Grapes are a delicious fruit that many people enjoy worldwide. These popular sugary treats are full of antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. But as we all know, they are dangerously toxic to dogs and cats. So are they safe for guinea pigs to eat? Let’s look into it.
As a general rule, grapes are safe for guinea pigs to eat in minimal quantities. They are not poisonous to guinea pigs, but they are incredibly high in sugar. For this reason, grapes are best fed as an occasional treat to your piggy.
Throughout the rest of the article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about feeding grapes, from the benefits and risks to correct portion sizes and more.
You can also check out the Guinea Pig Food Chart for an alphabetical list of everything your piggy can eat and how often they can have it, along with calcium and Vitamin C levels for each food.
*Important Note: The quantity of grapes shown in the photos is for visual purposes only and not indicative of the correct amount to feed your guinea pig in one serving.
Benefits of Feeding Grapes to Guinea Pigs
Grapes Contain Beneficial Vitamins and Minerals
While they are not exceptionally high in any one nutrient, grapes contain balanced amounts of various vitamins and minerals. These include Vitamin K, calcium, copper, thiamine, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and a small amount of Vitamin C.
These minerals support many vital functions in the body. Vitamin K is critical for healthy blood clotting and good bone development, along with calcium.
Potassium regulates fluid in the body, removes excess sodium, and helps to regulate healthy blood pressure in the right amounts. Copper helps turn food into energy in the body, while manganese is responsible for forming connective tissue and bones.
Grapes also contain Vitamin C, but it is a small amount at 4mg per 100 grams. Guinea pigs need Vitamin C for healthy immune function, among other things. Since grapes are not a great source of this nutrient, it’s best to include some other high Vitamin C foods in your piggy’s diet.
Grapes Contain a Wealth of Powerful Antioxidants
Grapes are very high in antioxidants. These beneficial compounds protect the body from cancer and countless other ailments. The highest concentrations of antioxidants in grapes are found in the seeds and skin.
Antioxidants help the body is by targeting and neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are a natural by-product of using energy. If they get out of check, free radicals will attack and overwhelm the healthy cells in the body.
This causes a state known as oxidative stress. When in oxidative stress, the body is more susceptible to many serious chronic illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Oxidative stress can also cause accelerated aging and decrease your pet’s lifespan.
Nutritional Facts For Grapes
Grapes contain many powerful antioxidants, including resveratrol, quercetin, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and ellagic acid. Many of these antioxidants have been studied for their anti-cancer qualities.
Resveratrol, in particular, has been studied for all kinds of benefits. This compound has been linked to reduced inflammation, improved memory, lower cholesterol levels, and the ability to protect against certain cancers.
Red and purple grapes also contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant responsible for giving these grapes their darker color. Anthocyanins have been studied for their cancer prevention abilities and the potential to prevent specific brain and heart problems.
Grapes May Benefit Eye Health
Resveratrol and other compounds found in grapes also have the potential to protect the eyes and prevent many commonly diagnosed eye diseases.
Grapes also contain lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene, antioxidants that are well-known to support better vision and a reduced risk of disease.
Risks of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Grapes
Grapes Are Very High in Sugar
Grapes are incredibly high in sugar, containing 16.2 grams of sugar in 100 grams of grapes. Of course, your guinea pig isn’t going to eat 100 grams of grapes, but the sugar percentage in a single grape is still higher than most other fruits and vegetables you can feed your piggy.
Guinea pigs are herbivores with a body developed over generations to eat tough, bitter forage and grasses. Their little bodies are not well-equipped to handle large quantities of sugar, so fruit should be a tiny percentage of their diet.
If fed in excess, grapes can cause stomach discomfort or diarrhea. If sugary foods are offered over time, this can also lead to obesity and even diabetes.
Grapes Can Be a Potential Choking Hazard
The round slippery texture of grapes invites a choking risk for guinea pigs if fed whole. For this reason, it’s essential to slice grapes into halves or even quarters before giving them to your guinea pig.
The seeds can also pose a choking hazard, so buy seedless or scoop out any seeds before offering them to your piggy.
Potential Allergic Reactions
Like other foods, there is always a chance that your guinea pig is allergic or has a bad reaction to grapes. 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.
Are Grapes Poisonous to Guinea Pigs?
Grapes are highly poisonous to cats and dogs. They can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts. So this begs the question, are grapes toxic to guinea pigs too?
Thankfully guinea pigs are not affected by grapes in the same way. Despite having much smaller bodies, guinea pigs can safely consume the same quantities that would seriously harm a dog or cat.
However, grapes have not been studied much in guinea pigs, so there may be potential for problems over time if they are fed in large amounts. The compound in grapes that causes kidney failure in dogs and cats is unknown, so it’s difficult to be scientifically sure that they won’t affect guinea pigs in some shape or form.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Green Grapes?
Guinea pigs can safely eat green grapes. However, green grapes are higher in sugar than red varieties. They also lack anthocyanins and other potent flavonoid antioxidants that give red and purple grapes their vibrant dark color.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Red Grapes?
Red or purple grapes contain higher concentrations and a greater variety of healthy antioxidants. They also have slightly less sugar than green grapes, making them a healthier choice for guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes With Seeds?
Grape seeds can pose a choking risk to guinea pigs, so it’s essential to slice the grapes and remove any seeds before feeding them to your guinea pig. Seedless varieties of grapes are best for piggies.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grape Skin?
Some people remove the grape skin to reduce the choking hazard, but this is unnecessary as long as the grapes are cut into halves or quarters. The skin harbors some of the highest concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants, so your guinea pig will be missing out on several fantastic nutrients if the skin is removed.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grape Leaves, Vines, and Stems?
