Can Guinea Pigs Eat Watermelon Safely? (Explained Here)

You’ve probably had a hard time figuring out if watermelon is okay for guinea pigs to eat. No worries. You’re not alone. I did some digging and found that:

Guinea pigs can eat watermelon safely as long as they don’t eat too much of it, too often. The high sugar content and water content can cause diarrhea, obesity and other digestive problems for them. Make sure that your guinea pigs are only getting appropriate amounts of the fruit.

guinea pig eating watermelon

So, let’s get right into it.

Here’s how watermelon can affect your piggies and how to make sure they’re enjoying it safely:

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Watermelon?

can guinea pigs eat watermelon

Guinea pigs can definitely eat watermelon-in small amounts. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day – because almost 90% of it is water (big shocker, right?).

This sugar content is a little extreme – and piggies don’t process sugar very well.

(Now this probably doesn’t need to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway – just in case. Make sure the fruit doesn’t replace fresh water for your pets.)

All things that guinea pigs eat have some risks associated with them, and this fruit isn’t an exception.

Don’t get sad on me, now. You can still feed your piggies watermelon. You just need to monitor their:

  • Portion sizes
  • Feeding frequency

I guess you’re thinking “Wait-what? That’s It?”

Uh, huh. That’s it.

Lots of pet parents (and I’m not judging anyone here; I’ve been there) get so concerned about watermelon (and other fruits) that they cut it off the guinea pig’s food list completely.

But watermelon isn’t all bad- if you remember to manage your pet’s intake!

Is Watermelon Good For Guinea Pigs?

Eating watermelons can be good for your little friends (just watch those portions!). There are some advantages that it has:

1. Helps Your Piggies Hydrated

I touched on water content in the first section, but let me say it again. Watermelons are 90% water!

That means they have high water content and it will contribute to hydration for your guinea pig’s body.

Guinea pigs, like all small animals, need water throughout the day for their bodies to work properly.

Dehydration is awful (and can be fatal). You don’t want your piggie to have that condition. Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • slimy, thick saliva
  • not urinating as much
  • sluggishness and not wanting to play
  • moving stiffly (usually because their joints hurt)
  • Their skin won’t look as soft and smooth as it normally does when they are well hydrated.

All of these signs can tell you that your cavies aren’t getting enough water.

If you think your guinea pig is showing any signs of dehydration, please take him to a vet right away.

You ever wonder why your piggies seem to NEVER drink water? Often it’s because you’re feeding them a lot of fresh veggies. They’re getting their hydration from them. If you want your piggies to drink more water, feed them less vegetables and up the amount of hay that you offer. That should do the trick.

2. An Immune System Booster

If you want healthy cavies, then they need to have certain vitamins and nutrients to keep them in top shape.

Watermelon contains a few things to boost your piggie’s health (and helps them heal from injuries), and they include:

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is used to heal injuries, infections, and helps support your guinea pig’s immune system. Guinea pigs need enough Vitamin C. If they do not have enough, they will get the condition called scurvy – a disease that causes weakness and bleeding.
  • Vitamin A: This vitamin reduces swelling; heals wounds and skin problems; it also boosts your guinea pig’s immune system and helps their bodies to fight off illnesses. It also helps improve eyesight.
  • Beta-carotene: Thank beta-carotene for the bright orange, red and yellow fruits and veggies that we have – it gives them their color! The body turns beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol). In other words, without beta-carotene , we wouldn’t have vitamin A.
  • Lycopene: This is a carotenoid antioxidant that is used to fight against cancer and other ills. Lycopene helps prevent heart problems; it also help prevent other diseases.

The USDA reports that every 100 grams of watermelon contains 8.1 mg of vitamin C. Therefore, feeding your cavies with watermelon occasionally can help improve their vitamin C intake.

3. Can Be Good For Digestion

The powerful combination of water and the small amount of fiber (only 0.4g per 100g-which is kinda pitiful for a fruit) actually helps keep your cavy’s gut moving properly.

