Are you a new guinea pig owner? Are you wondering if you can give them orange as a treat?
Guinea pigs make cute pets for those that do not have room for a dog or cat but they do have a special diet you need to follow. Fruits are great for your guinea pig as long as they provide them with minerals and vitamins. Read on to find out if they can have oranges as a special treat.
Can a Guinea Pig Eat Oranges?
An orange does provide your guinea pig with the essential minerals and vitamins that they need, so this means that they can eat oranges, but only as an occasional treat. They can also eat other fruit that is in the orange family, such as Clementine oranges, Mandarin oranges, and Lychees. If your guinea pig has never had an orange before, start introducing it slowly so you can monitor their body’s reaction to this new addition to their diet.
If they seem to be accepting it with no issues, then you can start including it as treat in their diet. If you make abrupt changes, such as just putting an orange in their cage, it can overwhelm your pet and they can suffer from upset stomach, diarrhea, and indigestion.
Can a Guinea Pig Eat The Skin and Pips?
Yes, your guinea pig can eat the skin of an orange. The pips, or seeds, do need to be removed as these would be a choking hazard. You need to make sure that there are no seeds left in the piece or slice you are feeding your guinea pig. The orange peel has a lot of flavonoids and antioxidants that are beneficial for your guinea pig. The sugar content is lower in the peels but you still have to be careful about the acidic level.
When you serve our guinea pig an orange, you can leave the peel on or take it off. You might want to observe your guinea pig to see which they prefer. Always remember to remove the seeds or pips. You can just cut them into small chunks or thin slices so they are easy for them to digest.
Preparing The Orange
Make sure that the orange is not green or stale as they can lead to severe health issues. They must be ripe and fresh. You will need to make sure that you wash the orange off because many times they are sprayed with chemicals. Some growers will even use compounds on their oranges to bring a brighter shine to the outside.
If you are unsure you have gotten the orange clean and free of any pesticides or compounds, then do not feed the peel to the guinea pig.
- Vitamin C—an orange is high in vitamin C and many times a guinea pig cannot make their own, so they need regular supplements of it. Vitamin C helps to strengthen the guinea pigs immune system and protect them from free radicals.
- Vitamins A and B-6—these are essential for the development of their body. Vitamin A helps with keeping the body robust while vitamin B-6 helps to maintain healthy liver and kidneys and regulate metabolism. These help to keep a balance in their diet.
- Fiber—this will help to regulate their blood sugar and reduce their cholesterol.
- Calcium—this is needed for the younger ones to develop into mature adults and for those that are pregnant.
How Often Can They Have an Orange?
A guinea pig should only be given an orange as a treat, usually no more than one time a week. This is due to the high natural sugars and the fruit is very acidic.
What to Watch For When Eating an Orange
Because of their acidity, you should watch for any irritation or bleeding in their mouth or they seem to be having trouble eating. At this time, discontinue feeding them an orange and see your veterinarian.
Why They Are Bad For Your Guinea Pig
Although a guinea pig can eat oranges, too much can cause stomach issues and be harmful to their dental health. This is because an orange is high in natural sugars and very acidic. It can cause problems like diarrhea. Too much can hurt their intestines because of the acidity.
Although a guinea pig needs calcium, too much can lead to the formation of bladder stones so you need to monitor their calcium intake, especially in younger guinea pigs and those that are pregnant so they do not develop these types of stones.
There is over nine percent sugar in an entire orange so you need to watch how much you feed your guinea pig. Too much sugar can cause heart problems, obesity, and diabetes. Too much sugar can also cause cataracts and tooth decay.
- Orange is a good way to add variety to the diet of your guinea pig as an orange helps to contribute to their nutritional needs.
- They are a great source of vitamin C
- Although they can have some orange, they should not be given orange juice as it is too sugary. The juice does not have the nutritional value that a fresh orange has.
- Always remove any uneaten fruit after a couple of hours so it does not start to attract flies or gnats, or have bacteria start to grow on it.
- If you are just trying to see if your guinea pig likes oranges, you can hold a small piece in your hand to see if they want to nibble on it. Some just do not like oranges.
- Do not feed your guinea pig canned oranges because they are often packed with added preservatives to keep them on the shelf longer and there is usually more sugar added.
- A small bit of orange can help protect your guinea pig from suffering from immobility and arthritis.
- The biggest downfall to feeding guinea pig an orange is the high about of sugar it contains.