Strawberries are a popular and sweet summer fruit with plenty of health benefits. If you love these tasty berries and have guinea pigs, you’re likely wondering if your little furry potatoes can have a taste too. So, can guinea pigs eat strawberries? Let’s dive in!
Guinea pigs can safely eat strawberries in small amounts once or twice a week. This nutrient-packed superfood is one of the best fruits you can feed your guinea pig.
Strawberries are a delicious treat with countless health benefits. But, there are some things you need to know before feeding them to your guinea pig. We’ll cover these topics throughout the article.
Benefits of Feeding Strawberries to Guinea Pigs
Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. They are high in water and an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Antioxidants are beneficial because they reduce inflammation and fight off free radicals in the body.
A build-up of free radicals can lead to cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Feeding fruits and veggies high in antioxidants is a great way to keep free radicals in check.
Strawberries also contain a reasonable amount of Vitamin C. This nutrient is crucial for guinea pigs, as their body cannot manufacture their own Vitamin C internally (just like people!)
If they are deficient in Vitamin C over time, guinea pigs can develop scurvy, a painful condition that affects the joints and limits movement.
Guinea pigs need an average of 30mg of Vitamin C per day. One medium-size strawberry contains about 7mg of Vitamin C. A small berry, in contrast, has about 4mg of Vitamin C, and larger berries can contain over 10mg of this essential nutrient.
One berry is not quite enough to meet your guinea pig’s daily requirement, but it makes a healthy treat when fed along with other high Vitamin C vegetables.
Strawberries also contain some potassium. This nutrient is critical to help the body regulate fluid. It has also been proven to reduce blood pressure and may even reduce the chance of developing kidney stones.
Strawberries also have two plant compounds named anthocyanin and quercetin. These compounds can help to lower cholesterol, boost cardiovascular health, and even reduce the growth of cancer cells.
In addition, strawberries are relatively low in calories and also contain fiber, manganese, and folate (Vitamin B9).
Risks of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Strawberries
Despite being low in calories, strawberries do contain a reasonable amount of natural sugars. They are comparatively lower in sugar than many other fruits but still higher than most vegetables.
Guinea pigs’ digestive systems are not built to digest sugar, so too much can cause diarrhea or stomach pains. If fed frequently over time, the sugar content can even cause obesity and more serious problems like diabetes.
Strawberries contain some acidity, which can cause mouth sores if they are fed too much at a time. However, as long as you stick to the recommended amounts, this should not be a problem. They also contain some calcium and phosphorus, but not a large amount in comparison to other foods.
Like many other types of fruit and vegetables, there is also a risk of pesticide residue. To counteract this, be sure to rinse the berries thoroughly before feeding, or buy organic if you can.
Like with other foods, there is always a chance that your guinea pig is allergic or has a bad reaction to strawberries. This is rare, but it’s always important to introduce new foods gradually and keep an eye on your guinea pig in case they have an adverse reaction.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Tops?
Guinea pigs can eat strawberry tops, and some love them even more than the strawberries themselves! They contain more fiber and less sugar than the whole fruit, so in many ways, the tops are even healthier for them. If you remove all the fruit, the leafy tops alone can be fed several times a week.
I often give my piggies strawberry tops while I’m snacking on the berries. The guinea pigs prefer the tops, I prefer the berries, and it eliminates waste. Win, win!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries With the Seeds?
Strawberry seeds are small and soft, so they pose no choking risk to your guinea pig. You can safely feed strawberries with the seeds intact.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Plant Leaves?
Guinea pigs can safely eat the leaves and stem from a strawberry plant. Some guinea pigs love them more than the strawberries themselves!
Strawberry leaves can be fed more frequently, about 3-4 times a week. Strawberry leaves are packed full of nutrients, contain lots of fiber, and are much lower in sugar than the berries.
Growing your own strawberries is a great way to have a steady supply of organic leaves and berries for yourself and your piggies.
Strawberry plants are hardy and easy to grow in the garden or in planters. If planted in the garden, they will keep coming back every year and producing new leaves and berries every season.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Strawberries?
Most guinea pigs love strawberries! However, all piggies have their own taste buds and preferences, so some may never take a liking to this sweet fruit. I put it to the test with my eight guinea pigs (past and present) and here are the results:
Ceico: *Munch, munch, munch, munch, munch*
Ace: “WTF is this!? Ew, it smells sweet! I only like bitter things!”
