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Home > General > Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blackberries? Our Vet Answers

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blackberries? Our Vet Answers

Can Guinea Pigs Eat_blackberries

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Dr. Luqman Javed

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Blackberries are often perceived to be a “superfood” for humans. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that most pet owners often consider feeding blackberries to guinea pigs.

So, can guinea pigs eat blackberries? Yes, they can. Guinea pigs are huge fans of blackberries and will eat the entire fruit—skin, seeds, and all.

Like all fruit, blackberries should be offered in moderation to your pet. That being said, it’s one of the relatively “healthier” fruit options out there for your pet. Let’s explore this fruit in greater detail.

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Guinea Pig Nutrition

Guinea pigs are herbivores that do best on a pelleted diet made specifically for them and an unlimited amount of high-quality hay. Examples of appropriate hay for guinea pigs include the following:

Safe Hay Options for Guinea Pigs
  • Timothy
  • Orchard
  • Grass
  • Oat

Hay, along with pellets, should form the overwhelming bulk of their diet (approximately 80–90%). In addition, they require a daily serving of fresh leafy vegetables. Guinea pigs should have access to fresh, clean drinking water at all times.

Suitable treats for guinea pigs include some fruits and grains. However, these should only comprise about 5–10% of their daily intake on days when they’re offered and should only be considered as treats, not a main part of their diet.

With fruits forming such a small portion of their diet, it’s important to tread carefully. Let’s look at how blackberries fare when it comes to their nutritional yield.

two guinea pigs outdoors
Image Credit: Miroslav Hlavko, Shutterstock

Blackberries & Guinea Pigs

The key nutritional information of blackberries is as follows:

Key Nutritional Information for Blackberries, 100g (3.5 oz), Raw
  • Water: 88.15 grams (g)
  • Energy: 43 Calories
  • Carbohydrates: 9.61 g
  • Sugars: 4.88 g
  • Protein: 1.39 g
  • Fat: 0.49 g
  • Vitamin C: 21 milligrams (mg)

Blackberries can offer your pet several benefits, and their vitamin C content is definitely a welcome addition for any guinea pig diet. That being said, moderation is key when it comes to offering your pet blackberries, as like all fruits, they do have some nutritional risks.

blackberries_Piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

Dangers of Feeding Blackberries to Guinea Pigs in Excess

The Nutritional Downsides of Feeding Blackberries
  • Most fruits are high in naturally occurring sugars, which can lead to an insulin spike for your guinea pig if they consume too many at once. Blackberries are no exception to this rule.
  • Most fruits are primarily composed of water and will cause your guinea pig to fill up on “empty” calories because they don’t offer enough of the other nutrients that they need. They also usually fail to meet the fiber requirements of guinea pigs.
  • Fruits can be easily swallowed because they are soft and mushy. However, guinea pigs, like many rodents, require foods to constantly chew on because their teeth continuously grow throughout their lives. Their gut also functions better when they’re fed “rougher” foods (such as hay or leafy vegetables).
  • The acidic profile of most fruits means overconsumption of them can lead to sore lips in guinea pigs.
  • When left out, fruits quickly spoil and can form a sludge-like mess in your guinea pig’s enclosure. If not cleaned promptly, this creates an environment where harmful bacteria can quickly multiply, which can be problematic for your guinea pig.

Feeding Your Guinea Pig Blackberries

Any fruit you offer your guinea pig should be prepared the way you would prepare it for yourself.

Feeding Blackberries to Your Guinea Pig
  • Only offer your pet fresh, raw blackberries
  • Thoroughly wash all fruit before offering it to your guinea pig
  • Slicing the blackberries is optional; guinea pigs can easily chew through the skin of the fruit themselves.
  • Ensure you discard any uneaten blackberries after a period of no longer than 2-4 hours.

The seeds of blackberries are safe for guinea pigs to consume.

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Conclusion

Can guinea pigs eat blackberries? Yes, but only in moderation. Like most fruits, blackberries should be considered a treat and not a dietary mainstay in your pet’s diet.

As always, if you’re in doubt about your pet’s nutritional requirements, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for more information.

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