Pineapple. A very versatile and delicious fruit. The debate of whether pineapple on pizza is OK rages on. But the real question we're here for is, can guinea pigs eat pineapple? Would it harm the animal? Does it have any benefits?
Keep reading to discover how you can help your guinea pig enjoy this delicious fruit safely, as well as the fruit's benefits, drawbacks, and more.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pineapple?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat pineapple. It contains nutrients like Vitamins C to help your piggy avoid scurvy. However, it's important to follow feeding guidelines as the sugar, water, acids, and calcium in pineapple can cause obesity, diarrhea, mouth sores, and bladder stones in guinea pigs. The skin, core, and leaves are not edible and should be removed.
Guinea pigs can safely enjoy the benefits of the delicious pineapple as long as fed moderately and occasionally.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
The truth is that guinea pigs can enjoy pineapple, but like all other fruits, they must exercise moderation when consuming it. Owners have a duty to help their guinea pigs enjoy their fruit responsibly.
You should always remember that a healthy and balanced guinea pig diet is made up of:
- 80% high-quality hay
- 15% veggies and leafy greens (and a small amount of fruit)
- 5% guinea pig pellets
Because fruits are often high in sugar, they should only make up a small portion of the daily veggies. Still, they can also provide many essential nutrients and benefit your piggies. But always check first, as not all fruits are suitable for your pet and can even be downright poisonous.
Thankfully, pineapple is not toxic to guinea pigs. Most guinea pigs really enjoy pineapple, but it depends on each individual cavy.
Also, baby guinea pigs should not be given pineapple. They are still growing and require the nutrients of their mother's milk and appropriate guinea pig foods like hay and water. Baby piggies can slowly start eating different veggies at about 4 weeks, but sugary fruits should not be the first to be introduced to their diet. Also, fruits should only be fed as small treats, as baby guinea pigs have a highly sensitive digestive system.
What about the core, skin, and leaves?
But when it comes to other parts of the pineapple, such as the core, skin, and leaves, those are best discarded instead of fed to your guinea pig.
These three parts of the fruit are notoriously hard to chew and could damage the teeth of your guinea pig. Also, not only they have no beneficial nutritional value for cavies, pineapple leaves, stems, and the top can be toxic to guinea pigs that are sensitive to bromelain.
Also, if swallowed, they could cause harm to the digestive tract of your pet because of their rough and sharp texture. The skin, for example, has tough thorns on it that would really hurt if ingested. In addition, these parts are very difficult to digest, so they could cause a blockage in the intestinal tract. So, make sure these parts are cut off and discarded before you feed your guinea pig pineapple.
As you can see, pineapple is generally safe. But there's much more to it than meets the eye. Even if it does provide some benefits, there are also health risks that should be considered. Keep reading to discover how to feed pineapple safely!
Health Benefits: Is Pineapple Good for Guinea Pigs?
So what are the advantages of offering your cavy some juicy pineapple? Let's find out.
Great for the prevention of scurvy
Did you know guinea pigs cannot synthesize or store their own Vitamin C? As a result, guinea pig owners must provide it to their pets in the food they are fed to ensure they get enough. Most of the time, this will come from pellets and hay, but treats like fruits high in Vitamin C can help.
Scurvy is a painful disease that is caused by Vitamin C deficiency. It causes problems with the skin, bones, and joints. Symptoms include
- Painful joints
- Weight loss
- Problems with the teeth
If you notice these signs in your pet, contact a vet to assess if your guinea pigs need immediate veterinary care or a change of diet.
That said, if you want to add some Vitamin C to your piggies' diet, pineapple can be a great treat for doing so.
Beneficial to the Immune System
Pineapple can be beneficial in keeping your pet healthy, as it supports their immune system.
Beta carotene and Vitamin C, which are both present in good amounts in pineapple, are known as boosters of the immune system. So offer your piggy a piece of pineapple every now and then to get this excellent health benefit.
It contains helpful nutrients and minerals
You will find, for example, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Phosphorus, Folate, Potassium, and Calcium in a serving of pineapple.
These are all necessary to support the overall wellness of your guinea pig:
- Calcium builds strong bones
- Potassium supports healthy nerve function
- Vitamin A is great for vision health
- Vitamin C is helpful to the immune system
- Folate is necessary for proper growth
- Magnesium prevents muscle cramps
- Iron is needed for proper red blood cell function
With all these helpful nutrients, pineapple is definitely a fruit that can make a great addition to your pet's treat menu.
