The Truth About Cantaloupe and Guinea Pigs (Can They Eat It?)

It’s hard to know the truth about guinea pigs and cantaloupe since there is a lot of misinformation out there. This post will show you the science behind if your piggies can eat it or not.

Guinea pigs can have a small snack of cantaloupe every once in a while, but it should never be given on a daily basis. Cantaloupes are too high in calories and sugar. So, guinea pigs may suffer from obesity and other health problems if they eat too much of it.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and risks of feeding your piggies cantaloupe. Let’s begin with…

What’s A Cantaloupe, Anyway?

can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe

Cantaloupes are a type of melon. They’re related to cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash. They’re quite sweet. This round, orange fruit that is very juicy when cut open. Their thick, rough, exterior rinds can be green or tan.

It’s a fruit with a naturally high water content and nutrient levels. The most common variety in the U.S., cucumis melo reticulatus.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cantaloupe?

It’s perfectly fine for your guinea pig to eat cantaloupe, but you should be aware that this fruit is quite high in carbs and sugars. One or two one-inch cubes of the fruit is a perfect serving for your guinea pig – just as an occasional treat.

These delicious treats are a great way to show love and spoil them, but never make it part of their daily diet. You see, there’s two things to consider when it comes to guinea pigs eating this fruit.

On one hand, you have a fruit with high caloric content that could lead to diabetes and obesity easily. On the other, you have a nutritious snack for your pig that can provide them with a wealth of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

If you overfeed your guinea pig with fruits like this one, there’s a high risk that your pet will get disastrously fat (yep, I said disastrously).

Bottom line?

It’s all about balance and moderation.

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!

Is Cantaloupe Good For Guinea Pigs?

The simple answer is yes, cantaloupe is a great fruit snack for your to enjoy. There’s a good amount sugar in it, but it’s packed full of fiber and vitamins. So small amounts of it are fine for your cavies.

Just don’t go overboard and give your little friends a whole melon to gorge on. (That is, unless you want to make them fat and unhealthy. Just sayin’)

Drawbacks aside, there’s lots of advantages to giving your guinea pig a piece of this sweet and succulent fruit. Here’s why you should give your cavies a taste of the good stuff every once in a while:

  • It’s rich in Vitamin C. This is the “power” vitamin. And cantaloupe melon is a great source of Vitamin C. It does a lot to improve the health of your piggies. Vitamin c helps prevent scurvy ( a very painful illness caused by a lack of vitamin c), pumps up your piggie’s immune system, and helps fight other diseases. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and it can promote wound healing, healthy gums, and teeth. Now, doesn’t that sound like a great snack?
  • Beta-Carotene Bomb: Beta-carotene is a type of antioxidant that can delay the progression of age-related diseases in guinea pigs. It turns into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for eyesight, skin, and it’s an immune system booster. Beta-carotene is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and it can help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other serious illnesses in piggies.
  • Hey Hydration: It also contains a high percentage (about 90%) of water, which is great when looking to maintain hydration. ( You want your guinea pigs to be hydrated, folks!) This makes it an ideal fruit snack for guinea pigs in hot weather. And of course, hydration helps your cavies digest their food properly.
  • Low In Sugar (at least, compared to other fruits!): It’s low in carbs. Water makes up 9/10 of a the fruit’s juicy, orange flesh (think about that!), which makes it a pretty low carbohydrate fruit. That high water content makes them a low-glycemic food that won’t spike your piggie’s blood sugar. So, although it’s not as healthy as low-sugar veggies, it’s not as bad as other high-sugar produce.
  • Phytonutrients Galore: Cantaloupe is an excellent source of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemical compounds that give plants their color and flavor (like that stunning orange hue in cantaloupes). When your piggies (actually , anyone) eats phytonutrients, it can help suppress the growth of harmful health-threatening free radicals in their bodies (similar to Vitamin A)This means that you will have stronger pigs and they will be less likely to get cancer or other diseases. They also seem to improve gut health, which is very helpful for your guinea pig’s overall digestive system health.
Energy38 cal
Water90.2g / 100g
Carb8.16g
Sugars7.88g
Fiber0.8g
Fat0.18g
Protein3.27g
Vitamin C10.9mg
Vitamin A232mg
Calcium9 mg 
Iron.38mg
Phosphorus17mg
This table shows the nutrients contained in 100g of cantaloupe.
can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe

Is Cantaloupe Bad For Guinea Pigs?

