Strawberries are a popular and sweet summer fruit with plenty of health benefits. If you love these tasty berries and have guinea pigs, you’re likely wondering if your little furry potatoes can have a taste too. So, can guinea pigs eat strawberries too?
Generally speaking, guinea pigs can safely eat strawberries in small amounts once or twice a week. Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and many other nutrients that can benefit your guinea pig’s health in a multitude of ways.
Strawberries are a delicious treat with countless health benefits. But, there are some things you need to know before feeding them to your guinea pig. We’ll cover these topics throughout the article.
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 strawberries shown in the photos is for visual purposes only and not indicative of the correct amount to feed your guinea pig in one serving.
Nutritional Value of Strawberries for Guinea Pigs
Strawberries contain a fairly balanced mix of nutrients that can benefit your guinea pig’s health in various ways. I’ll list the nutrients of strawberries per 100 grams in the table below:
|Vitamin C||58.8 mg|
|Vitamin A||12 IU|
|Vitamin K||2.2 µg|
Benefits of Feeding Strawberries to Guinea Pigs
Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. They are high in water and an excellent source of Vitamin C. Each of these nutrients plays a different role in your guinea pig’s body.
Strawberries Are Antioxidant-Rich
Strawberries are a great source of antioxidants for your piggy. These berries contain a wealth of antioxidants, most notably a couple called anthocyanin and quercetin. These powerful compounds can help to lower cholesterol, boost cardiovascular health, and even reduce the growth of cancer cells.
Antioxidants are beneficial because they reduce inflammation and fight off free radicals in the body.
A build-up of free radicals can lead to cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Feeding fruits and veggies high in antioxidants is a great way to keep free radicals in check.
Strawberries Are a Great Source of Vitamin C
Strawberries also contain a reasonable amount of Vitamin C. This nutrient is crucial for guinea pigs, as their body cannot manufacture their own Vitamin C internally (just like people!)
If they are deficient in Vitamin C over time, guinea pigs can develop scurvy, a painful condition that affects the joints and limits movement.
Guinea pigs need an average of 30mg of Vitamin C per day. One medium-sized strawberry contains about 7mg of Vitamin C. A small berry, in contrast, has about 4mg of Vitamin C, and larger berries can contain over 10mg of this essential nutrient.
One berry can contribute to your guinea pig’s Vitamin C requirements, but it’s not quite enough to fulfill it entirely. However, strawberries are great when fed along with other high Vitamin C vegetables.
Strawberries Contain a Variety of Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to Vitamin C, strawberries also contain a few other beneficial minerals, such as manganese, folate, magnesium, and small amounts of Vitamins A and K. They are also a good source of fiber.
Additionally, strawberries are relatively low in calories and calcium. Guinea pigs absorb more calcium from foods than we do, meaning they need much less of this in their diet, especially considering their small size. For this reason, it’s a good idea to offer low-calcium foods as the bulk of your guinea pig’s fresh food.
Strawberries also contain some potassium. This nutrient is critical to help the body regulate fluid. It has also been proven to reduce blood pressure and may even reduce the chance of developing kidney stones.
Risks of Feeding Your Guinea Pig Strawberries
Despite the many health benefits of feeding this fruit to your piggy, there are still a few things to be mindful of before including this juicy red berry in your guinea pig’s regular diet.
Strawberries Contain Some Sugar
Despite being low in calories, strawberries do contain a reasonable amount of natural sugars. They are comparatively lower in sugar than many other fruits but still higher than most vegetables.
Guinea pigs’ digestive systems are not built to digest sugar, so too much can cause diarrhea or stomach pains. If fed frequently over time, the sugar content can even cause obesity, dental issues, and more serious problems like diabetes.
Small Amounts of Natural Acidity
Strawberries contain some acidity, which can cause mouth sores if they are fed too much at a time. However, as long as you stick to the recommended amounts, this should not be a problem.
