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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries, Tops, and Leaves?

Can guinea pigs eat strawberries?

Yes, fresh strawberries make hot summers bearable.

But can your piggy join in the fun (or rather, should they)?

I sought the opinion of small animals’ veterinarians and did thorough research on the issue, and here is all you need to know.  

two brown guinea pigs looking at the strawberries but can guinea pigs eat strawberries?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat strawberries. And strawberries are a great source of vitamin C for guinea pigs but have high sugar content not suitable for daily serving.

Strawberries work well as occasional treats for your piggy as much of it is harmful.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Seeds?

strawberry seeds

Guinea pigs that eat strawberries love the seeds too. Strawberry seeds are a good source of polyphenols that keep the skin healthy and help with metabolism.

The strawberry seeds are relatively more rigid than the skin and feel better to guinea pig’s teeth.

But note that apple seeds and watermelon seeds have traces of cyanide that can affect the pig’s health.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Leaves?

strawberry leaves

Absolutely, guinea pigs can eat strawberry leaves. Indeed, you should include fresh strawberry leaves in the leafy vegetables menu for your piggy.

Guinea pigs love chewing the leaves for fun and, in the process, gain nutritional value. You can feed your piggy with either green or dried strawberry leaves.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Tops?

fresh cut strawberries

Yes, guinea pigs can eat strawberry tops. They contain more nutrients and are less sugary than a piece of berry but are a choking hazard.

It’s good to feed your piggy with strawberry tops under proper care or simply stick to the leaves and strawberries.

You don’t want your cavy choking to death.

Are Guinea Pigs Able To Properly Digest Strawberries?

guinea pig sitting beside 3 strawberries

Yes, guinea pigs digest strawberries well, thanks to their fast metabolism.

Strawberries are not only highly nutritious to your piggy but also have fiber that helps with digestion.

According to healthline.com, strawberries contain 91% water, 7.7% carbohydrates, little fats (0.3%), proteins (0.7%), and considerable amounts of vitamins, manganese, and potassium.

One hundred grams of strawberries will have 4.9 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber.

But remember to serve in occasional small quantities that guinea pigs can adequately digest.

You don’t want your pig having health issues from an overdose of sugar and vitamin C.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Jam Or Jelly?

strawberry jam

If served with some jam or jelly, guinea pigs will have a bite. But strawberry jam and jelly aren’t healthy for the cavies.

An herbivore’s digestive system doesn’t like processed or cooked food.

And jams and jellies have wicked amounts of artificial sweeteners, spices, preservatives, and other additives not fit for your adorable cavy.

Simply put, guinea pigs can eat strawberry jams and jelly, but please keep them away.

Virtually, any jelly or jam is harmful to the health of your piggy, irrespective of its fruit flavor.

How Often Can My Guinea Pig Eat Strawberries?

Guinea pigs love strawberries for their sweet taste. Since strawberries pack a lot of sugar, they work well when served once a day and at most three times a week.

To make your piggy enjoy them more, serve fruits as occasional treats. The portions should be small to avoid giving your pet guinea pig too much sugar.

two guinea pigs about to eat grape and strawberry

Do All Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?

Well, not all eat strawberries as every guinea pig is different.

And as much as guinea pigs eat strawberries with love, yours possibly won’t. It’s natural for your pig not to like strawberries.

Guinea pigs form their eating habits quite early in their lives, and some are more adverse to change than others.

If yours decides not to eat strawberries totally, try some other fruits suitable for guinea pigs.

What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs are true herbivores that originated from the forests of South America.

These tiny creatures eat an assortment of fruits, leaves, roots, and barks of various plants.

They prefer relatively rigid to chew foods with high fiber, moisture, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients.

While they’re not naturally prone to overeating, they do need to chew quite a bit to keep their teeth from growing out of control.

