Is Eating Raspberries Bad For Guinea Pigs? (The Truth Revealed)

So you want to give your guinea pig fresh raspberries on its diet, but you’re wondering if they’ll be harmful or even toxic to your beloved pet. Well, I did some digging and found some information to set your mind at ease.

Guinea pigs can safely eat raspberries – as an occasional treat. As long as you offer them in moderation, they make healthy snack. These berries are filled with nutrients like Vitamin C, iron and B vitamins – which all contribute to your cavy’s immune system, bone health and even its weight.

can guinea pigs eat raspberries

Here is some information for you that I hope will help you make an informed decision about how to incorporate the raspberry into your guinea pig’s diet.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raspberries?

can guinea pigs eat raspberries

Guinea pigs can eat raspberries every once and a while. Raspberries are a surprisingly popular treat for guinea pigs.

These tiny berries, packed with health benefits to improve digestion and immunity against infection, can also be eaten as a healthy snack.

Or they can be served with other vegetables (preferably ones with a lower sugar content).

Raspberries are small round berries that come in a variety of colors (yellow, purple, red, and black).

If you have raspberries on hand, it’s hard not to give one to your fur babies (I mean, they’re so dang cute!).

Give in! Go for it. And don’t feel bad about it either. It’s perfectly safe, as long as…

You DON’T plop a bowl of raspberries in front of your piggies and let them have a feeding frenzy.

Raspberries are fine for piggies to eat, but only if they’re fed in moderation.

Overfeeding your cavies leads to health problems that are easy to avoid (more on that later).

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!

Why You Should Feed Your Guinea Pigs Raspberries

Raspberries are one of the best fruits you can feed your piggies. They’re a good way to supply them with vitamins and other nutrients they need.

Here are some of the health benefits your guinea pig can gain from eating raspberries:

Scurvy Prevention

Scurvy is a condition caused by vitamin C deficiency. It’s pretty common among guinea pigs.

That’s why exotic vets make sure your cavies have a healthy vitamin c intake. If they don’t…well, it’s scurvy central.

Vitamin C is a nutrient that your fur babies need for their bodies to grow and stay healthy. It keeps the skin healthy, too, through collagen production. Collagen is

However, it doesn’t come naturally in the body ( I know, it’s crazy) which is why we (cavies and human) need to get Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

So, when your guinea pig’s diet lacks variation, it could lead to nutrient deficiencies like scurvy.

Raspberries, on the other hand, are a rich source of Vitamin C.

Veterinarians recommend that piggies have 10-50 mg vitamin c per day, depending on several factors such as age, health issues, and pregnancy.

Have your fur babies checked for scurvy, if you’ve noticed that your little friends have been lax in eating their veggies, and they’re showing the following symptoms:

  •    Lethargy
  •    Weight loss
  •    Dental problems
  •    Diarrhea
  •    Unexplained bruising
  •    Alopecia (hair loss or rough coat)
  •    Joint aches

Fights Diseases

Given that a handful of raspberries are packed with vitamin c, it comes as no surprise that strengthens your guinea pig’s immunity against diseases.

Basically, Vitamin C helps your piggies’ immune systems drop kick bacteria and viruses in the face (well, if they had faces).

The idea that vitamins can actually prevent or reduce colds is not a new one.

And it seems to be true for guinea pigs.

One example of how vitamin c influences the accumulation of immune cells that fight diseases.

Furthermore, raspberries are rich in fiber. These micronutrients help prevent health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol levels.

Likewise, the antioxidants present in the raspberries make them effective in preventing cancer to develop.

Good Hydration

Like any other pet, your guinea pigs need ample water.

Dehydration at its extreme form can cause life-threatening conditions or even death on your cavy (actually, death can come even if your guinea pigs are just a little dehydrated, which is why you must ensure that they have fresh water every day).

In order to stay hydrated, your cavies need to consume plenty of fluids – either directly from water or from what they eat.

Giving your piggies fresh fruits like raspberries is a great way to keep them hydrated.

Raspberries are 85% water making it a good source of hydration.

If summer comes around the warm air takes over, help your guinea pig cool down with a piece of juicy raspberry.

Helps Keep Blood Healthy

Raspberries are excellent for guinea pigs because they contain the minerals (say hello to your friends potassium and iron) needed to keep blood healthy.

Bonus?

They also help stop high blood pressure in it’s tracks.

When your piggie’s blood is healthy, then their organs and tissues will be too.

So, what’s my point?

All of these nutrients together lowers the chance of a heart attack in your favorite pet – which is something that a number of pet parents worry about.

