Is it Safe for a Guinea Pig to Have Blueberry?
Guinea pigs generally love to snack on the different foods that can be found in our kitchen and refrigerator. One of the most common among these tempting foods are the blueberries that hang from your fridge each time you open the shelf.
Have you ever thought about giving your lovely guinea pigs some of this fruit but were worried about it being safe or not? Your question will be answered in this article as you patiently read further.
Before we consider the question, can guinea pigs eat blueberries? Let’s first talk about Guinea pigs.
The guinea pigs are marsupial animals that belong to the cavie family. At adulthood, guinea pigs could have grown to become 10-11 inches in length and a weight of 2.5 pounds. It is common to see these pets grow to 8-10 years old when kept in touch with captivity and proper care.
One of their most important anatomical features is that they must chew regularly to keep their teeth small because their teeth are constantly growing. They can be very playful and love to be around other animals that they know.
Responsible pet owners will find Guinea pigs to be excellent pets, especially those who live in small homes and want a sweet pet that won’t occupy too much space.
What Type of Food Do Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs eat different things for them to stay happy and healthy. Their staple food should be Timothy grass and quality food that are suitable for them. Their diet should comprise of 10% fruits and vegetables, but any fruit that they do not consume within 12-24hours should quickly be removed from their cage.
Guinea pigs require up to 50mg of Vitamin C every day. They can get this from fruits and veggies, but providing vitamin supplements would also work too. Low-fat and low-sugar diets are also very necessary for Guinea pigs to thrive.
You should also provide fresh, clean, and chlorine-free water. Thus, providing a water dispenser will get the job done.
Blueberry is a perennial flowering plant that can survive and return from year to year. It is called blueberry because it produces small round berries that are blue. The berries themselves are very small at the beginning and green in color; as they grow and ripen, they turn blue.
Health Benefits of Blueberry
Blueberries have some unique nutritional properties that make them great for Guinea pigs, such as high fiber content, low calories, rich in Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and Vitamin K.
It also contains antioxidants, which boost the immune system by protecting the body from free radicals. Free radicals are some unstable molecules that are known to cause many terminal diseases like cancer and fast tracks the process of aging.
Blueberries contain probably the highest level of antioxidants among all fruits and vegetables.
Other studies show that blueberries are beneficial for lowering blood pressure and maintenance of a good heart. Blueberries may also be helpful in diabetes and glucose metabolism, according to some other research.
What Happens When a Guinea Pig Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries contain essential nutrients, phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin C, keeping your guinea pig healthy. Let us look into how important each of these nutrients are.
- Phosphorous and Calcium are essential for proper bone growth, teeth development, and the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Vitamins: Blueberries are rich in vitamins C and K. Your cavy needs these vitamins to stay healthy and for its body to function well. Vitamin C helps keep the guinea pigs safe by providing adequate protection from disease, developing a formidable immune system.
- Diabetes / Sugar level Control: Blueberries can help lower blood sugar levels and aid glucose metabolism.
- Antioxidants/Inflammation: Several studies indicate that blueberries are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory compounds that help the body fight against inflammation. As have been noted already, blueberries are full of these anti-inflammatory molecules referred to as antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to help reduce inflammation in the body by binding themselves to and reducing the molecules (free radicals) that promote inflammation.
- Fiber: Blueberries contain a lot of fiber, and they are an important part of the diet of guinea pigs, as they help maintain a healthy digestive and the overall health of the gastrointestinal tract.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberry Stems?
There is no reason why guinea pigs should not enjoy chewing blueberry stems except they do not like blueberries. Cavies love to have little things to chew always in their mouths; this keeps them busy and entertained all day.
The stem tissue is not very tough, and as long as it is short and fluffy, it is a good idea to all the stem remain on the fruit when you serve to them. However, you should note that like every other edible stuff they can put in their mouths, the stem can also act as a choking hazard.
How To Serve Blueberries To Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are fascinating creatures, and as such, there is a level of unpredictability when dealing with them. Some guinea pigs may end up loving the new addition to their meal, while others will refuse to eat it.
However, blueberries, in general, is one of their favorite fruits. But how can you safely give blueberries to cavies without causing any health trouble?
The material you need for this exercise is some fresh supply of value berries and some tools like a knife and chopping board.
- Ensure you properly wash the blueberries to remove any potential pollutants, chemicals, or pesticides.
- Next, if the size of the blueberries is large, you can divide them into bite-sized shapes.
- Ensure that the knife you are using is clean enough and that the cutting board is safe for cutting the food.
- Kindly note that it is important to first have a word with your pet’s vet before introducing any new food into their menu.
How Many Blueberries Can Your Guinea Pig Take?
If you are offering your guinea pig something new, you will always want to take it slow and very carefully observe how their body responds to it.
Start offering just a small portion of blueberry to your pet for the first time, then monitor how the digestive system responds to it. Any symptom of diarrhea, energy depletion, loss of appetite, etc., would mean that you should stop offering the fruit to it in the future.
If your pet shows signs of anxiety or stress, you will need to contact your veterinarian about the development and seek additional guidance. Although, most guinea pigs are said to accept blueberries.
If your guinea pig doesn’t exhibit any sign of an adverse reaction, gradually increase the portion of blueberries you give to it. It is best to give blueberries one or twice a week, but it shouldn’t be more than that. Also, do not feed them with the fruit for two consecutive days, but make sure there is a gap between the times they have it.
Danger Blueberries Pose to Your Guinea Pigs
Although Blueberries are rich in vitamins and minerals, as we have seen so far in this article, it can also be harmful to the health and well-being of your cavy if you do not follow the proper preparation procedures and monitor the way their bodies react to it.
- Choking Hazard: If the pieces of the fruit you hand to them is too big, it can end up becoming a choking hazard, thereby making it difficult for them to breathe or even blocking the intestines. This is Not good!
- Risk of Impurities: Before serving the fruit to the guinea pigs, you need to wash them. This is to get rid of any dirt, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals that may have been used to preserve the fruit from the farm. These chemicals can jeopardize the wellness of your guinea pig.
- Overfeeding: Several health hazards may result from overfeeding your guinea pigs with blueberries. Guinea pigs may suffer from diarrhea, indigestion or loss of appetite, dehydration, lethargy, and other digestive problems. It can also lead to more severe health problems that will require the immediate intervention of your veterinarian.
As a result of their rich sugar content and due to the small size of guinea pigs, they usually tend to be overweight and may also suffer from diabetes due to overeating blueberries. Fruits and berries contain acids that can cause some discomfort in your guinea pigs, like mouth ulcers and other types of medical problems.
If you observe any of these symptoms after introducing a new food into your guinea pig’s diet, contact your vet for further assistance immediately.
Blueberries are great for guinea pigs, however, you should take out time to study how yours will react to it the first time and follow all the guidelines provided in this article.
There are many fruits, herbs, and vegetables that are beneficial to the health of your guinea pig and yours! Unfortunately, many healthy and safe human foods are highly toxic to guinea pigs. Therefore, you must carry out adequate research before introducing any new food into the menu of your guinea pigs.