Some of the healthiest fruits (yep, even cantaloupes) have drawbacks that must be considered when feeding them to your pet.

No need to get anxious. Your pet can still enjoy cantaloupe (and tons of other veggies and fruits). But, you have to focus on two main factors: balance and moderation.

As long as you don’t feed your piggies this fruit constantly, and keep the rest of your guinea pig’s diet balanced, you can feed this sweet fruit from time to time. Just don’t go crazy with feeding your little friends extra-large portions of of fruit every time they see you reaching in the fridge.

Consider giving your pet a small piece of cantaloupe once in awhile — but make sure it doesn’t become part of his regular diet.

As I said, there’s a few drawbacks that come with eating too much of it. They include:

  • High Sugar Content – There’s so many health benefits to cantaloupe that it would be great if it didn’t have such a high sugar content. When you compare it to other fruits, the sugar content isn’t too bad. But, still, any huge amount of sugar ( see how moderation comes in?) is bad for your guinea pigs. It can lead to diabetes (rare, but still possible) and obesity. Obesity can cause a domino effect of health problems. This includes heart disease and other dangerous conditions. This may give your piggies digestive issues. Their system might have a hard time digesting the high sugar content in food, which can lead to bloating or diarrhea.
  • Too Much Water – Another drawback that most people don’t think about is how watery this fruit is. Yes, the hydration is good, but too much can be harmful (notice a common theme, here?). Loads of extra water in their diet can lead to diarrhea and stomach issues for your fur babies. Fresh water should be your little friends’ main source of hydration.
  • The Dreaded Ratio of Phosphorus: Calcium – It contains calcium. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus is what you should really worry  about. Calcium needs to be balanced with other substances, like phosphorus. Cavies need less phosphorus in their diet and more calcium, because otherwise they get bladder stones (can you say piggie in pain?). You can feed your piggies little snacks of the fruit. But, also feed your little friends a variety of different foods with the right ratio of calcium and phosphorus, so they can healthy.
  • Pesticides: Your piggies can get sick when they eat melons. We’re talking from pesticides, salmonella and other diseases. Cantaloupe has a lot of them, so too much can make your piggies sick and give them diarrhea (potentially fatal, folks). This is because some parts of the melon are not smooth and bacteria and pesticides can easily get trapped there. You need to be very careful when you eat or feed a melon. Only use fresh, undamaged melons. Make sure that you wash them before you eat or feed them to your fur babies.

Do Guinea Pigs Like It?  

Many guinea pigs like eating cantaloupe. In fact, some piggies just love it. It’s a treat that they can eat every once in awhile.

But, will your piggies like it? That’s a different story.

Guinea pigs are notoriously picky about their food.  

Some piggies go bananas for cantaloupe (pun intended, sorry!), and practically beg for more the moment you’ve given them a chunk or two.

Other cavies look at it like it’s a rank, dirty sock. You give it to them, and they just look at you like they’d rather starve. No two piggies are alike.

Just relax and let your piggie tell you if he or she likes the fruit or not. Give a piece to your little fur balls and just see how they react.

And don’t be afraid to offer it more than once. Sometimes it takes more than one try to get your piggies to like something new.

How Much Cantaloupe Can I Give My Guinea Pig?

Guineas need to have a healthy diet, and that means feeding them carefully. Guinea pigs can eat cantaloupe once or twice a week at most.

Always remember to serve this snack in small portions. A 1 inch cube (or even smaller) is a safe and healthy portion for your guinea pig.

You can always give your little friends two cubes. But, keep in mind that smaller cavies may require less of it, because they have a smaller stomach size.

The cantaloupe should not replace a healthy diet. Otherwise your piggies will end up unhealthy and fatter than a greedy man’s wallet.

