Strawberries are a fun summer treat for people. However, before sharing this summer bounty with your guinea pigs, you should know a few things. Knowing these things can help you keep your guinea pigs safe while they eat strawberries.
The Short Answer: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat strawberries. They can have the fruit, stem, and leaves without trouble, provided you offer it to them in moderation. However, you should evaluate the available strawberries before giving them to your guinea pigs.
Concerns About Strawberries
The first potential problem with strawberries is that they grow on the ground. This fact tends to mean they come in with dust and grime. This problem is easy to solve with a thorough washing before dropping the strawberries in the cage.
Guinea pigs are much smaller than humans and are affected by chemicals much quicker. Strawberries are reliably on the EWG Dirty Dozen™ list with some of the highest levels of residual pesticides. Choosing organic produce reduces but does not always eliminate this problem.
Guinea pigs can also only have fresh or dried strawberries, never frozen. You should also confirm that the strawberries you intend to feed your guinea pigs are free from preservatives, colorants, and sweeteners, especially if you’re looking at dried strawberries.
Serving Sizes for Guinea Pigs and Strawberries
Guinea pigs can eat all parts of the strawberry, from the fruit to the leaves to the seeds to the stems. The leaves and stems have more fiber than the fruit itself, so it’s best to leave those on for your guinea pigs.
Typically, you want to limit your guinea pigs to one strawberry apiece one or twice a week if the strawberries are small- to medium-sized. While strawberries are lower in sugar than many other fruits, they still have enough sugar that can cause health problems if they are overfed.
Nutrients for Guinea Pigs in Strawberries
Vitamin C is vital for guinea pigs, and they do not make it within their bodies. Strawberries have a healthy level of vitamin C in a digestible form, and your piggles will gobble them up with enthusiasm.
As in humans, antioxidants help protect your guinea pig’s cells from the various agents that could harm them and cause long-term disease. These agents are often called free radicals, and they’re a byproduct of food breaking down in the gut or environmental factors.
Strawberries have a relatively high water content, and that’s good for your guinea pigs. The amount is not so high that it will hurt a healthy guinea pig assuming the right dosage, but it can help hydrate them if they’re feeling poorly.
Strawberries also offer a solid source of magnesium. Mammal bodies need magnesium to support muscle, nerve, and energy production functions, all of which are critical to long-term health.
Potassium is also critical for long-term health, and strawberries offer a good amount in a reasonable serving size. It ensures proper functionality of muscles and nerves, among many other functions.
Folate is one of the B vitamins critical for red blood cell formation and maintenance. Without folate, your piggles will not have quite the same quality of life. Additionally, folate is critical to support healthy mammal pregnancies.
About Strawberry Juices
Strawberry juices tend to temporarily dye guinea pig hair a pinkish color, especially if you have white guinea pigs. Your guinea pigs will clean themselves up after they eat strawberries, so there’s no need to worry about it.