One of the sweetest pets anyone could have is the guinea pig. These furry little rascals are common pocket pets that love to munch down nearly anything in their path thanks to their front teeth.
If you’re new to owning guinea pigs, you may wonder: can guinea pigs eat watermelon?
As pet owners, we’re always concerned with the dos and don’ts of pet keeping, especially and particularly with food.
After all, not all pets respond healthily to every food, especially since they have a different genetic makeup compared to humans.
Therefore, their stomach and organs can’t always digest human food, and some might even be harmful to them.
That’s why we’ve written you this article to help you be informed.
Whether you’re new to owning guinea pigs or just want to check which food is appropriate for them, let’s all debunk the mysteries of whether guinea pigs can eat watermelon or not (and what alternatives are there for you to choose).
- A typical guinea pig diet
- Nutrients in watermelon
- Are watermelons safe for guinea pigs?
- How much watermelon to feed for a guinea pig
- What happens if I feed my guinea pig too much watermelon?
- Why should I remove watermelon seeds for guinea pigs?
- Is it okay to feed my guinea pig watermelon rind?
- Watermelon juice for guinea pigs?
- Alternative fruits
A typical guinea pig diet
Before we dive into the main topic, let’s have a refresher on a typical diet of a guinea pig. Here’s what they should usually have for lunch, snack, and dinner:
Timothy hay and guinea pig food
The most common guinea pig food is hay, as we often see in popular culture such as TV shows. Timothy hay is the most common choice and should be part of their everyday meal.
There are also pre-mixed food made for them, but you should also consider reading about their ingredients if they are organic and ideal for your guinea pig when it comes to age and lifestyle.
A guinea pig needs its daily dose of vitamin C. About 30 to 50 milligrams should make up ten percent of their diet.
Veggies and fruits are common sources of vitamin C, which is why you might be asking about watermelons (we’ll get to that later).
Of course, when it comes to fruits and veggies, since they spoil easily after a day or so, make sure they always get fresh supplies and throw away anything that’s been sitting there for 24 hours or longer.
Low-fat and low-sugar
The best way to keep your guinea pig healthy and strong is through low fat and sugars. That’s because sugary foods tend to spike up not only health problems but also possibly behavioral issues.
If your guinea pig food is low on fat, they also have fewer risks of obesity and the like.
A fresh source of water
Of course, no meal for a pet is complete without access to a fresh source of water. This should be clean and filtered.
Always consider pet water that comes from a clean source with a clean dispenser to avoid causing digestive upsets for your little pig.
It should be changed daily so that it won’t be susceptible to a buildup of bacteria and mold.
Nutrients in watermelon
Now that we’ve tackled the typical guinea pig diet let’s talk about what a watermelon contains. As we all know, it’s a large fruit with a lot of water content inside, and not to mention natural sugars.
There are wide varieties of watermelons around the world, but the most common is one that has a green outside and a red inside with brown-black seeds.
Watermelons are known for being heavy to carry but are refreshing for the summer. So, what do watermelons contain in terms of nutritional value? Here’s the list:
When it comes to immunity, vitamin C is the common answer to most problems, especially when it comes to scurvy, a disease that occurs due to lack of this vitamin.
Since the watermelon is a fruit, it makes sense that it has vitamin C, common in most fruits of the same family, such as cucumbers.
What vitamin C does to the health (of both humans and pets) is that it helps with the immune system. It also strengthens body parts, especially teeth, gums, bone joints, and the like.
We mentioned above that vitamin C is important for the guinea pig’s daily diet, which is already a hint that guinea pigs might do well with watermelons.
Most of us aware that watermelon is a sugary fruit. About six grams of sugar can be found in 100 grams of watermelon.
Did you know that human diabetics are recommended to eat watermelon in small amounts? That’s because it has safe amounts of sugar and has fiber as well, which will be discussed later on.
Sugar plays a role in helping to maintain energy. While an excess is bad, a deficiency is also not ideal. To keep functioning normally, any living being needs to have ample amounts of sugar.
Without sugar in our diet (or in any pet diet), it would result in low energy levels and even lethargy.
While not exactly a nutrient, water content in watermelons is very high compared to most fruits. Such water content also makes watermelons one of the heaviest fruits (and natural foods) in the world.
Any living being needs hydration, and that’s why they’ll benefit from watermelons in the summer.
When we sweat, we can easily cool down, but unfortunately, pets need to hydrate themselves during the summer because they can’t sweat as we do.
That’s why having the right hydration is important for your pet.
Watermelons have a thick outer skin, known as the rind, a great fiber source.
When it comes to stomach upsets, fiber is your best friend, whether you’re considering a human or pet diet. Sufficient amounts of fiber will help with gut problems.
Since guinea pigs are known to be heavy eaters that like to munch on anything they touch, having fiber in their diet will help normalize their digestive system to keep it stable.
