a variety of dishes but they are mostly used as desserts, like many fruits.
Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, a strawberry is a small, reddish fruit with small seeds that can be seen on the outside. They have a top leaf and are often cut and/or blended into your favorite drink or dairy product.
Unlike other fruits, strawberries only grow in cold climates so you won’t find them in tropical areas or those around the coast. That means if you live in northern parts of the country with the highly-elevated area, you’re bound to find strawberry farms easily (and also find them at a cheaper price).
Health benefits of strawberries
So what makes strawberries beneficial for both humans and pets? Here are some of their health benefits that are worth mentioning:
Fiber and low sugar
A freshly-picked strawberry fruit will contain good amounts of fiber and not so many sugars. This means that they are okay for people who have blood sugar problems or have a history of diabetes.
Their carb content is not as much so that they are not going to cause immediate weight problems when eaten moderately.
As for the fiber content, it has about 2 grams per 100 grams. Fiber is important when it comes to your digestive health (and your pet’s).
Any food that has fiber will benefit your gut in the long run but make sure to take it moderately as anything in excess is still bad.
Like many fruits out there, vitamin C is greatly present in strawberries. This antioxidant will help a lot when it comes to the immune system, preventing scurvy, and maintaining healthier and glowing skin.
A mineral found in strawberries is potassium, which is important for blood regulation. If you have a history of high blood pressure, you should include potassium in your diet.
Although this is only a trace element, it is commonly found in many fruits and is important for carbohydrate metabolism, glucose management, fertility, and bone growth.
Folate is commonly found in foods that are meant for pregnant women due to its positive effect on tissue growth for their offspring. Vitamin B9 is also present in strawberries.
Aside from the above-mentioned vitamins and minerals, strawberries have been known to be beneficial for heart health, blood sugar regulation, and preventing cancer. Because of their antioxidants, they will help shield your body against those diseases that we mentioned earlier.
Can guinea pigs eat strawberries?
Definitely. The fact that strawberries are safe for guinea pigs to eat, thanks to their vitamin C, which is essential for their diet.
If you haven’t had any idea about the requirements of a guinea pig’s diet, here are some of them:
- 90% of guinea pig food and/or Timothy hay
- 10% of veggies and fruits, which should be fresh within 24 hours
- at least 30 mg of vitamin C
- any food that’s low on sugar and fats
- access to clean and fresh sources of water
As you can see, vitamin C is present in a recommended diet plan for your guinea pig. However, since strawberries do contain sugars, it is important to know about moderation.
When considering strawberries as part of the daily meal for your guinea pig, it should be in certain amounts only and as a treat or snack.
Always make sure that the main diet of your guinea pig should be Timothy hay or guinea pig food. That’s because fruits and veggies are only supplements and are not meant to be their main course.
While vitamin C is good for the guinea pig, it is not meant to be their core food.
There are other alternatives that you can check if you want to feed less sugar to your guinea pig (listed below), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that strawberries aren’t safe. They are okay to be fed but only in small amounts.
As a guinea pig owner, you should know that fruits are only meant to be supplements.
If you check out other pet foods, you’ll see that the larger portion of the food mix is still made of their main food ingredient. In this case, guinea pigs work best with Timothy hay and standard guinea pig food.
While it is okay to give strawberries as small treats from time to time, don’t give them too much to avoid the dangers of obesity. In addition to that, a pocket pet such as a guinea pig will be more likely to experience digestive upsets due to its delicate and different organ structure.
Are strawberry tops and leaves safe for guinea pigs?
Strawberry leaves or tops are okay to be chewed by your furry friend. That’s because they have a texture that will keep your guinea pig munching and nibbling continuously, which will also keep them busy and active.
Fortunately, strawberry leaves and tops are not too difficult to digest so it is safe to give them to your pocket pig.
However, the problem lies with not washing your strawberry thoroughly.
Since many farms out there, including strawberry farms, use fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals, there’s a possibility that your pet might ingest the toxicity in small amounts if you don’t wash it properly.
As with any fruit, vegetable, or food source, always make sure it is cleaned properly before feeding to your pet.
Another tip in feeding your strawberry tops to your guinea pig is to make sure to supervise them. The tops can still be a choking hazard so always keep an eye out for any signs of rapid snacking.
You can also chop off the strawberry top in smaller bits so as not to become a choking hazard to them.
How do strawberries benefit guinea pigs?