It’s only a small snack that should be served sparingly. Combine it with leafy vegetables or mineral-rich herbs (watch out for anything that is toxic to guinea pigs though). Sugar is best balanced out with extra veggies.

can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe

Feeding Cantaloupe For The First Time

The first time your little friends try this fruit, you’ll want to introduce the cantaloupe melon slowly (actually, any new food should be introduced slowly) to prevent an upset tummy and diarrhea. Your fur babies’ systems will have time to adjust to the new food. Then you’ll be less likely to see any stomach issues from their eating it.

Follow these steps:

  • Give your piggies a very small amount (say a 1/2 inch cube or less) to see how they react.
  • Watch your fur babies for the next few hours and make sure they don’t show any signs of discomfort or digestive problems (like diarrhea).
  • You can give your piggies a little bit more cantaloupe if they’re showing no signs of discomfort. Then increase the amount over the course of a few weeks.
  • If there’s any problems at all, don’t offer them anymore and contact a vet to get further advice.

No matter what amount you give your piggies, make sure to remove any uneaten food from their cage after a couple hours so that it doesn’t grow bacteria and spoil.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cantaloupe Everyday?

Don’t feed your guinea pigs cantaloupe everyday if you want them to live a long and healthy life. Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat cantaloupe every day. Giving them some once (or maybe twice) a week is much better than giving it to them every day.

When it comes to feeding your little friends, you need to find the Goldilocks zone when it comes to the amount of food (especially sugary foods) you give them: not too much, not too little. You don’t want to overfeed them or underfeed them (both are unhealthy).

This is for all the guinea pig owner who loves to spoil their little piggies: don’t double up on treats in the same day. If you give your piggie a sugary fruit like cantaloupe, don’t follow up with a second, sugary treat that same day.

Should I Feed My Guinea Pigs Cantaloupe?

Cantaloupe is a healthy snack for your guinea pig, as long as they only eat small amounts.

Whether or not you should feed it to your cavy depends on a few things.

  • Health Issues. You should only feed your guinea pig cantaloupe melon if they’re not overweight and don’t have diabetes. If they do suffer from obesity or diabetes, you shouldn’t offer them this fruit (or any sugary treats).
  • Age. If you have a baby guinea pig, watch how much they eat at first, and don’t give them too much. As your cavies grow up, you can offer them more of the fruit. But the amount of this fruit that a fully-grown cavy should have at once is limited to one inch or less per day (1/2 for babies).

At the end of the day, you know your guinea pigs best. If your cavies don’t have any health issues, they are growing normally, and are eating a healthy diet overall, small amounts of cantaloupe shouldn’t hurt them.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cantaloupe Rinds?

You can feed cantaloupe rinds to guinea pigs. They aren’t toxic to guinea pigs, but you need to be careful when feeding them to your guinea pigs.

Now hold on, I know what you’re thinking… piggies can eat the exteriors of other fruits (e.g. watermelon rind, orange peels). Aren’t cantaloupe rinds good for guinea pigs too?

Sure, the rinds have fiber and nutrients in them, too. But, there are a few things that you need to know about them before you feed them to your fur babies. Here you go:

  • Pesticides and bacteria: Stick with an organic cantaloupe if you can. Because the rind is so nubbly, it’s next to impossible to wash it properly. There’s a good chance that some pesticides will still be left on the fruit after you scrub it.
  • Hard texture: Chewing on most hard things is good for a piggie’s teeth (you know, since their teeth never stop growing) But, make sure that you cut the rind into smaller pieces, so that your piggie can bite with ease.

If your piggie just eats the flesh and leave chunks of the rind, make sure you get rid of those chunks from their cage after they are done eating them. You don’t want pests or bacteria building up from the leftover rinds.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cantaloupe Seeds?

Don’t feed your piggies the seeds inside the cantaloupe. Guinea pigs can’t eat cantaloupe seeds. They’re just the perfect size (and hardness) to get stuck in a guinea pig’s throat, so they’re a serious choking hazard.

Some soft, tiny seeds are perfectly safe for guinea pigs to eat (e.g. blueberries, bell pepper), but cantaloupe seeds aren’t one of those.

And guinea pigs can’t vomit, so if they do end up eating the seeds (and one gets stuck), there’s no way for them to get rid of it even if they wanted to.

Scoop all the seeds and goo out and throw them in the trash. Save a small bit of cantaloupe to feed your piggies as long as you take out the seeds first.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Cantaloupe?

