Guinea pigs are adorable, and it's fun to watch them eat, but they can be greedy little things. And they definitely have their tastes and preferences too. Many clearly have a sweet tooth and will gobble fruit with gusto.
But that doesn't mean you should let them have as much as they want. It's in your guinea pig's best interests to eat a proper, balanced diet. That means that fruit should make up only a small portion of it. And not all fruit is good for guinea pigs either.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberries?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat blueberries. You can feed your guinea pig blueberries in moderation. The advised serving size is 1-2 blueberries, but make sure to stick to our vet-approved recommendations regarding how often you feed blueberries. Otherwise, you may risk health issues such as obesity and mouth sores.
Blueberries are an excellent fruit for your guinea pig to snack on. They're actually very healthy for your little pet as long as you feed them in moderation.
Blueberries can make a great occasional treat for guinea pigs, and offer another way to get valuable vitamin C into your pet.
- Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM
The best blueberries for your guinea pig are fresh ones. Dried or dehydrated ones are okay too, but if you have some frozen ones, make sure to thaw them out first.
And while most guinea pigs like blueberries, some won't want to eat them. If yours doesn't like them right away, give him or her a chance to get used to them first. If your pet still refuses them, don't worry. There are plenty of other delicious fruits for your pet!
Health Benefits: Are Blueberries Good for Guinea Pigs?
Blueberries are one of the best fruits you can give to your guinea pig, and you'll see why shortly. But remember, too much of anything is bad. They're only good when fed in moderation.
High on Vitamin C
Vitamin C is very important when it comes to maintaining your guinea pig in overall good health. It contributes to keeping the immune system strong and helping your guinea pig fight off any infections. It also helps wounds heal faster.
And getting enough vitamin C in their diets is especially important to guinea pigs, as they can't produce their own. A lack of vitamin C can lead to a condition known as scurvy, and if severe enough, it can even be fatal.
If your guinea pig is getting a daily vitamin C supplement and eating a balanced diet consisting of mainly hay and pellets, chances are it's getting enough vitamin C for its needs. But a little extra certainly doesn't hurt, and blueberries make for good variety too, keeping the boredom away.
Good Source of Antioxidants
Blueberries contain a group of compounds known as flavonoids, which are among the most powerful antioxidants known to us. Antioxidants are responsible for protecting the body from free radicals.
Free radicals can cause damage to body cells, contributing to aging and conditions such as cancer. Your guinea pig needs these antioxidants, and blueberries are a great natural way to let it have some.
Low on Calcium
It may sound strange, saying that low amounts of calcium are good for anyone. But when it comes to guinea pigs, that's exactly the case. While it's true that they need some calcium to develop their bones and teeth properly, too much can be deadly.
Guinea pigs cannot regulate their calcium absorption, so they absorb whatever they eat. An excess can quickly lead to very painful bladder and kidney stones. These will require attention from the vet, and a severe case can even be fatal to your pet.
So blueberries are a great way to give your guinea pig lots of valuable nutrition, without overloading the calcium.
Good Source of Vitamin K
Blueberries contain a fair amount of vitamin K too. Vitamin K is actually a group of fat-soluble vitamins and has a very important role to play. It is largely responsible for blood clotting, and a lack of it will result in wounds not healing well.
Poorly healing wounds can quickly lead to infections and a host of other troubles. Letting your guinea pig have some blueberries is a good way of boosting its vitamin K intake.
Rich in Manganese
Manganese is a trace mineral, and your pet needs very small amounts of it. But this mineral has a lot of important functions in the body, and a lack of it can lead to bone abnormalities and other health issues.
This mineral works together with vitamin K in helping blood to clot over wounds. It also works to support bone health and helps in making antioxidants available to the body.
Manganese also works in helping to keep blood sugar levels normal. It is especially important to guinea pigs that are naturally prone to diabetes and related problems.
Health Risks: Are Blueberries Bad for Guinea Pigs?
Blueberries can be a great, healthy snack for your guinea pig. But much as they have their benefits, there is a downside too.
Sugar is the biggest reason any guinea pig's intake of fruit needs to be limited.