Loaded with water
The water content of pineapple is 87%, which means it's full of water and a great source of hydration.
Adding pineapple to your guinea pig's menu will boost its immune system, keep it well-hydrated, and decrease the risk of becoming vitamin C deficient.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Your guinea pig needs unlimited amounts of fresh water at his disposal so his body can function correctly. Pineapple is no substitute for this basic need and a water bottle, but it helps your pet get some hydration as an addition to an otherwise dry diet.
Zero fat and zero cholesterol
With no fat and no cholesterol in pineapple, you don't have to worry about bad cholesterol levels rising in your pet or a high-fat content making them gain weight. In that sense, it's a healthy treat to give to your piggy occasionally.
But although there is no fat in pineapple, there is a lot of sugar, which can also cause weight gain and obesity. But we'll get to that in a minute.
Helpful in blood circulation
Pineapple has anticoagulant properties, which is good for the blood. It is helpful in the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Its components also promote red blood cells production thus decreasing the risk of anemia. Another advantage!
Health Risks: Is Pineapple Bad for Guinea Pigs?
At this point, you are probably excited to run out and get some pineapple for your pet. But don't do that just yet- there are risks pet owners need to be aware of in order to keep their guinea pigs safe.
Diabetes and Obesity Risks
Pineapple is very healthy but contains a large amount of natural sugar. As a matter of fact, about 10% of the fruit is sugar, and much sugar can cause your cavy to become overweight/obese or develop diabetes.
Guinea pigs are prone to obesity and health problems that follow it because they usually have an excellent appetite but get too little exercise compared to what they would naturally need.
Pineapple is a nutritious but sugary food
If you're a piggy owner, you know they just love food and wheek at even the smallest rustle of a bag or someone opening the fridge. But although your pet loves food, your job as a responsible pet parent is to keep the treats limited – pineapple with its high sugar content included.
Diarrhea and bloating can occur if too much pineapple is fed to your pet because pineapple contains a lot of water, sugar, and acid.
Diarrhea is relatively common in guinea pigs, so it's important we keep our pets' diet balanced. Offering too many fruits and veggies and not enough timothy hay, water, and nutritional pellets is the culprit behind such an ailment. To keep your guinea pig comfortable, be sure to exercise moderation and portion control.
It's important that your pet's diet is mostly hay because it's what keeps their digestion in balance. Diarrhea may be a serious condition that causes malnutrition or dehydration, so always contact a vet if it continues.
Bloat can also be very dangerous, as guinea pigs can not pass gas. If your piggy has a swollen or distended stomach, and you suspect bloat, do contact a vet immediately for assistance.
High in Acid
Pineapple is one of those fruits high in acid. Oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines are similar types of fruit. If you feed your guinea pig pineapple on a regular basis, mouth sores could develop as a result of the acids eating at the skin of the mouth—another reason to keep the pineapple only to an occasional treat.
Pineapples contain an enzymatic compound known as bromelain. The bromelain is highly beneficial, but if fed excessively, it may have certain side-effects. Some guinea pigs are allergic to pineapple, and it is, in fact, the bromelain component they are allergic to.
The symptoms of allergic reactions include
- upset stomach
- increased heart rate
- difficulties in breathing
If you notice these signs after feeding pineapple to your piggy, stop feeding it and ask a vet for more advice if the symptoms continue.
Problems of the urinary tract
Guinea pigs are at high risk for the development of urinary stones because they absorb most of the calcium they ingest. If there is too much calcium in their diet, it could cause urinary tract problems like bladder sludge and bladder stones. These stones should be taken seriously as they form in the ureters or kidneys, can block the urethra, and can cause death if not treated.
Pineapple contains a good amount of calcium, which, again, is another good reason to limit how much you're giving you piggy.
And speaking of that: how much and how often should you feed pineapple to a cavy? Let's find out.
Feeding Guidelines: Pineapple for Guinea Pigs
At this time, we will go over some basic feeding guidelines so you and your pet can safely enjoy pineapple.
It may seem intimidating, but there's nothing to worry about if you exercise moderation.
