Pineapple, that delicious golden fruit most humans enjoy. It’s got a combination of sweet, tart, and tangy that makes it irresistible to many. But how about sharing pineapple with our pets — guinea pigs specifically?
Good news! Guinea pigs can eat small amounts of pineapple. This fruit is low in sugar but only compared to other sweet treats, so while it is fine to be fed in moderation as an occasional indulgence, it can cause major problems if fed too often or in too large a quantity. Feed once a week, ensure it is prepared properly, and never feed canned or juiced pineapple to your cavy.
Pineapple is equal parts sweet and bitter. It is juicy, refreshing, and has a unique taste. We eat it fresh, out of tins, and we put it in fruit salads, how much is safe to feed our guinea pigs? How should it be prepared for them and how often should you give it to your little chunker? Are there any healthier alternatives? We find out below.
Benefits of Pineapples
Although you should avoid feeding too much pineapple to your guinea pig, in moderation it is not only considered safe, but actually has a number of health and other benefits, including the following:
- Good for The Heart – Like all fruit, pineapple is considered low in fat. Fat blocks the arteries and can cause major problems for the heart. This is why many people and pets that suffer from heart complaints are recommended to go on a diet that is high in fruit and vegetables. Pineapple also has the added health benefit that it is high in magnesium. This nutrient has a number of benefits to offer, but chief among these is its capability to strengthen the heart muscle and ensure that it is capable of pumping oxygenated blood around the body.
- Strengthens the Immune System – Although beta-carotene is usually thought of as being found in orange fruit and vegetables, it is found in high levels in acidic fruit like orange and pineapple. Vitamin C is another nutrient that has a host of benefits, including its ability to strengthen the immune system. This means that pineapple can help prevent a host of common illnesses and ailments in your guinea pig. It can prevent scurvy, which is a relatively common problem in unhealthy cavies.
- Improves Blood Clotting – Vitamin K is a well-known coagulant, which means that it helps the blood to clot. While blood clotting can be fatal in some circumstances, it is an important process, especially following injury or in certain conditions. If your guinea pig scratches himself or suffers some other kind of injury, his body will need to clot in order to prevent blood loss, and coagulants like vitamin K naturally help the body to perform this vital step in recovery. Pineapple is a good source of vitamin K, even when fed in moderation.
- Prevents Disease and Illness – Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, which enables your guinea pig’s body to naturally fight off common conditions. It is also high in manganese, a natural antioxidant. This further strengthens the immune system, and it also fights free radicals, which are the cause of major illnesses like cancer. They also help to prevent aging, which means that the manganese in pineapple could help ensure that you get a bit longer with your favorite pet.
- Relatively Low in Calories – We, as humans, are encouraged to eat fruit because it contains a host of vitamins and minerals and is low in fat. The same benefits are true for your guinea pig, and pineapple has the added benefit that it is comparatively low in sugar and calories when compared to other sweet treats. You do need to ensure that you only feed it in moderation, and that you take the appropriate steps to prepare it properly, but assuming that you do this, pineapple can make a great thirst quencher, a tasty little treat, and it won’t cause your guinea pig to pile on the pounds.
So, pineapple is actually good for your guinea pig when fed in moderation, but the key to this is the term moderation. It should not become a staple part of your pet’s diet, and it should only be fed once or possibly twice a week at most. There are some potential dangers to feeding pineapple, but virtually all of these are associated with feeding too much of this sugary treat. These dangers include:
- Diarrhea – The human body is well equipped to digest the sugar in fruit, but the same isn’t necessarily true of your guinea pig. In fact, he will have a very hard time digesting the sugar content in pineapple if you feed him too much. Not only does this mean that he will likely put on weight if fed too often, but it can also lead to digestive complaints, including diarrhea and an upset stomach. Feed little and don’t feed it too often.
- Obesity – Like humans, guinea pigs are prone to obesity and they can also suffer from ailments like diabetes if they eat too many sugary foods. Because they are unable to properly digest the sugar content, this means that your guinea pig should limit the amount of fruit that he eats to prevent obesity.
- Kidney Stones – Guinea pigs are prone to kidney, bladder, and phosphate stones. These tend to form when they have too much calcium in their diet. Calcium is important because it promotes strong bones and teeth, but this is a lot less important when your guinea pig reaches full maturity. When this happens, they need to be getting more vitamin C than calcium, otherwise, the calcium crystallizes in the urinary tract and causes phosphate stones. Stones are painful and uncomfortable. They can stop your guinea pig from urinating properly and can even prove fatal if they are left untreated.
What About the Leaves and Core?
To ensure that your guinea pig enjoys the benefits of pineapple, without the concerns, you should feed in moderation, but you also need to ensure that you prepare the fruit properly before feeding.
Do not feed the leaves to your guinea pig. They have small, prickly thorns, which can get stuck in the throat and cause choking. Similarly, the skin of the pineapple is also a danger. Not only is it coarse, hard, and potentially packed full of the chemicals used in growing and the waxes used in storage, but they too have the same small thorns that can cause an obstruction or cause bleeding in the mouth and throat. The core of the pineapple, although not harmful or toxic, is very tough and your guinea pig is unlikely to be able to digest it properly which can cause impacted pain and other stomach complaints.
Preparing the Pineapple
When preparing the pineapple for your guinea pig, you need to first choose the right form of fruit. Absolutely avoid tinned fruit, because manufacturers use additives and other chemicals to help preserve the fruit and these can be potentially very harmful to your animal. Similarly, you should not feed pineapple juice to your guinea pig. Instead, choose a ripe pineapple, ideally organic, and then skin it, remove the core, and slice the pineapple.
Serving Size and Frequency
Pineapple really does need to be fed in moderation, as it prevents your cavy from getting fat and it can stop stomach upsets and complaints. It can also prevent bladder stones and phosphate stones, which are both painful and dangerous. Once you have prepared the fruit, cut it into cubes. You can feed your guinea pig roughly one square inch of the fruit every week, either in a single sitting or over two days. Always remove any uneaten vestiges of the fruit at the end of the day, because the pineapple can go bad and it will almost certainly attract flies and bugs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pineapple? Final Thoughts
Pineapple divides human opinion. Some people love its combination of sweet and bitter, while others hate it. Similarly, your guinea pig might love its juiciness or they may not. In either case, know that a small amount of pineapple fed in moderation and as an occasional treat is not only considered safe but offers a host of health benefits to your little guinea. It can help stave off illness, has a surprisingly low sugar content compared to other sweet treats, and can provide a great way of supplementing a guinea pig’s staple hay diet with something a bit sweeter and more tantalizing. Do not feed the skin, leaves, or core, and never feed your guinea pig anything that is processed for human consumption such as tinned or juiced pineapple.
Looking to find out what else to feed your guinea? Check out these posts:
- Can Guinea Pigs Eat Carrots? Are They Safe To Eat?
- Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Beans? Are They Safe For Guinea Pigs?
- Can Guinea Pigs Eat Bananas? Are They Safe For Guinea Pigs?
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