Blueberries are among the best superfood fruits, abundant in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are a very popular snack in America and all over the world. But are blueberries safe to feed guinea pigs as well? Let’s find out!
Guinea pigs can eat blueberries once or twice a week. Feed only a couple of berries at a time due to the high sugar and acidity levels.
Blueberries are an incredibly nutrient-dense fruit to feed your guinea pig. The vast number of antioxidants in these berries can protect your guinea pig against many infections and diseases. However, there are a few things you need to know before feeding them regularly to your piggy. Let’s get into it below.
Benefits of Feeding Blueberries to Guinea Pigs
Blueberries are low in calories and extremely nutrient-dense. They are high in fiber and provide a great source of Vitamins C, K, and manganese.
The most significant benefit of blueberries is their incredibly high levels of antioxidants. Blueberries are one of the richest fruits in antioxidants. These compounds help protect the body by neutralizing free radicals that damage cells.
When free radicals get out of control in the body, this increases the chances of many chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Antioxidants help keep these pesky molecules in check and prevent them from overwhelming the body.
Free radicals also damage DNA cells in the body, increasing the rate of aging. Antioxidants can help slow this down, which is why blueberries are often hailed as an anti-aging food.
Blueberries have also been linked to lower blood pressure in many studies.
Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C for humans. However, since guinea pigs can only eat a few blueberries at a time, these berries do not provide a significant amount of Vitamin C for piggies.
According to the USDA food database, five berries provide about 0.66mg of Vitamin C. Most guinea pigs require an average of 10-30mg per day. Compare blueberries to sweet yellow bell peppers that contain 27.5mg of Vitamin C in a single slice (1/8 of a medium pepper), and you can see that the difference is substantial. Blueberries provide a tiny boost of Vitamin C, but they should not be a primary source of this nutrient for your piggy.
Another little-known fact about blueberries is that they can be beneficial for urinary tract infections. Blueberries are closely related to cranberries. Like their close cousin, they contain substances that can help prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.
Feeding blueberries can not be used in place of proper vet treatment to cure an active infection, but it may be effective for prevention, especially for guinea pigs that are prone to recurring UTIs.
Risks of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Blueberries
There are a couple of concerns when feeding blueberries to guinea pigs. First of all, they contain a lot of sugar. Guinea pigs are herbivores that are built for consuming a low sugar diet of forage and grasses. Their guts are not made to digest large amounts of sugar.
Feeding too many blueberries can therefore lead to stomach pains and indigestion. Feeding too much sugar over time can also cause obesity, and this can lead to countless more health conditions.
Blueberries also contain a fair amount of natural acidity. If fed in excess, this can cause mouth sores in some guinea pigs, diarrhea, or an upset stomach. As long as these sweet berries are fed in moderation, the sugar and acidic content does not pose a significant risk. They have many great minerals and make a healthy and delicious snack for your guinea pig in small quantities.
Like with other foods, there is always a chance that your guinea pig is allergic or has a bad reaction to blueberries. This is rare, but it’s always important to introduce new foods gradually and keep an eye on your guinea pig in case they have an adverse reaction.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberries?
Guinea pigs can eat 2-3 blueberries up to twice a week. It’s best to spread out the days you feed blueberries and avoid giving them on back-to-back days. You should not feed your guinea pig blueberries every day due to the high levels of sugar and acidity.
If your guinea pig is overweight or eats other types of fruit regularly, it’s best to reduce the frequency of feeding blueberries to once a week or less.
If you’re feeding blueberries regularly, be sure to balance out the diet with plenty of greens that are low in sugar, such as spinach or collard greens. Also, avoid feeding other high sugar fruits on the same day that you give blueberries, especially other acidic fruits like tomatoes.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Blueberries?
Many guinea pigs love berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Blueberries are often one of the most popular berries with piggies. Oftentimes, guinea pigs will eat as many as they are allowed. This is why it’s crucial to feed them the recommended amount above and not give in to begging, especially if these berries are one of your guinea pig’s favorites.
However, not all guinea pigs have a sweet tooth, so you may find that your guinea pig turns down blueberries. All guinea pigs have their own likes and dislikes, and this is perfectly fine!
If your piggy isn’t big on sweet foods, try things like radicchio, cilantro, broccoli, or swiss chard. I’ve found that all my guinea pigs that turn down fruits are drawn to many of these veggies instead.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberries?
Baby guinea pigs over four weeks old can eat blueberries in small amounts. Introduce fruit to young guinea pigs slowly as their body is still adapting and may be more sensitive to sugar than adults.
Blueberries have some excellent nutrients, but the bulk of a young guinea pig’s produce should be leafy vegetables like parsley and kale. These greens have high levels of calcium and Vitamin C, which are essential for a baby guinea pig’s growth and development.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberry Leaves?
Leaves from blueberry plants are safe for guinea pigs to eat. They are much lower in sugar than the berries themselves and contain some great vitamins and antioxidants. Blueberry leaves can be fed to your guinea pig more frequently, a few leaves 2-3 times a week.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Blueberries?
It is always best to feed your guinea pigs fresh, raw blueberries. However, if these are not an option, guinea pigs can eat frozen blueberries as long as they are thawed and brought to room temperature first. Also, ensure that the berries had no sugar or preservatives added to them before freezing.
How to Prepare and Feed Blueberries to Your Guinea Pig
To feed blueberries to your guinea pig, start by choosing some fresh, healthy berries that are ripe and not wilting. Give them a good rinse to remove any traces of dirt or pesticides.
If your guinea pig has never tried blueberries in the past, start with just one berry. Offer it by hand or leave it in the cage for a while if your guinea pig is hesitant to try it initially. Guinea pigs often like to check out the new food and try it at their own pace. Be sure to check back after a few hours to discard any uneaten food if there is any.
Sometimes guinea pigs take a bit of time to adapt and try a new type of food, so if they don’t eat it right away, try it for a few more days. It also often helps to give the new fruit separately from their regular vegetables (i.e., new food in the morning, regular veggies at night.) Guinea pigs are often more willing to try something if they have fewer options.
Observe your guinea pig for several hours after they try the new food. As long as there’s no diarrhea or odd behavior, you can gradually increase the number of berries you feed next time.
More Fruits and Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Did you know that guinea pigs can also eat celery, radicchio, and raspberries?
These foods all contain a variety of nutrients that can boost your guinea pig’s health in numerous ways. They can also eat watermelon, apples, pears, and so much more.
For a complete list of all the fruits and vegetables that guinea pigs can eat, check out our article, Complete List of Safe Foods for Guinea Pigs.