Guinea pig owners should feed the following foods to their piggies:

  • Good quality hay
    • Hay is the one thing your piggies will eat the most. They need it to keep the digestive system operating smoothly and to chew away its teeth.
    • An unlimited supply of Timothy hay or any low-calcium hay leaves your piggy happy all day long.
  • Fresh grass or fresh vegetables
    • Leafy greens make up the biggest part of your cavies’ daily salad. They should form 10% of the daily feed portion. These greens give good levels of vitamin C to your furry friends and help keep their teeth healthy.
  • Fresh portions of grass-based guinea pig pellets
    • For the love of your furry friend, go for the best quality pellets. Quality pellets have an abundance of vitamin C and other nutrients key to the health of guinea pigs.
    • Give fresh pellets daily, small portions at a time, in a clean bowl.
    • Please note that these commercial treats lose their vitamin C the more they stay in the open air; hence, put some fresh foods after every few hours.
  • Fruits
    • Piggies love fruits but don’t go overboard. While fruits are a good source of vitamin C, their high sugar levels aren’t good for your piggy.
    • Ideally, veggies should be fed regularly. Fruits should be occasional for your piggy.
  • Give fresh water in a clean bowl or water bottle. Change at least once a day (more often if you’re using a bowl instead of a bottle).
strawberries and a guinea pig: can guinea pigs eat strawberries?

Is It Healthy For a Guinea Pig to Eat Strawberries?

Here is an approximate nutritional value of a cup of strawberries:

  • 2 mg vitamin K
  • 6 mg iron
  • 220 mg potassium
  • 6 mcg folate
  • 8 mg/100g vitamin C
  • 1 mg vitamin B6
  • 6 mg manganese
  • 7 mg magnesium
  • 1 mg copper
  • 6 mg phosphorus
  • 16 mg/100g calcium
  • 5 mg/100g sugar
  • Fiber

Strawberries pack Vitamin C in colossal amounts, which serve to supplement your piggy’s daily 30 to 50 mg requirement.

Below are other benefits of strawberries to guinea pigs:

  • Calcium and phosphorus: Support proper bone formation and development, nervous system needs, and teeth growth.
  • Vitamins: Strawberries have several vitamins essential in the body of piggies. They boost the immune system to keep the body functioning correctly.
  • Fiber: Every digestive system requires fiber to work correctly without issues like constipation. Strawberries contain considerable amounts of fiber that maintain the gastrointestinal health of a cavy.
  • Sugar: Replenishes the blood sugar levels, but at a slow rate not to result in diseases like diabetes mellitus.
  • Antioxidants: It’s a scientific truth that strawberries contain beneficial amounts of antioxidants. That’s good news for your guinea pig, as these anti-inflammatory compounds keep free radicals in the body suppressed.

Are Too Many Strawberries Harmful To Guinea Pigs?

Strawberries contain a considerable amount of sugar and acids.

While humans can decide they have had enough, a guinea pig keeps munching for the love of the sweetness. And that’s where problems start.

Too much sugar will undoubtedly make your piggy obese and possibly result in other health problems such as diabetes.

And you guessed right, a bowlful of strawberries will pump a heck of a lot of sugar into a piggy’s body.

Another issue arises from the acidic nature of strawberries. Too much acid in the diet of a guinea pig will result in mouth sores and other diseases.

You don’t want your cavy not feeding for days as the sores heal.

Also, note that strawberries pack an astounding amount of calcium.

While that may sound like a benefit, as is often the case, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Calcium helps in bone and teeth formation, yes, but too much can cause kidney or bladder stones.

The bottom line, don’t overdo the strawberries.

fresh strawberries from a wooden basket

How Many Strawberries Should A Guinea Pig Eat?

We have seen the good and the bad of strawberries for guinea pigs. And the thin line separating the two is the amount you serve your cavy.

So, what is the right amount of strawberries for guinea pigs?

There is no magic number for all guinea pigs, but the general rule is to make green veggies and fruits 10% of the total food portion.

Veggies should make up the majority of that 10%, and strawberries shouldn’t be the only fruit.

The ten percent amount typically comes out to between a quarter and a half cup of fresh veggies and fruits combined, twice a day.

Depending on the number of other fruits in the combination, strawberries amount to half of a substantial-sized berry or one small berry.

Technically, 1-2 piggy-bite-sized strawberry is enough, with a frequency of at most twice a week.

But note the exact quantity depends on the precise food portion, as piggies eat different amounts depending on age, sex, health, and whether pregnant or lactating.

