Are Tangerines Toxic To Guinea Pigs? (Find Out Now)

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It’s a good thing to know what fruits can guinea pigs eat, so you can feed a wide variety of them to your little friends. Take tangerines for example. Can guinea pigs eat them?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat tangerines. Tangerines are a citrus fruit that is orange in color and has a sweet taste to it. Guinea pigs can a small serving of tangerines 1 to 2 times per week as part of their diet. But make sure to avoid overfeeding them with this fruit because of the high sugar content and acidic nature.

a picture of a guinea pig wondering if he can eat tangerines

But, how much tangerine is safe? What are the main risks and benefits of eating tangerines for cavies?

Let’s take a closer look.

An easy-to-read food chart for safe piggie foods – Buy, download, and print.

What Are Tangerines? Are They Called Anything Else?

Tangerines are a type of orange that is brightly colored and reddish-orange. Actually, tangerines look so much like regular oranges, they’re often mistaken for them.

While both look very similar, tangerines are unique fruits in their own right. They’re less rounded and more petite than regular oranges.

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However, tangerines are sweeter, less sour, and have a more much savory scent than oranges. A ripe tangerine is a delight (for pet parents AND their cavies).

Compared to oranges, tangerines have softer skin, thinner peels, and a white mesocarp. Mesocarp is the fleshy part of the fruit that’s found between the skin and seeds.

Tangerines have a lot of water in them, as well as carbohydrates. They also have antioxidants like Vitamin C, and a little bit of fat and protein. Tangerines also contain calories, carbs, fiber, vitamin A, Vitamin B Complex, and potassium.

Tangerines are also called mandarins.

Health Benefits Of Tangerines 

a tip that explains that guinea pigs can eat tangerines

Apart from their juicy and sweet taste, tangerines are also known for their health benefits. They offer many nutrients when you feed them to guinea pigs. Health benefits of tangerines include

1. Support Immune System Health

Tangerines are a good source of body immunity because they have many nutrients. They contain a lot of vitamin A and manganese, both of which are antioxidants that help protect your guinea pig’s body from diseases or any damage to their bodies.

Vitamin C mainly helps the development of white blood cells called T cells. As a result, your piggies’ bodies can fight diseases and infections better.

Vitamin C also kills bacteria and other harmful microbes in the body through phagocytes. Phagocytes are cells that can swallow and digest these microbes, which can help keep your cavies healthy.

Manganese is also a mineral that’s important in the development of strong bones and connective tissues (you know, all the stuff that helps keep your fur babies up and moving in one piece?).

2.vSupport Heart Health

You might be wondering , can tangerines help support heart health? The answer is yes! Tangerines contain a soluble fiber called pectin.

Pectin can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol can damage arteries and lead to heart disease, so it’s good to keep cholesterol levels low.

Pectin can also help prevent atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of arteries. Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to heart attacks or strokes, so it’s important to keep your little friends’ arteries healthy and flexible.

Tangerines can also help reduce blood pressure levels. This is because tangerines contain potassium, which is a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.

Potassium can also help prevent heart disease by reducing the risk of arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats.

A little tangerine every now and then can help support a healthy heart for your piggies.

3. Helps With Hydration

It shouldn’t be a surprise that since tangerines are mostly water, they can help keep your piggies hydrated.

Dehydration can lead to a ton of problems for guinea pigs, including heat stroke, so it’s important to make sure they’re getting enough fluids.

Even though you should always keep a water bottle (or bowl) full of fresh, clean water available for your piggies at all times, giving them a small, juicy slice tangerine can also help keep them hydrated.

Just make sure they’re not getting too much sugar from the tangerines, and make sure you’re not feeding your little friends more than a small slice one or two per week. Too many can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Tangerine Risks To Guinea Pigs  

It is okay to feed your guinea pigs tangerines, but you should do so in moderation. Feeding them too many tangerines can cause the following problems:

1. Mouth Sores

Tangerines are filled with citric acid, and citric acid can cause mouth sores in guinea pigs. If you notice your piggie has any redness or swelling around their mouth, stop feeding them tangerines right away.

Mouth sores can be painful and make it hard for your piggies to eat (not good), so it’s important to get them healed up as soon as possible.

If your guinea pig has recurring mouth sores, it might be a sign that they’re not tolerating tangerines well or that you’re feeding them too many foods that are acidic.

The best way to solve this issue is to limit citrus fruits to once or twice a month, avoid them them completely or try a different source of Vitamin C, like bell peppers.