#JustSaying

Tons Of Other Nutritional Goodies For Your Piggies

Raspberries have plenty of nutrients that can secure your guinea pig’s health.

When you think about it, these berries have the same benefits that a lot of vegetables do.

Some of these include:

  • Vitamin B6 – helps in producing blood cells, vital for sustaining life.
  • Magnesium – helps with nerve function, muscle contraction and protein synthesis.
  • Potassium – essential mineral that delivers nutrients to your piggies’ body parts efficiently.

And there are lots more, my friends.

Just check out some of its nutritional goodies in the table below (courtesy of the USDA Food Data Central:

  • Protein  – 1.2 g
  • Fats –  0.65 g
  • Dietary fiber  – 6.5 g
  • Carbohydrates –  11.9 g
  • Calcium  –  25 mg
  • Magnesium – 22 mg
  • Phosphorus –  29 mg
  • Potassium –  151 mg
  • Sodium  –   1 mg
  • Zinc  –   0.42 mg
  • Vitamin C  – 26.2 mg

Can Raspberries Kill Guinea Pigs? (the Cons)

Now I’ve talked (or rather written) your ear off about the benefits of raspberries, you’re probably thinking, “All right, so what’s the catch?”

(Look at you! So smart!)

In all honesty, there really isn’t one – at least there aren’t if you’re making sure your little friends aren’t OVEREATING the berries.

Raspberries are safe for guinea pigs to eat. In most situations, eating raspberries won’t kill them. Feeding small amounts of raspberries (once or twice a week) with proper care will ensure that your cavy gets all the benefits while avoiding any harm.

Full Disclosure:

Any vegetable or fruit (aside from daily staples like hay, grass, & bell peppers) can be toxic to your cavy if they have too much of it.

Kinda wild when you think about it, huh?

(Please don’t take this as a warning against feeding your cavies fruits and veggies, okay? They need the nutrients that come from those sources.)

But, yeah…watch those portions.

Now there’s some drawbacks to raspberries that I need to mention:

Pesticide Overload

One health risk for your cavies associated with eating raspberries (especially in the US) is due to widespread pesticide use.

Raspberries are grown perennially. Perennially means that the plants are grown year-round…in other words, they’re alive a growing when they normally wouldn’t be.

In order to protect them from different sorts of insects and weeds, farmers use pesticides throughout the growing season.

Unfortunately, these pesticides linger on the raspberries you’ll buy from your local grocery stores.

Two of the common insecticides used in raspberry farms are Carbaryl and Diazinon.

Although they are effective when applied in small doses to control pests, they can also be harmful if given in large amounts.

And of course, these chemicals are left on the outside of raspberries.

And pesticides can be toxic to guinea pigs – especially if ingested in large amounts (and, well…they’re already pretty small).  

Raspberries are often chemically treated to make them more appealing for humans. These chemicals can have a toxic effect on the health of guinea pigs, as they may cause structural changes in their ears and cause other health problems.

So wash your berries very well before feeding them to your piggies.

A side note: this isn’t limited to raspberries, but also applies to other types of berries. Most of them are treated with pesticides that can make your little friends sick (their bodies just can’t handle it).

Digestive Problems

Feeding your guinea pig with too many raspberries can cause digestive distress.

Raspberries are rich in fiber. Eating too many of them can make piggies stomach ache and might give them diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

(Yep, a lot of a good thing isn’t always good.)

Giving your guinea pig raspberries in the proper amounts is key to preventing any digestive problems from happening.

Xylitol Alert

You may have heard of xylitol as an essential ingredient in toothpaste.

But in raspberries, it is considered as the very source of its sweet flavor.

Xylitol is also used as a sweetening agent especially in processed foods like gums.

Many pets, like dogs and guinea pigs, can get sick when they eat a lot of food that has xylitol.

When a dog eats something that has too much of it, they might vomit and have seizures.

Guinea pigs sometimes get sick by having low blood sugar levels (or hypoglycemia) – the xylitol causes a sudden drop in blood sugar.

(I legit confused hypoglycemia with hypothermia at first. I only found out while writing this article.)

You can tell that your piggie has hypoglycemia by seeing symptoms such as:

  • a loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • twitching
  • sluggishness

If you think your guinea pig has ingested too much of something with xylitol, you should immediately bring them to the vet.

Prevent any unnecessary health problems by giving your guinea pig raspberries in reasonable amounts.

Obesity

Guinea pigs are nibblers and huge foodies. Therefore, when you give them lots of food to eat, they usually don’t stop that easily.

