Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blackberries? (Or Will They Kill Them?)

As guinea pig owners, we always want to know if guinea pigs can eat certain veggies and fruits – like blackberries. But, it can be difficult to find reliable guinea pig food facts on the internet. So I decided to do a lot of research on the topic, and this is what I found.

Guinea pigs can eat blackberries. They should be ripe, fresh and served at room temperature. But, blackberries have a lot of sugar. So, don’t feed too many of them, too often to avoid health problems for the guinea pig – moderation is the key.

can guinea pigs eat blackberries

Now you’re curious about the details, huh? Like how much they should eat every day, right? Of course you are!

No worries, I’ve prepared a smorgasbord of blackberry feeding safety tips and facts just for you because you’re awesome and so is guinea pig food research. (I’m a nerd; I know.)

Let’s begin.

Why You Should Feed Your Guinea Pigs Blackberries

can guinea pigs eat blackberries

Every pet parent wants their piggies to live a long, healthy life – and one of the ways to ensure this is when you give them the right types (and amounts) and food – like blackberries.

So, why are these berries so gosh darn good for guinea pigs? Let’s look at some health benefits:

1. High Fiber

One cup of these berries (raw) has almost 8 grams of fiber. And that’s a crazy amount of fiber for one tiny, little berry.

Fiber is your piggies’ friend, and guinea pigs on a healthy diet should enjoy consuming guinea pig-friendly foods high in fiber for a few reasons:

  • Helps with food digestion. Your cavies need a decent amount of fiber in their diet to help with their digestion (insoluble fiber helps with this). If they don’t then their digestive system slows down (big time). This leads to gas, diarrhea, and a whole slew of health problems (more on this later).
  • Helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Soluble fiber is fiber that absorbs water and expand in the intestines. This creates a gel-like substance which helps to reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
  • Helps piggies poop. A happy side effect of guinea pigs getting extra fiber is guinea pigs that poop more. I guess you’re thinking , “How is that a good thing?!” Piggies are poop machines. A lot of healthy droppings is a sign that (internally) everything is well and working with your little friends.

Thinking about adding a piggie to your family or want to brush up on the essentials? Gotcha covered. What you need is a reliable, “all-in-one” resource to refer to when you’re struggling. A Beginner’s Ultimate Guide To Guinea Pig Care is a starting point with all the basics and more to get you on your way!

2. Potassium and Magnesium

Blackberries are good for cavies because they contain magnesium and potassium. They work together to keep your fur babies healthy.

  • Potassium is an electrolyte (and a mineral, too!) that helps regulate the blood pressure of guinea pigs. It helps keep the water and electrolyte of their bodies balanced.
  • Magnesium helps guinea pigs with proper healing and blood clotting. It also encourages guinea pig bones to stay strong.

When you think about it guinea pigs and blackberries make a pretty good team.

3. High Vitamin C

Guinea pigs need daily sources of vitamin C in their diet. This is because (like us), they can’t produce their own vitamin C. So guinea pigs need to get it somewhere else on a regular basis – like their food.

If they don’t have enough Vitamin C, they’ll get scurvy. It’s a disease can cause them to feel tired, weak, make their gums bleed (scary, right?), and they’ll bruise easily.

Untreated scurvy can be fatal, so you don’t want to mess around with guinea pigs and their vitamin C. Make sure your little friends have what they need.

A piggie-sized serving of blackberries (say, 1 or 2 ) contains almost enough Vitamin C that your little friends need in a day. This makes them an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C helps piggies in tons of ways:

  • heal faster after they’ve gotten sick or injured
  • keeps their skin and fur healthy
  • helps with guinea pig teeth and bones
  • reduces their likelihood of getting cancer, because it ‘s an antioxidant

Your little friend are likelier to live longer and have a healthier life with vitamin C in their diet.

4. Low Glycemic Index

It’s true that blackberries contain sugar – a high amount compared to some other fruits.

But, blackberries (like a lot of other berries) have a low glycemic index – that makes it a little bit safer to eat, in spite of the sugar content.

(Sorry for getting a little technical, here. But, it’s important to understand the whys and hows of guinea pig nutrition if we want them to live a healthy life.)

So, what is this “glycemic index” all about?

Basically a low glycemic index means that a food releases its sugars slowly into the blood when you eat them.

That means guinea pigs have the ability to eat a blackberry (or two) without risk of sudden blood sugar spikes.

That’s when their blood sugar levels shoots up and then drops after they eat something sugary. This can make your piggie feel sick or tired.

