I recently adopted several new guinea pigs, and in an attempt to find out what kind of diet they like, I decided to research whether guinea pigs can eat blueberries.
So, can guinea pigs eat blueberries?
Yes, Guinea pigs can eat blueberries, and in fact they love them, but you should always give them in moderation.
Up to 3 blueberries per guinea pig is ideal as an occasional treat, but shouldn’t be given too often because of the high sugar levels.
Always make sure they’re washed thoroughly too.
Giving your guinea pigs a varied diet that is full of nutritional fruit and veg is really important in order for them to stay healthy.
While I was researching guinea pig diets I found out the most important staples, and the best food to give them as treats. Read on to find out more.
Feeding Your Guinea Pigs Blueberries
After giving my guinea pigs blueberries I discovered that they absolutely love them.
I imagine they’d eat them every day if they could, but you should avoid this because too much fruit isn’t good for your little pets.
Guinea pigs are unusual animals because they need a varied diet, but are also very sensitive to too much of one thing.
You should aim to give your guinea pigs blueberries only as an occasional treat. I give mine blueberries maybe twice a week, depending on what fruit I have lying around the house.
I’d recommend this as an acceptable amount, but at absolute maximum you should give them blueberries three times a week.
If you do, make sure you give them fewer blueberries each time.
When it comes to the correct amount of blueberries to feed your guinea pigs, there isn’t a hard and fast answer.
However, after doing some research, I found that between one and three blueberries per guinea pig is a good amount.
Obviously if you have more than one guinea pig you should try to make sure they’re shared fairly, otherwise one might eat all of them.
The reason you don’t want to give your guinea pigs too much fruit is mainly because of the sugar levels.
A guinea pig’s natural diet isn’t very high in sugar, because they mainly eat grass and leaves, so too much fruit can give them digestive problems. Much like with humans, too much fruit can result in diarrhea and stomach issues.
Not only is this unpleasant for the guinea pig, it’s unpleasant for whoever has to clean up after them!
Another big issue when it comes to blueberries is that they’re quite acidic for such little animals.
While this won’t really be a massive problem if you only give them a few every now and then, too many blueberries can lead to sore mouths and gums, which is something else you don’t really want to have to deal with.
As with all fruit that you intend to feed your guinea pigs, make sure you wash the blueberries properly first.
Most fruit is sprayed with pesticides, and might even be treated to make it last longer. Obviously, these chemicals aren’t particularly healthy for humans, but we’re big enough for them to not have much of an effect.
Guinea pigs, on the other hand, are very small, and even minute levels of these chemicals can prove toxic.
Run the blueberries under water for a good 30 seconds, and then cut them in half.
The Best Foods To Give Your Guinea Pigs As Treats
There are plenty of kinds of fruit and veg that you can feed your guinea pigs, but some are much better than others.
For example, most people assume that guinea pigs love lettuce. While this isn’t necessarily a lie, some kinds (such as iceberg) can do more harm than good, so it’s best to stick to kinds like romaine, which have a lower water content.
Other leafy vegetables that are ideal for guinea pigs are things like cabbage, and cornhusks.
Cabbage is great, but should only be given occasionally because, like humans, it can give guinea pigs really bad gas.
Cornhusks, however, are great because they’re full of fiber, and contain plenty of vitamin C.
Woody vegetables, such as carrot, parsnip, beetroot, and asparagus are all good choices for guinea pigs, but parsnips are the only ones you can give on a regular basis.
All the other vegetables either have high levels of sugar, which leads to dental problems, or contain high levels of calcium.
While this isn’t necessarily a problem on its own, it can lead to kidney stones if they’re given too frequently.
Fruit is another good choice, but should be given less often than vegetables. This is simply because fruit is much higher in naturally occurring sugar, which isn’t really what guinea pigs need in their diet.
However, plenty of fruit is high in vitamin C, which guinea pigs need because they can’t naturally produce their own.
Fruit should be given maybe once or twice a week, whereas good vegetables, such as parsnip, can be given four/five times a week.
The Staples Of A Good Guinea Pig Diet
Guinea pigs, much like rabbits, need loads of fiber in their diet. If they don’t have enough, they can end up with severe digestive issues, which can even be fatal.
Similarly, as I mentioned earlier, guinea pigs need plenty of vitamin C in their diets, and can develop scurvy if they don’t get enough.
The most important staple of a guinea pig’s diet is hay, or grass.
This should make up the largest part of their diet, and will provide enough fiber for them to stay healthy.
Also, it gives them something to grind their teeth on, which never stop growing.
You should use a good quality hay designed for eating, such as alfalfa hay. This can be bought in most pet stores, and is designed for rabbits and guinea pigs.
In the summer, there’s nothing stopping you from putting you pets on your lawn, but avoid doing this in winter because the grass has no nutritional value then.
This should then be supplemented with a high quality guinea pig feed, which often comes as pellets.
Most brands will have added vitamin C, but check this before you buy. Also, make sure the food is for guinea pigs, as rabbit food will have different nutritional values.
If the food doesn’t have added vitamin C, consider getting drops to put in their water.
Why You Need To Avoid Veg That’s High In Calcium
Guinea pigs are surprisingly sensitive to digestive problems.
While I don’t know the reason for this, what I do know is that there are some foods you should avoid giving too frequently. One of the biggest groups is food that is high in calcium.
Calcium is fundamental to any invertebrate’s diet, because it’s needed to keep bones healthy.
However, too much calcium can lead to crystals forming in a guinea pig’s urinary tract (bladder, kidneys, etc.), which can lead to painful calcium stones.
Oxalate acid is a compound found in leafy vegetables, and it binds with the calcium to form bladder stones.
These are painful and difficult to get rid of, so you should avoid the problem happening in the first place.
The best advice I can give is to keep their diet varied. A diet that’s too heavy in hay or pellets can lead to a buildup of calcium, and a diet too high in vegetables can lead to a buildup of oxalate acid.
Therefore, you should balance these elements properly to keep your guinea pigs healthy.
Another word of advice is to make sure their diet contains more calcium than phosphorous; otherwise they can develop phosphorous stones instead.
This is another element found in fruit and veg, but is usually present in smaller quantities than calcium.
While this all might sound very technical, and potentially scary, you don’t need to be worried.
Intake levels of vitamins and minerals are really easy to control providing you know what your guinea pigs are eating. Just make sure you keep a mental note of how often they have treats.
I’ve found from my research on whether guinea pigs can eat blueberries that, while it’s nice to give them fruit, it should always be done in moderation.
Guinea pigs are more sensitive to the sugar levels, and it’s worth remembering that they can’t brush their teeth like we can!
Just make sure you only give them fruit as a treat 2-3 times a week, and keep it varied. After all, no one likes the same thing every day!
What can guinea pigs eat everyday? The best things to give your guinea pigs on a daily basis are hay and pellets. You can realistically give them a different kind of fruit or veg every day, but make sure you keep it varied, and don’t overfeed.
Why do guinea pigs poop so much? The main reason guinea pigs poop so much is because of how their digestive system is designed. As herbivores, they need to eat large quantities of food to get the right nutrition from it, and this means they do lots of poops. Not only that, but they eat the first round of poop to get more nutrition from it!
What is a guinea pig’s favorite food? While this will be different for every guinea pig, firm favorites include dandelion leaves, strawberries, cornhusks, carrots, and fresh grass if they don’t have regular access to it.