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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

May 17, 2021

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 its diet, which we will now discuss.

Let’s address everything you need to know about guinea pigs and cherries.

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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 them from eating cherries.

Some other vital nutritionally beneficial components found in cherries are:

  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamine
  • Vitamin K
  • Phosphorous
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic Acid
cherries
Image Credit: Pixabay

How Much Cherries Should Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs love cherries and can easily be addicted to them. Give it to them in moderation, lest you breed a bad behavior or health hazard. A grown guinea pig could have at most, one cherry a day.

Several adverse effects can come from overfeeding the cavy with cherries. In addition, they have high sugar content, and even humans are advised to take them in tiny bits. This sugar content is also dangerous to guinea pigs since it can lead to weight issues, tooth cavities, diabetes, and addiction because of the sweetness.

So, when you have your weekly fruit, you can feed them one. Also, don’t give cherries exclusively when there are other snacks on their diet. However, do not introduce bay guinea pigs to this snack just yet.

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Why You Should Feed Cherries to Guinea Pigs

There are a lot of benefits that can come from your guinea pig chowing down on cherries. Some of them include:

1. Prevents Scurvy

One of the deadliest diseases that your cavy can contract is scurvy. This disease starts with roughening of the fur then goes on to quite extreme symptoms like bleeding and discharge.

Vitamin C that is contained in cherries, can help the guinea pig keep this disease away.

2. Cardio Benefits

With one cherry, you can help the cardiovascular system of your guinea pig immensely. The fruit helps regulate cholesterol and glucose levels in guinea pigs. You will have immensely reduced conditions like heart conditions.

3. Digestion

Your guinea pig’s digestive system is relatively tiny, and cherries can help them with better digestion. Cherries are rich in fiber which helps with digestion.

tubs of cherries
Image Credit: Pixabay

4. Stimulation

When your guinea pig munches on cherries, they are less susceptible to obesity. The cavy’s metabolic system will be stimulated, especially for the lazy ones. You can also feed a cherry to convalescent piggy to boost their energy levels.

5. Good Sleep

If your piggy is sulking due to inadequate sleep, help could be one cherry away.

6. Oral Health

The amount of fiber in the cherries can help your guinea pig’s oral health. It also helps them maintain a reasonable length of their teeth and keep them healthy.

cherries close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

7. Boost Immune System

Did you know that cherries can keep several diseases like cancer, chronic heart, and arthritis away from your piggy? The amount of nutrients in these fruits is enough to boost the immune system and shield the piggies from ailments.

8. Improves Overall Body Activity

Since they are rich in antioxidants, cherries can keep the overall internal body operational and active. The fruits also have anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to the high ORAC value they possess.

9. High Water Content

Any pet parent knows the headache of getting them 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.

guinea pig and basket of cherries
Image Credit: BG-FOTO, Shutterstock

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Risks Associated with Feeding Guinea Pig with Cherries

There are quite some negatives that come from feeding the cavies with cherries. If you exceed the required amount, here are some of the risks you’ll be struggling with:

1. Sore Mouth

There are a lot of acids in cherries, as much there are in most fruits– and they can burn your cavy’s mouth, which is yet another reason we insist that you proceed with moderation.

2. Constipation

Too much fiber can cause constipation – did you know that? Well, that’s what happens when you feed your guinea pig with cherries ever too often or in large amounts.

3. Diabetes

Wild cherries, or as you’d have them sweet cherries, have sugary aspects. They also carry enough carbs that can cause diabetes if consumed in large quantities for your guinea pig. Like with any other adverse effect, too much consumption isn’t recommended.

4. Obesity

Cherries can keep obesity away for guinea pigs, but too much consumption can also lead to obesity. It is best to moderate the number of cherries that your piggy eats.

5. Diarrhea

Your piggy may also experience diarrhea when they consume too many cherries. When you introduce cherries to the piglets, ensure that you watch them for changes. 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 with cherries. And if the symptoms don’t go away, you need to consult a vet.

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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 on the fruit only. Serve the piggy with one cherry -you can cut it into have for easy consumption.

Why Should You Do Away with the Stem, Leaves, and Pits?

There is some cyanide trace in these three areas, which is fatal to the pigs due to their tiny body size. The leaves also carry prussic acid, which will, in time, turn to cyanide as they wilt.

The pits or seeds also contain a few traces of cyanide. Remove the seeds from the cherries before you feed them to the cavy.

close up cherries without stems
Image Credit: Pixabay

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! All canned food are heavy in chemicals laced as preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavors. As it is, we are trying to control the intake of the fresh cherries due to the sugar content. Imagine the harm caused if you fed them the “improved” version.

The motto is organic, fresh, and seedless!

Guinea Pig and flower
Image Credit: enriquelopezgarre, Pixabay

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:

  • Summer squash
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Pumpkin
  • Cilantro
  • Beet tops
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Winter squash
  • Bibb lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Endive
  • Parsnip
  • Bell pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Arugula
  • Swiss chard
  • Mint
  • Romaine
  • Carrot tops

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Conclusion

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.  For example, the same fiber that is great for the cavy’s digestion, if overdone, can cause constipation.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.