Oranges are a favorite juicy fruit to snack on all over the world. They are packed with Vitamin C and other antioxidants. As you likely know, Vitamin C is also crucial for guinea pigs. So can they safely eat oranges too? Let’s find out!
Guinea pigs can safely eat oranges in moderation. However, do not exceed one slice per week as the high sugar and acidity levels can cause problems in guinea pigs.
Despite the many benefits of feeding your guinea pig this sweet fruit, there are some precautions you need to be aware of first. I’ll cover everything you need to know in the article below.
Nutritional Value of Oranges for Guinea Pigs
Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, but they also contain a variety of other nutrients that can be beneficial to your guinea pig. I’ll outline the nutritional facts of oranges per 100 grams in the table below:
|Vitamin C||59.1 mg|
Benefits of Feeding Oranges to Guinea Pigs
Oranges Are a Great Source of Vitamin C and More
Oranges are a source of fiber, folate, potassium, Vitamin A, and B6. However, their most significant benefit is their high Vitamin C content. A whole orange contains around 70mg of Vitamin C, and one slice (wedge) has about 7mg.
Guinea pigs (like humans) cannot manufacture their own Vitamin C, so they need to get it through their daily diet. A deficiency in this nutrient causes a weakened immune system and makes the body more susceptible to various diseases.
Guinea pigs typically need an average of 10-30mg of Vitamin C per day to stay healthy and active. An orange slice can put a reasonable dent in that requirement.
Oranges Are Rich in Antioxidants
Additionally, oranges contain a number of antioxidants. These compounds help fight disease by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage cells if they become abundant in the body. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help prevent many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Oranges Are Beneficial for Healing and Inflammation
Oranges can also help the body produce collagen, promoting faster wound healing. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect, so they can be helpful for guinea pigs who are recovering from an injury or surgery, or those suffering from inflammation in the lungs.
Risks of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Oranges
Oranges Are High in Sugar
There are a handful of risks to be aware of before feeding your guinea pig oranges. First of all, they are high in sugar, as are most fruits you can feed your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are not meant to digest sugar, so too much can upset their digestive system and cause cramps or diarrhea. Too much sugar over time can also result in obesity and diabetes.
Oranges Are Naturally Acidic
In addition, oranges have a lot of natural acidity. This is not a problem as long as oranges are fed in moderation, but too much exposure to acidic foods can lead to mouth sores and stomach pains for your piggy.
Oranges Contain Some Calcium
Finally, oranges contain some calcium. A bit of calcium is necessary in the diet, but too much can quickly cause issues like bladder stones to develop. Since many common guinea pig veggies, including kale, spinach, parsley, and collard greens, are high in calcium, this is a mineral that is crucial to watch in your guinea pig’s diet. Stones are a very painful condition and usually need to be removed surgically, so they are best prevented if at all possible.
Allergies or Bad Reactions to the New Food
Like with other foods, there is always a chance that your guinea pig is allergic or has a bad reaction to oranges. 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 Oranges?
You can feed your guinea pig one slice (wedge) once a week maximum. Guinea pigs should not eat oranges every day due to the naturally high levels of sugar and acidity.
If your guinea pig is on the chunky side of the scale, you may want to split a slice between two pigs or feed it less frequently.
Remember to limit fruit in the diet, as most sugary fruits should make up only 5% of your guinea pig’s diet. It’s best to avoid feeding other sugary fruits like apples, plums, watermelon, pineapple, kiwi, etc around the same time as oranges.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Oranges?
Just like people, all guinea pigs have their own preferences when it comes to food. As such, it varies a lot from one guinea pig to another.
Oranges have a unique flavor that your guinea pig will either love or hate. Since this juicy fruit is so different from the leafy greens that piggies are naturally drawn to, it may take them longer to adapt to eating oranges.
Don’t give up if your guinea pig turns them down at first! Keep offering it in small amounts. Your piggy may nibble at it several times before deciding to try a more considerable amount.
However, all guinea pigs will have their likes and dislikes, so if oranges fall into the latter category after several attempts, don’t worry. There are more fruits and vegetables you can try that are high in Vitamin C. Some of these include sweet bell peppers, guava fruit, parsley, broccoli, strawberries, and brussels sprouts.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Orange Peels?
