As we have mentioned a few times now, guinea pigs are steadily increasing in popularity after seeing a sudden bump around three years back, and more and more people are adding a guinea pig to their family and keeping one as a family pet. Due to there being so many first-time guinea pig owners out there right now, we have noticed a drastic increase in the number of questions that we are seeing asked about the popular pet with each passing month. As we always try to help our readers in every way possible, we have decided to focus today’s article around one of these more commonly asked questions.
Although we do see an absolute ton of questions based around general things such as “what do guinea pigs eat?” we have decided to focus today’s article on a more specific topic that we are seeing asked more and more often and is based around “can guinea pigs eat blueberries?“. Before going any further into the article, we just want to quickly confirm that yes guinea pigs can eat blueberries and they offer a ton of health benefits and make a tasty treat that most guinea pigs seem to love the taste of.
As with most things though, the key is moderation and provided that you only offer your guinea pig blueberries once or twice a week at most as part of a balanced diet of food for guinea pigs. your guinea pig will likely benefit from having the blueberries added to its diet. The key is to feed nutritional treats based around fruit and vegetables throughout the week to ensure that your pet is getting all of the nutrition that it requires.
Blueberries are not nutritionally complete and do possess some health risks if overfed to your pet guinea pigs so they do not make an ideal primary food source for your pet to eat. Your guinea pigs blueberries can make an excellent addition to a diet made up of a suitable primary food source. We are not going to be taking a more in-depth look at the benefits of adding blueberries to your pet guinea pigs food intake as they are jam-packed with goodness.
Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Blueberries
Just like the vast majority of other fruits and vegetables that a guinea pig will eat, blueberries contain a large amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for your pet guinea pig to lead a healthy life. They do come with a large amount of sugar in them and the spike in fruit-based sugar is the main reason that we would not recommend that blueberries be fed to your guinea pigs more than twice a week at most although your guinea pig will likely eat them every chance they get anyway.
The list below covers all of the vitamins that an average blueberry can contain and as you can see, they offer a ton of nutritional value when adding them to your guinea pig food schedule:-
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin B
- Pantothenic Acid
On top of all of this, feeding your pet guinea pig blueberries is also a quick and easy way for you to get the following minerals into what your guinea pigs eat too:-
Although the sugar content out of the macronutrient break down for blueberries is a little high when compared to what we would usually recommend for a guinea pig, provided that you do only use them as a supplementary treat for your guinea pigs diet, we feel the trade off is well worth it as they offer essential vitamins and minerals in abundance. They also offer a ton of vitamin C too that can be difficult to find in foods that guinea pigs eat willingly as some guinea pigs tend not to enjoy citrus based fruits that often contain the most vitamin C.
As guinea pigs eat blueberries willingly with the vast majority of them seem really enjoying the taste, they are one of the best options available to get vitamin C into your pet guinea pig to help and keep its immune system strong against any potential infection or issues too. Although the majority of younger and middle-aged guinea pigs will be fine with the vitamin C that they get from their foods, older guinea pigs may need to have a reputable, vitamin C supplement added to their diet to ensure that they are getting their recommended daily intake.
Due to their being so many issues that can occur in older guinea pigs due to a lack of vitamin C in their diet, this can often be recommended by your local veterinarian but you are able to get the exact same supplements over the counter, without the need for a prescription often at a lower price anyway. Our recommended vitamin C supplement for guinea pigs also has an excellent reputation amongst the community with many guinea pig owners choosing to post their own dedicated reviews of the supplement online that you can read if you wish.
Although blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, they usually have a lot of sugar in them meaning that you should only use them once or twice per week. The supplement provides a means to easily get all the vitamin C into your pet guinea pig without them having to eat such a high amount of sugar and potentially having additional health risks.
A Great Source Of Fiber
Unfortunately, the importance of having a solid source of fiber in the foods that your guinea pig will eat is often overlooked. Fiber not only helps to improve overall digestive health for your guinea pig but also helps to keep it regular and can provide a means to minimize the risk of consideration or impaction occurring in your pet. Unfortunately, both impaction and constipation are common issues, especially in older guinea pigs so adding plenty of fruit to your guinea pigs diet is a great way to ensure it is getting the fiber that it requires.