Treating your guinea pig strawberries does offer some benefits in the long term. For instances:
Bone and teeth development
Strawberries contain calcium and phosphorus, so eating strawberries will offer your guinea pig’s teeth to be strong and shiny.
Eating is important for physical activity, especially for nibbling and chewing on food. Therefore, the teeth, their biggest asset, should be protected at all costs!
They contain a lot of vitamins and minerals
As mentioned above, they are filled with vitamin C and B9. Vitamin C is good for their immune system and vitamin B9 will help boost their body functions daily. These vitamins and minerals are great supplements to keep your guinea pig healthy and strong.
Balanced glucose levels
Although we did mention that strawberry is quite sugary as a fruit, it is still okay for diabetes and blood sugar management when taken in moderation. This is especially the case for guinea pigs with glucose deficiency.
After all, without sugar or glucose, any living being will not function properly and will feel lethargic and have a loss of energy later on.
Strawberries, like many fruits, contain antioxidants that will help fight off diseases and inflammation.
The free radicals that get removed by antioxidants will lessen the likelihood of inflammation in the body. This will also aid your guinea pig when it comes to fending off hereditary diseases.
They are rich in fiber
Strawberries have about 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Fiber is important for aiding indigestion. Since pocket pets like guinea pigs tend to have a sensitive stomach, you’ll need to add fiber to their diet if they usually get digestive upsets.
How many strawberries to feed for a guinea pig
Strawberries should only make a portion of a guinea pig diet. The recommended amount of fruits and veggies per day for a guinea pig is 1/4 to 1/2 cup, which is only 10% of their daily meal as compared to 90% guinea pig food and/or Timothy hay.
The strawberries you should give to your guinea pig should only be in the form of treats. Also, make sure that they don’t sit there for more than a day to avoid spoilage. Feeding them strawberries should only be done every 2 days and only 1 to 2 times a week.
Feeding a guinea pig with strawberries
To feed your pocket friend with strawberries, do the following:
- Wash your strawberries as thoroughly as possible. This is important so that it will not contain chemicals and pesticides from the farm it was raised from.
- If your strawberries came from the fridge, make sure that you let them warm up a little bit. That’s because strawberries that are too cold might cause digestive upsets for your guinea pig.
- Separate the top from the fruit and then cut your strawberries into smaller pieces. Make sure that it is small enough to be easily eaten by your guinea pig. Always use clean kitchen tools when processing your guinea pig food.
- Give the chopped strawberries (and tops, if you like) to your guinea pig, and make sure they have easy access to it.
Should I remove strawberry seeds?
Yes, strawberry seeds are usually harmless. It is okay to give your guinea pig strawberry with the seeds still there. After all, strawberry seeds are very small compared to, let’s say, watermelon seeds, so they won’t be a choking hazard at all.
Did you know that the seeds of a strawberry do have health benefits? They are a source of polyphenols, which are beneficial to the skin and weight management. That’s why strawberry seeds are usually harmless to both humans and pets.
How about strawberry jam?
Strawberry jam or jelly should not be given to your guinea pig because they have been processed with extra sugar.
Even if they were made at home, they will still contain sugars, preservatives, additives, and spices that your guinea pig might find complicated to digest.
Any fruit jelly or jam is not advised for guinea pigs because of their high sugar content. Just stick to the regular strawberry and not the jam because that is more natural and less sugary.
What happens if my guinea pig eats too much strawberry?
If you don’t serve strawberries in moderation to your guinea pig and they ate too much, there are possible harmful effects to their body. Here are some of them:
- Diarrhea and similar digestive upsets. Your guinea pig could experience diarrhea and other gut problems if they eat too many strawberries.
- Decreased eating. In some cases, they may even experience loss of appetite or something similar to anorexia in humans.
- Lethargy. Your guinea pig might feel nauseated if they eat too many strawberries.
- Dehydration. Water and electrolyte imbalance is bound to happen if too many strawberries ended up in your pet’s stomach.
- Weight issues. Because guinea pigs have complicated digestive systems, they’re more likely to be overweight with too much sugar content from fruits like strawberries.
- Mouth sores. Too much acid from strawberries could cause such sores and other problems.
To wrap it up, it is safe to give strawberries to your guinea pig, but in moderation. Always consider giving them in small amounts and wide intervals (certainly not every single day).
If you feed them with the right amount of any food, they’ll have a healthy lifestyle due to balanced meals.