Yes! Guinea pigs can eat orange peels, and they are even higher in Vitamin C than the fruit itself. However, make sure you feed peels from organic oranges only.
Oranges are often loaded with pesticides, and most of them leech into the thick layers of the peel, proving impossible to rinse out.
It’s also crucial to feed orange peels in small amounts. Although they contain much less sugar than the slices, they are just as acidic as the rest of the orange. This can result in mouth sores or digestive upsets if fed too much.
Some guinea pigs may not be fond of the bitter-tasting orange peels, but if they are organic and your guinea pig eats them, then there’s no reason not to offer this healthy, nutrient-rich portion of the fruit.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Orange Seeds?
No, guinea pigs should not eat orange seeds. They are hard and can pose a choking risk to your piggy. To be on the safe side, always remove them before giving your guinea pig an orange wedge.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clementines?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat clementines. These cute little oranges were initially derived from mandarin oranges. They are a bit less acidic than regular oranges. They also have a slightly thinner peel that is good to feed to guinea pigs (as long as they are organic!)
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mandarin Oranges?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat mandarin oranges. These popular oranges are sweeter than most varieties. However, they are also higher in sugar and calories, so feed them to your guinea pig in moderation.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerines?
It is safe to feed tangerines to your guinea pig. Tangerines are a hybrid variety of mandarin oranges. They are a slightly darker color but otherwise have a very similar nutrient make-up to mandarin oranges.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blood Oranges?
Guinea pigs can also eat blood oranges. These darker-colored oranges have a much different flavor than most varieties of oranges. For this reason, they could be worth trying with guinea pigs that don’t like the taste of traditional oranges.
However, this can also work the other way around; guinea pigs who normally love oranges may not be as fond of blood oranges. Like other varieties, they still provide a great source of Vitamin C but contain a fair amount of sugar.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Satsumas?
Yes, it is safe to feed satsumas to your guinea pig. These oranges originate in Japan and are less commonly found in America. However, this juicy orange has many perks. They are seedless and also have very thin peels. This means they are pretty easy to peel and prepare, and there are no seeds that need to be removed before offering to your guinea pig.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Oranges?
Baby guinea pigs over four weeks old can eat oranges in small quantities. Oranges contain a good amount of Vitamin C and calcium, which young piggies need in their diet for healthy growth.
Be sure to introduce them into the diet very slowly, as baby guinea pigs’ stomachs are still developing and adapting to so many new things at once. The sugar and acidity levels can cause stomach upsets more easily than other foods.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Orange Juice?
While not poisonous to guinea pigs, orange juice has a higher concentration of sugar which is not healthy for piggies. Guinea pigs are not built to digest sugar or any other human foods, so this can cause digestive problems for your pig. The only human food they should have access to is raw fruits and vegetables.
Learn more: 45 Things Your Guinea Pig Should Never Eat
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Canned or Tinned Orange Slices?
As mentioned above, guinea pigs should only be fed raw fruits and veggies. They should not eat oranges from a tin or can. Canned oranges, whether in water or syrup, contain added sodium, sugars, and other preservatives to maintain a longer shelf life. None of these additives are safe or healthy for guinea pigs.
How to Prepare and Feed Oranges to Your Guinea Pig
To feed oranges to your guinea pig, start with a healthy, ripe orange. Peel the skin off and remove a wedge for your guinea pig. Remember to remove any seeds first! You can also give them a little piece of the orange peel if it is organic.
If your guinea pig is new to eating oranges, give them a smaller amount at first to try. Offer a few nibbles from a slice in your hand, or cut half a slice to leave in the cage for your guinea pig to try at their own pace.
Be sure to check back and remove any uneaten food in a few hours, so it doesn’t rot in the enclosure.
If your guinea pig doesn’t want to eat the orange right away, try it a few more times. In the wild, guinea pigs would often test a new food by nibbling the tiniest amounts several times to ensure it wasn’t poisonous. Pet guinea pigs often inherit this ingrained behavior, so this is why it sometimes takes them a bit of time to accept a new food.
The first few times your guinea pig eats an orange, observe them casually for several hours after. Check for any diarrhea, lethargy, or unusual behavior. If all seems good, you can gradually increase the amount you feed next time.
More Fruits and Vegetables That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
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.