Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries? (Risks & Rewards)

Many guinea pig owners spend a lot of time wondering what’s safe for cavies to eat and what isn’t. So a common question pet owners ask is “Can guinea pigs eat strawberries?”

Generally, guinea pigs can eat strawberries safety. Feeding strawberries to guinea pigs in moderation will supply their bodies with essential nutrients like Vitamin C. Due to the high sugar content, overfeeding this tasty fruit can lead to a variety of health problems such as obesity and diarrhea.

In this blog post, you’ll learn how cavies should go about eating their favorite fruit. You’ll also learn more about the benefits and dangers of strawberries for guineas pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?

can guinea pigs eat strawberries

It’s okay to feed your guinea pig strawberries, but overfeeding them can lead to serious health issues. They pack a ton of vitamins and have less calories than other fruits. But, they’re high in sugar compared to the leafy vegetables that cavies normally eat as part of their balanced diet.

Bottom line?

Strawberries are safe to feed guinea pigs if they’re given in moderation – small amounts of the fruit, given infrequently. Limited quantities will allow your fur babies to enjoy the healthy benefits of strawberries while keeping them safe from health problems like obesity and diarrhea.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Feed your fur babies strawberries as part of a varied diet that includes other low sugar fruits and vegetables. They’ll be healthier and happier.

If you want some tips what’s safe (or dangerous) for guinea pigs to eat, check out these posts: Is Lemon Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat? and Will Eating Corn Hurt Your Guinea Pig? (You Need To Know)

Why You Should Feed Your Guinea Pigs Strawberries (the Rewards)

While guinea pigs can eat strawberries, they shouldn’t be given them too often. The best food for guinea pigs is food that is packed with nutrients and low in calories.  There are many benefits cavies can gain from this tasty fruit, including:

  • Helps With Digestion: Guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system, which can lead to constipation and other complications. For this reason, they require the most nutritional value possible from what they eat. Despite being high in sugar content, strawberries are beneficial because of their dietary fiber content. Fiber helps with digestion and makes bowel movements regular!
  • Immune System Booster and Scurvy Blocker:  Cavies rely on foods that are rich in vitamin C for a strong immune system. In fact, there’s more Vitamin C in one cup of strawberries than there is in one cup of oranges! Vitamin C helps to eliminate diseases and infections in addition to enforcing the production of white blood cells. Vitamin C also protects guinea pigs from scurvy. Scurvy is a horrible illness that comes from an insufficiency of vitamin C. Cavies are very susceptible to and it can be fatal if not treated quickly.
  • Are A Low Glycemic Index Food: Strawberries have a low glycemic index. Food with a low glycemic index does not cause blood sugar levels to spike. This means that guinea pigs have less of a risk of developing diabetes when eating them. But, you still shouldn’t feed them to piggies on a regular basis. 
  • Antioxidants: Strawberries are filled with antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for piggies because they fight free radicals in your piggie’s body that can lead to health problems such as heart disease, cancer, and cardiovascular issues.
  • Sugar Content Isn’t That High (Relatively Speaking): Although the sugar content of this fruit is higher than that of most vegetables, the sugar content of strawberries – when compared to other fruits – is pretty low. For example, grapes, cherries, pineapples, peaches, and bananas all have a higher sugar content (see the table below). This means your piggie is less likely to gain weight or have a blood sugar spike if he eats some.

This table shows the sugar amounts of a variety of fruits commonly given to guinea pigs. The information was taken from the USDA website. Notice how strawberries are towards the bottom of the list.

FruitSugar Per 100g
Grapes16.2
Cherries12.8g
Bananas12.2g
Apples10.1g
Blueberries9.96g
Pineapple9.85g
Oranges9g
Strawberries5.34
can guinea pigs eat strawberries

⭐Key Takeaway:

Cavies can eat strawberries. The guinea pig may find the taste enjoyable, but they can also come with some problems too. There are many benefits that cavies can receive from this fruit, including: helping with digestion, boosting the immune system, being a low glycemic index food and containing lots of antioxidants.

Can Strawberries Kill Guinea Pigs? (the Risks)

can guinea pigs eat strawberries

While concerns for the sugar inside strawberries can be frightening, there’s not enough to really warrant worrying. Most of the biggest worries about strawberries can easily be avoided as long as guinea pigs are given in moderation and served infrequently.

What makes strawberries bad for piggies is the sugar content.  But honestly there’s no such thing as “bad” veggies or fruits. You just have to know how to feed them to your piggies.  

However:

If you overfeed them to your piggie, then they’re going to have some serious problems:

While guinea pigs enjoy the taste of strawberries, it’s important to keep in mind that a balanced diet is critical for your piggie’s health and happiness. Feeding them an enormous amount of them more often than once or twice a week isn’t good for them.

