When you hear the word “apple” your mind probably recalls that popular saying about apples and doctors. The health benefits of this sweet, round fruit are well known, but it’s worth noting that they generally apply only for humans.
When it comes to animals, particularly the little pets like guinea pigs, apples can be both good and bad, depending on how you serve them. More on that later, for now, let’s answer the pertinent question that brought you to this page: can guinea pigs eat apples? And the short answer is yes, guinea pigs can eat apples. However, there are things you need to consider before giving apples to your guinea pig.
First Test Whether Your Guinea Pig Likes Apples
Just like humans, guinea pigs have varying tastes and preferences in fruits, and while majority of them will eat (and even love) apple fruit, there are some that won’t eat apples no matter what. So, the first thing you need to do before anything else, is to establish whether your pet can eat apples.
While spending time with your guinea fowl, cut a small piece of apple and handfeed it to them or put it in their bowl. Closely observe how they take the apple. If they quickly munch it down, you know what that means. Similarly, if they nibble a bit of the apple, then run away carrying the rest of the piece, know that they love the fruit. On the other hand, if they nibble a bit of the apple, then turn away, or leave the other piece, it’s a sign that you shouldn’t even bother feeding them more apples.
Benefits of Apples to Guinea Pigs
Apples contain varying amounts of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibers. Vitamin C helps keep your guinea pig healthy by eliminating harmful elements in the blood called free radicals. On the other hand, fibers help in digestion and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Apples also contain calcium, which promotes strong bone development and proper functioning of the muscles and nerves. Phosphorus, another mineral found in apples, aids in the repair and maintenance of body tissue and cells, as well as in the proper functioning of the kidneys.
Should Apples Be a Part of a Guinea Pig’s Diet?
As much as guinea pigs are herbivores, fruits like apple shouldn’t be a regular part of their diet, even if they happen to love them. The recommended guinea pig’s diet should be a mixture of Timothy hay and pellets. Vegetables, and fruits should be taken as snacks, or treats, and only given occasionally.
Ideally, you should introduce your pet to apples by including them in their diet once a week, for the first couple of weeks. That way, you will be better placed to observe, and detect any changes in their feces and body that may be caused by apples. In case you weren’t aware, too many apples can cause stomach upsets, and diarrhea in guinea pigs. Mouth sores are also common occurrences as apples contain varying levels of acidity that may prove too much for smaller animals like guinea pigs to handle.
Dealing With Diarrhea From Apple Consumption
As mentioned earlier, apples can cause diarrhea in guinea pigs due to their high fiber content. And since the little piggies have relatively weaker immune systems, the diarrhea can even lead to death, or cause serious complications.
If, after feeding your guinea pig with some apples, you notice that their feces are “wetter” or that they have diarrhea, stop feeding them apples (and any other fruits) with immediate effect. Secondly, feed them increased amounts of Timothy hay, which is known to promote healthy digestion and helps to control diarrhea. Thirdly, and most importantly, schedule a visit to your vet for further advice and directions.
Essential Tips for Feeding Apples to Your Guinea Pig
- Before cutting up an apple and serving it to your guinea pig, ensure that it’s adequately ripe and sweet-tasting. No one loves sour fruits, not even animals.
- Avoid apple seeds as much as you can, as they can choke your pet, and contain a toxic compound called cyanide.
- While apple skin is healthy and okay for guinea pigs to consume, serve it in moderation as it contains higher amounts of fiber, which can cause indigestion and diarrhea. Further, clean the skins with clean running water before serving them to your pet.