Since guinea pigs are herbivores, they have the enzymes that help break down veggies and fruits, cherries included. Their diet consists primarily of pelleted food, high-quality hay, fruits, and vegetables. If you are looking to share this short-seasoned delectable summertime snack with your furry friend, the answer is yes—guinea pigs can eat cherries. However, give it in small portions as a snack. Cherries should not be a mainstay of their diet, which we will now discuss.
Let’s address everything you need to know about guinea pigs and cherries.
What Do Cherries Contain?
Cherries are great fruits that are good for both human and guinea pig consumption. As far as guinea pigs are concerned, cherries are packed with vital vitamins and essential minerals. For example, they are rich in vitamin C, which guinea pig bodies can’t produce naturally. They can get these vitamins and minerals from eating cherries.
Some other vital nutritionally beneficial components found in cherries are:
How Many Cherries Should Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs love cherries and can easily be addicted to them. Give them in moderation, lest you breed a bad behavior or health hazard. A grown guinea pig could eat one cherry twice or up to three times a week.
Why You Should Feed Cherries to Guinea Pigs (Benefits)
There are a lot of benefits that can come from your guinea pig chowing down on cherries. However, the main benefits of this fruit are:
1. Vitamin C
Just like humans, guinea pigs are unable to make their own vitamin C, and therefore, they need it supplemented in their diet. Though most guinea pig pellets are fortified with vitamin C, these forms of vitamin C often degrade quickly over time. Fresh fruits and vegetables that aren’t toxic for guinea pigs remain the best source of vitamin C for them.
When guinea pigs are deprived of vitamin C for long periods of time, they are prone to developing scurvy (a similar condition is also associated with humans that have vitamin C deficiency). Cherries are a great way to ensure your guinea pig gets some much needed vitamin C.
2. High Water Content
Any pet parent knows the headache of getting your guinea pig to drink some water. When your guinea pig munches on cherries, they won’t need to drink lots of water since they’d have some in their system. If you need to increase fluids to your cavy’s diet, cherries will come in handy.
Risks Associated with Feeding Guinea Pig with Cherries
There are some negatives that come from feeding cavies cherries. Most of these drawbacks would only become apparent if you overfeed your guinea pig cherries, or if you fed them nothing but cherries. Here are some of the risks you’ll be struggling with:
1. Sore Lips
There are a lot of acids in cherries, as much there are in most fruits, and they can lead to guinea pigs developing sores on their lips, which is yet another reason we insist that you proceed with moderation.
Most fruits and vegetables do not contain the same amount of fiber that grasses and hay have. Guinea pigs need a high amount of fiber in their diet, and therefore, the overwhelming majority of their diet should comprise hay and grass. Eating too many cherries will result in constipation; despite their fiber content, cherries don’t have enough fiber to keep with your guinea pig’s requirements.
3. High Amounts of Carbohydrates
Almost all fruits have relatively high levels of carbohydrates (often in the form of naturally occurring sugars). Overconsumption of fruit often results in blood glucose spikes, and prolonged overconsumption of cherries may eventually lead to weight gain and the secondary effects of poor nutrition and high amounts of blood sugar (such as diabetes).
Your piggy may also experience diarrhea when they consume too many cherries in a single sitting. Diarrhea is one of the signs that your cavy isn’t taking in well with cherries.
You need to watch out for any of these signs, and if you notice any, stop feeding the cavy cherries. Dietary inconsistencies are particularly important in guinea pigs (who need to constantly eat healthy foods to maintain a healthy gut environment). If you notice your guinea pig not handling cherries well, you should promptly take them to a vet.
How to Feed Cherries to Your Guinea Pig
Be deliberate on picking fresh cherries, which you would later feed the piggies. They have more nutritional value than the overstayed ones. You then have to thoroughly wash them to do away with the pesticides sprayed during their growth.
Next, take off the stems, pits, and leaves since these parts are harmful to guinea pigs. Strictly feed them the fruit only. Serve the piggy with one cherry; you can cut it into pieces for easy consumption.
How About Sour Cherries, Do Guinea Pigs Eat Them?
Guinea pigs can eat both sweet and sour cherries, but they tend to enjoy the sweet ones more. You can still feed them the sour ones because they will still eat them, but they have a preference.
How About Canned Cherries?
No! Most canned food is heavy in chemicals such as preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavors. For these reasons, they are best if avoided.
The motto is fresh and seedless!
Some Alternatives to Cherries
Your cavy would be delighted when served different snacks every so often. Here is a list of alternatives to work with:
Cherries are suitable for guinea pigs but should be given sparsely. Don’t be too excited when they get receptive to the treat because the same beneficial nutrients in the cherries are also harmful if given in large doses.