Guinea pigs are by far one of the most popular pocket pets. Who can resist feeding these cute furry friends some sweet treats like juicy pineapple? But not all human foods are safe for guinea pigs. Can guinea pigs eat pineapple?
Dr. Jess explains the answer below:
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 – 10 years of age.
One of their main anatomical (body) “quirks” is that they are constantly needing to chew in order to file down their teeth, 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?
Guinea Pigs 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!
Let’s Talk Pineapples…
Pineapples are a type of tropical fruit with a unique shape and are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants.
They have a lot of health benefits for many, a sweet juicy fruit, and a popular shape that represents “welcome” to many.
Pineapple has quite a few health benefits, one of which is it’s high vitamin C content which can help promote a strong immune system, helping to fight infections and inflammation to support strong and healthy body functions.
Guinea pigs do not synthesize (make) their own vitamin C so they must get it from their diet to prevent called scurvy.
Many guinea pig foods have added vitamin C to supplement the guinea pig’s need for the vitamin.
Many cavy owners feed a variety of fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C to ensure that their little friend is getting enough of this important vitamin in their diet.
Because pineapple is high in vitamin C, many guinea pig owners ask if they can serve their piggie the delicious juicy fruit to support the lack of vitamin C in their little buddies’ diet.
Pineapple has a high amount of sugar – increasing the chances of your pet gaining weight which only adds additional health worries to the guinea pig owner’s plate.
Pineapple is also rich in potassium and low in sodium and calcium, which can be important when we discuss the guinea pig and safety with pineapple below.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pineapple?
Well after learning about some of the health benefits and some of the risks that the consumption of pineapple brings with it, wouldn’t it be nice it you could just safely feed it to your piggy?
Well, you can…. in moderation. This means – in SMALL amounts.
That’s right, feeding a small amount of pineapple as a treat to your guinea pig on occasion is totally fine and they will likely LOVE you for it!
Moderation = A couple little cubes of pineapple is enough pineapple 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.
And that 1/4 – 1/2 cup should not consists solely of pineapple!
If your piggy does not eat the pineapple, 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, should be made up of guinea pig food and hay.
You should feed this amount no more than 1-2 times per week and no two days in a row.
How About Pineapple Skin or Leaves?
The leaves and tough skin of the pineapple can be harsh and difficult to break down for your guinea pig and should not be offered to them.
These also can be a choking hazard so do not try it!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned or Dried Pineapple?
No – only serve your guinea pig fresh, ripe pineapple!
How To Feed Pineapple To Guinea Pigs:
Some Guinea Pigs will love the taste of pineapple and other piggies will find the flavor too strong and may not be willing to eat it when put out in front of them.
- 1 fresh pineapple from the grocery store
- cutting board
- kitchen knife
- Make sure the pineapple is fresh and at room temperature.
- Cut the pineapple top off and cut down the middle Remove the hard core with your kitchen knife.
- Cut away the tough skin with your kitchen knife and discard of it.
- Cut the pineapple up into small pieces about 1/2 - 1" cubes or mash it up with a potato masher or use a food processor to turn it into the consistency of applesauce.
- Serve it to your guinea pig while still fresh and juicy!
You can serve fresh pineapple in small cubes or mashed, to your guinea pig.
How Much Pineapple To Serve To Guinea Pigs?
You should serve no more than 1 – 2 small bite-sized pieces of pineapple to your guinea pig a day and no more than around twice a week.
Those few times a week also need to be spaced out – no two days in a row!
Is Pineapple Harmful To Guinea Pigs?
Yes, it can be harmful if not prepared, served, and monitored appropriately.
Remember that too much pineapple fed to guinea pigs can led to some negative side effects like upset stomach and GI tract, 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.
Also remember that pineapple is high in sugar – sugar is one of those items to limit in the guinea pig diet, espcially if your pig has metabolic issues or diabetes.
Due to the high acidic content from the natural acids in the pineapple, you will want to limit the amount of this fruit given to your pet to prevent mouth sores.
ALTERNATIVE FRUITS FOR GUINEA PIGS:
- Butternut Squash
So weigh the pros and cons of feeding pineapple 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.
If you have any questions or concerns with feeding your guinea pig pineapple, contact your veterinarian before attempting to feed it to your beloved pet.