  • Digestive Issues: As opposed to the main foods that cavies eat (like hay or untreated grass), strawberries do contain some sugar. Sugar isn’t easily processed by cavies and can lead to health issues. While strawberries may not be the number one culprit for obesity and diarrhea in guinea pigs, if you feed your piggie massive amounts of them, they can be. Piggies should only eat small amounts on occasion–and never more than once or twice per week at most.
  • Bladder Stones: Strawberries contain calcium. So, there’s a small chance that eat A LOT of them could cause a calcium build up in your piggie’s kidneys.  This could lead to bladder stones, which is a painful condition that often requires surgery to cure.
  • Pesticide Residue: Strawberries rank number one on a list of fruits and vegetables that have the highest residue levels of pesticides. The juicy fruit tops a “Dirty Dozen” report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) culled from recent USDA and FDA testing. For people that enjoy feeding strawberries to their cavies, it can be alarming to know the potential dangers of pesticides so many farmers use on their crops. Some risks associated with having your fur babies eat pesticide-laden fruit include food poisoning and digestive problems. Buy organic when possible and always wash your berries before giving them to cavies

⭐Key Takeaway:

Cavies can eat strawberries. Most of the problems that come with them are easily avoidable by feeding your piggie in moderation and never more than once or twice a week at most. The benefits far outweigh the risks.

If you want some tips on how to keep your guinea pig clean and tidy, check out these posts: Is Rice Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat? (Find Out Here) and Are Beets Toxic To Guinea Pigs? (Explained Here)

Do Guinea Pigs Like Strawberries?  

As with all things, piggie’s preferences are subjective. It really depends on the piggie. A majority of guinea pigs will enjoy the sweet taste of the strawberry fruit. But, most will prefer eating the green leaves from the top of the strawberry.

In a poll, I surveyed guinea pig owners and asked them if their piggies like strawberries.

Out of the 424 people (it was hard not to get all excited when I saw guinea pigs!), 50% said their guinea pigs preferred the strawberry tops. That’s right! Apparently, the green tops are most guinea pigs’ favorite part of the strawberry.

But, that’s a not all – about 29.7% stated that their pet enjoyed the fruit and the stem while 20.3% of the owners said that their piggies didn’t like strawberries at all.

So, what does this mean?

You can try feeding your piggie the fruit part of the strawberry, but it’s more likely that guinea pigs will enjoy the green, leafy top. Offer both to your cavies at the same time and see which he prefers–it’s always fun to watch piggies enjoy their food.

How Many Strawberries Can A Guinea Pig Have? (Feeding Guidelines)

Guinea pigs can eat strawberries, but they should not be given all the time. The most a guinea pig should have is 1 – 2 small strawberries for each serving. But, only serve them once or twice a week. There’s no need to give your piggies strawberries two days in a row.

Be mindful of allergic reactions. When introducing your little friendso something new, start off by offering a single, tiny piece.

Whether it’s fruits or vegetables, for example, go slow and be very careful. Note any negative reactions such as sluggishness, stomach pain, or diarrhea.

If they react negatively or show any signs of digestive upset, stop feeding them strawberries immediately and get them to a vet.

Generally, cavies don’t have a bad reaction to strawberries, but you still should be careful.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Never introduce too many new things at once, because it can be a shock to your piggie’s digestive system. If you want to try out various types of fruit or veggies to figure out which ones they like the best, only try one new food per week. That way, if they have a bad reaction to something, you can pinpoint which food is causing the problem. 

can guinea pigs eat strawberries

Strawberry Nutrition Stats

There are many reasons to love strawberries—they’re not only a healthy food, they also taste great. Plus, they’re packed with with lots of healthy goodies.

According to the USDA website, one cup (100g) of strawberries has:

Calories35 cal
Carbs7.632g
Fiber1.8g
Sugars5.34g
Protein1g
Fat0.4g

Strawberries are an excellent source of many nutrients and minerals, and they’re also a great source of Vitamin C. Use strawberries as a part of your fur baby’s varied diet by giving them to him in small servings and infrequently.

Here’s the mineral and vitamins that are in one cup of raw strawberries:

Vitamin C56mg
Vitamin K2.1mg
Vitamin B6.035mg
Iron.28mg
Potassium89mg
Calcium12mg

As you can see, strawberries are an excellent addition to your fur baby’s diet, but should be given sparingly.

How To Serve And Store Strawberries For Your Guinea Pigs

Feeding your piggie strawberries is as straightforward as it gets. Follow the steps below for a little bit of guidance:

  • They should be organic if possible (less chemicals). They need to feel firm in the palm of your hand with no mushy spots or mold on them. Make sure you buy fruit that is ripe because they’ll taste better.
  • Prepare all of the fruit by thoroughly washing any potential pesticides and toxins off with fresh water.
  • At this point, you can cut the strawberries into small pieces or feed the entire strawberry to your little friends. Some piggies like to have their strawberries cut up. Some don’t. Usually, they’ll eat them no matter what.
  • Now you can give the strawberries to your piggies and let them enjoy them.  Uneaten fruits should be trashed as soon as possible, so pests and bacteria don’t make an appearance in your little friends’ cages.

