Guinea pigs are one of the most loveable of all pocket pets. As adorable as they are, it is pretty easy to want to give them all the delicious human foods we enjoy, like juicy grapes! However, many human foods are not safe for cavies to eat. So, can guinea pigs have grapes?
Dr. Jess will answer all the details of this question below:
Find out if guinea pigs can have cantaloupe too!
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 Usually 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!
What Are Grapes?
Grapes are a type of berry, which is a fruit, that grow typically in clusters on vines.
They come in all different sizes, colors, shapes, and tastes.
There are over 8,000 varieties of grapes grown across the world.
Types of Grapes:
There are cultivated and wild grapes. Cultivated grapes are grown commercially, the source of many store-bought grapes.
Grapes can contain seeds or be seedless, be green all the way to dark red in color, and have thin to extremely thick skins.
Some grapes are used to make wines, while others, like table grapes, are to be eaten while fresh and tight, while others are dried and turned into raisins.
Grapes are a good source of potassium and fiber, and a source of multiple different vitamins, including vitamin C.
According to Medical News Today, grapes can do some pretty wonderful things:
“The nutrients in grapes offer a number of possible health benefits. They have been associated with prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and constipation.”https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271156
Grapes have high water and high fructose (sugar) content.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Grapes?
Yes they definitely do!
The reason why birds love grapes is because of the incredibly sweet taste from their high content of fructose (sugar).
Grapes are like candy to birds!
But grapes can be toxic to some pets, like dogs. Are they toxic to guinea pigs?
Are Grapes Good For Guinea Pigs?
Grapes contain vitamin C which guinea pigs need added to their diets, through feeds and vitamin C supplements, to make sure that they receive adequate levels, helping to prevent health problems like scurvy (disease that occurs due to low levels of vitamin C).
As always, I highly recommend consulting with your local veterinarian before adding any new foods into your guinea pig’s diet, even treats. The best time to do this is when your pet is at the veterinary clinic getting their routine checkups!
How To Serve Grapes To Your Guinea Pig:
- 1-2 Store-bought and cleaned seedless grapes
- cutting board
- kitchen cutting knife
- Clean the grape's exterior thoroughly or peel the skin off of the grape.
- Simply slice the grape in half or into quarters, right down the middle, exposing the seed or seeds.
- Then gently remove the seeds from the center part of each grape with your fingers or the knife that you used to slice the grape with.
Make sure to introduce any new foods, including grapes, to your guinea pig slowly and in small bite-sized amounts.
If your furry friend shows any signs of digestive discomfort, loose stool, diarrhea, or decreased appetite, stop feeding them grapes immediately and contact your local veterinarian.
Can Grapes Be Bad For Guinea Pigs?
Some grapes can have pesticides on them that can severely harm or even kill your cavy.
It is incredibly important to thoroughly wash all produce, including grapes, before offering it to your pet.
Grapes with seeds can be seen as a choking hazard, so always feed your piggie a seedless variety.
Another option is to buy the grapes with seeds and then manually remove the seeds before giving it to your furry friend.
Besides the choking hazard, grapes can be dangerous to pets if they contain parasites or certain harmful microorganisms, making the pet sick after ingestion (eating).
But just as it’s not good for us to have too much sugar, neither is it a good idea to give loads of sugar to your piggie. So too many grapes could mean detrimental effects to your buddy. Feed grapes in moderation!
So yes, consuming grapes has its risks.
How Many Grapes Can Guinea Pigs Have?
Grapes are best reserved as a special treat for your furry friend.
Why? Because The amount of sugar involved in this sweet fruit.
Remember that grapes contain a high amount of sugar, something that you need to monitor closely in your guinea pig, espcially if they are overweight.
Therefore it is important to not overfeed grapes to your pet.
A limit of 1-2 grapes, offered to your guinea pig properly (more on that in a second!), is all that should be given at one time.
Feeding Young Guinea Pigs:
If you are feeding a young guinea pig grapes make sure to introduce the grape slowly, making sure that they don’t show signs of stomach upset or distress.
Notice I said grape… not grapes.
Young cavies should not have more than 1 grape every few days or so.
How Often Should Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes?
Your guinea pig can have a grape or two as a snack one to two days a week.
These days should never be back-to-back. In fact, the days should be spread out a few days apart from one another.
Can They Eat Grapes With Seeds?
Grape seeds tend to be small, rounded, and slippery.
Sounds like a recipe for a choking hazard, right?!?
If you are going to be feeding your pet grapes with seeds, you need to remove the seeds first before giving the grape pieces to your cavy.
Simply slice the grape in half or into quarters, right down the middle, exposing the seed or seeds. Then gently remove the seeds from the center part of each grape with your fingers or the knife that you used to slice the grape with.
Can Piggies Eat Grape Vines and Leaves?
You can leave the odd stem on a grape when you serve them to a guinea pig, as it just becomes another source of roughage for them. I would stay away from feeding the grape vines and leaves to your guinea pig.
Grape Varieties Guinea Pigs Can Eat:
Guinea pigs can eat green grapes.
Green grapes have the highest sugar content of the grapes mentioned in this section.
Guinea pigs can eat red grapes.
Red grapes have less sugar than green grapes and have more antioxidant properties as well.
Guinea pigs can eat purple grapes.
Purple grapes have less sugar than green grapes too and they also have more antioxidant properties than green grapes.
Raisins and Prunes:
Raisins are dried grapes and are higher in sugar content. This higher sugar level can pose a multitude of health problems if fed in large amounts.
Too many raisins in one sitting may cause digestive discomfort or diarrhea, or worse, like diabetes or weight gain.
Raisins have an even higher concentration of sugar than grapes do – dried fruit versus fresh fruit.
Make sure that if you are feeding your pet raisins, that they are not coated in either chocolate or yogurt, two things that are dangerous for guinea pigs to ingest.
And how many raisins should you feed your cavy at one time? No more than 1 raisin – they are full of sugar!
Fruit Alternatives For Guinea Pigs:
- Butternut Squash
Your cute little guinea pig deserves the best – best home, best health, and best treats. Treating your pet to some of your favorite snacks, likes grapes, is just fine as long as those store-bought grapes are cleaned and prepared properly, served correctly (correct amounts and correct pacing), and only to healthy piggies.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your local vet before feeding grapes to your buddy.
Have pet birds too? Find out if they can share grapes as a snack with your piggies!