Can Guinea Pigs Eat Apples? What Are Their Health Benefits?

Can guinea pigs eat apples?

If you’re looking for answers, you’re about to find them.

I’ll take a look at whether apples belong on the list of guinea pig-safe foods or if you should avoid them at all costs.

So pet lovers, read on for the answers you seek!

Don’t forget to check our guide about poisonous foods for guinea pigs too!

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Apples?

a cute guinea pig with two red apples in front. can guinea pigs eat apples?

Guinea pigs can safely eat the many types of apples available; they are not toxic and present no immediate risk of harm.

As with many fresh fruits and veggies, moderation is key. Too much apple can lead to health problems for your cavy.

The main reason for this is the relatively high amount of sugar in apples.

We’ll touch on that in more detail later…

So, I’ve told you that you shouldn’t feed your guinea pig too much apple. I suppose it would be helpful if I explained what too much is.

How much apple can you give your guinea pig

two guinea pigs sharing for one apple

While a small amount of fresh apple will help add some variety and additional nutrients to your guinea pig’s diet, too much can be harmful.

Veterinarian Dr. Edele Grey recommends that a good portion size for cavies is 1/2 a cup of apple, chopped into manageable chunks. 

She suggests that one serving a week is the absolute maximum, with one every two weeks being a more moderate approach to giving healthy occasional treats.

Can guinea pigs eat apples? Yes, but an entire apple is definitely off the menu!

I’ve answered the question can guinea pigs eat apples, and looked a how much is suitable to give them. But what about apple peel, core, and skin?

I’ll cover that now…

Can guinea pigs eat apple peel?

guinea pig seating on top of a red apple

Your guinea pig can safely enjoy apple skin/peel. There’s no need to remove the skin before feeding.

In fact, this part of the apple offers unique benefits in terms of nutrition and enrichment.

While some people prefer to remove fruit and vegetable peel, registered dietician Alina Petre has written that peels are rich in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.

An unpeeled apple contains 115% more vitamin C and 20% more calcium than a peeled one. 

The fiber and antioxidants in the peel also offer additional health benefits to help your guinea pig stay healthy.

More on those coming up…

If you decide to feed your guinea pig an unpeeled apple treat, ensure you rinse the skin thoroughly first.

While not 100% effective, rinsing an apple in clean water will help remove any pesticide residue or other dirt from the skin before consumption.

As an aside, not all fruit and vegetable peels are edible. Oranges are one such example.

Can guinea pigs eat apple seeds?

There are mixed views when it comes to the matter of seeds.

They aren’t outright dangerous for your cavy, but they have the potential to do some harm if eaten in greater quantity.

Those who suggest not feeding seeds cite the fact that they contain a chemical called amygdalin, which can turn into cyanide when digested.

While this is true, those who say seeds are safe point out that your guinea pig would have to eat lots of seeds to produce harmful concentrations of cyanide.

a cute cavy eating a green leaf and green apples

Your cavy won’t see any benefit from eating apple seeds, but at the same time, they won’t harm her either. 

Based on the above, I would make an effort to remove any seeds when preparing apple for my guinea pig.

At the same time, I wouldn’t lose any sleep if one or two slipped the net.

Can guinea pigs eat apple cores?

a happy guinea pig with red apple and apple cores: can guinea pigs eat apple cores too?

Yes, guinea pigs can eat apple cores. 

While you might normally discard the apple core, it can be an enriching and physically stimulating treat for your cavy.

As the core is slightly tougher and more fibrous than the rest of the apple’s flesh, it can help give your cavy’s teeth a workout.

While the core is no different in terms of nutritional value, the distinct texture adds some tactile interest to your piggy’s diet. 

After reading the section above, you may want to consider removing the seeds from any cores you decide to give to your cavy.

Health benefits of feeding your guinea pig apple

Vitamin C

According to the USDA, apples contain 4.6 mg of vitamin C per 100 g.

While nowhere near as much as you would find in 100 g of orange, it still counts towards your cavy’s 10-50 mg daily vitamin C requirement.

Meeting this daily requirement is vital as guinea pigs are unable to produce vitamin C. They rely entirely on dietary sources of this essential vitamin.

Vitamin C plays a significant role in many bodily functions, including maintaining skin and joints and the healing of wounds.

Extreme vitamin C deficiency can lead to your cavy suffering from a condition called scurvy.

While apple boosts levels of vitamin C to your cavy’s diet, guinea pig food and supplements are the preferred primary source of vitamins.

Fiber

Apples contain 2.4 g of dietary fiber per 100 g. That’s about the same as is found in a banana. Check our in-depth guide answering “Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bananas?”

Fiber plays an essential role in flushing toxins and small particles of undigested food from your guinea pig’s digestive tract.

It helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly and maintains the balance of good bacteria.

Food containing fiber is also helpful in maintaining your cavy’s dental health.

It’s always great to include fiber-rich snacks in your guinea pig’s diet, but their primary source of dietary fiber should always be hay and pellets.

Hydration

Apples are super juicy and succulent because they are full of water. To be more precise, water accounts for 85% of an apple’s nutrient profile.