How to Correctly Feed Strawberries to Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs respond well to dietary changes while young but can also pick new favorites even at maturity.

Test to see if strawberries are your piggy’s cup of tea with a small piece first.

If she loves it, well, you have a chance to enjoy this superb fruit with your furry friend.

But still, you need to start small and gradually increase the amount as the pig gets used to it.

With every increment, observe signs of ill health or behavior change. Introduce new foods to your piggy one at a time.

That way, you can tell which one has adverse effects and withdraw immediately.

Make a point of consulting a small animal veterinarian in case of any negative health reaction.

Examples of adverse effect signs include diarrhea, anorexia, dehydration, and lethargy.

Also, before you feed your piggy some strawberries, clean thoroughly to remove dirt, pests, and insecticides.

Once you’re sure it’s safely clean, cut it into small bites on a clean chopping board. Mix with other veggies and fruit portions and serve in a clean bowl.

If your piggy hasn’t finished the ration within 12-24 hours of serving, dispose of it as it’s already lost its freshness.

Remember, your piggy may react to dirt on the strawberry rather than the berry itself. So, keen preparation, serving, and monitoring may make all the difference.

Are There Alternative Fruits to Strawberries for Guinea Pigs?

You can give other nutrient-packed fruits to piggies as alternatives or accompaniments to strawberries.

They include apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, grapefruit, mango, melons, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, and tangerines. Check our guide on “Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberries?

But always remember they are only for occasional feeding and not for daily serving.

Also, try giving small portions of various fruits, either together or one variety at a time.

When you feel generous and want to spoil your piggy with a bigger treat, go for sweet pepper.

You can give your piggy a more considerable portion than you would with fruits, as sweet peppers aren’t as sugary.

Guinea Pigs Feeding Tips

Here are some general feeding tips for your guinea pigs:

  • Guinea pigs are healthier with a diet low in fats and sugar.
  • The main part of guinea pig’s daily food portion should be hay and quality guinea pig pellets, actually, not less than 90% of the whole food amount.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables should only form 10% of the daily food portion you give your piggy.
  • Strawberries and other sweet fruits are best as occasional treats, served at most twice a week.
  • Food portion sizes should vary depending on the piggy’s age, sex, health, weight, and if pregnant or lactating. If unsure of the specific food requirement of your piggy, consult a veterinarian.
  • Ensure the safety of veggies and fruits by cleaning them thoroughly and serving on clean bowls daily.
  • Monitor pigs for habits change, droppings quantity and texture, or general signs of stress. If you notice any change in behavior like lying around the cage all day or droppings getting less and excessively soft, consult a vet immediately.
  • A piggy produces two types of dropping; hard, dry pellets and softer moist pellets. They eat the latter for dietary reasons.

Alternative Foods for Guinea Pigs

The significant similarity between guinea pigs and humans is that both can’t synthesize vitamin C within their bodies.

And we all know the deficiency of this vital vitamin results in scurvy. Luckily, vitamin C is abundant in fresh raw veggies and fruits.

Be careful, though, as some vegetables and fruits suitable for humans are very poisonous to cavies.

Take it upon yourself to gather enough information on every new food before introducing it to your piggy.

Apart from vitamin C supplements, you can feed the following foods to your piggy:

  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Potato
  • Cauliflower
  • Watercress
  • Artichoke
  • Romaine
  • Carrot and carrot tops
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Endive
  • Bell Pepper
  • Parsnip
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Summer Squash
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Beets and beet tops
  • Basil
  • Cucumber
  • Buttercrunch Lettuce
  • Bibb Lettuce
  • Escarole
  • Rocket
  • Green Beans
  • Zucchini
  • Pumpkin
  • Tomato
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bok Choy and Yu Choy

These foods serve as excellent sources of essential nutrients for guinea pigs. Piggies enjoy more when served with fresh food than from the refrigerator.

If possible, always wash all the green foods, and keep the feeding bowl sparkling clean. You don’t want a sick piggy from ingesting pesticides and other dirt.

Also, don’t let uneaten fruits or veggies stay for more than a day as bacteria quickly grow on such foods.

