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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cantaloupe Melon?

Guinea pigs are by far one of the most popular pocket pets out there. Who can resist feeding these sweet critters some sweet treats like juicy melon. But wait…. not all foods are safe for guinea pigs? Can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe melon?

Dr. Jess explains the answer below:

tricolor guinea pig head on with white background

What is a Guinea Pig?

A guinea pig is a type of pocket pet that resides in the cavie family of animals.

They are small animals that grow to a maximum of approximately 10-11 inches long, and can weigh up to 2.5 pounds as an adult.

In captivity and with proper care it is fairly common to see these pets live to 8-9 years of age.

One of their main anatomical (body) “quirks” is that they are constantly needing to chew in order to file their teeth down, as their teeth are constantly erupting (growing longer).

They are quite playful animals and love to socialize with the ones that they know and love.

They make great pets for responsible pet owners, and those living in small dwellings wanting a loveable pet that comes in a small package.

What Do Guinea Pigs Typically Eat?

These little buddies eat an assortment of things to keep them healthy and happy.

  • High-quality guinea pig food and Timothy hay should be the main staples of their diet.
  • Up to about 10% of their diet can be made up of an assortment of vegetables and fruits, with fruits and vegetables over 12-24 hours old being discarded as soon as possible.
  • They require 30 – 50 mg of vitamin C daily from their diet, either in their guinea pig food, a vitamin supplement, or from fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C. I’ll get to this more here in a sec…
  • Guinea pigs do best with diets low in fats and sugars.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water. ‘Fresh water‘ means that is is changed daily. ‘Changed daily‘ means that new water is placed into a CLEAN water dispenser!
red and white guinea pig on hardwood floor

Let’s Talk Cantaloupe Melon…

Cantaloupe is a type of melon and is also known as a muskmelon, sweet melon, rockmelon, or spanspek.

The North American Cantaloupe is a firm, round, orange-fleshed fruit with juicy inside and a thick tan to green-colored rind on the outside.

Cantaloupe Nutrition:

Vitamin C: Cantaloupe melon is full of vitamin C. Remember that guinea pigs have the need for supplemental vitamin C in their diet? We may be onto something here….

Vitamin C is one of the major players of helping to prevent a disease known as scurvy.

I completely agree with what Veterinary Partners writes about vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs…

“Like primates (including humans), guinea pigs do not produce their own vitamin C.  Vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, the symptoms of which include poor appetite, swollen, painful joints and ribs, reluctance to move, poor bone and teeth development, and spontaneous bleeding especially from the gums, into joints, and in muscle. If left untreated, this disease can be fatal especially to rapidly growing young and pregnant females. In addition, subclinical deficiencies often predispose animals to other diseases.”

https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951552

Let’s just say that vitamin C is extremely important for your piggy to have!

Cantaloupe has a high sugar content. Something to take note on and to keep in mind when feeding to guinea pigs!

It also contains a high percentage of water, which is great when looking to maintain hydration.

Fiber: Cantaloupe provides fiber which helps in constipation and improves gut motility. Too much though, can lead to too much gut motility… and that’s not a good thing either!

Antioxidants: Cantaloupe contains antioxidants which help prevent cellular damage in living things. Cell damage can lead to cancers and other health concerns that you would rather not deal with.

red and white guinea pig in grass

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cantaloupe Melon?

Well after learning about some of the health benefits and some of the risks that the consumption of cantaloupe brings with it , wouldn’t it be nice it you could just safely feed it to your piggy?

Well, you can…. in moderation.

That’s right, feeding a small amount of cantaloupe as a treat to your guinea pig on occasion is totally fine and they will likely LOVE you for it!

Mideration = A couple little cubes of cantaloupe is enough melon for one guinea pig.

In total, your guinea pig should have around 1/4 – 1/2 cup of fresh fruits and vegetables combined everyday, and no more than that.

If your pet does not eat all of their 1/4 – 1/2 cup of fruits and vegetables within 12-24 hours, then you need to dispose of it for them.

They will likely not eat it, and it will only sit in their cage and get old and eventually become unsafe to eat.

The rest of their diet, the other 90 or so percent, should be made up of guinea pig food and hay.

You should feed this amount no more than 2-3 times per week and no two days in a row.

How About Cantaloupe Seeds?

The seeds of a cantaloupe are slippery and slimy.

They are also the perfect size to get lodged in a guinea pig’s throat and cause them to choke.

Always remove any cantaloupe seeds prior to feeding the melon to your piggy.

Do NOT feed your pet cantaloupe seeds.

How To Feed Cantaloupe Melon to Guinea Pigs

How To Feed Cantaloupe Melon to Guinea Pigs

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Guinea pigs are by far one of the most popular pocket pets out there. Who can resist feeding these sweet critters some sweet treats like juicy melon. But wait.... not all foods are safe for guinea pigs? Can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe melon?

Materials

  • fresh melon

Tools

  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife

Instructions

    1. Make sure the cantaloupe melon is fresh and at room temperature.
    2. Cut the cantaloupe open and remove the seeds.
    3. Peel off the rind and discard it.
    4. Cut the melon up into small pieces of cantaloupe.
    5. Serve it to your guinea pig while still fresh and juicy!

Is Cantaloupe Melon Harmful to Guinea Pigs?

Yes, it can.

Remember that too much melon fed to these little buddies can give them side effects like an upset stomach, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

This can lead to a multitude of problems including things like dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that could impart a trip to the veterinary clinic for your pocket pet vet to fix.

Another issue is the rind…….

The thick rind needs to be cut away and not served to the pet or can become a hazard to them.

And then there are the seeds, a potential choking hazard in and of itself. Don’t feed melon seeds to your guinea pig.

Alternative Fruits For Guinea Pigs:

Wrap up:

So weigh the pros and cons of feeding melon to your pet before tossing them a sweet sweet snack, and if you do decide to give them a juicy treat, remember, it’s safe in moderation.

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Lyanna Soria

Friday 27th of March 2020

Quite an interesting post and learned something new about guinea pigs. Never had it as a pet before or thought of buying one but it's nice to know this info.

Dr. Jess

Thursday 2nd of April 2020

Glad you found this info helpful!

Elicit Folio

Friday 27th of March 2020

This was such an interesting article! I never thought about feeding cantaloupe to any of my pets! I will definitely save this for future reference.

Dr. Jess

Thursday 2nd of April 2020

Yes! Cantaloupe can be a yummy treat, but just not too much! ;)

the joyous living

Thursday 26th of March 2020

everything in moderation, right? i tried giving my dog raisins until i read it was poisonous. moderation. i used to have a guinea pig as a child who didn't do too much frankly but stink hehe. yours is very cute.

Dr. Jess

Thursday 2nd of April 2020

Yes, no raisins for your pup! And yes - some guinea pigs can be pretty lazy! :)

Stephen

Thursday 26th of March 2020

Very informative, I’ll keep this in mind if I ever get one

Dr. Jess

Thursday 2nd of April 2020

Hope this helped! :)

Heather

Thursday 26th of March 2020

Interesting! We don't have a guinea pig but it's always important to learn what your pet can and can't eat.

Dr. Jess

Friday 3rd of April 2020

Agreed! Safety over fun!

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