Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grapes?
You may have heard that grapes are toxic to dogs and can cause death if not treated immediately. This is true. In fact, there are tons of fruits and vegetables that we eat every day that animals cannot.
Grapes are delightfully sweet berries that humans have been enjoying for millennia, going all the way back to 4,000 BC. According to archaeological evidence found in Georgia, humans were using grapes to make wine even as early as 8,000 BC. They were enjoyed all throughout the ancient world by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Though our question is whether guinea pigs can eat grapes safely.
Grape Fast Facts
Grapes can be eaten as they are or can be made into jam, juice, and raisins. They grow in clusters and come in various colors including dark blue, green, red, black, and pink. They are grown in plantations called vineyards and can be artificially reproduced without seeds.
Grapes are not only delicious and have a variety of uses; they also purportedly have plenty of health benefits. They’re rich in fiber, potassium, and various vitamins, as well as polyphenol antioxidants. Grape consumption has been linked with cancer prevention, lower risk of heart disease, lowered blood pressure, and as a remedy for constipation.
Both grapes and raisins, however, are toxic to dogs and can cause acute kidney injury and anuria (lack of urine production). Within only a couple of hours after ingestion, symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea will begin to manifest and acute renal failure will develop within 48 hours.
140 cases of grape ingestion were reported in dogs from April 2003 to April 2004 with one-third of the affected dogs experiencing the aforementioned symptoms and seven of them dying.
Are Grapes Safe for Guinea Pigs?
So, humans love grapes; dogs, not so much. But can guinea pigs eat them safely?
You might be eating grapes on a hot day, enjoying the cool and sweet flavor of each fruit as you pop them in your mouth one by one. Your pet guinea pig is nearby, watching you from within its cage. It spots the grapes and begins showing its excitement with a frantic frenzy of wheeks and squeaks. You want to share your happiness with your pet, but you’re hesitant. Can guinea pigs eat grapes?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat grapes. They are not affected by the fruit the way that dogs are. Guinea pigs seem to love them just as much as humans do. Grapes are great to use as small treats and rewards, especially during training. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the health benefits.
The Healthy Benefits of Grapes for Cavies
Grapes provide about 4 milligrams of Vitamin C per every 100 grams. Guinea pigs need Vitamin C because their bodies cannot produce it naturally (just like humans). Therefore, they must rely on intake from external sources.
Grapes aren’t an abundant source of Vitamin C (there are better options), but at least your cavy is getting something good out of it. Vitamin C deficiency can result in loss of appetite, depression, painful joints and ribs, nasal discharge, and infections. About 25 milligrams is the daily recommendation for guinea pigs.
Grapes also contain a moderate amount of calcium. Calcium is, of course, needed to keep bones and teeth growing strong. Grapes provide about 14 milligrams of calcium per every 100 grams.
Calcium deficiency may cause symptoms such as dehydration, depression, muscle spasms, and convulsion. Some guinea pigs, however, have died suddenly without displaying any of the symptoms.
Additionally, grapes contain small amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Potassium. Fiber also makes up a substantial portion of the grape. It won’t be enough to satisfy guinea pigs’ daily requirements, but at least it moves their daily nutrition in the right direction.
Potential Downsides to Guinea Pigs Eating Grapes
Even though grapes do contain some good nutrients, will there be any negative effects if your guinea pig eats them?
The biggest potential downside to feeding a lot of grapes to your guinea pig lies in their high sugar content. Grapes contain tons of natural sugar – about 16 grams per every 100 grams. With the increased sugar intake comes an increased risk of diabetes for guinea pigs. They also pose a threat in terms of the potential weight gain and obesity which soon follow.
Thus, we have the answer to our question. Grapes are okay to for cavies to eat, as they don’t contain any toxic substances which will harm the animal. As far as nutritional value goes, there are definitely better options out there to get more bang out of the calories consumed.
A guinea pig eating grapes is probably the equivalent of humans eating junk food or processed foods. It’s not that healthy but we can eat these occasionally without any negative repercussions.
For guinea pigs, an “occasional” treat means about 2-4 times per week. You don’t need to give them a whole grape either. You can cut it up into slices and just feed them a small piece every time you want to give a treat. You’d certainly not want to give more than one grape a day, or multiple times a day.
Pet owners always want to know the best and safest foods for animals and what the risk factors are if any. Being able to separate healthy and harmful products for your pet’s consumption is an invaluable skill to have.