March 2, 2021

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mango?

Vet-Approved Feeding Guide

mango for guinea pig
Veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Published by Sheila Wilson

Vet Approved

Mangos are tasty and healthy for humans, but what about guinea pigs? These delicious fruits are rich in many helpful vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C. But with the benefits come some health risks you should be aware of before serving your guinea pig mangos.

The first thing to keep in mind is that mangos taste great, and your guinea pig will probably just want to keep eating them. However, you have to watch out for the high sugar and calorie content. Even though this is a natural food, it's important to be mindful of the high sugar levels.

Some parts of the fruits are not edible, and digestive problems are also a hazard. Read on to discover the risks and benefits and how to offer your guinea pig mangos safely.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mango?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat mangos. They are high in fiber and Vitamin C, which helps prevent scurvy. However, the high sugar content may cause obesity and diabetes if fed too often. Also, follow the feeding guidelines because mango is high in calcium and may cause bladder stones in guinea pigs.

As long as they are used moderately, correctly, and combined adequately with hay, fresh veggies, and pellets, mangos are an excellent addition to the guinea pig's menu.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

The most important thing to keep in mind is that fruit should only make up a very small part of your piggies' daily diet. What they should be getting is

  • 80% high-quality hay
  • 15% vegetables and leafy greens
  • 5% pellets

And out of those vegetables, only a small portion can be fruit to keep your pet healthy and thriving. So all fruit, including mangos, can only be given as a small treat along with a varied salad and veggie mix.

Still, guinea pigs can definitely eat mango, and it is not toxic to them.

What about the mango skin and the pit?

The flesh of the fruit, the yellow part, is safe for cavies. However, the skin of the mango, as well as the pit, should always be removed before serving any of the fruit to your pet.

The mango skin could very well contain pesticides it was sprayed with when grown, and dirt may also remain on the surface. While washing is an excellent way to mitigate this risk, it's best to play it safe and remove that skin completely. The skin also lacks nutrients, and because it is so tough, it could cause your guinea pig digestive trouble or even pose a choking hazard.

The pits are hard to chew and could damage the teeth of your guinea pig. If they do manage to chew up the hard pit, it could get stuck in their throat or cause damage to their digestive tract. Make sure the pit is also removed and discarded before you serve your pet their treat.

So yes, guinea pigs really enjoy mango, and if left to their own devices, would eat more than they should. It's OK to offer your pet a few small pieces of this fruit, but remember that there are both risks and benefits involved. Read on to discover how to prepare and feed this fruit safely.

Health Benefits: Is Mango Good for Guinea Pigs?

So what are the advantages of adding mango to your piggy's diet? Let's have a look.

From a healthy heart and sharp vision to a robust immune system and smooth digestion – mangoes offer plenty of health benefits for guinea pigs. .
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

Helps prevent scurvy

It's all thanks to Vitamin C, which is plentiful in mangos.

Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency in Vitamin C. The symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea, painful joints, weight loss, dental issues, bruising, and a rough coat or alopecia. It may be fatal if not treated, so it's important that your piggy gets enough Vitamin C.

You see, unlike most pet animals, guinea pigs are not able to synthesize their own Vitamin C, so owners have to ensure their pets get enough in their diet. One way to help supplement this is to offer an occasional treat such as a fruit with Vitamin C along with pellets, hay, and water.

Since mangoes contain this vitamin, it's an excellent addition to the fruits you're feeding your cavy when you want to ensure you're providing them enough Vitamin C.

mango slices

Great for the immune system

Mangos can help prevent inflammation and keep your guinea pig healthy. It's thanks to the Vitamins C, A, and B-6, all of which help keep your cavy's immune system in good shape and ready to fight off any diseases that might come their way.

Helps with vision health

Mangos have Vitamin A, which is known to be a helper when it comes to maintaining eye health. It also contains zeaxanthin and lutein, antioxidants that build up in the retina and help your guinea pig's brain convert light into signals as a means of interpreting what they are seeing.

With these nutrients, mango is a food that will support your pet's eye health when fed regularly as a healthy snack.

Great for heart health

Mangos are loaded with nutrients known for supporting a healthy heart. You will find magnesium and potassium in mango, which helps the heartbeat stay steady and helps relax the blood vessels, therefore lowering blood pressure.

Helps With digestion

Mango has high fiber content, which makes it great for supporting your guinea pig's digestion. Since there is 1.5g of fiber per 100g of mango, and it also contains quite a bit of water, it will help your pet's bowel movements stay regular.

Cavies have digestive systems that are very delicate, and they need their hay and veggies for healthy digestion. Although fruits can be a healthful addition to their diet, hay is the main thing that keeps their gut working.

Health Risks: Is Mango Bad for Guinea Pigs?

For all the praises we've sung about mangos, there are absolutely some dangers you need to be aware of. Read on to discover why you should think first before cutting up some mango for your guinea pig!

Gastrointestinal Trouble

Guinea pigs have very sensitive digestive systems, and sudden dietary changes, such as offering large quantities of fruits or veggies, can cause your pet to experience diarrhea and/or bloat. Especially foods that are high in sugar and water – like mango– can lead to gastrointestinal trouble.

Both diarrhea and bloat are dangerous for piggies. Diarrhea may cause malnourishment and dehydration, while bloat is dangerous because guinea pigs can not pass gas. If your pet has a distended belly and you suspect bloat, contact a vet to ask for advice in treating it.

Because mango poses a risk of GI issues, it's best to offer small pieces of mango on an occasional basis. It can be a healthy fruit, but only when served in small quantities to avoid these risks.