2. Bladder And Kidney Stones

Guinea pigs that eat too much calcium can get kidney and bladder stones. These stones develop when there is too much calcium in their system that can’t be urinated out. Instead the calcium stays inside of their bodies and forms a sludge or hard deposit (stones).

Signs that your guinea pigs probably have too much calcium in their body (or maybe have stones) are:

  • cloudy urine that feels gritty
  • difficulty urinating
  • frequent urination
  • blood in their urine

If your guinea pig is exhibiting any of these signs, stop feeding them tangerines and take them to the vet. Stones can be dangerous and can ultimately lead to death, so it’s important to get them treated as soon as possible.

Even though tangerines don’t have a lot of calcium (at least not compared to some veggies; I’m looking at you collard greens) they still have SOME calcium in them. After all, 100 grams of tangerines has about 37mg of calcium.

3. Digestive System Problems

Tangerines contain substances that can upset a guinea pig’s stomach. The water and sugar content in tangerines is not good for guineas if they eat too many.

Symptoms of an upset stomach in guinea pigs can include:

  • diarrhea
  • bloating and gas
  • lack of appetite
  • lethargy

If your guinea pig is experiencing any of these symptoms, stop feeding them tangerines right away and give them a day or two to recover. If the symptoms persist or get worse, take your piggie to the vet for further treatment.

But, honestly, as long as you don’t overfeed tangerines to your fur babies, you won’t have to worry about any of these problems.

4. Dental Issues 

The citric acid and sugar in tangerines can wear down your guinea pigs’ teeth over time.

If you feed your little friends too much of this fruit, and their teeth are damaged, then their eating habits can change, which can result in weight loss and other health problems.

They may not be able to chew Timothy hay or other types of food as well because their teeth will have worn down. So, remember to only feed them tangerines in moderation.

Nutritional Facts For Tangerines

Tangerines have a lot of nutrients that could be good for your guinea pigs. They contain a high level of water, as well as citric acids like Vitamin C. They also have calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and other nutrients. Here is a list of the nutrients in tangerines, per 100 grams:

  • Water: 85 grams (because it’s always good to keep your guinea pigs hydrated)
  • Energy: 53 kcal (not bad for a small snack)
  • Vitamin C: 26.7mg (this is a high level of Vitamin C, which can help boost your guinea pig’s immune system)
  • Fat (Lipid): 0.31 gram (very low and that’s a win)
  • Carbohydrates: 13.3 gram (a little on the high side, but not too bad)
  • Dietary fiber: 1.8 g (will help keep your piggies nice and regular)
  • Sugar: 10.6 gram (a little high, but shouldn’t be an issue as long as you don’t overfeed the fruit)
  • Calcium 37 mg (can cause bladder and kidney stones, so watch out how much you feed your piggies)
  • Iron 0.15 mg (a small amount, but can still be helpful)
  • Potassium 153 mg (can help with nerve and muscle function)
  • Phosphorus 42 mg (can help with cell growth)

Tangerines have many nutrients, including potassium, phosphorus, zinc, sodium, manganese, selenium, betaine, folic acid and more. You can find a more detailed explanation of these nutrients here

How Does Tangerines Compare To Other Citrus Fruits?

Different types of citrus fruits have the same nutrients, but they have them in different amounts. This section compared the nutrient concentrations of different types of citrus fruits.

FiberSugarVitamin CCalcium
Tangerines (Mandarins)1.8 g10.6g26.7mg37 mg
Oranges2 g8.57g59.1mg43 mg
Lemon2.8 g2.5 g53 mg 26 mg
Grapefruit1.1 g8g33.3mg15mg
Clementines1.7 g9.18 g48.8mg30mg

From the table above, different fruits have different nutrient contents. While tangerines have one of the the highest calcium contents at 37 grams. Their water concentration is the lowest at 85.2 grams.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerines Or Mandarins Every day?

No, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat tangerines everyday. It could make them very sick. They may develop one or more of the following problems:

  • Bladder Stones or kidney stones
  • Upset stomach
  • Cramps and watery stool
  • Gas and diarrhea

Feeding Guidelines: How Many Tangerines Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

a decision tree that can be used to help people figure out of their guinea pigs can eat tangerines

It is no secret that most piggies love tangerines. It could exceptionally be refreshing for them on hot summer or fall days. However, you have to feed them the right amount. Here’s some tips:

  • For a medium-sized tangerine, 1 or 2 thin slices per meal are okay. 
  • Select a fresh and ripe tangerine for your guinea pig. Don’t let them eat rotten or moldy tangerines
  • Plus, the tangerines’ seed be removed before feeding your fur babies (but you can leave on the peel if you wash it well first)
  • Feed them one small slice per serving

Do Guinea Pigs Like Tangerines?