(Crazy, right? Actually, the same thing can happen to us when we eat sugar. But, like with most things, our fur babies feel the effects more because they’re so tiny!)

But, your little friends can safely eat blackberries (or any other low glycemic index food). And they’re less likely to feel the effects of blood sugar spikes.

Bonus?

They can enjoy the other nutrients that are found in blackberries too – just don’t feed them too

5. Tons Of Other Nutritional Goodies for Your Piggies

According to USDA guidelines, blackberries are rich in vitamins. There are several vitamins found in blackberries that can aid excellent health.

If you want your guinea pigs to grow without worrying about the lack of general vitamins, try adding the berries to their diet. Here are some more vitamins found in this tasty fruit: 

  • Vitamin A: helps guinea pigs maintain a healthy heart, lungs, kidneys and immune system.
  • Vitamin K: helps with blood clotting and keeps guinea pigs in excellent health.
  • Vitamin B: helps with the guinea pig’s energy levels, brain functions, and cell metabolism (which is how guinea pigs grow).
  • Vitamin E: can help prevent heart problems. It helps the immune system and lowers the risk of many other diseases
can guinea pigs eat blackberries

Can Blackberries Kill Guinea Pigs?

Let me start off by saying that ANY food has the potential to kill your guinea pig.

Anything you feed your fur babies (except for daily staples like hay, grass, and bell peppers) is risky and can potentially hurt them unless…

You feed them the right amounts and the right time.

Yep, it all comes down to you as the pet parent (no pressure, right?)

Blackberries don’t kill guinea pigs. They’re perfectly safe for guinea pigs to eat as long as you feed them the right amounts at the right time.

The risks below only apply if you feed guinea pigs blackberries outside of the acceptable guinea pig diet:

1. Diabetes 

Yes, guinea pigs can get diabetes.

If you overfeed your guinea pig’s blackberries (or any other sweet food), they can develop diabetes. In the event that your guinea pigs do develop severe diabetes, it can lead to death.

Take your piggies to the vet to get checked out, if you’ve been feeding them a lot of sugary foods with very little dietary fiber (like hay) and notice the following symptoms:

  • lots of peeing (more than what’s usual)
  • more UTIs (or urinary tract infections)
  • loss of weight even though your piggie’s appetite hasn’t changed
  • developed cataracts; cataracts are blurry spots in the eye that can make your guinea pig blind–this is a symptom of diabetes
  • lots of water drinking

If you keep guinea pigs, make sure that they are eating the blackberries in moderation to avoid diabetes (and other health problems).

The best practice for this is always to feed blackberries as an occasional treat or “side dish”. They should never be the “main course” of their meals – that’s how guinea pigs can develop diabetes.

This way, they can get adequate food and receive some benefits from eating the berries, too. 

2. Diarrhea 

Blackberries can cause diarrhea in piggies if it’s overfed. The main reason is because of high sugar level and the water that blackberries contain.

Diarrhea can make guinea pigs sick – like really sick.

Dehydration is a common side effect. And death is a possibility, too.

You’re got a small window of time (usually around 24 hours – piggies don’t normally live longer than that) to get your piggies appropriate vet treatment if they’ve become dehydrated from diarrhea.

Quick thinking (on your part) and the right treatment can save your guinea pig’s life.

3. Obesity 

Low glycemic index or not – blackberries have a lot of sugar. That sugar (once again if overfed ) can lead to guinea pig obesity.

Obesity in guinea pigs is a really serious problem – because of the reasons I have already mentioned above. And in guinea pigs, it can be life threatening. 

So, we’re talking:

  • back pain
  • diabetes (I just explained above why this is a huge problem for guinea pigs)
  • heart diseases ( guinea pigs aren’t built to have so much weight on them; their hearts can easily give out from having too much extra weight) 
  • exhaustion and sluggishness

Always make sure that you’re giving your little friends the proper portions guinea pig food to avoid obesity. 

4. Pesticides

Unfortunately, blackberries (like lots of other berries) are sprayed with pesticides and chemicals to keep them from being eaten by bugs or destroyed by fruit diseases.

These chemicals can be very harmful to guinea pigs and can even kill them.

It’s best to avoid feeding blackberries to your fur babies unless you’re absolutely sure that they haven’t been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides!

Buy organic whenever you can. Many farmer’s markets sell organic produce that you can pick to take home with you.

But, if you can’t swing it (I know sometimes it’s hard), make sure you wash the berries really well in clean water or with a fruit cleaner.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Blackberries? 

can guinea pigs eat blackberries

Many guinea pigs think blackberries are a good snack and they like eating them. And they’ll eat the berries you offer them. They taste great, have a good texture and are easy to eat.

