The great thing about a guinea pig's diet is that it is quite diverse. This means that owners are not limited to one food group or pellet, but can experiment with food to give their pets what they need and prefer. When it comes to cherries, can guinea pigs eat them?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat cherries, but they should only be given as a treat and should not be a regular part of their diet. Cherries contain a large concentration of sugar, which can negatively affect the gut flora in your guinea pig, promoting the growth of “bad” bacteria.
Cherries are vibrantly colored, incredibly juicy, are just the right mix of tart and sweet, and are a treat that your guinea pig would love on their plate every single night. However, just as humans must be conscious of what goes into their bodies, so the owners must be aware of the food their guinea pig is consuming. If you love cherries and are looking to treat your guinea pig, continue reading to find all you need to know about the consumption of cherries by guinea pigs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries?
Cherries are a summertime fruit that disappears nearly as quickly as they come, but while they are in season, they are enjoyed by many. These little fruits may take a bit of work to dig into, but when it comes to the rewards of effort, they are plenty. If you are someone who loves cherries, you may be thinking that your guinea pig will enjoy them just as much, however, are guinea pigs able to eat cherries?
Guinea pigs can, in fact, eat cherries. Due to the nature of their diet, they are actually required to have fruit to satisfy their nutritional needs. Although cherries are fine to feed your guinea pig, be sure not to feed them too much too often, as it can disrupt their gut flora.
The gut flora in a guinea pig is what helps to digest food and keep a healthy bacterial balance within the area. This balance is quite delicate and is especially interrupted if the guinea pig receives too much sugar. Due to this, cherries are not a great option for regular feeding because they are so high in sugar content. If you were to feed your guinea pig cherries regularly, it could disrupt this balance in their gut and promote the growth of “bad” bacteria.
The key point to remember after understanding the effects of sugar on your guinea pig’s overall health is that moderation is absolutely key. Your guinea pig can eat a very wide variety of fruits, grains, and vegetables (they need this variety!), but moderation is key when it comes to certain items like cherries. Giving them a treat of this delicious fruit every now and then is just fine when given amongst a well-balanced diet that helps to offset any negative effects the fruit could have.
How Many Cherries Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
Now that you know your guinea pig can have cherries, you may be wondering just how many are enough, but not too much. Even more, it can be a bit daunting to try to gauge what proportion is appropriate when you know that you cannot feed your guinea pig too much of something due to its potential negative effects. Therefore, instead of feeding cherry to your guinea pig blindly, take a look below to find out just how much they can eat.
When feeding your guinea pig cherries, be sure to only give them one or two at a time. You should also only feed them this fruit a few times a month. If you have a smaller guinea pig, limit the quantity to one cherry. If you have a larger guinea pig, giving them two is appropriate.
As previously noted, the key with your guinea pig’s diet is moderation and this particularly applies to how many cherries you give your pet, but also, how often you give them. When it comes to food, guinea pigs are a bit gluttonous and will use just about any excuse to eat - especially when it comes to foods that are sweet and juicy. Because of this, you have to be sure to limit the number of cherries you give your guinea pig to avoid any negative outcomes.
If your guinea pig were to consume too many cherries too often, the function of their gut could be compromised, which is essential when it comes to their ability to break down complex foods such as hay. If they are unable to break down these foods, it can lead to extreme health issues which could result in a premature death. Although you may be tempted to give your guinea pig as many cherries as they please, be the keeper of their health and keep them limited.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherry Pit or Stems?
Guinea pigs are ravenous when it comes to chewing on wooden toys, their cages, and even their houses within their little environment. Therefore, when it comes to feeding a guinea pig cherries, owners may think that no harm would come from them consuming the cherry whole - stem and pit - due to their natural inclination to chew. Although this thought process is understandable, it is not one that can be supported or encouraged.
Guinea pigs cannot eat the cherry pit or stem and should always be fed a cherry that has been removed of both. When you give your guinea pig a cherry, remove the stem and take the pit from within it. Once these have been removed, the cherry is safe to go to your guinea pig for consumption.
When it comes to the stem of the cherry, you cannot feed your guinea pig this part because their bodies are not able to digest such a material. If they were to consume the stem, it could cause digestion issues which could result in constipation or more serious conditions. Along with this, the stem of a cherry can be easily choked on due to its length, but also the difficulty of being able to actually chew through it.
For the cherry pit, due to the size of this seed, your guinea pig could easily swallow it whole which could result in the guinea pig choking. The seed also contains trace amounts of cyanide which is actually poisonous to your guinea pig. The stems of a cherry also contain cyanide, which is why it is best to prepare your cherry in a way that leaves both of these parts behind, with only the meat of the cherry left for them to enjoy.
Are There Any Benefits to Feeding a Guinea Pig Cherries?
Up to this point, you may be a tad discouraged that you can’t allow your guinea pig to eat to its heart’s content when it comes to gorging on cherries. Although this may slow down your plans for a cherry-filled evening, it does not mean that cherries are all bad when it comes to their effects on your guinea pig’s overall health. When you decide to feed a guinea pig cherries, are there any benefits?
Although cherries are not advised to be given in large quantities or more often than a few times a month, they are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also contain vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, folate, protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
With all of this goodness in cherries, it would be hard to argue that cherries are only bad when it comes to their effect on your guinea pig’s health. They contain a great amount of antioxidants which are incredible helpers when it comes to fighting free radicals, but also host anti-inflammatory effects. This bodes well for your guinea pig and is a nice added bonus to this sweet and tart treat.
More than antioxidants, cherries contain a large amount of vitamin C. Guinea pigs are not able to manufacture vitamin C on their own, therefore, they must be fed a diet that is very rich in this vitamin. This particular vitamin contributes to the normal development and maintenance of your guinea pig’s skin, joints, and gums. Knowing this, cherries can be a great little burst of vitamin C when given in moderation.