If you think that’s impressive, celery is 95% water. It’s ok to feed guinea pigs celery, but only in moderation.

It’s essential to keep your cavy hydrated, and water-rich treats can help you to do just that.

Naturally, apples are no substitute for a water bottle, and your piggy should always have access to as much fresh, clean water as she wants.

Guinea pigs and apples – The risks  

Obesity

Left to their own devices, guinea pigs will eat more treats than they should. That’s why it’s important to follow veterinary feeding advice, as I’ve included above.

Just like humans and many other animals, if cavies overeat, they will become obese. This puts them at risk of a variety of obesity-related health issues.

More on that in a moment…

Hay and pellets should form the majority of a cavy’s complete diet, with fruit and veg snacks given sparingly for additional nutrients and variety. 

Diabetes

It’s the 10 g of sugar per 100 g that gives apples their sweet taste. Sadly, excessive sugar can also be damaging to a cavy’s health.

Diabetes, poor digestion, and diarrhea can all result from too much sugar in your guinea pig’s diet.

You can reverse these conditions through an improved, healthier diet, but prevention is always better than cure. 

Secondary risks

As I mentioned earlier, if your cavy consumes too many apple seeds, there is a risk of cyanide poisoning.

A more everyday possibility is that seeds could be a choking hazard.

If you’re giving guinea pigs apples with the skin on, there is a risk of pesticides and other contaminants being present. Always be sure to wash them thoroughly before feeding.

FAQS

How much apple can I give my guinea pig?

Vets recommend limiting apple treats to half a cup of chopped apple once a week. Once every two weeks would be preferable in the interest of moderation. Exceeding this amount risks obesity and linked diseases due to excess sugar intake.

Can guinea pigs eat apple sauce?

Apple sauce is not toxic or directly harmful to guinea pigs, and technically they can eat it. However, apple sauce has a very high sugar content which is highly unhealthy for cavies. Offer a small amount of chopped apple instead.

Conclusion

Can guinea pigs eat apples? That was the question I set out to answer in this article.

You learned that while apples are not immediately toxic to guinea pigs, they still pose some health risks and should be fed in moderation.

Apples are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants which count towards your cavy’s requirements.

But, they are also high in sugar which makes them more calorific than other alternatives veggies and fruits. Excess sugar has the potential to cause obesity, diarrhea, and diabetes.

Vets recommend limiting your cavy’s apple treats to no more than 1/2 a cup of chopped apple once a week.

Include the peel and core but remove the seeds to be extra safe. That strikes a good balance and allows your cavy to enjoy the nutritional benefits of apple.

Remember, your cavy should get the majority of her daily nutrition from hay and guinea pig pellets.

Thank you for being a responsible pet owner; taking the time to research before feeding ensures your pet’s safety.

Thanks for reading! 

References

  • Hughes, E 2021, Can Guinea Pigs Eat Apple?, FeedingMyPet, viewed 7 June 2021, <https://www.feedingmypet.com/can-guinea-pigs-eat-apple/#feedingguidelines>.
  • Petrie, A (MS RD) 2017, Should you peel your fruits and vegetables?, Healthline, viewed 7 June 2021, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/peeling-fruits-veggies>.
  • Petruzzello, M n.d., Can Apple Seeds Kill You?, Britannica, viewed 7 June 2021, <https://www.britannica.com/story/can-apple-seeds-kill-you>.
  • Apple Raw 2020, U.S. Department of Agriculture, viewed 7 June 2021,<https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1102644/nutrients>.
  • Hess, L (DVM) n.d., Feeding Guinea Pigs, VCA Hospitals, viewed 7 June 2021, <https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/guinea-pigs-feeding>.
  • Herbert, J DVM n.d., Nutrition for Guinea Pig, Centre Vétérinaire Laval, viewed 2 June 2021, <https://cvlaval.com/en/exotic-services/fact-sheet/nutrition-guinea-pig.html>.
a black and white cavy surrounded by green apples but can guinea pigs eat apples?

Can guinea pigs eat apples? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Barry Stingmore
Barry Stingmore

Barry Stingmore is a British content writer living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats and has a passion for writing about animals big and small.

Barry loves finding answers to your animal-related questions, the more research involved the better! You can rely on him to find the facts.

13 thoughts on “Can Guinea Pigs Eat Apples? What Are Their Health Benefits?”

  1. Seems they really love apples but I could see where too much would cause them to gain weight. I love their little squeaks.

    Reply
  2. My little cavy is up for a jolly ride with some apples then. Glad that I can shop for some fruits for her alongside mine

    Reply
  3. This is always good to know. It is nice that you explained this well too. It’s always nice to know what animals can and can’t have.

    Reply
  4. Oh wow, you explained everything so well! I have seen my friend feeding apples to his guinea pigs, but didn’t notice if those were seeds free or not! I’ll share the info with him.

    Reply
  5. I have always loved guinea pigs since I was a kid. I had no idea what kind of treats they liked to eat. Lots of great info here!

    Reply

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