On a hot summer day, what’s more refreshing than enjoying a handful of cold, out-of-the-fridge grapes? These succulent fruits are enjoyed by guinea pig owners all over the world. It’s only fair to share with your little cavy pal, right? Surprisingly, one question i get a lot from owners is: can guinea pigs eat grapes? Valid question.A responsible guinea pig owner always researches on whether their pet can eat a specific human food before including them in their diet. Good job on coming here.
The truth is, unlike dogs, a guinea pig can safely eat grapes in moderation. There are plenty of health benefits a guinea pig can enjoy, like Vitamin C. But there are also potential side effects among other things to consider.
Guinea Pig Health Benefits From Eating Grapes
To examine the health benefits that grapes may provide your guinea pig, let’s first look into the nutritional value of grapes.
One cup of grapes contain:
Vitamin C – 6% DV
Vitamin A – 1% DV
Vitamin B6 – 5% DV
Dietary Fiber – 1.8 grams
Sugar – 15 grams
Potassium – 176 mg
Calcium – 1% DV
Vitamin C for Guinea Pigs
An interesting guinea pig fact is that they cannot naturally produce Vitamin C, just like us human! Vitamin C is a very essential nutrient for healthy living among human and guinea pigs. This means that they need to get their daily C elsewhere.
Although there are guinea pig pellets that provide Vitamin C and supplements, a little boost of this vitamin can benefit their health if they’re not getting enough. If guinea pigs intake too much Vitamin C, then they will just urinate it out because this vitamin is water soluble.
Sure, grapes don’t contain as much Vitamin C as apples, but it’s just enough for a sizeable boost!
A Boost of Energy For Guinea Pigs
The amount of Vitamin B6 in grapes can help your guinea pig be more active during the day. This water soluble vitamin is for regulating normal hormone, serotonin and melatonin function, which can provide more energy during the day.
This is a good opportunity to get your guinea pigs some much needed exercise. Remember that guinea pigs that don’t receive a good enough workout may experience health problems. Make sure the cage is large enough, otherwise all that energy may be wasted in the day.
Side Effects: Guinea Pigs Eating Grapes
Although there are great health benefits from a guinea pig eating grapes, there can also be side effects to look out for. Remember, the key is moderation. The more you feed them, the higher the chance of seeing these side effects.
Stomach Pains in Guinea Pigs
The first thing that sticks out to me when looking at the nutritional value of grapes is the high sugar content. 15 whole grams per cup!
A lot of sugar in a guinea pig’s system could affect their gut by over-producing too much of the bad gut bacteria. This could then lead to stomach pains and digestive upset with your guinea pig. The good bacteria is a guinea pig’s gut is essential for breaking down and digesting complex foods, such as Timothy Hay.
Always observe them after grape consumption to see if there are any odd behavioral changes.
Diarrhea in Guinea Pigs
Although 1.8 grams of fiber may not seem too high, it could be for a guinea pig. As you might know from personal experience, too much fiber can lead to diarrhea. This can affect your guinea pig in the same way.
This is why we stress moderation. A little fiber may actually benefit them, but there is a point where it starts to have an adverse effect on them.
Kidney Failure in Guinea Pigs
Although this is an extreme case, it could happen to your guinea pig. Some owners that excessively feed grapes to their cavy have experienced this. This is not a guinea pig exclusive thing, it has been seen with all types of pets, including dogs. As long as you feed them occasionally as a healthy treat and not include it in their routine diet, it will be fine.
How to Feed Grapes to Your Guinea Pig
Always wash your grapes thoroughly. There can be a lot of pesticide and unwanted bacteria on the skin of the grapes. Pesticide can cause serious damage in all pets.
You may want to consider cutting the grapes in halves to make it easier for them to consume the grapes. Remove all the seeds, if there are any. Letting your guinea pig eat the seed is a serious choking hazard.
Start off with just one or two grapes and observe them for at least 24 hours. If you don’t see any changes in stool or behavior, then your guinea pig is good to go. Although they’re not allergic to grapes, there can always be exceptions.
Make sure you don’t feed grapes to your guinea pig more than 3 times per week. For each serving, they should not be getting more than 2 grapes. Too much can lead to those side effects we’ve discussed.
From my experience, all types of guinea pigs love eating grapes. Enjoy! Any questions? Leave a response in the comment section.