How Much Pineapple Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
For adult guinea pigs, you should feed the maximum of 1 cubic inch of pineapple in one serving.
The smaller, the better since it's a high-sugar fruit that should be treated as candy for piggies. Opt for the fresh kind at your market- don't go for the sort you find in cans or fruit salad. The added sugars/syrups are damaging to your guinea pig's health.
How Often Can A Guinea Pig Eat Pineapple?
Pineapple is best kept as a "once per week" treat for your pet, and some guinea pig owners even opt for less than that because there are better treats out there for their pets to enjoy.
Pineapple is undoubtedly healthy, but thanks to its high sugar and high acid, it's not to be served in large amounts to your guinea pig. Don't go beyond once or twice per week with this fruit if you want to avoid health issues.
Also, always remember that 15% of your guinea pig's diet should consist of veggies. The majority of them should comprise of suitable vegetables and leafy greens, with only a small portion of fruits like pineapple. Take this into account when considering the overall diet of your pet.
Preparing and Serving Pineapple for Your Guinea Pig
Pineapple is a fruit that requires a bit of extra prep work in comparison to others.
- First, begin by selecting a pineapple at your market that is fresh and free of mold or spoilage. Once you get it home, wash it even if you don't plan on serving it that day.
- When you are ready to serve it, carefully remove the crown using a sharp knife, and cut a thin piece from the base of the fruit.
- Cut the skin away from the top to its bottom and cut out any "eyes" you find.
- With the skin removed, cut the pineapple in half the long way and cut it into wedges. Now cut the core away and throw it away.
- Cut the wedges into small pieces and put one into the enclosure, in a dish, or wherever your cavy will be snacking.
- Monitor your guinea pig to see how they react and discard any uneaten food after an hour to prevent it from going bad and spreading bacteria in the cage.
If it's the first time your piggy is trying pineapple, monitor him for 24 hours to make sure it doesn't have any adverse effects.
What About Other Pineapple Products?
Some of you may wonder about pineapple products many of us have in our homes.
Pineapple juice is not OK, as it may contain added sugar or preservatives, plus it's high in acid. Dried pineapple is also a no-go, as it usually contains added sugar and can be tough to chew.
Canned pineapple is not permitted either – these fruits often contain added sugars, syrups, and tons of preservatives, plus they may have an unpleasant taste after being stored in a can
Lastly, avoid frozen pineapple. Cold foods can cause the guinea pig's digestive system to fall out of balance, leading to diarrhea. Let it thaw to room temp before serving. Also, pineapple is often mixed with other fruits that may not be guinea pig-friendly, so make sure you're only feeding products that contain frozen pineapple.
Cavies can eat pineapple sage and pineapple weed, but only in moderation and occasionally.
Here are the nutrition facts for 100g of pineapple:
- 50 calories
- 0.1g fat
- 1mg sodium
- 13g carbohydrates
- 1.4g dietary fiber
- 9.9g sugar
- 0.5g protein
The following vitamins and minerals are also found in pineapple:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
As you can see from these numbers, pineapple is a nutritious but sugary food. Therefore, it needs to be limited to very small amounts when it comes to guinea pigs.
Now you are aware of what it takes to serve pineapple to your guinea pig safely. What do you think? Will you be offering your pet this treat anytime soon?
It may seem intimidating, but there's nothing to worry about if you exercise moderation. Remember, a diet of unlimited timothy hay, clean water, and an appropriate serving of nutritional pellets will give your guinea pig what he needs to stay healthy.
Offering a small special treat a few times a week in the form of a fruit piece or veggie mix will enrich the life of your pet and give him something to look forward to without the risk of illness.
15% of the guinea pig's diet should consist of fresh veggies and fruits. Guinea pigs love fruits, especially sugary ones.
Once treated with a sugary fruit, like, for example, pineapple, they will squeak and squeak for more. However, do not be tempted by their begging. Guinea pigs can safely enjoy the benefits of the delicious pineapple as long as fed moderately and occasionally.
Pineapple is rich in water, minerals, and vitamins while containing zero fats and cholesterol. Adding pineapple to your guinea pig's menu will boost its immune system, keep it well-hydrated, and decrease the risk of becoming vitamin C deficient, which is a frequent and life-threatening condition.
- 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.