Each one has it’s gross (but necessary) part to play:

  • Fiber provides bulk for your cavy’s droppings. Fiber helps the intestines absorb liquid. This makes their poops softer and easier easier to pass . (not loose stool, diarrhea soft, but “regular, easy-to-pass” soft)
  • Water just does what it does – it helps everything to, well...flow in the right direction.

Watermelon’s high water content and low fiber count make it an especially hydrating snack, helping to keep your piggie’s digestive system running efficiently.

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!

Tons Of Other Nutritional Goodies For Your Piggies

Guinea pigs need a wide variety of food. Watermelon has some nutrients that help them stay healthy and grow.

Here are some nutritional goodies your cavies can get when they eat this fruit, according to the FoodData Central of USDA (per 100g of melon):

Protein0.61g
Fiber0.4g
Water91.4g
Vitamin C8.1g
Potassium112mg
Magnesium 10mg
Essential Fatty Acids.15g
Carbohydrates7.55
Calcium7mg
Phosphorus11mg
Sodium 1mg

A balance between variety, portion control, and feeding  frequency is important for a happy, healthy cavy.

can guinea pigs eat watermelon

Is Watermelon Bad For Guinea Pigs? (the Cons)

can guinea pigs eat watermelon

While it’s true that watermelon has plenty of nutrients and, of course, the irresistible taste that comes in every bite.

But the degree to which this melon helps or harms depends on how frequently and how large of a serving you feed your fur babies.

1. Too Much Water

I know you’re thinking, “WAIT A MINUTE! I thought that the water in watermelon was good for piggies.”

Yes, yes it is. Unless…

You feed them too much. Watermelon is healthy for a guinea pig because it has lots of water. But it can be bad if you feed too much to your fur babies (can you say overkill?)

Too much water can give guinea pigs diarrhea, which can kill guinea pigs– mainly because it causes them to become dehydrated.

(Remember that whole section on dehydration and what it can to your little friends? Me, too. Very unpleasant. Let’s avoid that.)

Guinea pigs may also have to pee more often because of the extra work their kidneys do.

2. Too Much Potassium

Like water, your cavy may intake too much potassium when eating watermelon, especially if it goes beyond the recommended serving.

That’s why it is best to stick to the optimum serving size and feeding frequency.

Too much potassium can be bad for guinea pigs. If there’s too much in their system, it will lower the amount of inorganic phosphorus in their blood.

So, what on earth is “inorganic phosphorus”?

Good question.

Inorganic phosphorus is a form of phosphorus that can’t be used by your guinea pig’s body. Which means it becomes unusable and is pooped from the body as waste.

Too much watermelon is potassium heavy. This can cause too much inorganic phosphorus to be flushed out of your guinea pig’s system.  

If there’s not enough phosphorus, bones and teeth can’t form properly. (And that’s not good.)

Likewise, other important things like tissue repair and protein production can’t happen as it should.

3. Too Much Sugar

Watermelon is sweet and contains lots of sugar. Too much sugar will definitely make your furry friends sick.

One effect of feeding your guinea pig watermelon is that it can develop diabetes.

One extra piece of watermelon won’t do anything – but don’t go crazy with it.

Diabetes, usually only occurs in cavies who eat a diet high in sugary foods with very little hay. (good thing you know better than to do that to your piggies, right?) 

And don’t get me started on how the extra sugar can make your guinea pigs fat and cause other health problems.

This kind of stuff only happens if there’s no rules about what the guinea pig can eat.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Watermelon Everyday? (Feeding Guidelines)

Omigosh, please don’t feed your guinea pigs watermelon everyday. In fact, don’t even feed them watermelon every other day.

So, how much is too much? And what exactly is enough?

Friend, I gotchu. Keep the following feeding guidelines in mind when giving your piggies this fruit:

  • Guinea pigs should only have a 1 inch cube (or two) of watermelon per serving.
  • They should only have a serving 1 – 2 times per week.
  • Don’t feed watermelon on consecutive days (e.g. like watermelon on Monday and watermelon on Tuesday).

This is to make sure your guinea pig doesn’t get spoiled with watermelon and then start expecting it everyday.

