Can guinea pigs eat watermelon?
Is it safe for them, and in what quantity?
Is it beneficial for them in terms of nutrition or does it pose hazardous health threats?
We’ll answer all of these questions and more below, so let’s dive in!
READ MORE: What Vegetables Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Watermelon?
As the summer is approaching and as you enrich your daily diet with watermelon keeping in mind the health benefits above, won’t it be a delightful treat to the eyes to see your lovely little pets munch on it too to keep you company? But can guinea pigs eat watermelon?
Short answer? Yes. However, due to the high sugar content, it falls into the “occasional treat” category.
Let’s take a look at the nutrition content and more to understand how to SAFELY feed your cavy this tasty summer treat.
Watermelon is a rich source of Vitamin C, fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Thiamine. Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and a variety of Carotenoids according to the USDA.
|Total lipid (g)||0.15|
|Carbohydrate by difference (g)||7.55|
|Total fiber (g)||0.4|
Is Watermelon Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Again, short answer, yes…but with caveats. Let’s look at how to safely feed your cavy watermelon.
Is it Healthy?
Just like humans, watermelon has numerous health benefits for the guinea pig as well.
It is not only a perfect source of hydration during the heat of the day but also provides Calcium, Potassium, anti-oxidants, Ascorbic acid, Retinol, Niacin, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Thiamine, all of which are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
It is enriched with Vitamin C, which is not naturally synthesized by the guinea pig just like humans and it has to rely on diet and supplements to acquire it.
It not only is a strong anti-oxidant but is also required for collagen production which is the main component of connective tissue and cartilage, hence its deficiency can cause scurvy.
The high amount of fiber in the flesh, as well as the rind of the fruit, keep the gut healthy and mobile.
Watermelon’s Rind – Safe or Not?
Can guinea pigs eat watermelon rind? Watermelon rind is not edible so we simply throw it away, but in the case of a guinea pig, it most certainly is.
Cavies not only absolutely love to chew on it to chisel their teeth but it also provides adequate amounts of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin A.
Now that’s something we call “Catching two birds with one stone.” An added benefit of the rind is low sugar content as compared to the flesh, thereby reducing the risk of sugar overload.
Here is a video demonstrating the benefits of feeding watermelon rind to your piggy pets.
Don’t forget to also check our guide about “Can Guinea Pigs Have Strawberries?”
How much watermelon can guinea pigs eat?
As the adage goes, “Excess of everything is bad”, although being loaded with nutrients and flavors, excess amount of watermelon, like all the other good things in life, is harmful.
The fleshy part of a watermelon is considerably high in sugar content.
In one cup, there are around 9.42 grams of sugar. Moreover, the glycemic index of watermelon is 80 which is fairly high.
This feature makes it a health risk for the guinea pigs if given in excess amount, so its consumption should be restricted to about a two-inch cube of the fruit along with the rind, only once or twice a week.
Safety Measures When Feeding Watermelon to Guinea Pigs
Well yes! Being a nutrient-rich fruit with an additional quality of being a source of hydration, watermelon is safe for the guinea pigs if certain safety measures are taken to prevent any mishaps.
Remove the Seeds
It has to be kept in mind that while feeding them, all the seeds must be carefully removed as they might choke on them leading to a respiratory obstruction that can lead to a life-threatening situation.
Wash Properly before Serving
Make sure that the watermelon has been thoroughly washed to remove any remnants of wax and pesticides on its surface which are used for preserving and preventing pest infestation and rotting.
These chemicals can be toxic to the pet depending on their amount and concentration.
Moreover, it is advised to serve it at room temperature as cold foods can cause gastrointestinal problems in the guinea pigs.
As explained earlier, offering your pet watermelon in excess can do more harm than good, it can cause an upset stomach, bloating and hyperglycemia.
Diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte loss which can make the guinea pig dizzy, lazy, and irritable and can even alter its conscious state in severe conditions.
Over-feeding of the rind can cause Kidney and bladder stones and Urinary Tract infections which present with burning micturition and blood in the urine.
But it is not something to be sad about. If you make it a rare treat, your guinea pig will not get fed up with it and will enjoy it more when you offer it once in a while.
Besides, you can choose from a variety of other tasty fruits like grapes, apples, mangoes, raspberries, kiwi, oranges, pears, and plums during the rest of the week for savory of their taste buds while fulfilling their nutritional requirements.
RELATED: Can Guinea Pigs Eat White Cabbage?
Why do guinea pigs need an external source of vitamin C?
They are not able to synthesize it naturally in their bodies, much like humans, due to which its requirement has to be met externally through diet and vitamin C pet supplements to prevent its deficiency, which can result in a connective tissue associated disease called Scurvy.
What are the nutrients present in a watermelon?
Other than having a high water content, it is also rich in nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Thiamine, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Carotenoids.
What are the health benefits of watermelon?
Owing to the richness in nutrients mentioned before, it has various health benefits, for example, it aids in digestion, prevents the signs of aging, has anti-inflammatory properties, keeps the body hydrated, and helps to flush out toxins from the body through kidneys.
Is watermelon healthy for guinea pigs as well?
Being rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and other nutritious components mentioned above, it is healthy for guinea pigs just like it is for humans, but its consumption should not exceed the recommended amount to maximize its benefits.
What are the precautionary measures that must be taken while feeding watermelon to guinea pigs?
It should be properly washed with water to remove the chemicals on its surface, all the seeds should be carefully removed to prevent choking hazards, its temperature should not be too low to avoid GI upset, and last but not the least, it must be given in restricted amount (Not more than a two-inch cube once or twice a week) because it has high sugar content.
Is the rind of the watermelon toxic for guinea pigs?
No, the rind is perfectly safe for the guinea pigs to be consumed, in fact, it is more healthy as compared to the fleshy part since it has low glucose content and is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and fiber.
Why is it important to properly remove seeds of the watermelon before feeding it to guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs can choke on watermelon seeds while eating, leading to respiratory issues which can prove to be fatal. Proper care must be taken while removing the seeds before serving them.
In a nutshell, watermelon is a very nutritious and delicious fruit that is loaded with Vitamins and minerals for humans as well as guinea pigs.
Its primary content is water which keeps the body well-hydrated during the hot summers.
It is also rich in Vitamin C, which is a primary requirement in a guinea pig’s diet as it is not produced naturally in its body.
It has numerous health benefits making it an ideal fruit snack to be introduced into the daily diet this season.
However, there are a few precautionary measures that must be taken while feeding it to your guinea pig to prevent its probable hazardous effects, as outlined above.
By being mindful while feeding your pets, the health benefits of watermelon can be maximally utilized without putting the safety of your guinea pig at risk.
- Bjornebo, Heather. 2016. “VITAMIN c RECOMMENDATIONS for GUINEA PIGS | Arizona Exotics | -Guinea Pigs Resources.” Azeah.com. August 14, 2016. https://azeah.com/guinea-pigs/vitamin-c-recommendations-guinea-pigs.
- Jess, Dr. 2020. “How to Serve Watermelon to Guinea Pigs.” Vet Explains Pets. October 5, 2020. https://vetexplainspets.com/can-guinea-pigs-eat-watermelon/.
- Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD. 2018. “Top 9 Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon.” Healthline. Healthline Media. August 9, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/watermelon-health-benefits#:~:text=Top%209%20Health%20Benefits%20of%20Eating%20Watermelon.%201,Lifestyle%20factors%2C%20including%20diet%2C%20may%20…%20More%20items.
Can guinea pigs eat watermelon? What are your thoughts about it? Please share below!
Deanna is a passionate animal lover. She is the mom of several guinea pigs and sugar gliders.