Many times, we wonder what we can safely feed our guinea pigs aside from the pre-packaged food from the pet store. As it turns out, they can safely eat more than just the pre-packaged pellets and surprisingly can benefit from eating some of the same foods that we eat.
This doesn’t mean that you should place a candy bar in your furry friend’s cage or Run-About Ball, but after careful research, you can expand the types of food that you feed to your guinea pig to include fruits and vegetables like pineapple.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Pineapple?
Yes, guinea pigs can safely eat pineapple but only in moderation. Pineapple can be a great source of many nutrients that guinea pigs require such as Vitamin C, since guinea pig’s bodies do not naturally produce Vitamin C.
Nutritional Information of Pineapples
A non-comprehensive list of some of these nutrients that pineapples contain can be found in the following chart:
The nutritional information for 100 grams of pineapple, which would be considered a serving size is listed in the chart below:
|Protein||0.5 g||Zinc||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin A||58.0 IU||Copper||0.1 mg|
|Vitamin C||47.8 mg||Manganese||0.9 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.7 mcg||Selenium||0.1 mcg|
|Thiamin||0.1 mg||Phytosterols||6.0 mg|
|Niacin||0.5 mg||Water||86.0 g|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 mg||Ash||0.2 g|
|Folate||18.0 mcg||Total Carbohydrates||13.1 g|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.2 mg||Dietary Fiber||1.4 g|
|Choline||5.5 mg||Sugars||9.8 g|
|Betaine||0.1 mg||Sucrose||5990 mg|
|Calcium||13.0 mg||Glucose||1730 mg|
|Iron||0.3 mg||Fructose||2120 mg|
|Magnesium||12.0 mg||Total Fat||0.1 g|
|Phosphorus||8.0 mg||Total Omega-3 fatty acids||17.0 mg|
|Potassium||109 mg||Total Omega-6 fatty acids||23.0 mg|
Things to Consider Before Feeding your Guinea Pig Pineapple
When feeding pineapple to your guinea pig there are some things to be mindful of to ensure your cavy’s health and safety.
Portion Size and Frequency of Feeding
The first factors to be mindful of which go hand in hand are portion size and frequency. The amount of pineapple and how often it is fed to your guinea pig are important because this fruit in addition to many other fruits contain a significant amount of sugar.
Just as excessive amounts of sugar are not healthy for us to consume, this same principle applies to our pets, and the overall goal should be to feed your guinea pig a balanced diet. Since feeding your guinea pig treats that are high in sugar too often can cause issues, you should limit the amount to a 1-inch cube once or twice per week.
The Acidity of Pineapple
Another factor to consider when feeding pineapple to your guinea pig is that pineapple is acidic and contains Bromelain. Bromelain can be an irritant as it dissolves the protective mucus which coats the tongue and mouth (Fun Fact: Bromelain is often used as a meat tenderizer).
Pineapple is also highly acidic as evidenced by having a pH between 3 and 4. Too much Bromelain or acidity may cause your pets mouth and digestive tract to become irritated.
The Age of your Guinea Pig
The age of your guinea pig should also be considered when making the decision to use pineapple as a treat. Pineapple should not be fed to a baby guinea pig, but it can be a suitable treat to occasionally give to an adult.
Make Sure you are Feeding Fresh Pineapple
While some of us may find canned pineapple to be tasty when the fresh option is not available, feeding canned pineapple to your guinea pig should be avoided at all costs. Canned pineapple often contains added sugars and other ingredients that guinea pigs should never consume.
Remove the Leaves and Skin
Additionally, if you plan to incorporate pineapple into your guinea pig’s diet be sure to remove all leaves and the skin. Even though guinea pigs consume leafy vegetables, the leaves of a pineapple should not be fed to your guinea pig.
In similar fashion, the skin of the pineapple is sharp and can injure the mouth of your beloved pet and therefore should not be fed to your cavy.
Look for Reactions
If this will be your first-time feeding fruit of any kind to your guinea pig, you should pay extra attention to their stool after they consume it. If they appear to have diarrhea this may be an indication that the pineapple is irritating their digestive tract.
Where it is the first-time introducing fruit to your guinea pig, many pet owners start by offering a fruit that can be a bit gentler on the digestive tract and gradually progress to pineapples.
Pineapple is a great occasional treat for guinea pigs. If you keep the above factors in mind, feeding your adult guinea pig no more than a 1-inch cube of pineapple once or twice per week can be a tasty treat and a great way to introduce Vitamin C to its diet.