The thought of a soft, plump, juicy plum is enough to get a lot of people salivating. Plums are low in fat, low in calories, and high in fiber. They also contain antioxidants as well as a good variety of vitamins and minerals. They are considered a healthy snack for humans, but does that mean we can feed them to Guinea Pigs?
Plums are considered safe for Guinea Pigs to eat, but only in moderation, and you should never feed the pit or stone of the fruit to your Cavie. Like the pits of a lot of fruits, plum pits contain small amounts of cyanide, and they can also pose a choking hazard. Feed about an eighth of a plum and leave the skin on; this has a high concentration of antioxidants. Only feed fruit of any kind once or twice a week as a tasty treat.
Read on for more information on the benefits, potential pitfalls, and serving suggestions when giving plums to your Guinea Pigs.
Guinea Pig Diet
Guinea Pigs are herbivores. They only eat plant matter. In fact, in the wild, they would almost exclusively survive on a diet consisting of grass, seeds, twigs, and some plants and herbs. They would not naturally eat root vegetables and would not eat fruit.
Pet Guinea Pigs should be given a diet that sticks quite closely to their wild diet. While they wouldn’t eat root vegetables and fruit in the wild, they can be given these as an occasional treat. They shouldn’t form the basis of a Guinea Pig diet, or be fed too often, but fruit and roots may be given once or twice a week. The majority (around 80%) of a Guinea Pig’s diet should consist of grass or hay, like Timothy hay, with the remainder made up of greens and leafy green vegetables. Fruit treats can be fed once or twice a week, and should not make up more than around 5% of your cavie’s diet.
Are Plums Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Plums are not toxic for Guinea Pigs and although they do contain some natural sugar, they are not as high in sugar as a lot of other fruits. The pits or stones, however, are not considered good for Guinea Pigs because they contain amygdalin. Amygdalin turns into cyanide when eaten raw, and this does pose a health concern for Cavies.
The Benefits of Plums for Guinea Pigs
Plums are safe to be fed to Guinea Pigs in moderation and are one of the healthier treats you can give your pet. The potential benefits include:
Although plums do offer certain health benefits, they also carry some risks. Although these risks can be mitigated through the proper preparation and serving of the fruit, you must know of them.
Always ensure that the plum is washed thoroughly to remove any pesticides and other chemicals from the exterior of the plum. Remove the pit, and then chop the fruit into about eight pieces. Give one-eighth of the fruit to your Cavie, in a bowl, and remove any of the fruit that is left after approximately half an hour.
How Often to Feed Plums?
Guinea Pigs rarely, if ever, eat fruit as part of their natural diet, but most of them do enjoy the natural sweetness and the juicy texture of fruits like plums. Fruit should be fed sparingly and occasionally, with a small amount given once or twice a week. It is a good idea to rotate the types of fruit given, so you can feed a small piece of plum once a fortnight or so.
Other Fruits You Can Feed to Guinea Pigs
Fruits are a tasty treat for Guinea Pigs, and plums are just one type of fruit they can enjoy. Apples are a popular choice, but you must remove the pips because they contain amygdalin and are more easily chewed than plum pits. Mango and papaya are other good options, while most berries can be fed as an occasional treat.
What Fruits Should Guinea Pigs Not Eat?
Rhubarb is poisonous to Guinea Pigs, so should be avoided, and you should remove pips from apples and stones from plums and other stone-containing fruits. Also, because they are high in sugar, you should not feed them dried fruit.
Guinea Pigs need a diet that is high in hay or grass. They need a lot of fiber in their diet, and the munching motion of eating grass and hay also helps maintain healthy tooth length. However, as part of a healthy diet, you can feed fruit as a treat once or twice a week.
Plums are a reasonably healthy option as a fruit treat, but you need to thoroughly wash the fruit, remove the pit, and only feed about an eighth of a plum every week or two. Other fruits you can also give include apples and mangoes but avoid giving rhubarb or any dried fruits.