???? Tips & Tricks:

One of the most important things to remember is not to give strawberries that are cold. If you give your piggie strawberries, let them warm up to room temperature first. Too cold strawberries might upset your piggie’s stomach.

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

  1. Fill a large bowl with 2 1/2 cups of water and a 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar.
  2. Soak berries in the mix for a few minutes.
  3. The vinegar in the preparation process will help keep your strawberries fresh for much longer than they would otherwise be. Don’t worry – the taste of the strawberries won’t be affected so you won’t have to worry about your little friends not liking them.
  4. Place your fruit in a single layer of a container.
  5. Cover (plastic wrap or a lid) and slide into the fridge. You’ll have about 7 days until they go bad.
  6. Remove any strawberries that are going bad or turning moldy and trash them.

???? Tips & Tricks:

If possible, purchase strawberries when they’re in season. Picking fresh strawberries for guinea pigs is always a win. That way, your piggie will enjoy them more.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Tops?

The green, leafed strawberry tops are a favorite of guinea pigs. They can and will eat them. About 50% of guinea pigs will prefer the tops of strawberries to the fruit itself.

Cavies can eat strawberries, but the strawberry tops are a much better choice for them – nutritionally speaking. The sugar content is a lot lower. And there’s still loads of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber in them.

Giving your fur babies a few strawberry leaves and stems is safe, but you should not feed him too many as this can cause stomach problems. Always feed a variety of produce to your cavies.

Now, cavies can be notoriously picky eaters.

Strawberries are a favorite of guinea pigs, but not every piggie will like them. Around 20.3% of piggies won’t like strawberries at all.

It’s important for you to learn what your fur babies do and don’t like – and you’ll find this out as you get to know your little friends. And it’ll save you the headache of buying large amounts of fruits and vegetables that your fur babies refuse to eat.

???? Tips & Tricks:

You might have a hard time getting your little friends to try different fruits and vegetables. But, don’t give up. Sometimes you have to offer produce several times before your cavies will consider trying them. You can also try cutting the veggies and fruits in different ways to see if that will entice your piggies to eat them.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Strawberries?

Guinea pigs can actually eat defrosted strawberries if they’ve been defrosted to room temperature. However, this should be as a “I’m broke until payday and piggies need to eat” last resort sort of situation.

It’s always better to give piggies raw fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re better for your cavies’ nutritional needs and they’ll enjoy their meal much more.

If you’re going to feed used-to-be frozen strawberries to your cavies, defrost them first. Then give your fur babies the berries when they’ve reached room temperature. You don’t them so they don’t get a stomach ache or sore teeth from eating cold fruit.

???? Tips & Tricks:

It’s not difficult or expensive to grow trays of wheatgrass (or other herbs & veggies) in your home. All you need is a little bit of space and some times. Wheat grass is a healthy food for your guinea pigs and if you happen to fall on hard times, it’ll be a fresh and easy food source.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Leaves?

Just so we’re on the same page, by strawberry leaves (or strawberry greens, as some people call them).

I’m talking about the leaves on the strawberry vine – not the green tops of the strawberries themselves.

Strawberry leaves are not only harmless to guinea pigs, they can actually be good for them! In fact, strawberries leaves are packed with vitamins and nutrients, such as:

  • Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that helps with bone health a
  • Calcium which helps with tooth growth
  • Potassium for heart health
  • Fiber which helps them maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and decreases constipation
  • Iron which is an important ingredient in red blood cells for strengthening bones

As you can see, cavies can eat strawberry leaves. But they should only be given a few at a time. Moderation in all foods (except hay) is important.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Small Pet Select’s Vita-Licious Essentials contains dried strawberry leaves mixed in with other dried forage.

What About Strawberry Stems? Can They Be Eaten, Too?

Your guinea pigs are allowed to eat the stem of fresh strawberries. In fact, every part of the strawberry is edible. You just need to make sure that you don’t overfeed your fur babies any part of it.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Seeds?

Normally, seeds are a big no-no for guinea pigs. Most are a choking hazards, and cavies don’t have the teeth to crack through them. There are a few exceptions, and strawberry seeds are one of them.

Guinea pigs can enjoy strawberry seeds with no issues. The seeds are small and soft. They are not a concern because your fur babies aren’t likely to choke on them.

Other veggies and fruits with small soft seeds that piggies can eat include: tomatoes and cucumbers.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Strawberries?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t eat dried strawberries because they’re bogged down sugars and calories.