Blueberries are Acidic
Some guinea pigs are prone to developing mouth sores. While not fatal, these can cause a lot of discomfort and pain for your pet. Blueberries are fairly acidic, and letting your guinea pig have too much can cause mouth sores to flare up.
In fact, if you know your pet develops mouth sores easily, blueberries are perhaps best avoided altogether.
High Sugar Content
Sugar is the biggest reason any guinea pig's intake of fruit needs to be limited. Most guinea pigs absolutely love sugary foods, but their systems were not built to process them in large amounts.
Blueberries are quite high on sugar but provide less nutrition than some other fruits with a similar or lower caloric amount.
Guinea pigs have delicate tummies that function best on a high-fiber, low-sugar diet. Upsetting this natural order by feeding them too many blueberries (read too much sugar) at once can suddenly change the balance of the flora in their guts.
If your guinea pig eats too many blueberries, it may end up with a stomach ache. While not fatal, it's not exactly comfortable either, and can cause your pet hours of mild to severe pain. Your guinea pig may also end up with diarrhea, which can lead to more serious problems if severe enough.
Obesity and Diabetes
A temporary upset to an otherwise healthy guinea pig's stomach may not have you overly worried. But the other reason you should feed blueberries only in moderation is to prevent your guinea pig from gaining excessive weight and developing diabetes and related conditions.
Any guinea pig will suffer from a high-sugar diet. But our domesticated friends don't have nearly as much chance to exercise as a wild animal would, and are especially prone to weight gain when fed too much sugar.
Obesity can lead to many health issues, in particular diabetes and heart problems. So while it may be tempting to let your pet munch away on the blueberries, it is best to offer only small, infrequent servings of this fruit.
Serving Size and How to Feed?
Blueberries are a nutritious and healthy fruit, and they work great as a snack for your pet. But it really should be no more than a snack, and an occasional one, at that.
Baby and juvenile guinea pigs are best off without blueberries altogether. The same is true if your guinea pig is already overweight or suffers from diabetes or related problems.
Just a Couple of Blueberries is Enough
If your guinea pig is an adult and in good health, you can give it one or two blueberries as a treat to snack on. Remember to offer them fresh, or if that is not available, then dehydrated. If they're frozen, let them thaw out thoroughly first.
Keep it Infrequent
If your guinea pig is just starting out on blueberries, once a week is really enough. Once it has had time to get used to them, you can up that to twice a week.
To ensure that you haven't fed your pet too much sugar in one go, don't combine blueberries with other fruit.
Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as manganese. They also come loaded with powerful antioxidants (flavonoids).
They're not the highest-calorie fruit, but still contain a fair amount, which clocks 57 calories per 100 grams.
Most of this comes from sugar, which is why too much is not good for your pet.
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants for your guinea pig. They also provide a good dose of vitamin C, which your pet cannot produce on its own, as well as vitamin K and manganese. And the majority of guinea pigs love the taste of blueberries too.
Just be sure not to feed too much. Blueberries contain a fair amount of sugar, and too much of that is not good for your guinea pig. It could lead to a host of health problems, from digestive upsets to obesity and diabetes. A couple of blueberries a week is safe, but no more than that.
Are guinea pigs allowed blueberry?
Yes, guinea pigs are allowed blueberries, but they should only be fed as an occasional treat. Blueberries contain vitamin C, which is beneficial for guinea pigs. A couple of blueberries a week is safe for your cavy, but more than that could cause tummy upsets or lead to obesity and diabetes because of the high sugar content.
Blueberries can make a great occasional treat for guinea pigs, and offer another way to get valuable vitamin C into your pet. Due to their high sugar content, they should only be offered once or twice a week.
The majority of your guinea pig's diet should be hay. This roughage wears down your guinea pig's constantly growing teeth and helps keep his or her digestive tract moving properly.
Fresh leafy vegetables that are high in vitamin C and low in calcium should also be offered to your pet daily. Your guinea pig can be given a small amount of pellets daily as well, but keep these to no more than 1/8th of a cup per day as more than this can lead to obesity.
- Dr. Leonie McKinlay, DVM
Dr. Leonie McKinlay has always had a special fondness for animals and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Calgary and then her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Since graduation, Dr. McKinlay has been working at the same small animal practice, caring for dogs and cats.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your guinea pig's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.