Guinea pigs should have a balanced diet of hay, water, pellets and veggies every day – watermelon should be a special treat once in awhile!

For your guinea pig to get the full benefits of watermelons without any risks, feed them in moderation.

Watermelon is healthy and tasty, but it could make your piggies sick.  If they eat too much of it, it could cause diabetes and obesity. It also has a lot of water in it which might cause other stomach problems.  Overfeeding causes more problems than anything else.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Watermelon Rind? If So, How Often?

Even the rind of a watermelon are edible to guinea pigs – especially since they have the teeth and appetite needed to demolish the harder rind.

Unlike the pinkish to red flesh of the watermelon, the rind is whitish or yellowish and has less sugar.

It’s a good source of Vitamin C and packed with potassium, fiber, vitamin A, and magnesium.

And unlike the flesh, fruity party of watermelon, the rind has plenty of fiber.

If you do feed your piggie the rind (and some cavies absolutely love the rind!), here’s a few tips:

  • Cut away most of the pink, fruity flesh and leave more rind for them to eat – still a treat, just healthier.
  • Make sure that all the seeds are removed if you do serve them some of the flesh.
  • Store the rinds in a plastic baggie in your fridge until you’re ready to serve them. (warm them to room temperature – or close to it – before you give it to your piggies)
  • If you’re going to give your little friends the green, exterior part with the rind, wash it thoroughly. Some farmers use pesticides when growing watermelons.

Most importantly, (portion control, my friend) you should only feed the rind to your guinea pig a few times a week – 2 to 3 times tops.

Watermelon skin is the green exterior of the watermelon and isn’t really a favorite of cavies.  Most prefer the rind or the flesh.

What About The Seeds? Can Guinea Pigs Eat Them?

While watermelon seeds are edible, it’s best never to give them to your guinea pig. Small seeds can get stuck in your fur baby’s throat, so they’re a choking hazard.

If one of your little friends, gets to a seed and eats it, there’s no need to panic.

Just make sure they don’t get to any more. No need to risk your little friends choking on seeds by repeatedly feeding them to them.

Remove the seeds before giving your guinea pig a piece to avoid any accidents. You can also choose to buy seedless watermelons and save yourself the trouble of doing it yourself. (I know I did.)

What’s Better? The Rind Or The Fruit?

Both the watermelon flesh and rind have the necessary nutrients for your guinea pig’s health.

The pink flesh plenty more nutrients than the rind, but it also has higher amounts of sugar.

On the other hand, the rind is a reliable part that has enough vitamin c and fiber to protect your cavy from diseases and to help with digestion.

The verdict?

The rind is better than the fruit because it has lower sugar but more fiber.

But, not all guinea pigs enjoy nibbling on the rind. Some of them prefer the fruit. (yes, piggies are so spoiled!) Both parts are a good source for nutrients and fiber.

It’s important not to give them an huge amount of either the rind or fruit.

Do Guinea Pigs Like Watermelon?

Many guinea pigs think watermelons are a good snack and they like eating them. They taste great and they’re sweet and juicy. Additionally, nibbling on the texture of the rind can be good for their growing teeth.

Some guinea pigs are picky eaters and will only eat the rind of the fruit.

Instead of forcing your piggies to enjoy something they don’t like, you should just keep offering them the fruit on occasion. (exposure to watermelon could actually make them like it more)

Sometimes they’ll end up loving watermelon and other times they won’t (actually , this can be true of anything you offer to guinea pigs).

Cavies are creatures of habit, so it’s a 50-50 chance that they’ll enjoy it eventually.

But, if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world. A life without watermelon isn’t going to cause any serious problems for your pigs.  They’ll live just fine without it.

???? If you want some information quirky guinea pig behavior, check out these posts:

Can Guinea Pigs Get Fleas? (What You Need To Know), Why Does Your Guinea Pig Run Up Your Neck? (Here’s The Scoop), and Do Guinea Pigs Fart? (The Honest Truth)

Can Guinea Pigs Have Watermelon Juice?