Like all foods, they also contain some calcium and phosphorus, but not a large amount in comparison to other veggies, so this is not a significant concern when feeding strawberries.
Pesticide Residue on Strawberries
Like many other types of fruit and vegetables, there is also a risk of pesticide residue. To counteract this, be sure to rinse the berries thoroughly before feeding, or buy organic if you can.
Allergies or Bad Reactions to the Fruit
Like with other foods, there is always a chance that your guinea pig is allergic or has a bad reaction to strawberries. 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.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Tops?
Guinea pigs can safely eat strawberry tops, and many piggies love them even more than the strawberries themselves!
They contain more fiber and less sugar than the actual fruit, so in many ways, the tops are even healthier for them. If you remove all of the fruit, the leafy tops alone can be fed several times a week.
I often give my piggies strawberry tops while I’m snacking on the berries. The guinea pigs prefer the tops, I prefer the berries, and it eliminates waste. Win, win!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries With the Seeds?
You can safely feed strawberries with the seeds intact. Strawberry seeds are small and soft, so they pose no choking risk to your guinea pig.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Plant Leaves?
Guinea pigs can safely eat the leaves and stem from a strawberry plant. Some guinea pigs love them more than the strawberries themselves!
Strawberry leaves can be fed more frequently, about 2-3 times a week. Strawberry leaves are packed full of nutrients, contain lots of fiber, and are much lower in sugar than berries.
Growing your own strawberries is a great way to have a steady supply of organic leaves and berries for yourself and your piggies.
Strawberry plants are hardy and easy to grow in the garden or in planters. If planted in the garden, they will keep coming back every year and producing new leaves and berries every season.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Strawberries?
Most guinea pigs love strawberries! However, all piggies have their own taste buds and preferences, so some may never take a liking to this sweet fruit. I put it to the test with my 10 guinea pigs (past and present) and here are the results:
Ceico: *Munch, munch, munch, munch, munch*
Ace: “WTF is this!? Ew, it smells sweet! I only like bitter things!”
TJ: *Munch, munch, munch* “Mom, the strawberry disappeared! I can’t find it anywhere! Can I have another? Please???”
Willow: “I’m not sure about this thing, it smells different. But TJ is eating it, so I better eat it faster!”
Peach: “It’s probably food, so I’m gonna eat it.”
Daisy: “Same. It’s better than some of the things I find myself.”
Poppy: *Nibble* “It doesn’t taste like lettuce…” *Walks away* *Returns later* “I guess I’ll eat it anyway.”
Pansy: *Nibble, nibble* POPCORN! “Wait, where did I leave that strawberry?”
Skylar: “OMG strawberries!” *digs in*
Skittles: “What is this funny-looking red thing?” *tentatively nibbles*
If you think your guinea pig doesn’t like strawberries at first, keep trying! Guinea pigs are often cautious with new foods and take a bit of time to get used to an unfamiliar taste.
Leave a strawberry in their cage for a few hours to give them time to investigate and nibble it at their own pace. Also, be sure to remove any uneaten berries after a couple of hours so it doesn’t wilt or mold in your guinea pig’s cage.
If your guinea pig decides that they do not like the berries, try feeding the leafy tops or some leaves off a strawberry plant. These are also full of nutrients, and most piggies that are adverse to the sweetness of the berries will take a liking to the leaves.
Guinea pigs that are averse to sweet foods often prefer things like radicchio, endive, lettuce, arugula, dandelions, fennel, or mustard greens. It’s a good idea to mix up the diet and try some new things. You may even find your guinea pig’s new favorite foods!
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?
You can feed your guinea pig one average size strawberry a week. You can offer a whole small strawberry all at once, or slice a berry in half and feed one slice twice a week.
If the berries are small, you can feed up to two a week. If you’re feeding them twice a week, space out the time so there are a few days in between.