Yes, many guinea pigs like tangerines. But, you won’t know if your piggies really like them until you get them a few slices to sample. Try it out and see what happens.

Don’t get discouraged if your piggies don’t like tangerines at first. It sometimes takes multiple attempts to get cavies used to (and to like) a new food. Sometimes they’re just really, really picky (little stinkers).

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerine Peel And Skin? 

Guinea pigs can eat tangerine peels and skin safely. Sometimes, these parts of tangerines often contain more nutrients like Vitamin C than the fruit itself. Therefore, eating tangerine peels can be very beneficial to your little cavies. 

But, sometimes tangerines are sprayed with pesticides during the farming process, so you’ll need to wash them off thoroughly. You can do this by soaking the tangerines in a bowl of water with vinegar for about 15 minutes. After that, rinse them off with clean water.

If pesticides on tangerine peels are a major concern for you, consider buying organic fruit.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerine Flesh? 

Yes, guinea pigs can eat tangerine flesh. It’s the juiciest and sweetest part of the fruit and many guinea pigs enjoy it. Just make sure that you don’t overfeed the flesh to your piggies (big mistake!). That way, they’ll stay happy and healthy while enjoying the nutrients of the fruit.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerine Seeds? 

No, guinea pigs shouldn’t eat tangerine seeds. They’re too large and hard for them to chew and swallow easily, so they’re choking hazard. Make sure that you remove the seeds from the tangerine before feeding them to your guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Leaves From Tangerine Trees?

Yes, guinea pigs can safely eat tangerine leaves. Tangerine leaves can provide some nutrition to cavies.

The leaves could be a good source of nutrients for your piggies if you can’t find tangerine fruits. But, make sure to wash the leaves and remove any dirt, pesticides, or chemicals before feeding them to your piggies.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Tangerines?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t frozen tangerines because, apart from having zero nutritional value, it could make your guinea pigs sick.  Fresh, organic, and room temperature fruit are much better for cavies.

Guinea pigs can end up with stomach upset if they eat foods that are very, very cold. Like when taking anything cold, guinea pigs can develop stomach freeze, bloat, diarrhea, or gas in their stomach from consuming frozen tangerines. 

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to create balanced and healthy

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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned Tangerines?

No, guinea pigs can’t eat canned tangerines. Canned fruits are often soaked in sugar and other preservatives, which can be harmful to your guinea pigs.

The tangerines you are feeding your guinea pigs are not fresh. They have high levels of sugar. They also have a lot of preservatives to keep them from rotting. This can hurt your fur babies.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerine Marmalade or Jam?

Tangerine marmalades and jams are not safe for guinea pigs to eat. They contain a lot of sugar and preservatives, which can be harmful to a cavy. It’s better to feed them fresh tangerines instead.

Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerines Or Mandarins?

Baby guinea pigs can eat tangerines in small amounts. As long as you don’t overfeed them, and you remove the seeds and wash the peel before feeding, baby guinea pigs can have a thin slice of tangerine every week or so.

But since they are still growing, make sure to also give them good quality, grass hay, Vitamin C enriched guinea pigs pellets, piggie-safe, raw veggies, and fresh water to drink.

Can Pregnant Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerines or Mandarin Oranges?

Pregnant guinea pigs can eat tangerines and mandarin oranges. The fruit is very nutritious to them when fed in moderation. But, they should only have a small amount because these fruits are high in sugar. You don’t want your pregnant guinea pig to get gestational diabetes.

Just like with any other fruit or veggie, make sure to wash the tangerine or mandarin orange before feeding it to your pregnant guinea pig. Also, remove the seeds and peel to avoid any choking hazard.

How To Introduce Tangerines To Your Guinea Pigs

If you have never given your guinea pigs fresh tangerines before, start by mixing a small amount of the fruit with their regular food. This will help them get used to the new flavor and prevent them from getting an upset stomach.

Over the next 24 hours of so, monitor your little friends to make sure that they are eating the new food and that they don’t have any bad reactions to it. (And by bad reactions, I mean they don’t start having tons of gas or have explosive diarrhea.)

If all goes well, you can slowly increasing the amount that you give them. Make sure that it is fresh and organic. And remember, only feed them a small amount at a time. Too much sugar can make your guinea pigs sick.

