It’s no secret that guinea pigs enjoy munching on fruit and vegetables. And some have an even bigger appetite for juicy blueberries. But how safe are blueberries for guinea pigs? Can guinea pigs eat them?
As a general rule, guinea pigs can eat one or two blueberries once or twice a week. Blueberries are a healthy option because they contain antioxidants and vitamin C. However, they’re also high in sugar and acidic, which is why blueberries must be given to guinea pigs in moderation.
With their nutritional value, it is tempting to quickly grab a bunch of these tiny fruits and feed them to your guinea pig immediately.
Whoa, there. Slow down a sec.
First, keep reading to find out how blueberries keep your guinea pig healthy and how to properly give them to your pet…without making them sick. Let’s get started
Big Benefits of Blueberries for Guinea Pigs
Blueberries are widely known as a good source of antioxidants that protect cells against free radicals.
Why does this matter?
In order for the body to function properly, it needs a balance of free radicals and antioxidants. When it doesn’t, oxidative stress occurs. Oxidative stress is when the body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to fight free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable atoms. They can damage cells, which make you age prematurely. It can also lead to diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
That is why antioxidants are so important. Antioxidants help fight free radicals in your body and they keep you healthy and free from diseases.
Help this process by consuming antioxidants from food sources – like blueberries.
Likewise, eating these small fruits can also lower your blood pressure and control the body’s blood sugar levels.
According to a study in Turkey, blueberries are found to decrease cholesterol and oxidative stress in guinea pigs effectively.
The results show that overweight piggies had a higher chance of losing weight with just enough blueberries in their diet.
But even without any existing health conditions, pigs can enjoy this tasty delight and gain nutritional benefits in the process—a total win-win situation.
Are Blueberries Good For Guinea Pigs?
Blueberries are good for guinea pigs when eaten in moderation. They’re filled with vitamins and nutrients like Vitamin C, fiber and lots of antioxidants that will keep guinea pigs healthy and happy.
Let’s take a closer look at the nutrients that are inside of blueberries.
Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C, and piggies require an ample amount of it.
Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents states that the average guinea pig needs 10-30 mg/kg of vitamin C daily for good health. But some pigs also need more, like when they are old, pregnant or sick.
Like humans, pigs are unable to produce their own Vitamin C. That makes them susceptible to scurvy.
Scurvy is a disease caused by insufficient vitamin C . Unfortunately, scurvy is a common ailment of guinea pigs.
When piggies develop scurvy, the develop the following conditions:
- swollen joints
- bruised gums
- bleed easily and excessively
- loss of appetite
- suffer from internal bleeding
If left untreated, your little friends could die from scurvy.
This is why it’s important to add the appropriate amount of vitamin c to your piggie’s diet – and blueberries can help with this.
Serve them in moderation, and you can help prevent the development of scurvy in your cavy and keep your little friends in tip-top shape.
Anthocyanins ( a type of antioxidant) have different types of benefits. They help with diabetes, cancer, inflammation, blood pressure and obesity.
There is also a chance that they can help prevent heart disease. Anthocyanins are in fruits and vegetables. They’re the reason why some of the produce we eat are red, purple, or blue (source). Berries have a lot of anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins also boost the guinea pig’s immune system as they have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Blueberries are a good source of fiber with about 2.4 g of fiber per 100 grams of serving. Fiber keeps everything moving and causes good bacteria to flourish. This fiber is essential for piggies to maintain a healthy bacterial population in their gut and to avoid digestive upsets.
Furry potatoes pigs have sensitive stomachs, but good bacteria aids in the absorption of nutrients. Adequate fiber in the digestive system “feeds” the good bacteria and this bacteria helps your piggies digest food.
But if this normal bacteria becomes unbalanced with bad bacteria, it can cause gas. The gas can also slow down the passage of food through the intestines, which can lead to extreme pain or diarrhea. This condition is called GI stasis, or gastrointestinal stasis.
To keep your furry potatoes happy and healthy, they need to have all the fiber they can get.
Most of the fiber your piggie eats will come from unlimited amounts of hay.
(And you are giving your piggie unlimited piles of good-quality hay daily, right?)
However, a cup of produce each day is part of your piggie’s recommended diet. And blueberries are a good option to add.