However, some guinea pigs are very picky eaters (just like some humans – just sayin’) and won’t eat blackberries.

It’s best to not force them to eat something they’re not willing to try. Just keep offering the berries to them. 

It might just take guinea pigs a while to decide they like the taste of blackberries (instead of looking at them like they’re poison).

Some pet parents even say that their fur babies are literally addicted to the little fruits and would eat them everyday, if they could.

(But, you now know that that’s a bad idea, right?)

Personally, I think most reluctant guinea pigs are bound to enjoy blackberries eventually. You just have to stay persistent with offering them.

Are Some Guinea Pigs Allergic to Blackberries? 

Research and anecdotal evidence (okay, stories that I’ve heard) suggest that most guinea pigs aren’t allergic to blackberries.

Most of the negative reactions from feeding blackberries, comes from introducing them to your fur baby’s diet too quickly.

It’s important to introduce new foods slowly in order for your guinea pig’s stomach to adjust. That way, they won’t get sick.

If you want your pigs to have the right amounts of minerals and vitamins, you need to feed them blackberries in moderation. They’re rich in essential minerals and vitamins which is important when raising them.

How Often Can I Give Blackberries to My Guinea Pig? 

The fruits should be fed to your guinea pigs sparingly. It is recommended to only feed them blackberries either once or twice a week in the below amounts:

  • Baby guinea pigs: Only feed them a tiny amount (maybe half a blackberry – if that). They’re in the process of building up good bacteria in their guts to help them digest their food. So, you don’t want to over feed them blackberries and upset the delicate balance.
  • Adult guinea pigs: They can eat 2 or 3 blackberries. This shouldn’t happen 2 days in a row. Also, make sure that you don’t (double dip) feed them sugary foods in one day. That means that you shouldn’t feed them blackberries, strawberries, beets, mangoes (or whatever) all in the same day. That’s overkill.

You should give your guinea pigs fruits other than blackberries to make sure they have a healthy diet. It’s good for their health because they get a mixture of fruit, which exposes them to a variety of different nutrients.

How to Store Blackberries and Serve Blackberries for Your Guinea Pigs 

Serving blackberries to your guinea pig is pretty easy. So is storing them, so they don’t go to waste. Just follow these instructions:

  • Only use ripe blackberries. This means that they should be relatively soft and not have any hard parts left in it.
  • Wash them off before feeding them to your fur babies.
  • To store them, put paper towels on the bottom of a container. Put the berries in, on one layer. Put more towels on top. Put another layer of berries on. Keep the lid slightly open to let moisture escape and put in the fridge to store.

If you put them in the refrigerator, ensure you allow time for them to reach room temperature before feeding them.

If your guinea pig does not eat all of the fruit you give him, it will begin to rot after a while.

This is because bacteria will grow on it (which is an open invitation for flies and other pest to come chow down in your piggie’s cage).

Remove any fruit that hasn’t been eaten after one hour. Doing this will help keep your guinea pigs home clean, dry, and odor free.

And always remember, that before serving your guinea pigs any fruits, make sure they’re at room temperature. Cold fruit can make their little tummies upset, which brings us to…

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Blackberries?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat frozen blackberries. Guinea pigs have evolved to eat a different kind of diet than us and eating frozen vegetables can cause them digestion issues.

“But, Aquita, what if we let them thaw to room temperature before giving them to the piggies?”

Great question.

Defrosted blackberries (thawed to room temperature) are going to be a pathetic, soggy mess.

Hardly appetizing when you think about it. (Or guinea pigs think about it – ohhh, if they could speak some of us would get the tongue-lashings of a lifetime).

It’s better to not feed them blackberries at all, than serve your fur babies defrosted blackberries that look like lumpy guacamole (if guacamole was purple, that is).

I know it’s tempting to work some frozen berries into their diet because they’re so cheap and plentiful during the summer.

But, I urge you not to do it.

Your guinea pigs will be healthier if you don’t feed them frozen blackberries.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Blackberries? 

Think about it this way:

Would you give your guinea pigs a bowl of sugar and say “Have at it, guys!”?

No?

Then don’t feed your piggies dried black blackberries.

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat dried blackberries for a couple of reasons:

  • have a high sugar content (not even natural sugar, but sugar that’s been slapped onto it) which isn’t good for guinea pigs’ teeth or weight
  • they contain harmful preservatives (words that I can’t even pronounce) that aren’t good for guinea pigs
  • the stickiness of the dried fruit might cause dental issues issues for your cavies

If your guinea pig eats too much dried blackberry, it could suffer from SERIOUS digestive problems.