Guinea pigs should not eat strawberries every day. Feeding strawberries too often can lead to diarrhea, digestion problems, obesity, and even diabetes. When fed sparingly, strawberries contain many great nutrients. However, it’s crucial to not go overboard.
If your guinea pig is not used to eating strawberries, feed them in smaller amounts the first few times. This gives your guinea pig’s body a chance to adapt to the new food without causing stomach problems or pains.
Can Baby Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?
Baby guinea pigs can safely eat strawberries, but it’s crucial to introduce them slowly into the diet. Young guinea pigs are adapting to a lot of new things in life, so it’s best to not put too much stress on their systems.
In addition, leafy greens like kale, parsley, and collard greens are a better source of calcium and Vitamin C, which growing guinea pigs need in their diet. It’s best to prioritize these types of foods for baby guinea pigs.
How to Safely Prepare and Feed Strawberries to Your Guinea Pig
Before giving strawberries to your guinea pig, be sure to rinse them thoroughly with cool, clean water. Strawberries often contain chemical residue from pesticides if they’re not organic. They also grow close to the ground, meaning they pick up a lot of dirt and feces from bugs.
When introducing strawberries to your guinea pig for the first time, try small amounts. Cut a small slice of berry and offer it by hand or leave it in your guinea pig’s cage for a couple of hours. Be sure to remove it after a few hours so it doesn’t go rotten in the enclosure.
Observe your guinea pig for several hours after they try the strawberry. If they seem a little under the weather after trying the new food, it may be best to try a smaller amount next time or stick with other foods.
If your guinea pig doesn’t seem interested in eating the strawberry, 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, and this is why it sometimes takes them a while to accept a new food.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries Cold?
Always give strawberries time to warm to room temperature before offering them to your guinea pig. Cold strawberries are harder to digest and can cause stomach cramps for your guinea pig in some cases.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Jam?
Guinea pigs should not eat strawberry jam. Jam contains way more sugar than the fruit itself, and store-bought jams usually contain other types of preservatives that are not good for guinea pigs. Any kind of processed food is a big no for guinea pigs. Stick with raw, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Strawberries?
Guinea pigs should only eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen strawberries lose some of their nutrients, and frozen fruit is often blanched to maintain its color. It’s always best to serve strawberries fresh to your guinea pig.
More Fruits and Berries That Guinea Pigs Can Eat
Berries and other fruits provide a great source of vitamins and minerals for guinea pigs. They are also sweet treats that many guinea pigs love! Fruit should only be fed in moderation, so be sure to offer just one type of fruit per week to limit your piggy’s sugar intake.
- Blueberries: These tiny berries are often favorites of guinea pigs! All of my piggies go nuts for these sweet treats. They are also packed with antioxidants and other nutrients.
- Raspberries: Another great berry for your guinea pig, raspberries are delicious and really pack a lot of nutrients into a tiny package.
- Cantaloupe: This type of melon contains a reasonable amount of Vitamin C and is quite popular with guinea pigs!
- Cherries: These sugary treats should be fed in moderation due to their sugar content, but they make a great occasional treat.
- Peaches: These fuzzy fruits are a great source of essential minerals for your piggy.
- Pumpkin: This well-known fruit provides a great source of Vitamin A for your guinea pig, even in the smallest amounts.
While fruits are typically sugary, they provide a great source of variety in taste and nutrients in your guinea pig’s diet. For even more fruits you can try, be sure to check out our complete list of safe fruits for guinea pigs.
Strawberries and other fruits make a fantastic and nutrient-rich addition to your guinea pig’s diet. However, it’s crucial to remember that fruit should only make up a minuscule 5% of your guinea pig’s diet.
Guinea pigs should consume 80% grass hay, with the remainder made up of pellets formulated for guinea pigs and a variety of low-sugar fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the best ones to include in your piggy’s staple diet include bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, and cilantro.
You can also find a complete list of all the foods, including vegetables and herbs that guinea pigs can eat, in this article, Complete List of Safe Foods for Guinea Pigs.