It’s clear that overeating leads to weight gain. But when it comes to eating raspberries, the risk of developing obesity is even greater because of the sugar content.

That’s why I never understood why I’d see Facebook videos of people dropping their piggies in front of piles of berries and melons, basically saying, “Chow down! The sugar will make you happy and will have no affect on your health and well-being!”

(Uh, yeah and fat enough to be the next Biggest Loser contestant.)

All I can hope is that it was a one-time incident (that the owners now know better) and the cavies involved didn’t suffer long-lasting health problems.

(Yeah, I’m a hopeless optimist. Sue me.)

I just know that the worst case scenario is that they didn’t notice or care at all and they kept feeding their piggies human-sized potions of food that. A big mistake.

As I’ve talked about before, one of the main problems with obesity isn’t the weight itself (though it’s still a problem because your poor little piggie can’t move around as well), but all of the other health issues that come with being overweight: heart problems, breathing difficulties and back pain.

“But, Aquita, I heard that there’s no such thing as an overweight guinea pig?”

In theory, that’s true.

In reality, it depends.

It takes a lot of food to make a guinea pig overweight. A LOT! An OVERWHELMING amount of food, actually.

But, it can happen.

Why would you do that to your little friends?

So, aside from feeding them with raspberries (and other foods moderately), make sure that your cavies get plenty of exercise.

Urinary Complications

Calcium, an element found in raspberries, can pose some threat to guinea pigs.

Calcium is vital for guinea pigs when they’re growing up as it helps to build their bones.

But adult guinea pigs doesn’t need too much calcium.

Your piggies calcium levels will be “off the chart” high if they ate raspberries (or any other food with a lot of calcium) in “horse-loads”.

Excessive calcium can lead to problems with the kidneys in guinea pigs. This can result in kidney stones and other infections.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Raspberries?

Many guinea pigs like raspberries. But, as you know, they’re famously picky about their food.

I’ve seen guinea pigs eat raspberries, but some prefer other fruits or prefer eating veggies or herbs as their favorite treats. (almost unthinkable, right?)

You won’t truly know if your piggies like raspberries until you offer some to them.

While it’s nice to add some variety by offering raspberries once a week or so, don’t be shocked if your pet doesn’t eat them.

Young piggies form very strong habits about food choices when they’re little, and it can be hard (and next to impossible) to change their mind once they’ve made up their minds.

But, give it a try.

If your guinea pig doesn’t eat raspberries, don’t force them to eat them.

Wait until the next day and try again. Or, just let it go.

It’s fine to let your guinea pig make their own food choices, as long as they’re getting the correct nutrients overall!

Should I Feed My Guinea Pig Raspberries?

My friend, there’s no reasonable barrier to you letting your cavies try a raspberry or two.

If it’s a small amount, your guinea pig shouldn’t be in any immediate danger.

It’s the consequences of overfeeding them that could kill your guinea pig eventually.

If you let your little friend try some raspberries. If they come to you wheeking for more, say no.

And if they give you that look, “You know the one that makes you feel like the worse person alive for not giving them what they want”, still say no. It’s for their own good, really.

Don’t play the enabler in their journey of self destruction – they need you to make responsible decisions for them.

Are Some Guinea Pigs Allergic to Raspberries?

It’s true. Some guinea pigs develop allergic reactions to raspberries. In other cases, it’s not an allergic reaction, it’s just digestive problems from being fed too much all at once.

That’s why it is important to start with a small piece instead of several raspberries when introducing them to your cavy.

Wait 24 hours after your first feeding and observe any symptoms of allergy against raspberries.

Symptoms of Raspberry Allergy

  •    Vomiting
  •    Bloating
  •    Diarrhea
  •    Loss of appetite
  •    Weakness

If no symptoms develop then by all means feed your cavy with raspberries (in moderation – word of the day).

If your cavy does develop symptoms then remove all raspberries and contact your vet to avoid any further health issues.

How Often Can I Give Raspberries To My Guinea Pig? (Feeding Guidelines)

So, this phrase is plastered around the Internet “feed raspberries in moderation”.

And I know you’re thinking, “Ugh, what does feed in moderation even mean?”

Let’s break it down.

Guinea pigs shouldn’t have more than 1-2 raspberries in a serving. A serving of raspberries once or twice a week is an appropriate amount.

That may not seem like a lot to us humans (we’re greedy creatures with bottomless pits in our stomachs after all, or maybe that’s just me), but for a little piggy, that’s quite a lot.

