Can guinea pigs eat strawberries? Yes, but in moderation–and only if you’re very careful about pesticide contamination.
Strawberries are absolutely packed with Vitamin C and add an additional punch of potassium and fiber. But unfortunately, they also contain a lot of sugar. As a result, you should limit your cavy’s consumption of strawberries to small portions, once or twice a week.
For those that are interested, we’ll take a closer look at why guinea pigs can eat strawberries in greater detail, and consider the pros and cons.
Are Strawberries Good For Guinea pigs?
Yes and no.
Just like us, guinea pigs don’t produce their own vitamins and minerals, and the only way they can get the nutrition they need is through a proper diet.
Timothy hay, fortified pellets, and fresh veggies are the essential pillars of a cavy’s diet, supporting overall health and well-being. But Vitamin C is always a concern for guinea pigs, and natural sources of this important vitamin should be on your piggy’s menu.
Fresh fruits can be an excellent source of this critical nutrient–and that includes strawberries! That’s great news for pet parents, as even a very small serving of strawberry should provide more than enough Vitamin C for your fur baby, as well as healthy doses of potassium and fiber.
But–and this is a big but–strawberries also have high sugar content. For guinea pigs, that’s a real problem, as excess sugar encourages both obesity and diabetes in cavies.
Are Strawberries Bad For Your Guinea Pigs?
One thing every guinea pig enthusiast should know about strawberries is that they top the list of “the dirty dozen” when it comes to pesticide contamination. And while a tiny dose of pesticide residue may not bother you, for a tiny piggy, it can be dangerous.
We recommend that you wash your strawberries carefully. As Laura Fisher from Real Simple explains, the process is 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 a cloth or paper towels.”
These simple steps will ensure that you don’t accidentally poison your pet!
But the high sugar content of fruit remains a concern for cavies, and anything that’s really sweet is not great for guinea pigs–that’s a simple fact. Fresh strawberries are definitely on this list.
Guinea pigs tend toward obesity, and anything with a lot of sugar can further encourage excess weight gain. And as many cavy parents discover too late, diabetes is a serious concern as well.
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.”
Does that high sugar content make strawberries bad? Well, no–as long as you portion and feed them properly.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberries?
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.”
Responsible pet parents know that sweet fruits are treats and not everyday foods.
A small slice of strawberry, or a few strawberry tops, given once or twice a week, is more than enough.
How Should You Prepare Strawberries For Your Guinea Pigs?
As we advise above, it’s important to thoroughly soak strawberries in a vinegar-water solution to remove any pesticide residue. Simply submerge the strawberries in a bowl filled with four parts water to one part white vinegar. Let them soak for 20 minutes, and then towel dry.
It’s obvious that your guinea pig is smaller than you, but you need to think carefully about what that means for serving sizes. One strawberry is nothing for you, but it’s way too much for a cavy!
Instead, vets recommend a small slice of strawberry about ¼-inch thick, once or twice a week.
But many piggy parents find that their guinea pigs actually prefer the leafy tops to the ripe fruit. And if that’s true for you, too, we recommend skipping the red flesh and offering a few strawberry tops instead.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Tops?
Whether you’re adding a few strawberries to your cereal in the morning, or preparing a summer-time dessert for your family, don’t forget that cavies generally love strawberry tops.
The fresh green leaves and stem, with just a snippet of flesh, are perhaps the best way to offer a nutritious snack to your furry friend.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Leaves?
Cavies generally love the fresh, green leaves–and many guinea pigs actually prefer them to the fruit itself!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Jam?
Sugar is dangerous for guinea pigs, and jams add even more sugar to already sweet fruit.
Never feed your guinea pig jam, preserves, or jelly of any kind!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Strawberry Seeds?
The seeds of a strawberry are the tiny dots that give it its distinctive appearance. They’re perfectly safe for guinea pigs.
See the seeds? You eat them all the time, and they’re perfectly safe!
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Strawberries?
You really shouldn’t feed your guinea pig dried fruit.
While technically safe in very small amounts, once a month or so, drying fruit concentrates its natural sugar content, packing both too many calories and too much sugar in every nibble.
Vets and guinea pig experts alike recommend against feeding dried fruit to cavies.
Strawberries can be a healthy addition to your cavy’s diet, but there are risks as well as rewards.
While a great source of essential vitamins, strawberries contain a lot of sugar, and anything that sweet should be given in moderation.
But if you do decide to include strawberries in your cavy’s diet, keep the following in mind:
- You should carefully soak your strawberries in a vinegar-water solution to remove any pesticide residue.
- Small portions of strawberries should be fed to your piggie once or twice a week–and no more!
- Guinea pigs love the tender leaves and tops, even more than the fruit itself.
- Never feed your guinea jam, jelly, or preserves.
- It’s best not to feed your cavy dried fruit, either.
If you follow these guidelines, it’s generally safe to add strawberries to your guinea pig’s menu.
Check out our Ultimate Guinea Pig Food List