Vitamins and minerals
Watermelon may also contain vitamin A, which is good for the eyes, phosphorus, and calcium, which will strengthen the bones, and potassium, which will help manage the body’s sodium/salt content.
It also helps in managing the blood.
Are watermelons safe for guinea pigs?
Now that we’ve learned about watermelons and the guinea pig diet, is it true that guinea pigs are okay to be fed with watermelon? The short answer is yes.
You can give them watermelon. But the long answer is that you have to give it to them in moderate amounts.
How much watermelon to feed for a guinea pig
Your piggy can be fed with at least a couple of cubes of watermelon in the following steps:
- Always choose a fresh watermelon that’s brought from the store, market, or fridge. You can smell it if it doesn’t have an off-putting stench, just to make sure.
- Cut the watermelon and take out the seeds as much as possible (we’ll explain why below).
- Separate the rind from the watermelon. If you want to feed a bit of the watermelon rind, you can cut a small portion but make sure it will be easy for your guinea pig to feed on.
- Use a kitchen knife to cut the watermelon into small cubes or pieces that your guinea pig will easily eat and digest.
- Serve it to your guinea pig, and make sure you only serve enough for the day to avoid getting them spoiled.
The cubes can be part of the daily meal of your guinea pig, which should be about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fruits and veggies.
Feeding watermelon to your guinea pig should only be 2 to 3 times a week and only every 2 days. Their main diet should still be hay and guinea pig food, so they keep the fruits and veggies only as a side dish.
As we mentioned above, you must keep their daily food fresh as much as possible. If the food stays intact for 24 hours, throw it away because it might be harmful to them.
We shouldn’t feed them with too much watermelon because they are rich in sugar content.
Like humans, overfeeding pets with a lot of sugar content will lead to diabetic issues that will deteriorate their health in the long run.
What happens if I feed my guinea pig too much watermelon?
Excessive amounts of watermelon will lead to stomach problems, bloating, and even hydration problems.
If you suspect that your guinea pig doesn’t feel well due to bloating and similar problems mentioned above, it’s best to consult your vet right away.
Another problem is the sugar content since watermelon is still considered a fruit. Too much sugar in their diet will also lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Why should I remove watermelon seeds for guinea pigs?
Watermelon seeds shouldn’t be fed to your guinea pig. The obvious reason is that they are a choking hazard and cannot be digested by your little furry friend.
When giving watermelon to your guinea pig, they should be seed-free.
The texture of a watermelon seed is slippery and slimy, making it very dangerous if your guinea pig would accidentally ingest them.
Always make sure that the watermelon pieces you will give to your little friend are free from such choking hazards.
You can use kitchen tweezers or the end of a fork to remove any seed so that your guinea pig will freely and safely munch on the watermelon piece.
Is it okay to feed my guinea pig watermelon rind?
Yes, although you do have to consider only a small amount.
The watermelon rind is the thick part that has been cut off from the red (or whichever color your watermelon inside is) and is typically difficult to digest for both humans and pets.
However, it does contain certain amounts of fiber.
To pick edible parts of the watermelon rind, you should choose the white or lighter parts and not the dark green ones.
In this way, you’ll only give your guinea pig a soft fiber-rich food that they can easily chew and ingest.
Too much watermelon rind will cause diarrhea and other stomach upsets to make sure they take it in moderation.
Watermelon juice for guinea pigs?
With all these questions about watermelons, you may wonder as well if watermelon juice is okay.
The short answer is no, especially if it is processed juice bought from the store. That’s because watermelon juice will contain a lot of sugar that is generally not good for your guinea pig.
Excessive sugar will lead to health problems such as obesity and diarrhea.
The only exception is probably if the watermelon you have at home will be processed in your juicer with no added sugar at all.
But generally, you should just give regular water to your guinea pig and leave the watermelon juice to the humans.
So what can you feed your guinea pigs aside from watermelons? Here are some other tasty alternatives similar to such a fruit:
Watermelons are, after all, from the melon family, so melons are great alternatives. They are also good in blood sugar control and have sufficient water content.
Like watermelons, they are also low in fat and have beneficial vitamins and minerals to both humans and pets. They are also rich in electrolytes and vitamin C.
Blueberries are also alternatives to watermelons due to their immune system boosting capabilities. They are also great at managing obesity and diabetes due to being antioxidants.
Like most fruits, it is also rich in vitamin C.
Grapes are also filled with vitamin C and antioxidants. They have anti-cancer benefits and are also good for managing weight problems.
Also, with vitamin C, strawberries are packed with potassium and other vitamins and minerals. Just make sure they are freshly-served.
If you live in a tropical area, pineapples are also a way to go. They have both vitamin C and fiber for healthy digestion.
In the long run, guinea pigs can eat watermelon, but always take caution.
Remember to feed them following the right amount recommended above. From there, your precious pet could avoid digestive upsets since watermelon is a very watery and sugary fruit.
It’s also a good idea to consult your vet when it comes to feeding watermelon to your pet if you suspect bloat.