I have always been tempted to share my food with my pets. So, naturally, when I got a set of two guinea pigs, I became obsessed with finding out what kind of meals my new friends could eat and what should be avoided at all costs.
One question popped into my mind: Can guinea pigs eat apples? If you are wondering the same, the short answer is they can! There are quite a few health benefits of feeding fruits to your guinea pigs. But, certain precautions need to be taken as well.
For starters, some parts of apples are strictly prohibited for your furry friends. Also, you must be cautious of the quantity you feed them.
Since I know how deep into the rabbit (or shall I say guinea?) hole you have to go down to learn about the dietary requirements of our pets, I have made a guide for you.
Guinea Pigs and Apples: A Forbidden Fruit or a Delicacy?
Let’s start by tackling the main question – Can guinea pigs have apples? Yes, they can. And as long as they are eaten in moderation, eating apples is quite beneficial for guinea pigs.
The good side
Guinea pigs have specific dietary requirements for living a healthy life. For example, they need at least 10 mg of Vitamin C daily. Apples are a great source of this. Not to mention that apple peels are equipped with fiber which helps in boosting their digestion.
The bad side
Although guinea pigs aren’t precisely overeaters, it is very easy to overeat apples! This is because a seemingly small quantity of apples has a lot of sugar content and calories. Overconsumption of this can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, and digestive problems in the adorable rodent.
Nutrients in an apple
You might wonder why to feed guinea pig apples when such risks are involved. I do so in moderation because apple has a variety of essential nutrients. Here is a run-down of the major ones:
- Vitamin C: Guinea pigs need 10 mg of Vitamin C, and 100 g of an apple contains 4.5 mg of the nutrient.
- B-Complex vitamins: B-6, thiamin, and riboflavin, among others, help maintain the strong nervous system of guinea pigs.
Other nutrients, albeit available in small quantities within an apple but enough to satisfy our furry pets, include:
Apart from vitamins and minerals, 100 grams of unpeeled apple generally has the following nutritional value:
Guinea pigs and apple skin: Yay or nay?
Can you feed apples to guinea pigs with their peel or skin intact? Yes, you can. Apple skin is safe to be devoured by your furry friend. So, while I personally remove the skin while eating my apple, I make sure not to do so with my guinea pig. At least one of us should make healthy life choices!
It turns out that apple skins are pretty nutritious. They have 50 percent more nutrients than the inside of the fruit!
Apart from fiber, apple skin contains antioxidants and vitamins, which help reduce the onset of various ailments, including cancer. Therefore, giving apple skin in moderation is ideal for guinea pigs. Too much apple skin can cause diarrhea in your piggy.
While you are at it, always remember to thoroughly wash the apple before giving it to your furry friend! And try to ensure that the fruit hasn’t been treated with pesticides. Even in small quantities, any such chemicals can be dangerous for your pet.
Apple Seeds: An enemy of guinea pigs?
When I was on the hunt to find out whether or not can guinea pigs eat apples, one of the most controversial aspects was the apple seeds. While some said a few seeds wouldn’t hurt a guinea pig, others recommended against it.
If you were to ask me, I would say, don’t give apple seeds to your piggy. There are no real health benefits to doing so, and instead, the risks are pretty grave!
The biggest red flag regarding apple seeds is that it contains amygdalin. When this compound is chewed, it converts into hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous substance. When cyanide accumulates within the body, it can become toxic, even lethal.
While one apple seed isn’t enough to cause harm, there is no point in taking such a risk. After all, cyanide is known throughout history to be the ultimate poison. Why bother giving even a minute bit of it to our precious pets?
Another disadvantage of feeding seeds to guinea pigs is that they can be a choking hazard. In short, there are too many reasons to avoid this part of the fruit, so I have never given it to my pet. I always remove all seeds from the inside before giving my piggy a small chunk of an apple.
Apple Cores: A tricky part
You’ll notice one thing. If you give your guinea pig an intact apple, there is no part of it that they won’t eat. But, this doesn’t mean that they should be devouring the whole fruit.
When it comes to apple core, it gets very tricky. While the core itself is not exactly harmful when given in small quantities, it is full of apple seeds, which is best avoided as I have mentioned above.
So, if you wish to feed your furry friend some apple core, make sure you clear all the seeds out. I am pretty paranoid about the thought of missing a few seeds, so I avoid giving the core too.
Those who are pro-core often mention the advantages of eating the part. Since the core is tougher than other parts of the apple, they help give a guinea pig’s teeth the workout it needs to stay strong. They are also quite fibrous. But again, too much fiber is bad for rodents, so it is a double-edged sword!
An apple a day for guinea pigs: The right decision?
Do guinea pigs eat apples every day? Well, they’ll eat whatever you feed them. But, they shouldn’t be eating the fruit daily. Instead, it should be given as an occasional treat. Like daily dessert is bad for us, the same is true for our little friends.
Try avoiding giving your piggy apples more than twice a week as a rule of thumb. And always keep the portion size very small – at best, two small slices.
Instead, give them items that will help boost their dental health. Guinea pigs require food that can help in keeping their growing teeth trimmed. And apples cannot solely provide this benefit. Here, leafy greens can come in handy.
So, if there is something you should be giving your piggy every day, it is green vegetables.
Baby guineas and apples: To give or not to give?
If you think an adult guinea pig is adorable, you are in for a treat when you see their tiny infants! But, caring for a baby guinea pig is quite a challenge since they are so delicate and vulnerable.
