Can guinea pigs eat oranges? Yes, they certainly can. Oranges are rich in vitamin C, but unfortunately they’re also high in sugar contents, which means they should be fed in moderation.
If you want to know more about oranges and how they’re beneficial to guinea pigs, read on. On this page we’ll look into this delicious, juicy, nutritious fruit.
Amounts displayed per 100 grams.
|Vitamin C||53.2 mg|
|Calcium (Ca)||40 mg|
|Phosphorus (P)||14 mg|
|Ca:P Ratio||2.86:1 (Recommended: 1.5:1 to 2:1)|
Nutrition data source: USDA
Guinea pigs and oranges
While guinea pigs are unable to manufacture their own vitamin C and therefore prone to scurvy, oranges offer a much needed vitamin boost for the little furry friends.
They are a little acidic though, and not all guinea pigs like this. You might have to introduce oranges slowly one wedge at a time, and there’s no guarantee that your guinea pigs will ever like them.
One great thing about oranges is the longevity. They won’t turn bad immediately, and if you keep them in your fridge they can last for weeks without going bad.
You can serve both peels and flesh for your guinea pigs, but have in mind that peels taste quite bitter and there’s a great change that your guinea pigs will refuse to eat those.
Health benefits of oranges
Oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, which is very beneficial to guinea pigs as they can’t produce their own vitamin C. Oranges are among the fruits that contain the highest levels of vitamin C, so if this is your main concern you should definitely add a wedge or two with their weekly diet.
Besides the high levels of vitamin C, oranges aid the cardiovascular system too because of the potassium and magnesium contents.
The reason why guinea pigs can’t have too much orange though, is because of the sugar contents. Oranges are very high in sugar, and if it isn’t fed in moderation your guinea pigs might end up developing obesity and other related health problems. Oranges contain a relatively high amount of calcium too, which can cause problems with bladder stones that are extremely painful and difficult to treat.
FAQ about oranges
Below are some frequently asked questions about oranges for guinea pigs. Read on if you’re interested in learning more about oranges and how to make the most of them when offered to your guinea pigs.
How to select the best oranges for guinea pigs?
Of course oranges are best when they’re in season, which in the US is during the winter months of november through april/may.
When shopping for oranges, you need to hold them and weight them in your hands. They need to feel heavy for their size, as this is the best indicator of how much juice is in them and how good they are.
You can’t count on the color of their skin, because bright yellow oranges can be just as good as the ones with a darker tint.
How to feed oranges?
We recommend that you offer your guinea pigs one wedge each, and you can keep the skin on if they like it.
Oranges are very easy to prepare because they’re already shaped into wedges, but you HAVE to make sure the seeds are removed before serving. Seeds pose a choking hazard because of their size and shape, so you’d really want to make sure they’re removed before serving.
Are oranges good for guinea pigs?
We consider oranges an occasional treat rather than a staple food item because of the high sugar content.
Yes, it does contain a high amount of vitamin C as well as other beneficial nutrients, but they simply don’t justify the high amounts of sugars that go along with them.
Guinea pigs are prone to obesity, so avoiding sugary fruits must be prioritized and their main green diet should consist of leafy vegetables rather than oranges and other fruits.
Do guinea pigs like oranges?
Oranges have a strong taste and can be quite acidic, which might not cater to all guinea pigs.
We haven’t had any luck with oranges ourselves, because our guinea pigs simply don’t seem to like them very much.
However, some guinea pigs might love oranges, and if you’re looking for an occasional treat that’s high in vitamin C too, oranges might just be the right thing for you.
Peels, flesh and seeds – are they safe to eat?
According to multiple sources, peels are perfectly safe for your guinea pigs to eat. They do contain quite high amounts of vitamin C, and are likely to contain pesticide residue too if they’re not organic. So make sure you rinse properly, and always get the organic produce where available.
The flesh is of course perfectly safe too, but there are mixed opinions on the seeds. Some sources claim they pose a choking hazard, so we recommend that remove them carefully before serving the orange wedges.
Are cooked oranges safe for guinea pigs?
No fruits should be cooked before serving to your guinea pigs, as they’ll lose nutritional value and they might increase the sugar levels too.
Fruits should always be served raw and as fresh as possible.
Are frozen oranges safe for guinea pigs?
We’ve found multiple claims that guinea pigs can eat oranges that have been frozen, but neither of these claims originate from trustworthy sources. On the other hand, we haven’t found any solid proof that frozen oranges are harmful to guinea pigs either.
Unfortunately this is somewhat of a grey area, and for that reason we simply cannot recommend serving frozen oranges to guinea pigs.
Are dried oranges safe for guinea pigs?
We wouldn’t recommend serving dried oranges to your guinea pigs because they’re very high in sugar, and won’t have as many nutrients as fresh oranges. It would be similar to feeding them candy, although guinea pigs are very prone to obesity and could develop health problems very quickly.
As part of our editorial process we use high-quality sources only, and strive to keep our content accurate and trustworthy by constantly keeping up to date with the latest knowledge.
- Laurie Hess, DVM; Rick Axelson, DVM: Feeding Guinea Pigs – VCA Hospitals
- Rosemary Norman; Alison P. Wills: An Investigation into the Relationship between Owner Knowledge, Diet, and Dental Disease in Guinea Pigs (Cavia porcellus) – Animals 2016, 6(11), 73. MDPI
- The Humane Society
- Adirondack Veterinary Service