What Foods Are Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?

The foods below are poisonous to guinea pigs (the list isn’t exhaustive):

  • Anything that contains caffeine like chocolate
  • Processed food like biscuits, bread, chips, and crackers
  • Dairy products
  • Cereals
  • Avocadoes (the fleshy part is good)
  • Dried beans, corn, and peas. Check our guide “Is Corn Good for Guinea Pigs?”
  • Garlic
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb and its leaves
  • Sweet peas

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries FAQs

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Wild Strawberries?

Wild strawberries are as good as store-bought strawberries for your piggy. Guinea pigs can’t even tell the difference and will munch with love. But as the piggy owner, remember to clean thoroughly before giving wild berries or parts of strawberry plants to your lovely cavy. Cut the strawberries into small bite-sized pieces, and serve in a clean bowl.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cold Or Frozen Strawberries?

Guinea pigs can eat frozen or cold strawberries, but after you warm to room temperatures. But you should be very careful with frozen strawberries as they can cause severe digestion problems. Also, check if the thawed berries have molds before serving to your piggy. If possible, feed guinea pigs fresh strawberries always for their safety health-wise. Besides, fresh berries are tastier and more nutritious.

Can Too Many Strawberries Kill Guinea Pigs?

Vast amounts of strawberries won’t kill your piggy. But will overdose its body with vitamin C, calcium, and sugar. And that’s not good for your small friend. The immediate effects of too many strawberries include digestive system upsets, diarrhea, vomiting, and stress. The piggy will become diabetic and possibly have kidney stones.

Are Strawberry Leaves Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?

Strawberry leaves aren’t poisonous to guinea pigs. You should include them in the leafy greens portion of your piggy’s diet. However, don’t give too much of it and, if possible, mix it with other veggies. Other leaves suitable for guinea pigs include lettuce, celery, spinach, corn leaves, and cauliflower leaves.

What Can Guinea Pigs Eat Daily?

The main foods in a guinea pig’s diet are hay, grass-based commercial food products, and leafy greens. Keep the leafy greens at 10% and feed your piggy on daily basis with unlimited quality hay like the Timothy hay, barley hay, oat hay, or grass hay. But please note that not all hays are suitable for your piggy. Avoid serving high protein and high calcium hays like the clover or Lucerne hay.

Wrap Up

So, can guinea pigs eat strawberries? A big yes. You can feed strawberry fruits, leaves, tops, and even seeds to your piggy but in moderation.

If possible, serve freshly cut and well-ripened strawberries always, but as an occasional treat and not a meal on itself.

Ensure you thoroughly clean any fruit or vegetable before serving and maintain general hygiene in feeding and care.

It’s good to keep an eye for any signs of stress or health problems and consult a vet appropriately.

Follow the gradual introduction procedure while feeding new foods to your piggy.

Finally, feed your piggy a well-balanced diet and you’ll enjoy many years of companionship and entertainment.

 References:

  • Maaliki, Dina, Abdullah A Shaito, Gianfranco Pintus, Ahmed El-Yazbi, and Ali H Eid. 2019. “Flavonoids in Hypertension: A Brief Review of the Underlying Mechanisms.” Current Opinion in Pharmacology 45 (April): 57–65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coph.2019.04.014.
  • Niklas. 2019. “What and When to Feed a Guinea Pig.” Pocket Pet Central. June 17, 2019. https://pocketpetcentral.com/what-and-when-to-feed-a-guinea-pig/.
  • “Strawberries 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” 2019. Healthline. March 27, 2019. http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/strawberries.
  • “What Should I Feed My Guinea Pigs? – RSPCA Knowledgebase.” 2018. Rspca.org.au. November 9, 2018. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-should-i-feed-my-guinea-pigs/.
  • “WHO | Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption around the World.” 2005. Who.int, March. https://doi.org//entity/dietphysicalactivity/fruit/en.
two guinea pigs about to eat grape and strawberry

Can guinea pigs eat strawberries? Have you tried feeding your cavies strawberries?

Peter
Peter

Peter is an experienced freelance writer with a passion for helping others navigate new situations. When he’s not busy writing, he enjoys spending time with his cat.
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