You need to be very careful during the first few weeks of a guinea pig’s life. For starters, up till six weeks, guinea pigs should only be fed their mothers’ milk or formula. After this age, you can slowly introduce pellets into their diet.
The question arises: Can you give baby guineas apples once they are introduced to solid food? No. They only require hay and veggies during the early times of their lives. Such items help in ensuring the proper development of furry beings.
Apples contain a lot of sugar – at times too much for an adult guinea to handle. Therefore, it goes without saying that the sugar content of an apple is too much for a tiny baby.
You must wait until your guinea pig hits six months before introducing a very small portion of the apple. After a year, once your pet has become an adult, you can feed your pet the recommended serving for adult guinea pigs.
Love or Hate: Do guinea pigs like apples?
So far, I have mentioned whether or not, as a pet owner, you should be feeding apples to your guinea pig. But, the question shouldn’t just be ‘can guinea pigs eat apples?” It should also be, “do guinea pigs want to eat apples?”
And the answer to that is a little complex.
Usually, rodents love all types of veggies and fruits. But, certain guinea pigs are very fussy and particular about their diet. Therefore, while generally, a piggy loves his share of apples, it is not always the case.
For example, I remember growing up; my best friend had a guinea pig named Pepper. And whenever we would try to feed her juicy fruits like blueberries, she would straight-up not bat an eye and continue eating her veggies!
It is safe to say that there will always be certain outliers. It is best that you observe your pet’s preferences and provide them with delicacies accordingly. After all, an apple comes with its fair share of risks. There is no point in forcing your piggy to eat it if it doesn’t want to.
Let’s talk numbers: How much apple to give to a guinea pig?
The recommended portion for guinea pigs is as follows:
When offering the treat for the first time, try to keep the size smaller than the recommended size. Then, observe your pet for the next 12 hours to see any symptoms of diarrhea. If your piggy falls sick, this indicates that its digestive system found the apple a tad too much to handle.
If nothing happens and your piggy enjoys the treat, you can gradually increase the serving size to the recommended quantity.
Also, there are different types of apples available. Not all of them should be given to guinea pigs in the same amount.
For starters, can guinea pigs eat green apples? Yes, but in very less quantity since they are quite acidic.
On the other hand, red apples can be given up to the recommended amount. And while guinea pigs love them, do not overfeed them red apples since they are high in sugar content.
Too many apples: How to respond to overfeeding
Have you already overfed your little friend? If so, you don’t necessarily have to worry.
If you have been feeding your pet only the apple’s flesh, then it might not be a problem. All you have to look out for are signs of bloating and diarrhea.
However, if your pet has started getting sick, take away an apple from its diet and substitute it with hay pellets. Provide it with fresh water to avoid dehydration. In case your guinea pig keeps getting sick, or you notice a change in its behavior, it is recommended that you visit a vet.
Types of apple treats for guinea pigs
There are three ways in which apples can be given to guinea pigs:
Health benefits of feeding apples to your piggy
Although I have mentioned this briefly at the start, I feel that the cautious tone of my guide might have scared some of you. Apples aren’t all bad for our little piggies. In fact, in the right amount, they can be very beneficial as well.
Here are the health benefits of feeding your guinea pig apples (cautiously and in the right amount):
Antioxidants prevent serious ailments
Apples, especially the peel, contain a wide array of antioxidants, including phloridzin, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and catechin.
These antioxidants play a pivotal role in protecting your guinea pig’s cells from free radicals. This, in turn, prevents the onset of ailments like cardiovascular problems, cancer, and degenerative diseases.
Vitamin C combats scurvy
Did you know that guinea pigs are naturally vitamin deficient? They don’t have enough vitamin C in them since their bodies cannot store or readily produce the vitamin. This makes them vulnerable to scurvy.
This disease can manifest as lethargy, weight loss, and poor dental health. Apples are an excellent source of Vitamin C and ensure that the little furry friends have enough Vitamin C in them to prevent symptoms related to scurvy.
Dietary Fiber stimulates gastrointestinal motility
Fiber is vital for us, be it any kind of pet or humans. Guinea pigs are no different. They need a high-fiber diet for optimum growth and development. This is because fiber ensures their gastrointestinal health, which helps maintain the overall health of a guinea pig.
Additionally, fiber also helps in balancing the bacterial flora of the gut. And apple is rich in fiber. Especially the peel. Even if you are scared of the health risks associated with apples, thoroughly clean the peel and feed it to your piggy for health benefits.
Water for hydration
All guinea pigs have one thing in common – their love for the water. I was quite foolish when I first got my guinea pigs. I underestimated their ability to drink water and would only put one water bottle in the cage. I soon realized that it was not enough.
Guinea pigs drink quite a lot of water. Hence, you need to supply them with fresh water daily, that too at least two full bottles.
Do you know what else has a high water content? Apples! As mentioned above, 100 grams of apple has 86 percent of water. While the recommended slice of apple won’t have the same amount of content, all hydration is good hydration for guineas!
What foods are most harmful to guinea pigs?
While apples have their share of disadvantages, they can still be provided to guinea pigs as a treat. However, certain fruits are a complete no for the piggies. This includes:
Let’s recap. Can guinea pigs eat apples? Yes, but in small quantities only. Be careful about what part of the apple you feed your little friend.
There is no harm in giving them the fruit as an occasional treat if they develop an appetite for it. At the same time, provide them with beneficial food like green veggies and hay.
Treat your guinea pig well! They are some of the most adorable pets out there.