May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are a common problem for guinea pigs. Diluted, fresh cranberry juice can help decrease these types of infections for some guinea pigs.
Blueberries have some of the same substances as cranberry juice that protect your guinea pig’s bladder from bacteria.
Blueberries have not been studied as much for their impact on UTIs, but it is likely they work in a similar way as cranberries.
What Are the Potential Health Risks For Guinea Pigs?
The blueberry is enjoyed by guinea pigs everywhere. However, the health effects are two sides of the same coin.
Your friend will be healthier if they eat blueberries. But it is important to take precautions to avoid any health risks. Blueberries are healthy, but you need to make sure your friend does not have too many of them or the risks may outweigh the benefits.
(Keep blueberries as an occasional treat, all right? )
Before you give in to the adorable food-begging face of your guinea pig, consider the following:
Since blueberries are rich in vitamin c, also known as ascorbic acid, their acidity level can cause some tissue damage if introduced in large amounts.
Naturally, the mouth of a guinea pig is prone to this condition. So, piggies can develop mouth sores that’ll take time to heal if they eat too many blueberries over time.
Overfeeding your guinea pig with blueberries can upset their stomach. A massive amount of berries are bad for your piggie’s gastrointestinal health.
The large amounts of fiber in blueberries might trigger diarrhea and digestive distress. You may find that your piggies are suffering from severe pain, bloating, and passing gas, which can be fatal to guinea pigs.
If you suspect that your piggie has bloat, contact a vet immediately.
It’s not just fiber that fills your guinea pig when fed with blueberries. Carbs, in the form of sugar, are also high.
An excess of sugary foods or overfeeding the appropriate types of guinea pig foods is dangerous to your piggie’s health. Too much. Too soon. Too often is bad news for your little friends. Obesity can cause your pet to suffer from the following issues:
- High blood pressure
- Back pain
The Proper Way of Feeding Blueberries to Your Guinea Pigs
While there is no harm in feeding your guinea pig a few every now and then, it’s best not to make it a regular part of their diet.
That’s why vets emphasize letting guinea pigs eat blueberries in moderation.
But what exactly is the correct serving? How many times a week can your guinea pigs have blueberries?
Let’s answer these questions and more.
How Do I Prepare The Blueberries For My Guinea Pig?
For the freshest, tastiest berries possible, try to buy them in season. The blueberry season and harvest in North America starts in April and goes until September. Then, the fresh blueberries come from South America. The imported ones might not be quite as tasty.
To keep the berries fresh, do the following:
- Clean them with vinegar and water. Put the blueberries in a colander and dip it in one part of vinegar to three parts of water.
- Swirl the blueberries around in the mixture without soaking them. If you soak them in the water too long, they’ll start to taste of vinegar.
- Pat the blueberries dry with a paper towel or cloth.
- Then place them in a container lined with paper towels and pop them into the refrigerator for your little friends to enjoy later.
How Many Blueberries Can A Guinea Pig Eat?
Guinea pigs can eat 1 or 2 blueberries per serving. Since blueberries are high in sugar, giving them more than this serving can lead to health issues.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberries Everyday?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat blueberries everyday. The fruit is much too sweet and will cause health issues for your pet like diabetes and obesity.
Only feed your guinea pigs a serving of blueberries once or twice a week. Any more than that can be bad for their digestion and their overall health.
Also, don’t let your guinea pigs have blueberries within two consecutive days. If you feed them blueberries one day, avoid feeding blueberries the next day.
Can My Guinea Pig Eat Blueberries?
Your guinea pig can eat blueberries as long as you feed the blueberries in moderation – only 1 or 2 blueberries once or twice a week. Plus your guinea pig can’t have any other health issues like obesity, diabetes, or diarrhea.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Blueberries?
Typically, guinea pigs like blueberries. But, it’s not guaranteed that every guinea pig will enjoy them. Guinea pigs are notoriously picky eaters, so there’s always a chance that your little friend might refuse to eat them.
How Should I Introduce Blueberries to My Guinea Pig’s Diet?
Any new foods must be slowly introduced to a guinea pig’s diet to avoid digestive issues.
The best way to let your guinea pig have the first taste of blueberry is to give a tiny piece first.