It’s recommended not feeding dried fruit to your little friends at all, including dried cranberries, blueberries, or other fruits.

Chowing down on sugar-filled, dried strawberries will only cause serious problems for your cavies including: weight gain, diabetes and dental problems.

???? Tips & Tricks:

Make sure you’re feeding guinea pigs healthy portions of fresh fruits and vegetables (not dried). They’ll love the taste and it’s much better for them.

Can Guinea Pigs Drink Strawberry Juice?

To give your guinea pig the best health, prevent them from drinking store-bought strawberry juice. There’s an insane amount of sugars and additives in those drinks that will do your cavies more harm than good.

Even homemade strawberry juice isn’t ideal as a regular drink. Water should be your piggie’s main beverage. If you stick with that, then you’ll avoid a lot of health and dental problems for your piggies in the future. 

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Strawberries?

Canned strawberries are packed with sugars and preservatives. You definitely shouldn’t give this to your cavies, if you want them to live long lives.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Jam?

Guinea pigs definitely shouldn’t eat strawberry jam. It’s way too sugary! And a cavy digestive systems can’t handle large amounts of sugar.

If piggies eat too many things that are high in sugar or fat, it’ll have a negative effect on their health.

Want to feed your piggie strawberries? Stick to the real thing – preferably fresh and organic.

What Berries Can Guinea Pigs Have? Alternatives To Strawberries

If you (or your piggies) aren’t particularly fond of strawberries, there are other berries guinea pigs can enjoy.

It’s essential that your cavies are treated to a wide variety of fruit, such as: 

Each of them has their own specific health benefits (such as a good source of Vitamin C), so guinea pigs can enjoy a variety of different berries without worry.

Like all fruit, make sure that they’re fed in moderation. Too much fruit isn’t good for guinea pigs.

As always, make sure to feed guinea pigs fresh fruit rather than anything that’s been processed or preserved (including frozen). It may contain preservatives which could be harmful to guinea pig health.

Foods To Avoid If You Want Your Piggies To Live

It’s important to give your cavies the proper foods to live a long life. And it’s just important to avoid the ones that’ll shorten it.

Some foods cavies should avoid are:

  • Processed and fried foods (like chips)
  • cheese (high in fat), milk or any kind of dairy product
  • mushrooms
  • avocadoes
  • any kind of meat (piggies are herbivores and can’t digest meats well)
  • Caffeine or any caffeinated beverages (including coffee)
  • Chocolate is a huge “No”
  • Pastries, cup cakes
  • Potatoes (poisonous to piggies)

Final Thoughts About Guinea Pigs And Strawberries

Guinea pigs thrive on a balanced diet. Don’t let them become overweight by not controlling their food intake. 

Yes, you can give your cavy strawberries.  Just keep in mind to give them occasional treats of fresh fruit (like strawberries) for an extra boost!

Think of your fur babies like little kids. You wouldn’t want them to eat too much candy or ice cream, now would you?

Too many sweets (or sugary fruit) is just as bad for animals. They can suffer from obesity and diabetes if their diet isn’t managed correctly.

So, keep the fruit portions small. Encourage your fur babies to eat the healthier part of the strawberry when possible – strawberry plant leaves and strawberry tops.  

Strawberries are really a super-fruit for your guinea pigs as long it’s fed appropriately-as an occasional treat. They help prevent a bunch of diseases and improve the overall health of your cavies.

Make sure you wash them before serving, keep track of the frequency, feed in moderation, and watch out for allergic reactions, too.

Keep the tips in this blog post in mind and you’ll be good-to-go.

You got this!

10 low glycemic fruits for diabetes. (2020, September 15). Diabetes Care Community. https://www.diabetescarecommunity.ca/diet-and-fitness-articles/10-low-glycemic-fruits-for-diabetes/

Carey, E. (n.d.). 10 low-glycemic fruits for diabetes. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/low-glycemic-fruits-for-diabetes

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

Environmental Working Group. (n.d.). Dirty Dozen™ fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides. Environmental Working Group – Know your choices | Environmental Working Group. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

FoodData central: Raw Strawberries. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/747448/nutrients

Guinea pig feeding. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-feeding

The lowdown on glycemic index and glycemic load. (2021, April 14). Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-lowdown-on-glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load

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/

Pagán, C. N. (2019, August 23). Diabetes and fruit. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/fruit-diabetes

ThePetFaq. (2021, April 7). Alpaca Guinea pig breed profile: Origins, pictures, care, temperament & more! ThePetFAQ. https://thepetfaq.com/alpaca-guinea-pig/

What do I need to know about my Guinea pigs’ health? (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-do-i-need-to-know-about-my-guinea-pigs-health/

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