What Other Types Of Citrus Fruits Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

You can give your cavies other types of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, clementines, limes and more. Here are the details of what to feed them with each type of fruit:

Grapefruits

Grapefruits are sour and less sweet than tangerines. Guinea pigs can eat grapefruits, but you shouldn’t give them too many because they have a lot of sugar and citric acid (hello, mouth sores).

Typically, tangerines could be considered a better choice for your guinea pigs because they have less sugar and citric acid.

Like tangerines, grapefruits have seeds. So, make sure seeds are completely removed before you feed them. Like other citrus fruits, it has many antioxidants like Vitamin C, dietary fiber, and beta-carotene. Its benefits include 

  • It has lycopene that helps build cavies cells and prevent them from damage
  • It has potassium contents that help regulate piggies blood pressure

Clementines

Clementines are small, seedless citrus fruits that are a hybrid of oranges and tangerines. Clementines are a great snack for guinea pigs because they’re very nutritious like other citrus fruits.

Clementines are an easy-to-feed snack for your piggies. They don’t have any seeds, so you don’t have to go through the stress of removing them. Just wash the fruit and peel it before giving it to your guinea pigs.

Limes

Technically, limes are safe for guinea pigs to eat, but they contain more acid than a lot of other fruits. It’s better not to feed them limes often (say once a month or so if your piggies enjoy them).

Limes are more likely to cause digestive problems in guinea pigs more than oranges or tangerines. Here’s a few nutritional perks of limes:

  • It has a good amount of antioxidants, fiber, and water, which could be refreshing for your piggies.
  • They contain less sugar content compared to oranges or tangerines. Therefore, you don’t have to fear sugar complications when feeding limes to cavies

Oranges

Guinea pigs can eat oranges. They like to eat the flesh, peel, skin, and wedge without any problem. Oranges are a good provider of antioxidants, dietary fibers, Vitamin C, and beta carotene.

Just don’t forget to remove the seeds if you decide to feed some to your little friends. Here’s some nutritional highlights of oranges:

  • Its beta carotene contents turn to vitamin A in your piggies’ body, which could help improve your little friends’ eyesight and fur.
  • It has a good amount of fiber and Vitamin C. Two nutrients that are essential for guinea pigs.
  • The water content in oranges can help keep your piggies hydrated (which is important because cavies easily get dehydrated).

Lemons

Lemons are sour because they have acids in them. Do not feed your guinea pig lemons often because their acid can cause mouth sores and other problems. Feed them oranges or tangerines instead, but you can give them lemons once in a while. Lemons have health benefits, but they shouldn’t be a regular part of your guinea pigs’ diet.

  • Like other citrus fruits, it protects against scurvy and other types of diseases in cavies. Moreover, it boosts the piggies’ immune system. 
  • Lemons have low calories and sugar. Therefore, it has no risk of adding unnecessary weight to your piggies when they eat them. 

Pineapples

Another healthy fruit alternative to tangerine is pineapples. Apart from having delicious tastes, they provide high nutritional value to your piggies. Here are the health benefits of pineapples:

  • It’s a low fat fruit, so less risk of heart problem for your piggies when consuming them. 
  • It can help stop your cavies from getting sick and boost their immune system
  • Pineapples also enhance blood clotting in guinea pigs. 

Planning Your Piggie's

Meals Just Got A LOT Easier!

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Final Thoughts

So, can guinea pigs eat tangerines? The answer is yes! But make sure to only feed them tangerines occasionally because they have high levels of sugar and citric acid.

While tangerines are the perfect once-a-week meal for your guinea pigs, not all citrus fruits are. Lemons and limes should be avoided or only fed VERY infrequently.

Other fruits like pineapples, oranges, and grapefruit can be fed every week or every other week. Just be careful with the amount you feed them and remove the seeds from citrus fruits before feeding.

As for pineapples, they are a healthy fruit alternative to tangerines that provide many health benefits to guinea pigs. Enjoy your piggies snacking on these delicious and nutritious fruits.

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Limes (Raw): FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168155/nutrients

Master list of typical pH and acid content of fruits and vegetables for home Canning and preserving. (n.d.). Pick your own Farms in the U.S, Canada, Britain and other countries – Find a farm near you!. https://www.pickyourown.org/ph_of_fruits_and_vegetables_list.htm

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/

Oranges, raw, navel: FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/746771/nutrients

Pineapple (raw; all varieties): FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169124/nutrients

Quesenberry, K., Mans, C., & Orcutt, C. (2020). Ferrets, rabbits and rodents – E-book: Clinical medicine and surgery. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Tangerines (Mandarin Oranges), Raw: FoodData central. (n.d.). FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169105/nutrients

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