On the whole, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat frozen cantaloupe. In fact, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat any kind of frozen fruit or veggie. 

Frozen food (yep, that includes frozen cantaloupe) can cause serious stomach upsets, and diarrhea. Think about it this way: would you eat a raw carrot out of the freezer? Of course not! And neither should your piggie.

Defrosted cantaloupe is better option than frozen cantaloupe because some of the fruit’s nutrients are locked in during the freezing process. At least if you bring the fruit to room temperature, then you don’t have to worry about digestive problems for your piggies.

To be on the safe side, just make sure that you give them fresh, ripe fruit and not the frozen stuff!

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Cantaloupe Juice?

Cantaloupe juice should never be included in your cavies’ diet. It’s way too sweet. If you want healthy piggies, only give them water to drink.

How To Store Cantaloupe and Serve Cantaloupe For Your Guinea Pigs

You’ll want to do a few things to make sure that you’re serving cantaloupe to your fur babies correctly. Don’t get panicky. It’s really not difficult at all. 

  • If you’re going to use fresh cantaloupe, let it ripen at room temperature for a day or so. (A ripe cantaloupe smells really sweet.)
  • Clean the cantaloupe skin with cold water and scrub it with a brush (optional, but I highly recommend it)
  • Slice the fruit into two halves and scoop out all of the seeds and good.
  • Get risk of the skin (or husk)
  • Then cut it into small, 1 inch cubes.
  • Serve the fruit to your piggies at room temperature. Cold cantaloupe might give them diarrhea or make them sick to their stomachs.
  • Trash any uneaten fruit after 1-2 hours. It’s not a good idea leave the fruit in the cage. As it spoils, it’ll start to smell bad and can get moldy or attract pests.

Which Melons Can Guinea Pigs Have? Alternatives To Cantaloupe

Guinea pigs can actually enjoy (in moderation, remember?) several types of melon besides cantaloupe, including:

Each melon has its own range of nutrients and calorie content. For example, winter melon is has a much lower calorie-content than cantaloupe.

You’ll have to do your research and experiment a little when you are adding melons into your guinea pigs’ diet.

But, the rule of thumb is to only give your fur babies a 1 inch cube or two per serving. And to only serve them the melon fruit once or twice a week.

Things To Remember About Guinea Pigs And Cantaloupe

Final verdict? As a guinea pig owner, you should feel good about giving some of this sweet melon to your piggies.

It’s good fruit for them. The Vitamin C and Vitamin A content alone makes it a winner. But, it’s filled with tons of nutrients.

It just shouldn’t be your piggie’s go-to snack item of choice day after day.

(Especially not frozen cantaloupe!)

If fed a diet rich in sugar, your piggies will become dangerously unhealthy. So, it’s best to give them a small amount of this melon every once in a while. And only when it’s ripe.

(Your piggies will enjoy it – usually.) But, don’t overdo it.

And always serve any type of fruit with veggies, too. That way your fur babies are getting healthier while you are treating them.

More than anything, remember that your guinea pig should be eating a healthy diet all the time.

(That would include fruits, veggies, a small amount of hay and pellets. And of course your piggie’s water intake should be monitored.)

Most fruits are great sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. However, too much fruit can cause diarrhea as they contain natural sugars that cannot be digested by guinea pigs easily. The key to maintaining a healthy diet for your pet is to find the right balance between vegetables and fruits so that your guinea pig grows up healthy and strong.

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Cavia aperea (Brazilian Guinea pig). (n.d.). Animal Diversity Web. https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Cavia_aperea/

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

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

How to pick a cantaloupe (Plus how to use one). (2010, July 13). Real Simple. https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/fresh-pick-cantaloupe

Martins, K. (2019, August 15). Health benefits of cantaloupes. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/cantaloupe-health-benefits

McDermott, A. (n.d.). Benefits of cantaloupe: 7 healthy advantages. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-of-cantaloupe#betacarotene

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/

Storing & preparing – California cantaloupes. (n.d.). California Cantaloupes – SUNNY | SWEET | SAFE. https://californiacantaloupes.com/our-fruit/storing-and-preparing/

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