TJ: *Munch, munch, munch* “Mom, the strawberry disappeared! I can’t find it anywhere! Can I have another? Please???”
Willow: “I’m not sure about this thing, it smells different. But TJ is eating it, so I better eat it faster!”
Peach: “It’s probably food, so I’m gonna eat it.”
Daisy: “Same. It’s better than some of the things I find myself.”
Poppy: *Nibble* “It doesn’t taste like lettuce…” *Walks away* *Returns later* “I guess I’ll eat it anyway.”
Pansy: *Nibble, nibble* POPCORN! “Wait, where did I leave that strawberry?”
If you think your guinea pig doesn’t like strawberries at first, keep trying! Guinea pigs are often cautious with new foods and take a bit of time to get used to an unfamiliar taste. Leave a strawberry in their cage for a few hours to give them time to investigate and nibble it at their own pace. Be sure to remove any uneaten berries after a couple of hours so it doesn’t wilt or mold in your guinea pig’s cage.
If your guinea pig decides that they do not like the berries, try feeding the leafy tops or some leaves off a strawberry plant. These are also full of nutrients, and most piggies that are adverse to the sweetness of the berries will take a liking to the leaves.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?
You can feed your guinea pig one average size strawberry a week. You can offer a whole small strawberry all at once, or slice a berry in half and feed one slice twice a week. If the berries are small, you can feed up to two a week. If you’re feeding them twice a week, space out the time so there’s a few days in between.
Guinea pigs should not eat strawberries every day. Feeding strawberries too often can lead to diarrhea, digestion problems, obesity, and even diabetes. When fed sparingly, strawberries contain many great nutrients. However, it’s crucial to not go overboard.
If your guinea pig is not used to eating strawberries, feed them in smaller amounts the first few times. This gives your guinea pig’s body a chance to adapt to the new food without causing stomach problems or pains.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?
Baby guinea pigs can safely eat strawberries, but it’s crucial to introduce them slowly into the diet. Young guinea pigs are adapting to a lot of new things in life, so it’s best to not put too much stress on their systems.
In addition, leafy greens like kale and parsley are a better source of both calcium and Vitamin C, which growing guinea pigs need in their diet. It’s best to prioritize these types of foods for baby guinea pigs.
How to Safely Prepare and Feed Strawberries to Your Guinea Pig
Before giving strawberries to your guinea pig, be sure to rinse them thoroughly with cool, clean water. Strawberries often contain chemical residue from pesticides if they’re not organic. They also grow close to the ground, meaning they pick up a lot of dirt and feces from bugs.
When introducing strawberries to your guinea pig for the first time, try small amounts. Cut a small slice of berry and offer it by hand or leave it in your guinea pig’s cage for a couple of hours. Be sure to remove it after a few hours so it doesn’t go rotten in the enclosure.
Observe your guinea pig for several hours after they try the strawberry. If they seem a little under the weather after trying the new food, it may be best to try a smaller amount next time or stick with other foods.
If your guinea pig doesn’t seem interested in eating the strawberry, try it a few more times. In the wild, guinea pigs would often test a new food by nibbling the tiniest amounts several times to ensure it wasn’t poisonous. Pet guinea pigs often inherit this ingrained behavior, and this is why it sometimes takes them a while to accept a new food.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries Cold?
Always give strawberries time to warm to room temperature before offering them to your guinea pig. Cold strawberries are harder to digest and can cause stomach cramps for your guinea pig in some cases.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Jam?
Guinea pigs should not eat strawberry jam. Jam contains way more sugar than the fruit itself, and store-bought jams usually contain other types of preservatives that are not good for guinea pigs. Any kind of processed food is a big no for guinea pigs. Stick with raw, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Strawberries?
Guinea pigs should only eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen strawberries lose some of their nutrients, and frozen fruit is often blanched to maintain its color. It’s always best to serve strawberries fresh to your guinea pig.
More Fruits and Berries That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Did you know that guinea pigs can also eat raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries? These berries are also high in antioxidants and contain a host of other nutrients that are beneficial for guinea pigs. They can also eat various types of melon, oranges, and so much more! For a complete list of all the fruits that guinea pigs can and can’t eat, check out our article, What Fruits Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
You can also find a complete list of all the foods, including vegetables and herbs that guinea pigs can eat, in this article, Complete List of Safe Foods for Guinea Pigs.