There are 15 varieties of grape with colors varying from dark blue, red, yellow, pink, green, orange, dark blue, to black. They are juicy, sweet, and high in vitamin C.
One seemingly perfect fruit is well-known to be toxic to several animals so you may well wonder can guinea pigs eat grapes? The answer is quite simple.
Guinea pigs can safely eat grapes, but they’re not an ideal daily food. Grapes are high in sugar which is why guinea pigs love to eat them and why too many can lead to guinea pig obesity.
Yes, they provide vitamin C, but grapes are low in calcium compared to phosphorus which can cause kidney stones.
Can guinea pigs eat all edible parts of a grape?
A grape comprises three edible components:
If offered them, a guineas pig will happily eat the skin, seeds and flesh of grapes. But should it?
There is nothing in grape seeds that’s harmful if eaten by guinea pigs. However, as innocent as they may look, they could form a choking hazard.
Luckily, grapes come in seedless varieties, which is a better alternative to trying to pick them out yourself!
As it contains fiber, grape skin is good for guinea pigs to eat. Fruit skin is often exposed to pesticides so you should try to give a guinea pig organic grapes which are guaranteed not to be sprayed with nasty chemicals.
If yours can’t offer organic, thoroughly scrub grapes before letting your guinea pig eat them.
The flesh of grapes is fine for guinea pigs. It is only recommended to give a few grapes to a guinea pig as an occasional treat – once or twice a week maximum.
The reason being, grapes contain more phosphorus than calcium which can easily cause the development of kidney and bladder stones.
When phosphorus is higher than calcium, the two bind to form hard deposits or stones. These collect in a guinea pig’s kidneys.
From the kidneys, stones can travel to a guinea pig’s bladder where they usually cause infections and blockages in its urinary tract, and then risky surgery is necessary to remove them.
This doesn’t happen if these types of food are fed only occasionally but can quickly occur if they are eaten on a frequent basis.
As there are safer alternatives (mentioned a bit later on), I would really suggest avoiding feeding grapes to guinea pigs other than in tiny amounts once or twice a week.
The pros and cons of giving guinea pigs grapes
Though grapes are a seemingly healthy, low-calorie fruit, to a guinea pig they are a high sugar food and one that they will happily devour far too many of.
We are about to explain how the negative aspects of feeding guinea pigs grapes far outweigh the benefits.
The benefits of adding grapes to a guinea pigs diet
Grapes are high in vitamin C which guinea pigs need for growth, development, and tissue repair. They also have a high water content which will help keep your guinea pig hydrated.
Grapes contain fiber which is good for a guinea pig’s digestive health. Fiber helps to maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in a guinea pig’s gut and stimulates gastrointestinal motility (helps bowel movement!)
The negative aspects of feeding guinea pigs grapes
Being such a small animal means a guinea pig can easily gain weight.
Fruits contain naturally-occurring sugar which has just as many calories as the sugar you spoon into hot drinks and use to sweeten many other things.
Allowing a guinea pig to eat too much fruit such as grapes can help it pile on the ounces!
As mentioned earlier, grapes contain enough phosphorus to pose a danger of kidney stones developing if it is fed to guinea pigs too often.
Ideal fruits as treats for guinea pigs
Adding fruit to a guinea pig’s diet is a great way of meeting their vitamin and mineral needs. Fibrous fruits are good for their digestive health.
The ideal fruits are:
- Low sugar
- High fiber
- Lower phosphorus content than calcium
- High vitamins and minerals
So if you’re looking for a fruit that meets a guinea pig’s requirements, what should you choose?
As it happens, the majority of fruits have more phosphorus than calcium so should be limited in a guinea pigs diet. What this means is:
- a guinea pig should not eat fruits of any variety daily
- a guinea pig should only have a small portion of fruit once a week
Guinea pigs can also eat:
- Melons of any variety
Of the above, the lowest in sugar per portion are probably raspberries and strawberries so these are a slightly better fruit for guinea pigs – but there really isn’t much in it.
If you feed any type of fruit to a guinea pig, try to make it organic. If not, make sure you wash it thoroughly to remove any pesticide residues.
Guinea pig fruit portion size
A guinea pig should not be fed a whole piece of fruit as this is far too much for it to eat at one time. A guinea pig portion size should be much smaller!
- Two or three small strawberries
- A thin wedge of apple
- A slice of banana
To get an idea of a guinea pig portion size, don’t give it any more than you could fit in a small matchbox.
Can guinea pigs eat grapes? – Conclusion
If you want to feed your guinea pig grapes, they are no more harmful than any other fruit. Be aware that too many can cause kidney stones so only offer any fruit once or twice a week and only a matchbox-sized portion. Bear in mind, the sugar in fruit can cause a guinea pig to gain weight.
If you want to give your guinea pig plenty of vitamins plus fiber without a sugar hit, then vegetables are the best choice. However, these can also be quite high in phosphorus (for example green beans) so be mindful of portion size.
Don’t forget tiny grapes may present a choking hazard for guinea pigs, so be careful of size when offering them as a snack.
Finally, grass is always a guinea pig’s favorite, is very safe and free!