Blueberries are a great summer fruit every year. For people with guinea pigs, the question is, can guinea pigs eat blueberries too? The answer may be a surprise since blueberries are definitely an American fruit.
The Short Answer: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberries?
The short answer to can guinea pigs eat blueberries is yes, though we must stress that guinea pigs can only eat them in strict moderation. Otherwise, they can cause health problems that take a lot of time to heal.
Do I Have to Worry About Blueberry Stems, Leaves, and Seeds for My Guinea Pig?
No, when feeding your guinea pig blueberries, you do not need to worry about stems, leaves, or seeds. There is nothing poisonous about blueberry stems or leaves, and blueberry seeds are small enough to pass through your guinea pig without issue.
Serving Blueberries to Guinea Pigs
The primary problem with whether guinea pigs can eat blueberries is their acidity. Unfortunately, blueberries are very acidic, so too much blueberry can cause mouth sores, digestive upset, and other health problems.
A proper serving of blueberries for a guinea pig is one to two fruits once per week. Typically, most blueberries are already the right size for guinea pigs unless you have some extra-large ones in the container you bought.
Additionally, it’s critical to wash any blueberries you intend to give your guinea pigs thoroughly. Guinea pigs are sensitive to pesticides and any bacteria that may be present on the fruit from growth and harvest.
What’s the Nutrition in Blueberries?
Vitamin C is critical for guinea pigs. Unlike humans, guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C and must absorb it from their food. Blueberries are a solid source, but the health risks do not warrant giving guinea pigs blueberries more often.
Blueberries contain a reasonable amount of soluble fiber, which forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. This fiber slows down digestion so that your guinea pig gets all the benefits from its food.
Vitamin K is a workhorse vitamin for your guinea pigs, and it helps them live a healthy life. Vitamin K is part of the building blocks for bones and blood clotting, both of which are critical for daily repairs.
Calcium is another workhorse vitamin for your guinea pig. It’s typically associated with bones and teeth, but it also helps with blood clotting, muscle contraction, and regulating the heart/nervous system.
Phosphorous is a critical trace element for your guinea pig. Without phosphorous, cell and tissue repair from daily stressors is limited. Additionally, phosphorous plays a critical role in producing building blocks for DNA and RNA.
Antioxidants are crucial to both humans and guinea pigs. These substances help protect your body from free radicals, which are leftovers from food digestion or environmental hazards like smog.
Magnesium is another important trace element for your guinea pig. Not only is it crucial for the energy production process, but it also plays roles in muscle and nerve function. Without it, your guinea pig may experience many puzzling effects.
Iron plays a crucial role in your guinea pig’s circulatory system. Without sufficient iron, your guinea pig can’t make enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. That can dramatically affect your guinea pig’s overall health.
Zinc is another trace mineral that supports multiple functions in the body. Some of its many functions include the growth of cells, building proteins, the creation of DNA, and supporting the immune system.