(Whatever you do, don’t slide your cavies into a mini sugar binge by feeding them raspberries -or any other fruit, for that matter – two days in a row. It’s a deed I wouldn’t recommend, as your cavy is at risk of becoming diabetic and overweight.)

In short, raspberries are a tough fruit to assess because their benefits depend on how often you feed them.

Stick with small amounts and you’ll be good-to-go.

How To Serve And Preserve Raspberries?

Feeding your piggies raspberries is easy! Here are some tips to get you started.

  • The berries need to be organic if possible. It should feel firm and have no mushy parts. Make sure you buy fruit that is ripe.
  • Wash the fruit. You want to make sure the fruit is clean.
  • At this point, you can cut the raspberries into small pieces or feed the entire raspberry to your little friends. Some piggies like to have their raspberries cut up. Some don’t. Your piggies (in typical piggie fashion-little stinkers) will let you know what they’d like.

If you’re bought raspberries for your cavies, you definitely don’t want them going to waste. Extend the lifespan of your raspberries with these tips:

  • Store your dry raspberries in the original clamshell container, not a sealed one. The clamshells are designed to allow for air flow, which keeps the berries fresh.
  • Keep the raspberries in the center of your refrigerator. That’ll make it easy to find them and use them before they spoil.
  • Don’t put raspberries in the back of the refrigerator. That is where it may be too humid.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Raspberries?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat frozen berries for a couple of reasons:

  • piggies don’t digest cold foods well, so eating frozen raspberries can cause digestive problems
  • they could also pose choking hazards to your guinea pig
  • frozen raspberries often lose the nutrients that raw raspberries usually have

You could always thaw frozen raspberries before offering them to your piggie pet, but – honestly- stick to fresh, raw raspberries.

And now you’re thinking:

“What if it’s a hot summer day and my piggies need to cool down?”

That’s easy!

Take a peek at this article on how to keep your piggies cool during hot weather – and while you are at it, be sure to check out some other tips on how to avoid heat stroke and keep your guinea pigs safe from heat-related illnesses.

What About The Leaves From A Raspberry Bush?

You might be wondering if it’s safe for guinea pigs to eat the leaves from a raspberry bush.

Raspberry leaves aren’t toxic to guinea pigs, and they can eat them safely – for the most part.

Uh, yeah…as per usual, there are a few exceptions. (can’t go 3 sentences without pointing that out, I just can’t! )

  • Raspberry leaves have a pretty high calcium content (kidney stones), so it’s not a good idea to feed them more than twice a week – preferably not two days in a row
  • Make sure you wash them before feeding them to your cavies; but if they’ve been treated with pesticides, I’d say avoid them entirely.
  • And watch those portion sizes. An adult guinea pig should only have 1 cup of veggies per day, so just make sure they don’t overeat!

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Raspberries?

Dried berries aren’t recommended for guinea pigs at all – don’t give your cavy fruit in the form of a dried snack.

They’re packed with sugar, additives, and artificial flavorings, which can be disastrous for your pet’s health.

To keep your little friends healthy, stick with foods that are similar to their natural diet.

So, why’s that?

Piggies survived thousands of years (or at least their ancestors did) in the wild enjoying fresh grasses and veggies before we came along. Their digestive systems are designed for that type of food. They’ll do just fine (actually better) with fresh, natural foods instead of processed junk food.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raspberry Jam?

If you’re thinking that a little jam with your guinea pig’s dinner might be tasty, think again.

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat raspberry jam because of the high sugar content. From a cavy perspective, it has more sugar than the ocean has water.

“What if it’s sugar free jam, Aquita? Huh, how about that?”

Ummm, no. Your guinea pig should not have raspberry jam with or without sugar in it, ever.

Let me clarify. There’s three simple reasons why your rabbit can not eat raspberry jam:

  1. The preservatives and additives are harmful to guinea pigs over time.
  2. Runny poops and diarrhea are no fun for anyone. (all jokes aside, diarrhea can be fatal in guinea pigs-seriously!).
  3. Their digestive systems aren’t made for this food. It’ll make them very sick.

Do your cavies a favor and don’t share your jam with them. There’s tons of other better (non-jam) options for treats and snacks.

What Other Berries Can Guinea Pigs Have? Alternatives To Raspberries

Aside from raspberries, you can also feed your cavies other types of berries like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, goji berries, and watermelon.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that anytime you can get a nutrient-packed food that’s also tasty to your fur babies, you should definitely add it to the menu.

These alternatives provide vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and other healthful nutrients for your piggy – just like raspberries (it’s like a good thing, doubled!).