There is very little research and inconclusive information on whether guinea pigs can eat grape stems and leaves. For this reason, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding your piggy any grape leaves, stems, or vines. There are so many excellent and safe leafy greens to feed your guinea pig, so it’s best to stick to foods that are known to be safe.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raisins?
While they are not poisonous if your guinea pig eats one, raisins should not be consciously fed to your piggy. They contain significantly higher sugar concentrations than fresh grapes, which can turn problematic fast. Raisins are also sticky and can get lodged in your guinea pig’s teeth.
Can Guinea Pigs Drink Grape Juice?
You should never offer grape juice to your guinea pig. Juices contain added sugar and may include other preservatives to give them a longer shelf life. To be safe, guinea pigs should not eat any processed human foods or drinks.
You can find a thorough list of everything guinea pigs should not eat here.
How Many Grapes Can Guinea Pigs Eat and How Often?
Generally, it is safe to feed your guinea pig 1-2 grapes per week. Grapes are okay as an occasional treat if your guinea pig loves them, but they should not be a regular part of your piggy’s diet. Grapes are not safe to feed every day due to the extremely high sugar levels.
Treats including fruit should make up less than 5% of your guinea pig’s diet. Staple veggies should include low sugar foods and leafy greens such as sweet bell peppers, dandelion greens, mustard greens, tomatoes, and zucchini.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Grapes?
If your guinea pig has a sweet tooth, they will likely love grapes, as they have a delicious sugary flavor. Try half a sliced grape at first to see if your guinea pig likes it.
They may nibble and lick at it for a minute before deciding whether to eat it or not. If your guinea pig loves grapes, they will likely also love fruits like strawberries, bananas, raspberries, and blueberries.
If your piggy turns it down at first, try again a few different times. Some guinea pigs take time to get used to something new, and they may change their mind and try it eventually.
If your guinea pig still doesn’t eat grapes after a few tries, they may have less of a sweet tooth than other piggies. In that case, they will likely prefer foods like endive, lettuce, radicchio, Swiss chard, or carrots.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes?
Baby guinea pigs over 4 weeks old can have a grape occasionally, but it should not be a regular thing. While grapes contain some nutrients, they don’t hold a candle to foods like kale, collard greens, and parsley. Foods high in calcium and Vitamin C are best for growing guinea pigs.
Grapes are also very sugary, and baby piggies have sensitive digestive systems that are still learning to process new foods. It’s best to keep fruit a minimal part of the diet, especially for baby guinea pigs. If you want to try grapes with a young guinea pig, cut them up into small pieces and only offer tiny amounts – no more than one grape every couple of weeks.
How to Prepare and Feed Grapes to Your Guinea Pig
To feed grapes to your guinea pig, start by selecting one or two ripe, healthy grapes that are not mushy. Rinse them thoroughly under cool water to remove traces of pesticides, dirt, and germs.
Slice the grape(s) in halves or quarters to reduce any risks of choking. If the grapes are not a seedless variety, scoop out any seeds inside before giving them to your guinea pig. There’s no need to peel the skin, as this part contains the highest levels of antioxidants for your piggy.
Store the remaining grapes in the back of your refrigerator in a container or bag with some ventilation. Typically, refrigerated grapes will last up to 3 weeks. Refrain from washing the grapes until just before they are consumed because rinsing speeds up the rate they will rot.
Avoid feeding your guinea pig dried grapes (raisins), grape jam, or any other processed food item containing grapes. These have added preservatives and much higher concentrations of sugar that are unsafe for guinea pigs.
How to Introduce A New Food For The First Time
If your guinea pig has never eaten grapes, introduce them very gradually. The large amounts of sugar can cause stomach problems or diarrhea in some guinea pigs, especially at first. Start with half a grape and see if your guinea pig likes it.
Some piggies may gobble it up right away, while others will nuzzle and taste it, then walk away. It often takes some time for guinea pigs to adapt to a new food, so try leaving it in the cage for an hour or two to see if they’ll try it again.
Often 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 is pretty normal for guinea pigs to take their time accepting a new food.
Their ancestors would avoid poisonous plants in the wild by trying tiny amounts of unfamiliar plants and seeing if they made them sick before eating them again. Pet guinea pigs often do the same thing when presented with a novel food.
To get them to eat something new, it often helps to give the new food separately from their regular vegetables (i.e., grape in the morning, regular veggies at night.) Guinea pigs are often more willing to try something if they have fewer options.
Keep an eye on your guinea pig for several hours after they try the grape to ensure that they are acting normally and have no signs of diarrhea or stomach discomfort. As long as there’s no diarrhea or odd behavior, you can gradually increase the amount next time.
Be sure never to exceed a couple of grapes per serving. While it’s okay to offer grapes as a rare treat, the sugar can present a problem if fed regularly.
It’s also a good idea to introduce no more than one new food at a time. This way, you can easily identify which new food is causing problems if you notice any unusual behavior from your piggy.
Fun Facts About Grapes
- Grapes are actually a type of berry.
- Researchers believe that grapes are more than 65 million years old.
- There are 60 species and more than 8000 varieties of grapes grown worldwide.
- Grapes have been grown and cultivated for 8000 years.
- Table grapes and wine grapes have several differences; most notably, wine grapes have thicker skins and lots of seeds.
- Most grapes are grown in Italy, Spain, Turkey, and China.
- Grapes are hardy and can grow all over the world in many different climates.
- Grapes grow in clusters, averaging 75 grapes per cluster.
More Fruits and Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Did you know that guinea pigs can also eat dill, basil, and brussels sprouts?
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.