Can guinea pigs eat blueberries? Yes, but only in small amounts–and only a few times a week.
Everyone knows that blueberries are delicious, but unfortunately, they don’t pack a lot of nutritional punch for the sugar they add to your guinea pig’s diet. Yes, they do contain some Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. But as an addition driven by concern for your cavy’s health, they probably don’t make the cut.
For those who are interested, we’ll take a closer look at why and how guinea pigs can eat blueberries, and we’ll consider the pros and cons.
Check out our Ultimate Guinea Pig Food List
Are Blueberries Good For Guinea Pigs?
Yes and no, but mostly no.
Guinea pigs depend on a varied, nutrient-rich diet to supply all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. Timothy hay, fortified pellets, and fresh veggies are essential, though fresh fruits can play a role, too. And it’s really important that natural sources of Vitamin C be on your piggy’s menu.
Fresh fruits can be excellent sources of this critical nutrient, and when you’re considering smart additions to your furry friend’s menu, it’s always a good idea to balance nutrition against sugar. Look for fruits and veggies that provide the greatest nutrient density and the lowest amount of sugar, including staples like peppers, parsley, carrots, zucchini, and sweet potatoes.
These veggies provide a lot of the good stuff while limiting sugar.
Unfortunately, blueberries have a fairly high sugar content: about 10% or 10 grams per 100 grams of berries. That’s a lot, and for piggies–already prone to obesity and diabetes–controlling sugar intake is really important.
As Nicole Taylor warns, “Guinea pigs can get both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, just like humans. Sugar is a contributing factor, but the likelihood of developing the disease is compounded by a guinea pig being overweight.”
That’s why we think blueberries just don’t stack up.
Blueberries offer trace amounts of potassium, a touch of Vitamin B6, and some Vitamin C. But compared to strawberries, they have more sugar and a lot less of the good nutrients, too.
Are Blueberries Bad For Guinea Pigs?
Blueberries are very high in sugar, falling right between bananas and strawberries without the nutrition that either of these alternatives offers. In fact, if you’re looking for a nice big dose of Vitamin C, strawberries are much better. And for nutrients like potassium and magnesium, nothing beats bananas.
You can see that this Crested has blueberries on his mind!
Look at it this way: blueberries bring a lot of sugar to the table, increasing your cavy’s risk of obesity and diabetes. But unlike many other fruits, you can feed your guinea pig as a treat, they just don’t provide the nutrition to make all that sugar worth it.
Are they truly bad for guinea pigs?
They’re not dangerous in small amounts, fed infrequently–but there are much smarter choices. High in sugar, but low in nutrients, we’d recommend almost any other fruit as a better option.
How Many Blueberries Can You Feed Your Guinea Pig?
Two to three blueberries, once or twice a week is enough.
As the Humane Society advises, “Fruit works well as an occasional treat that is offered once a day or several times a week. Keep the portion size small since fruit is high in sugar; a small wedge of orange or apple, several blueberries, or a thin slice of banana is perfectly adequate.”
How Should You Prepare Blueberries For Your Guinea Pig?
Blueberries are counted among the infamous “Dirty Dozen,” a group of twelve fruits and vegetables that have the highest residual pesticide contamination. As a result, it’s essential that you thoroughly wash blueberries before feeding them to your guinea pig.
We recommend a simple process.
As Laura Fisher from Real Simple explains, it’s really easy. “Fill a large bowl with four parts water to one part white vinegar. Place the berries in the bowl so that they are completely submerged with the vinegar wash, and soak for 20 minutes. Rinse the fruit thoroughly under cool water and pat dry with cloth or paper towels.”
After that, they’re ready to go!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blueberry Jam or Preserves?
Jams and preserves should never be fed to your cavy. Guinea pigs should only be offered fresh, ripe fruit.
Delicious? Yes. Safe for cavies? No!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Blueberries?
Some commercially available pellets contain dried fruits, and we get a lot of questions about things like dried cranberries and raisins.
Our answer is simple: vets and other experts do not recommend feeding guinea pigs dried fruits of any kind. Removing the water from them in the drying process just concentrates their natural sugars, making something that’s already sweet even sweeter.
We don’t advise feeding your cavy any dried fruit.
While there are better nutritional choices than blueberries, many guinea pigs just love them. And they’re generally safe to add to their diet, provided that you keep the following in mind:
- Blueberries contain some fiber, a bit of Vitamin B6, and a small dose of Vitamin C.
- Blueberries, like most fruits, are high in sugar.
- There are better nutritional choices for treats, including strawberries, bananas, and grapes.
- Blueberries are frequently contaminated by pesticides; it’s important that you wash them thoroughly.
- 2 to 3 fresh blueberries, once or twice a week, is plenty.
- Never give guinea pigs blueberry preserves or jam.
- We also don’t recommend feeding them dried blueberries