Obesity and Diabetes

Guinea pigs are used to eating large amounts of hay or grass, and therefore they should be offered unlimited hay throughout the day. Although your piggy may be munching through a whole pile of hay every day, it is so low in calories it will not make your pet gain weight or become obese.

The same goes for veggies. Most of the veggies that are recommended for guinea pigs' daily veggie mix are very low in energy and won't result in unhealthy weight.

Meanwhile, fruits like mango are high in natural sugar and calories, which may lead to weight gain if fed too often. It is why they should be offered only as small treats- you won't have to worry about overfeeding your pet and making them sick.

Risk of Bladder Stones

Mangos are rich in calcium. This is a very good thing because guinea pigs need it for healthy bones. However, feeding too much of the fruit can cause an excess of calcium in the body, which can turn into bladder sludge or bladder stones (uroliths).

Bladder stones are painful and can cause bloody urine, pain when urinating, or the inability to urinate. If they are large enough and cannot be passed with the urine, they may need to be surgically removed. Always contact a vet for advice if you suspect urinary tract stones.

One way you can help your piggy avoid this issue is by keeping high-calcium foods to appropriate amounts.

Pits and Skin Pose Choking Hazard

As mentioned earlier, you want to make sure pits and skins are completely left off your guinea pig's serving of mango. The skin is very tough, and although your pet will be able to chew on it, the pieces might pose a risk of choking or forming a blockage in the digestive tract.

The pit is also very tough to digest, and even if your piggy might be able to chew off a piece, it could get stuck in its intestines or puncture the digestive tract if it's sharp.

Both the mango skin and seed are also severely lacking in beneficial nutrients, so just check and double-check that you removed them completely from your pet's serving.

Feeding Guidelines: Mango for Guinea Pigs

Below, you will find some helpful guidelines for safely feeding mango to your cavy:

Do not let your guinea pig's sweet cravings fool you – moderation is the key.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

How Much Mango Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

If left to their own devices, there's no telling how many mango slices a guinea pig could eat! They love a sweet treat and would surely eat more than they should.

The recommended amount is one to two bite-sized pieces and offer that to their cavy once a week as a special treat. After all, this is a high-sugar fruit, so less is more.

How Often Can I Feed My Guinea Pig Mangoes?

One small slice per week is acceptable. After all, this is a very good fruit to offer, but the high sugar content makes it unsafe to feed every day.

So, keep it to a weekly treat for the best results.

Also, always remember veggies should only make up about 15% of your piggies' diet. Out of this amount, the majority should be leafy greens and vegetables that are high in fiber and low in sugar, calcium, and oxalates. To offer your guinea pig a balanced diet that fills their nutritional requirements, fruits should only make up a small part of their veggie mix.

How To Prepare Mango For Guinea Pigs?

  1. Begin by choosing a mango at the store or market that is ripe, free of spoilage or mold, and looks healthy. Once you've gotten the mango home, wash it even if you don't plan on serving it that day. This way, you won't forget to wash it when it's time to feed.
  2. If there are any leaves on the fruit, they are okay for guinea pigs (as long as they like how they taste).
  3. When you are ready to cut the mango and serve it, do so carefully by peeling off the skin and discarding it.
  4. Now cut the mango into small slices. The smaller, the better- this makes it easier to mix into your guinea pig's salad or for him to simply eat on his own.
  5. Monitor your pet to see how they like the mango and watch them closely for the next 24 hours if it's their first time trying this food. Also, remove any uneaten fruit after one hour to ensure it doesn't go bad and spread bacteria.

What about dried or frozen mango?

Dried mango is definitely a no-go when it comes to guinea pigs. It contains lots of added sugars and additives, which are not good for your pet.

Frozen mango, however, is OK if it has no additives and it has been thawed to room temperature. Never feed your piggy cold foods as it could cause an imbalance in their digestion, but veggies that have been frozen without any additives or seasoning are perfectly OK after thawing. Frozen smoothie mixes containing mango may contain fruits that are not suitable for guinea pigs, so extra caution is needed.

When it comes to green mango, you should avoid offering that. Unripe mango is tough to chew and doesn't have the full flavor your guinea pig desires.

Mango juices, sorbets, and creams are very popular but also a no-no for guinea pigs because of the added sugars and milk.

mango slices

Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutrition facts for 100g of mango:

  • 60 calories
  • 4g fats
  • 1mg sodium
  • 15g carbohydrates
  • 14g sugar
  • 8g protein

Mango also contains the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium

As you can see, mango is a fruit that contains vitamins, but it's also very high in sugar. As such, it should be treated like candy and fed only occasionally as a sweet, enriching treat.

Summing Up – Can Guinea Pigs Have Mango?

Yes, guinea pigs can absolutely enjoy mango as part of a healthy diet consisting of unlimited hay, water, and appropriate servings of pellets. It makes a delicious, refreshing treat to enrich the life of your guinea pig- just be sure to prepare it safely and use moderation for the best results.

Vet's Comment

From a healthy heart and sharp vision to a robust immune system and smooth digestion – mangoes offer plenty of health benefits for guinea pigs. Not to mention they are delicious, especially for guinea pigs, who we know have a sweet tooth.

As long as they are used moderately, correctly, and combined adequately with hay, fresh veggies, and pellets, mangos are an excellent addition to the guinea pig's menu.

Moderately means one to two bite-sized pieces a week and correctly means with the pit and skin removed. So, do not let your guinea pig's sweet cravings fool you – moderation is the key.

- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM

Ivana Crnec doctor of veterinary medicine

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Ivana Crnec

DVM

Ivana Crnec is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine specialized in domestic carnivores. She graduated from the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. Ivana is a certified canine nutritionist and also certified in HAACP food safety system implementation. She currently works as a veterinarian while completing her postgraduate studies. Her research has been published in international journals.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com 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.

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