Strawberries are really sweet fruits that humans love. They have fewer calories while being very filling and delicious making them a favorite fruit for most people.
Guinea pigs love having treats and fruits are great treats for them. You may be tempted to throw in several strawberries for your lovely pet.
But is it safe to do that? Let’s look into it.
Can guinea pigs eat strawberries?
Guinea pigs can eat strawberries. Strawberries are not only awesome treats but also nutritious for them. Mainly, strawberries are high in Vitamin C. Guinea pigs can eat the fruits, the top part of the fruits, and even the stems. It’s not uncommon for pets to enjoy these green parts more than the fruit.
Benefits of eating strawberries
Strawberries are nutrient-dense giving them various benefits when eaten by guinea pigs. Some of the benefits they provide for your pet are:
Strawberries are very high in vitamin C. On the other hand, guinea pigs don’t have the ability to naturally produce or even store their own vitamin C.
This makes feeding strawberries to your guinea pigs a great way of providing this vitamin to them. It is a win-win situation as they will enjoy their treat while also supplementing their vitamin C.
Vitamin C is efficient in boosting your guinea pig’s immune system. This enhances their health and energy levels.
Strawberries are a good source of a variety of nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, and even fiber.
Diseases like scurvy can be prevented by the intake of strawberries. Scurvy brings about lameness and a rough coat to your guinea pig.
Other benefits of strawberries are:
- Regulate blood sugar levels.
- They have antioxidants.
- Help in reducing inflammations.
Are strawberries harmful to guinea pigs?
Strawberries are delicious and full of nutrients but they can be harmful to your guinea pig.
The main reason is its high sugar content. Sugar in strawberries is at 5%.
Although this is not much for humans, to guinea pigs it is a lot because they are small animals. It could even be fatal.
Downsides of feeding strawberries to guinea pigs are:
Feeding a guinea pig more than enough strawberries may make it gain excess weight. This can bring about serious health problems to the extent of making it sick.
Guinea pigs have sensitive stomachs that are upset by strawberries. If you overfeed them the fruit, they can have adverse reactions like vomiting and diarrhoea.
Strawberries bring about diabetes. It may seem weird, but your pets could get diabetes by taking in too many strawberries.
Not only are strawberries high in sugar but also calcium. A lot of calcium brings about serious complications like bladder stones to a guinea pig.
The high sugar content in strawberries gradually wears down their teeth, ruining them.
The acid in strawberries can hurt your guinea pig’s lips. It may leave the lips sore after eating.
How many strawberries should guinea pigs eat?
Feeding strawberries to guinea pigs should be done in moderation. It is advised to give your pet one strawberry once or twice a week.
You may notice that they love the fruit as they eat it up really fast. They may even begin wheeking delightedly tempting you to give them more.
But that’s a trap, so do not be tempted. Stick to the recommended amount so as to avoid the fruit’s associated health problems.
When giving them these treats, always have water nearby so as to minimize the damage strawberries could have on their teeth.
How to feed guinea pigs strawberries
Strawberries are considered dangerous as they normally contain pesticide and chemical residue on them. Always wash the fruits thoroughly before giving them to your pet. Giving them the fruits with traces of pesticides can be harmful to your pet.
After cleaning a strawberry, slice it into small pieces. You can include the leaves and the stem.
Depending on your feeding schedule, strawberries can serve as great treats. You can even hand-feed them because it is a good bonding experience.
You could include the fruit slices in its other foods like veggies, hay, and fresh leaves as they go well together.
Always ensure that you are feeding them only fresh fruit and not frozen strawberries because of their sensitive stomachs. The best type for guinea pigs is the deep red strawberries.
When beginning to introduce strawberries to a guinea pig’s diet, start with small amounts. Give it a half strawberry that is sliced up.
Keenly observe it’s reaction to the fruit for about 12 hours. If there are no adverse reactions like stomach upsets, then you can freely begin feeding it more of the fruit.
If you notice that the fruit doesn’t settle well with your pet, do not feed it any more strawberries. Instead, try other fruits.
If your guinea pig doesn’t seem to like or react well to strawberries, there are a number of alternatives to go for. Guinea pigs generally love all types of berries so don’t just stop at strawberries.
Introduce it to other berries like blueberries and cranberries or fruits like apples and watermelons. These are delicious treat alternatives for your pet.
Also, just because strawberries are a great source of vitamin C doesn’t mean that you make it the only source for your pet. Substitute it with other sources like kales, cauliflower, broccoli, and bell peppers. All these contain more roughage that’s good for digestion.
Strawberries are great fruity treats and your guinea pig will definitely love you more for them. But like everything else, moderation is always key.
Feeding them the fruit often can sometimes make them bored. Give them infrequent servings to get them excited whenever they eat them.
Infrequent servings will also minimize the serious effects of having excess strawberries.
It is also important to know that guinea pigs have their own different distinct tastes. If a guinea pet doesn’t like strawberries that’s okay. Feed them only what they love.