Feed your piggies fresh blackberries to help them stay healthy and strong.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Blackberries?

Canned blackberries a big “no-no” for guinea pigs. (actually all canned foods should be avoided) They definitely shouldn’t eat it for the same reasons that dried blackberries shouldn’t be eaten:

  • the preservatives
  • the high sugar content

If your guinea pigs eat too much fruit, they might get diarrhea or an upset stomach.

Fruit has a lot of sugar and it can make them gain weight. (And I’ve already explained how guinea pigs aren’t supposed to have too much sugar in their diet).

So, instead of giving them canned blackberries, pick (or purchase) big batch of fresh blackberries -preferably organic – for your guinea pig and its cage mates.  

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blackberry Jam? 

Guinea pigs can’t have blackberry jam because it has a lot of sugar. And large amounts of sugar is bad for guinea pigs.

You’re probably thinking, “But, what about low-sugar jam?”

I’m glad that you asked (this is the best part of my job).

And I’m sorry, but even low-sugar jam still contains an excess sugar content – way more than what your piggies need.

You’re seriously risking digestive issues with your piggies if you feed them jam.

It’s actually considered a ” processed food ” and guinea pigs shouldn’t eat processed foods anyway.

At the end of the day, it’s not a good idea to feed your guinea pigs blackberry jam.

They might get sick. If a guinea pig eats too much sugar, they’ll have health problems like diabetes and obesity.

Should I Feed My Guinea Pig Blackberries?

That’s up to you.  But, you can feed your guinea pigs blackberries safely and without having to worry about health issues. 

They’re a great source of Vitamin C (actually a good source of nutrition – period), and a tasty treat.

Just feed them on occasion – as a special treat, and you’ll be fine.

What Other Berries Can Guinea Pigs Have? 

After reading the passage, I am sure that you know that guinea pigs can eat blackberries.

If you don’t have easy access to fresh blackberries, then you could choose one of the below berries:

Same rules for blackberries as with other berries. The berries must be fresh, room temperature, and served in small amounts.

If you give too many berries to your guinea pig, they’ll get sick. They have a lot of sugar in them, so just be careful.

Avoid These Fruits If You Want to Keep Your Guinea Pig Healthy and Alive 

Like humans, guinea pigs can sometimes have a bad (even fatal) reaction to some fruits.

Over the years, veterinarians have concluded that you shouldn’t feed certain produce to your piggies. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’ll get you started:

  • Tomato stems and leaves
  • Rhubarb
  • Avocados 
  • Raisins 
  • Dried fruits 
  • Potatoes

Steer clear of these foods, if you want to keep your guinea pig healthy and alive.

Final Thoughts About Guinea Pigs and Blackberries

After reading the above, you should have developed enough knowledge to understand whether or not guinea pigs can eat blackberries.

The benefits for guinea pigs are clear: let them have a blackberry or two.  This tasty fruit won’t harm your little friend since you…

Now know that they can only eat a certain quantity of fresh blackberries each week to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can easily overfeeding your little friends.

Regularly feeding guinea pigs blackberries is only a good idea if you monitor the quantity of the fruit they eat and make sure they don’t eat too much.

Rule of thumb, make it a part of their regular diet rotation, but don’t overdo it. Your little friends will be healthier if you avoid them eating large amounts of fruit each week

So, now you understand this, will you be feeding your guinea pigs blackberries or any other tasteful berries? 

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Disorders and diseases of Guinea pigs – All other pets – Merck veterinary manual. (n.d.). Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/guinea-pigs/disorders-and-diseases-of-guinea-pigs

DIY Network. (2015, March 24). Storing and using blackberries. DIY. https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/storing-and-using-blackberries

Domestic Guinea pig. (n.d.). BioWeb Home. https://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2008/nickel_sara/interactions.htm

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Guinea pigs with diabetes – General information – Patricia’s Guinea pigs. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig. https://www.guinealynx.info/patriciasimon_diabetes.html

Kandola, A. (n.d.). 6 benefits of blackberries for your health. Medical and health information. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322052

McDermott, A. (n.d.). 6 BlackBerry health benefits you can’t ignore. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-blackberries#health-benefits

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/

Selecting A Guinea Pig. (n.d.). Merck Veterinary Manual. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/guinea-pigs/selecting-a-guinea-pig

Tips for preventing obesity in Guinea pigs. (2021, June 29). Petcover AU. https://www.petcovergroup.com/au/tips-for-preventing-obesity-in-guinea-pigs/

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