(Maybe even half a blueberry. Start there.)
Give your piggie’s digestive system the opportunity to adjust to the blueberry gradually. Observe your furry burrito for any negative digestive reactions during this process.
After a day or so, if you don’t notice any signs of digestive distress like diarrhea, gas, or other negative reactions, then you can try increasing the amount slowly over several weeks. Remember to never feed your piggie more than a serving (1-2 blueberries) at a time.
In general, most guinea pigs love and enjoy eating blueberries right away.
However, others will require a certain amount of time before they get the hang of it.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Blueberries?
Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat frozen blueberries. Ice cold fruits and veggies can cause a bad reaction to a guinea pigs digestive system. Try to serve all berries (and other fruits and vegetables) at room temperature.
In a pinch, let the blueberries thaw to room temperature and then serve them to your furry potatoes.
But, keep in mind that frozen fruits and veggies are usually blanched in hot water before being frozen. That means they lose some of their nutritional properties.
Remember that fresh fruit is ALWAYS best when it comes to your little pets.
How About Other Parts of a Blueberry?
Guinea pigs can eat other parts of a blueberry aside from the fruit, such as the blueberry leaves, stems, and branches. These parts are also filled with nutrients and antioxidants.
An added benefit to eating these other parts of the blueberry is that chewing on them can help your piggie keep their teeth a manageable length.
All guinea pig teeth grow constantly. So, they always need materials to chew on to help grind their teeth down.
Just make sure that you give them the blueberry parts in small bite-size pieces.
Are Dried Blueberries Okay To Eat?
Dried blueberries are not recommended for guinea pigs. They also have higher sugar content and include chemicals which are unhealthy for guinea pigs.
A study was done that showed that if you dry blueberries, the process removes about 50% of the anthocyanins! As mentioned above, anthocyanins (which help prevent diseases) are one of the main health benefits of eating blueberries.
If you’re going to feed your fur baby blueberries, make sure that you are feeding them fresh blueberries…or at least as fresh as you can get.
What About Baby Guinea Pigs? Can They Eat Blueberries?
It’s not recommended for baby guinea pigs to eat blueberries.
Little baby guinea pigs can eat solid food soon after they are born. But still, it’s best to not introduce a lot of different fruits and vegetables at the start. This might cause digestive issues, because they’re tummies are still acclimating to life outside of their mom’s belly.
Instead, let babies get used to eating hay (oaten or alfalfa), pellets, fresh water, and small amounts of vegetables. And of course, the baby piggies will need to nurse on their mother for at least 5 to 6 weeks.
After a few weeks, you can feed your friends blueberries or other fruits. And don’t leave out the leafy vegetables.
How About Other Types of Berries and Berry-Like Fruits?
Berries and berry-like fruits like strawberry are generally safe for guinea pigs to feed on.
Let’s go back to the central theme of every piggie diet. Once again, only serve fruit in moderation. Cut the berries into bite-sized pieces and let your cavy munch into them.
Below are some alternatives to blueberries. You can include the following in your guinea pig’s diet once or twice a week:
But, this shouldn’t happen all at once. One week, introduce strawberries. The next week, try grapes.
In a Nutshell: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberries?
As a pet parent, you want nothing but the best diet for your little cavy. Food is everything to guinea pigs, and they trust you to serve them whatever you decide is safe and healthy for their tiny bodies.
It’s always best to monitor what your furry friends consume on a regular basis. There are potential health risks that can come from overindulging in certain foods and beverages-even if those treats happen to be healthy ones!
Guinea pigs should be fed a diet that is high in fiber and low in sugar.
Their main food source should also include unlimited hay, vitamin c-enriched pellets, a huge variety of vegetables (no more than a cup a day).
Blueberries are an excellent addition to the guinea pig’s diet. They contain vitamin C as well as antioxidants which can help with a number of health issues, such as diabetes and aging.
However, it’s important that guinea pigs only enjoy blueberries once or twice per week due to their high sugar content.
It’s also has lots of acidic properties which could cause stomach problems such as diarrhea, bloat, and other health issues.
Now that you know how guinea pigs benefit from the correct serving of blueberries, feel free to give it a try. However, if you’re still a little nervous, you’d better give your vet a call.