As guinea pigs eat blueberries willingly and usually really enjoy the taste, they act as an easy way to get fiber into their diet. Blueberries are around two and a half percent fiber and when used as a treat for part of a balanced diet, they can be a healthy way to minimize the risk of both constipation and impaction occurring. That said though, there is no guaranteed and some guinea pigs still have these issues even when they have plenty of fiver from the sugar content in their diet.
An Easy Way To Increase Water Intake
Another issue that can be prevalent in some older guinea pigs is that they will randomly go off their water and end up suffering from dehydration. Although the exact cause of this is not known, it is relatively common but blueberries can offer a sneaky way to help top up your guinea pig’s water intake due to being around eighty percent water. Although you should never rely on just blueberries to get water into your pet guinea pig, it can definitely be a sneaky way to top it up as guinea pigs usually wolf blueberries down without a second thought.
Other suitable fruits that offer a high water intake include strawberries and apples but some vegetables such as broccoli and green beans can also be used in a similar manner too. If you do have an older guinea pig that has gone off their water then you should monitor your pet for signs of dehydration such as dizziness and a loss of balance. If these symptoms are present in your pet guinea pig then we would recommend that you seek assistance from your local veterinarian as soon as possible.
How Many Blueberries Can I Give My Guinea Pig?
As soon as we answer the initial question of “Can guinea pigs eat blueberries?” the follow-up question is almost always based around how many blueberries you can actually give your pet. As we touched on earlier guinea pigs eat blueberries like there is no tomorrow as they seem to love their taste so portion control on your part is important. We have seen some people who offer their pet guinea pigs a single blueberry whereas there are others that offer them as many as five but this is going to depend on you as guinea pig owners and the other food that you are seeing them.
As we have mentioned, blueberries do contain a lot of sugar that is high impact but you can offer your pet guinea pig as many as five blueberries provided the rest of their food for the day is based around low impact carbs from source such as hay or most vegetables. Although guinea pigs can eat more than five, we would not recommend it to try and avoid blood sugar spikes if possible.
If you prefer to feed your pet guinea pig commercially available food then its tends to be much easier to add blueberries into your pet guinea pigs diet as the majority of these foods are based around low impact carbs. If you are the type of guinea pig owner who prefers to make as many of your pet guinea pigs meals from scratch in the kitchen then it can be harder to add to their diet and you will have to restrict other high impact carb fruit sources on days when you feed your guinea pig blueberries.
How Should I Prepare Blueberries For My Guinea Pig?
We would always recommend that you wash blueberries under cold water prior to offering them to your guinea pigs as some store-bought blueberries can be covered in pesticides. A quick wash is generally enough to remove any chemicals on the blueberries that may have an effect on your pet guinea pigs prior to feeding them to your pet. We have also seen a number of people report that they try to cut their blueberries in half before giving them to their guinea pig but in our opinion, there is no need for this.
The vast majority of adult guinea pigs should easily be able to eat blueberries without then having to be cut in half. If your pet is young or has some health issues that may cause problems with its ability to eat the blueberries then you can consider cutting them in half or mushing them in but this is generally not required. Simply add the blueberries to your pets food bowl and let it eat them as it sees fit throughout the course of the day although we doubt that they will be there long.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Frozen Or Dried Blueberries?
Another common question we see asked after answering the initial “Can guinea pigs eat blueberries?” is usually based around if they can eat frozen blueberries or dried blueberries. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer for this one and there are going to be multiple factors at play. Usually, frozen blueberries should be fine for your guinea pig but we would recommend that you allow them to defrost first to prevent your guinea pig’s internal temperature dropping too much. We have seen some people who report offering their pets frozen blueberries right off the bat but it is not our preference.
When it comes to dried blueberries it is going to depend on if there is any added sugar or preservatives to them. blueberries are already very high in sugar so we would not recommend that you offer dried blueberries with additional sugar added to them. Preservatives can be a pain too and we would recommend that you keep them out of your pet guinea pigs diet altogether is possible and stick with regular, fresh blueberries if possible.