So, let’s think this through. Guinea pigs drink watermelon juice whenever they eat the watermelon flesh. So, a little bit is safe.

However:

Don’t send your piggies into a sugar spike by pouring the juice into their water bowls (or bottles) and letting them slurp it all down.

Vets don’t generally recommend giving your guinea pig watermelon juice and for good reason:

  • It doesn’t have the fiber that triggers most of the benefits from the melon
  • Overtime, the extra sugar will make them fat, mess up their teeth, and cause other health issues

Think of it as giving your cavy a sip of soda. It’s delicious, but it’s empty calories.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Watermelon Leaves?

Guinea pigs like vegetables and plant leaves. But there’s not enough evidence that it is safe for them to eat watermelon leaves.

It’s unusual for humans to eat the leaves of watermelons.

We usually eat the fruit instead (at least the fruit part is a lot more tastier than the leaves).

My suggestion?

If your guinea pig is used to eating a lot of greens (or you want to add more to your piggies’ diet), you can give them some traditional leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale, and parsley.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Other Types Of Melons?

Don’t just stick with watermelon. That would be a shame. Expose your guinea pigs to other types of melons (and other fresh fruits) as well.

Melons as a whole have a lot of micronutrients like potassium, folates, calcium, and copper. 

They’re high in vitamins – like vitamins A, C, and K, and fibers and antioxidants that fight cancer. Most of them are safe for guinea pigs when served in the recommended amount.

When you think about it, it’s not a big shock that other types of melons are also okay for guinea pigs to eat.

You can opt to give these types of melons to your cavy if watermelon isn’t available:

How To Store Watermelon And Serve It To Your Cavies

So, let’s make sure that you properly serve the watermelon to your little fur babies.

It’s not hard. You just have to keep a couple of things in mind to do so safely:

  • When buying a whole melon, don’t forget to refrigerate it after it’s sliced – or it’ll spoil faster.
  • When you cut the melon, you can wrap it in plastic to keep it fresh for three days. This will prevent the melon from tasting like the other foods in your fridge and keep it juicy.
  • Remove the seeds (they’re choking hazards) before feeding the fruit.
  • If you’re feeding it fresh out of the fridge, it’s best to let it warm up to room temperature. Cold food is a bit of a shock to your piggies’ tummies.

In A Nutshell

Giving your guinea pig watermelon can be a refreshing treat, especially on a hot sunny day.

It’s filled with nutrients such as vitamin C to help prevent scurvy. It also has a high water content for preventing dehydration.

On the flip side, just like any other type of sugary fruit or treat, this melonis also high in sugar.

As such, allowing your guinea pig to nibble on even a small slice can send them over-the-edge with their blood glucose levels.

This can lead to diabetes and weight gain issues. (no bueno!)

But, everything always comes down to portion control and feeding frequency. If you only feed watermelon rarely (1 to 2 times per week) and in small amounts (only an occasional treat, please), you’ll have no problems.

(Friendly advice.  Don’t just five them a slice of watermelon.  Stick with cubes of melon instead.  You’ll have a better idea of how much you’re giving your fur babies.)

In moderation, your guinea pigs can get the health benefits of watermelons without compromising their health. 

But, make sure that the seeds are removed before feeding them to your little friends. They can be a choking hazard for guinea pigs – especially if they eat too much melon at once.

I hope this post has helped you answer the question “Can guinea pigs eat watermelon?”

If you want to learn more about other foods that guinea pigs can eat, check out some of my posts on which fruits are safe for cavies to eat.

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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.

Guinea pigs with diabetes – General information – Patricia’s Guinea pigs. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig. https://www.guinealynx.info/patriciasimon_diabetes.html

Jennings, K. (n.d.). Top 9 health benefits of eating watermelon. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/watermelon-health-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

Krans, B. (n.d.). 4 watermelon rind benefits. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/watermelon-rind-benefits

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/

Tips for preventing obesity in Guinea pigs. (2021, June 29). Petcover AU. https://www.petcovergroup.com/au/tips-for-preventing-obesity-in-guinea-pigs/

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