A guinea pig’s diet is pretty simple, most days it is just pellets, grass hay, and fresh water. However, if you have a guinea pig you may have wondered if any human fruits and vegetables are safe to feed them for a treat. If you want to know can guinea pigs eat oranges, this article will answer that question as well as tell you how much is safe to give them.
So, Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oranges?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat oranges once or twice a week in small quantities. Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, but the citric acid can be too much for your guinea pig in large quantities.
Nutritional Benefits to Feeding your Guinea Pig Oranges
There are many benefits that oranges provide to guinea pigs, like for humans’ oranges are a healthy food overall. Some of the benefits are as follows:
Loads of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for a guinea pig because their bodies don’t naturally produce it. Therefore, you need to make sure they get enough Vitamin C in their diet on a regular basis. Foods like pineapple, grapefruit, and carrots are good sources of Vitamin C for your guinea.
Thiamine helps your cavy’s nerves, intestines, stomach, and brain and regulates electrolytes in their muscles and nerves.
Magnesium has an important role to play in keeping your guinea pig’s muscle and nerve functions and maintaining blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Good Calcium Content
Calcium is important to guinea pigs just like it is for humans. Calcium helps keeps their bones strong and teeth, but a lack of calcium can cause loads of issues such as bladder stones and muscle spasms.
Lower in Fat
A guinea pig’s small body can easily put on the pounds. Thus, monitoring the fat intake of the snacks you feed your guinea pig is important. A small piece of orange is a good treat because it can be given every week without concerns about causing them to gain weight.
Nutritional Content for Oranges for Guinea Pigs
|Protein||0.9 g||Calcium||38.4 mg|
|Vitamin A||216 IU||Folate||28.8 mcg|
|Vitamin C||51.1 mg||Magnesium||9.6 mg|
|Niacin||0.3 mg||Potassium||174 mg|
|Fat||0.1 g||Sodium||0 mg|
|Fiber||2.3 g||Vitamin E||0.2 mg|
|Carbs||11.3 g||Phosphorus||13.4 mg|
|Sugar||9 g||Zinc||0.1 mg|
How Much Orange can you Feed your Guinea Pig?
Oranges should only be given once or twice a week to your cavy. Although they are a good occasional snack, they are higher in citric acid and sugar than your guinea pig should have on a daily basis. When feeding this fruit cut the orange into a one inch cube and give that to your guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Orange Skin?
There are varying opinions of whether guinea pigs should or shouldn’t eat the skin of an orange. Most experts believe that feeding a small amount of orange skin won’t hurt your guinea pig and can actually provide them with some extra nutrients such as Vitamin A.
If you are going to give your guinea pig orange peel it is important to clean the skin really well to remove any pesticides or other bacteria. Then only give them a small one-inch square of the skin and see how they react.
Just like with the orange itself you shouldn’t give your pet too much of the orange peel either.
Potential Hazards of Feeding Oranges to your Guinea Pig
Beware of too much calcium and Vitamin C
Although Calcium and Vitamin C are good for guinea pigs, too much of them can be a problem. Too much calcium can cause bladder stones, and too much Vitamin C can cause kidney stones and slow growth in a baby guinea pig.
Just be aware that your are only feeding the recommending amount of orange on a weekly basis. If you don’t overdo it, your cavy will be just fine!
Some guinea pigs won’t have a problem eating oranges, but others may not care for them given their high citric acid content and stronger smell. Monitor your guinea pig when eating the orange and see if they exhibit any negative reaction.
Tips for Feeding Oranges to your Guinea Pig
- Only feed fresh oranges – canned or frozen vegetables and fruit should never be fed to your guinea pig. There are lots of other artificial ingredients and preservatives in them that are harmful to your pet.
- Monitor your guinea pig for reactions – the first time your feed orange to your guinea pig, keep an eye on them for the next 24 hours to see if they have any negative reactions.
- Remove the orange peel – if you plan on giving your guinea pig the flesh of the orange and the peel, you should still remove the peel after washing it and give it to your pet in separate pieces. This will prevent them from biting off more than they can chew since the texture of the peel is different from the flesh.
- Remove any seeds – the seeds can be a choking hazard for your guinea pig. Make sure when you cut their portion of the orange to check for seeds and remove any that you find before giving it to your furball.
Guinea pigs can eat oranges, in fact, they are a great source of Vitamin C. Oranges are a good treat for your guinea pig if given in one-inch cubes no more than once or twice a week.
As long as you follow the tips for feeding oranges to your guinea pig, your cavy will be safe to enjoy this yummy fruit occasionally as a treat!