They can prevent scurvy, promote good digestion, and keep your little piggy’s teeth and mouth healthy. 

But, the same rules for feeding raspberries apply to these and other berries:

  • watch your portions
  • don’t feed them too often

What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Raspberries In A Guinea Pig’s Diet?

Say you’d rather avoid giving raspberries (or any kind of fruit) to your fur babies.

There’s many delicious and nutritious herbs and leafy vegetables that are safe for guinea pigs to eat. And they’ll give your cavy with everything they need nutritionally-speaking.

(Now a quick word of warning: any time you’re giving your piggies a new food, introduce it slowly. 1-2 new foods a week is the most you should be introducing to their diet at once. That way, if they end up getting an upset stomach or diarrhea, you can track down exactly what the culprit was.)

I did a little research on which fresh vegetables I should list here. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it should get you started:

  • cucumbers
  • artichoke
  • swiss chard
  • cabbage
  • sweet potato
  • escarole
  • endives
  • cilantro
  • beets
  • carrots
  • beets
  • parsley
  • bell pepper
  • basil
  • pumpkin
  • spinach
  • bok choy
  • asparagus

(Whew! That was a mouthful.)

Which Foods Are Poisonous To (Or Bad For) Guinea Pigs?

When considering what to feed your guinea pig for treats, be mindful of the word organic. Produce can be dangerous for them whether it’s grown organically or not.

Furthermore, as a rule of thumb, never feed your cavies meat. Guinea pigs are herbivores which means their digestive system aren’t designed to process any kind of meat. (So no, your guinea pig cannot have a piece of chicken or ham.)

It’s a good idea to avoid foods that can become choking hazards or have high sugar content.

But most importantly, make sure to never give your guinea pig the following foods:

  • Avocados: High-fat foods (like avocados) are unhealthy for guinea pigs and can lead to obesity.
  • Chocolates: If you want to keep your guinea pig a decent size, avoid chocolates and other sugary treats.
  • Dairy products: Guinea pigs cannot eat milk. It’ll make them sick.
  • Peanut butter: Too high in calories, fat, and sugar
  • Iceberg lettuce: Feeding your guinea pig with iceberg lettuce can cause digestive distress and diarrhea. Plus, it’s all empty calories.
  • Nuts: Nuts also contain high fats. Despite a good nibbling treat for guinea pigs due to their texture, it’ll honestly do more harm than good.
  • Onions: Onions contain a substance something that’s bad for your cavy’s blood cells – it interferes with the oxygen going through their body. If they eat onions, they’ll end up with breathing problems.
  • Potatoes: The starchy nature of potatoes will only make your guinea pigs fat and prone to diabetes. Likewise, potato skin can also be harmful to your cavy.
  • Seeds: Small and externally hard seeds can be a choking hazard to guinea pigs.

Things To Remember About Guinea Pigs And Raspberries

Knowing full well that raspberries are not just delicious treats but a great source of nutrients as well, you’ll most likely get a bag or pack for you and your cavies the next time you hit the grocery stores.

But before you do, there are certain things that need to be addressed first. (You wouldn’t want to to make your cavies sick, would you?)

But before you choose what variety of the healthy, tasty fruit that you want to feed your pet guinea pig with (and perhaps even accompany with other foods), there’s a couple things you need to remember.

  1. Start off with a small piece to assess whether your guinea pig is allergic to raspberries or not. If your fur babies have an allergic reaction to the raspberry, talk to your vet.
  2. Make sure that you only feed your guinea pig raspberries occasionally, not every day.
  3. Stick to 1 or 2 berries to maintain moderation.
  4. Choose raw raspberry over frozen or dried raspberries.

If your piggies aren’t allergic to raspberries, don’t deprive them of the health benefits these tasty treats offer.

Best ways to store raspberries. (n.d.). Driscoll’s. https://www.driscolls.com/article/best-ways-to-store-raspberries

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

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

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.

Experimental acute intoxication with ripe fruit of Karwinskia humboldtiana (Tullidora) in rat, Guinea-pig, hamster and dog. (n.d.). ScienceDirect.com | Science, health and medical journals, full text articles and books. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/004101019290527C

FoodData central: Raw Raspberries. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102708/nutrients

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

WareN, M., & L.D. (n.d.). Raspberries: Health benefits, nutrition, tips, and risks. Medical and health information. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283018

What kind of housing do Guinea pigs need? (n.d.). RSPCA Knowledgebase – Let Australia’s most trusted animal welfare charity help you answer the big questions. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-kind-of-housing-do-guinea-pigs-need/

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