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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oranges? Vet-Reviewed Diet Facts

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

guinea-pig-oranges

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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When you own a guinea pig or two, it’s only natural to open up your fridge to find something delicious that you can feed them. And if you happen to have some oranges, they’re generally safe to feed guinea pigs—peel and all!

However, keep in mind that you need to wash the oranges first, and you still should only feed guinea pigs oranges in moderation. But why do you need to find this balance, and what are some other great treat options for your guinea pig? If you’re looking for some great snack options and a little more insight about oranges, just keep reading.

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What Vitamins and Nutrients Do Oranges Have?

There are a few different vitamins and nutrients in oranges that make them such a healthy choice for guinea pigs. Leading the way in beneficial nutrients in oranges is Vitamin C.

Vitamin C has tons of different benefits for your guinea pig, and they can’t produce it on their own 1. Other advantages of oranges include fiber, calcium, and phosphorus. These are all nutrients your guinea pig needs, and oranges have plenty of them!

oranges
Image Credit: ivabalk from Pixabay

Reasons for Caution When Feeding Guinea Pigs Oranges

While oranges are full of beneficial vitamins and nutrients, there’s a reason you shouldn’t feed them as many oranges as they want. The primary reason for this is the sugar content in oranges. While oranges are full of beneficial nutrients, they also have tons of sugar that give them their sweet taste.

And while sugar is the primary reason you shouldn’t feed too many oranges to your guinea pig, you also need to watch how much calcium you feed them. Your guinea pig needs some calcium, but too much can be dangerous.

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Other Great Snacks for Guinea Pigs

While you can feed your guinea pig some oranges, you can’t feed them too many. So, if you’re looking for another great treat for your guinea pig, we’ve highlighted some great choices for you here:

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are another great source of vitamin C, and they don’t have the high sugar content you have to worry about with oranges. They’re not as sweet, and your guinea pig might not like them quite as much, but many guinea pigs can’t get enough of them.

Any color bell pepper works here, so feel free to feed them plenty of green, yellow, orange, and green bell peppers in addition to their regular diet.


Green Leaf, Red Leaf, and Romaine Lettuce

Lettuce is another great choice for you to feed your guinea pig, and if you’re feeding them romaine lettuce, aim for the darkest parts. The darker the romaine lettuce, the more nutrients and the tastier it is for your guinea pig!

guinea pig eating lettuce
Image Credit: Tomasz Stepien, Shutterstock.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another outstanding source of vitamin C, making them a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet. However, some guinea pigs won’t like the seeds or skin of the cucumber, so you’ll need to monitor what your guinea pig is actually eating.

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Foods to Avoid Giving Guinea Pigs

While there are plenty of great foods for you to give your guinea pig, there are also plenty of foods you need to keep far away from them. We’ve highlighted four different foods you should never feed your guinea pig here:

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is extremely poisonous for guinea pigs, and because of this, you need to keep it far away from guinea pigs. Not only can rhubarb make your guinea pig extremely sick, but it can also kill them.


Avocado

Avocados contain persin, and while humans can handle this, most mammals can’t. Guinea pigs are a mammal that can’t tolerate persin in any quantities, and because of this, you need to keep it far away from guinea pigs. And even if guinea pigs could tolerate the person in avocados, they still aren’t a good choice because of their high fat content.


Dried Fruit

While dried fruit isn’t poisonous in the same way as rhubarb or avocados, you still should keep them away from guinea pigs. The reason for this all comes down to the sugar content. Fresh fruits are already high in sugar, and dried fruits have even higher sugar concentrations.


Chives

Any food from the onion family is not safe for guinea pigs to eat. These foods include onions, chives, garlic, leeks, shallots, and spring onions. Members of the allium family contain sulfur compounds, and enough of these compounds can make your guinea pig sick and can even be fatal.

mother guinea pig with its newborn
Image Credit: Naomi Marcin, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

While you need to be careful with how many oranges you feed your guinea pig, generally, there’s nothing wrong with giving them a sweet treat every now and then. Don’t overdo it, though, and if you’re looking to get a little more calcium into your guinea pig’s diet, check out some of the other healthy treats that we highlighted here!

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Featured Image Credit: Lost_in_the_Midwest, Shutterstock

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