There’s nothing like a sweet, ripe strawberry. Strawberries are among the most popular berries in the whole world for their sweet taste, deep color, and extreme versatility. But what about for pets? Can guinea pigs eat strawberries too?
Yes! And they’re actually pretty good for them as well. Strawberries have great nutrition and provide a bevy of health benefits for your cavy. There are a few risks that you should keep in mind, but they’re relatively harmless as long as you keep a watchful eye.
Are Strawberries Good for Guinea Pigs?
As mentioned above, strawberries provide a huge amount of health benefits when compared to other fruits. This has to do with the intrinsic nutrition of a strawberry and its relatively low sugar content when compared to other fruits.
Strawberries don’t have as much sugar as other fruits
Although strawberries are succulently sweet, they don’t actually contain that much sugar. For instance, 100 grams of strawberries contains approximately 7-8 grams of sugar, while the same number of bananas has 15-17 grams. That’s about twice as much sugar! And in many cases, the strawberries will seem sweeter.
So, if you’re looking for a fruit to give to your cavy with minimal chances of diabetic progression or obesity, strawberries might be the fruit you’ve been looking for.
Strawberries have a huge amount of vitamin C
What do your sweet little guinea pig and Capt. Blackbeard have in common? They’re both highly susceptible to scurvy. Scurvy is an illness brought on by a vitamin C deficiency. Pirates used to experience this due to a lack of fresh food while onboard their ships. However, your guinea pig is more likely to contract it because their bodies cannot produce it naturally.
That’s why vitamin C is so important for guinea pigs! And thankfully, strawberries have so much. As a matter of fact, strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges do at the same amount.
They can help regulate your guinea pig’s blood pressure
While they don’t have as much potassium as bananas, strawberries contain more than enough potassium to keep your guinea pig going. And this potassium is a wonderful way to help regulate your cavy’s blood pressure.
Strawberries help to reduce inflammation and free radicals within your cavy’s body
These little berries are packed full of antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation and eliminate free radicals within your guinea pig.
Strawberries are a heart-healthy food for guinea pigs
Anthocyanin and quercetin are two chemical compounds found within strawberries that help to lower your guinea pig’s cholesterol. This promotes better cardiovascular health and ensures your pet lives their best life.
Are Strawberries Bad for Guinea Pigs?
While concerns for the sugar inside strawberries can be frightening, there’s not enough to really warrant worrying. There’s even some extra calcium in strawberries that can add to the buildup of kidney or bladder stones. But again, it’s not enough to really worry about too much.
The biggest concerns for your guinea pig eating strawberries are easily or noticeably avoidable.
One of the biggest concerns for strawberries is the use of pesticides. Before feeding any strawberries to your guinea pig — or yourself for that matter — you need to thoroughly wash the fruit every single time. Another way to avoid pesticide residue is to buy organic without the use of pesticides.
Guinea pigs are susceptible to food allergies and strawberries are on that list. But how do you know if your cavy has allergies? First, you’ll want to give them just a small little nibble or two, and then monitor their behavior. Are they reacting strangely or poorly? If so, cease feeding your cavy strawberries. But if there is no reaction, slowly build up the amount in which they’re eating in order to be sure there’s no issue.
If your guinea pig is being treated with beta-blockers, don’t feed them strawberries. The medicine may have an adverse effect on your cavy’s ability to process the potassium intake.
Can My Guinea Pig Eat Strawberry Tops?
In all reality, strawberry tops are actually preferred to the fruit. They contain more potassium and fiber than the fruit and much less sugar. However, your cavy may prefer the fruit, so it’s just a matter of taste for them.
Can My Guinea Pig Have Strawberry Jam?
Absolutely not. Strawberry jam is filled to the brim with things that should be avoided, such as sugar. This can cause serious problems for their health. Your cavy should never eat any cooked or otherwise processed food.
How Many Strawberries Can my Guinea Pig Eat?
You should really only give your cavy strawberries on a once-a-week basis. They should never be used as a meal replacement — only as a light snack.
The best way to feed them is to slice up a single strawberry and give them a few pieces. You don’t want to overfeed them as that can cause upset stomach and indigestion. And don’t be goaded into giving more by their cute begging faces if they love it….
Strawberries really can be a superfood for your guinea pigs! They help to prevent a bunch of diseases and boost your chunker’s overall health. However, you just need to make sure you don’t overfeed them, wash the fruit thoroughly first, and check for allergies.
And if at all possible, promote eating of the tops, leaves, and stems. They’re all perfectly fine for your guinea pig to eat and pose even fewer issues than the fruit itself.
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Featured Image: ugril, Shutterstock