Pineapple, that delicious golden fruit most humans enjoy, has 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, but 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:
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:
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 1 square inch of the fruit every week, either in a single sitting or over 2 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 pig. 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: