As herbivores, guinea pigs will naturally eat all fruits and vegetables, including nectarine.
A cousin of the fuzzy peach, a nectarine is a sweet, juicy fruit that is a wonderful treat for your guinea pigs on hot summer days.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Nectarines?
Yes, guinea pigs will happily eat nectarines but they should only be given these once a week. Even then, it should be a small slice.
Anything more than that can be harmful to their health.
Before you add them to their diet, we’re going to take a closer look at nectarines and what they contain.
What Do Nectarines Contain?
Luckily, nectarines are great for guinea pigs as they are extremely nutritious.
One slice can give your pet a good dose of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that add to its overall health.
In terms of nutritional ingredients, the nectarine contains the following:
Low in Calories
You will be happy to know that the calorie content of nectarines is extremely low. They also have a low-fat content which makes them perfect snacks.
Since guinea pigs are prone to obesity, nectarines are great for them.
By giving them a low-calorie treat you will be able to maintain their weight and keep their cardiovascular health in good shape too.
Vitamins A and C
Nectarines are particularly rich in Vitamin A and C.
Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, keeping internal organs and boosting the immune system of the guinea pig.
Vitamin C is an extremely vital vitamin that your guinea pig needs.
Without it, they are prone to developing scurvy and face joint issues. For rodents, scurvy can often be fatal.
Potassium is needed to improve the cardiovascular function of the guinea pigs.
Nectarines contain a good amount of potassium which can improve the health of your guinea pigs.
This nutrient also helps to balance blood pressure and improves healthy blood flow.
All guinea pigs need some calcium in their diet. This mineral is extremely useful for its joint and bone health.
It also makes their bones stronger and boosts the growth of new teeth and bones. Nectarines contains a lot of calcium which can be beneficial for your guinea pig.
Also known as Vitamin B3, niacin is extremely important for healthy body function in guinea pigs.
It also promotes healthy brain function, develops cognitive abilities, and ensures that your guinea pig is healthy and sound in mind and body.
Niacin also helps to lower cholesterol levels and prevent obesity.
It is easy to see that nectarine contains a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for guinea pigs.
While they should only be given once a week, these are great, healthy snacks for your beloved pet.
What is the Right Serving Size for Your Guinea Pigs?
When it comes to nectarines, avoid giving large servings to your guinea pigs. Make sure to only give 1 small slice for your guinea pig.
Additionally, the slice should be easy to eat for the guinea pigs. Large slices can make it difficult for the guinea pig to eat them.
Additionally, given the high sugar content in nectarines, you need to only give these once a week.
Too many nectarines can start to negate the health benefits and start causing issues.
Due to these reasons, nectarines cannot be a staple in the diet of a guinea pig.
Why Should Nectarines be given in Moderation to Guinea Pigs?
Nectarines should only be given to your guinea pigs in moderation as too much of it can be harmful.
Sometimes, the extra amount can mean that very vitamins and minerals that were healthy for your guinea pigs will slowly start to harm them too.
The following are some of the main reasons why you should not feed nectarines regularly to your guinea pig:
High Acid Content
Nectarines have acidic content in them.
While it is not enough for us to notice, guinea pigs are naturally more sensitive to acidic food items.
Giving them too many nectarine slices can cause the lining of their mouths to get injured.
In severe cases, you can expect them to develop a sour mouth which can prevent them from eating anything.
Always take your guinea pig to the vet if you see that they are having difficulty in chewing or eating food after you gave them nectarines.
Irritate the Bowels
The acid can irritate the lining of the guinea pigs’ stomach and intestines as well.
When this happens, your pet will face digestive issues and can also develop diarrhea or have watery stool in general.
Diarrhea for a prolonged period of time can lead to dehydration so take your guinea pig to the vet if this happens.
You should also stop feeding nectarines to them.
Another thing that the acid causes are stomach aches. When the stomach lining is irritated, it can create a lot of discomfort for your guinea pig.
They might also suffer from bloating and have difficulty eating other foods.
Additionally, signs of stomach ache and bloating can often be difficult to see, especially if you have a long-haired guinea pig.
Nonetheless, keep a close eye and make sure that your guinea pig is not showing any signs of discomfort once you give it nectarines.
The calcium content in nectarines is healthy for guinea pigs but only to a certain extent.
Feeding them too much can cause a build-up of calcium in their kidneys. This can cause kidney failure and bladder issues.
Guinea pigs are also prone to developing bladder stones that can cause urinary problems if they are fed high calcium foods too frequently.
Moderate how much you feed them to keep them happy.
These might be making you feel like avoiding nectarines completely but you don’t have to.
As long as you give them a small size, once a week, your guinea pig will be in good health.
Can You Give Canned Nectarines to Guinea Pigs?
If you can’t get fresh ones, avoid giving canned nectarines to your guinea pig.
These tend to have high sugars since canned fruits are always canned in a syrup solution.
Moreover, the preservation and canning process involves the use of various chemicals. These might be harmful to guinea pigs.
Moreover, the nutritional value of canned nectarines is generally lower than fresh ones.
Many essential minerals, vitamins, and nutrients are lost in the process. Due to this, it is better to avoid canned nectarines for your guinea pigs completely.
They benefit the most from fresh ones.
Can You Give Dried Nectarines to Guinea Pigs?
Never give your guinea pig any dried nectarines.
These are freeze-dried and tend to be high in sugar because the sugars in the nectarine become more concentrated as the water and moisture in the fruit are removed.
This can put your guinea pig at risk of developing diabetes or becoming obese.
While you can give them a small amount as a treat, it is best to avoid feeding them this completely.
Your guinea pigs will be healthier when they have fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet.
Can You Give Cooked Nectarines to Guinea Pigs?
Feeding cooked nectarines to your guinea pig is not a good idea. The sugars in the nectarine actually caramelize when the heat is applied.
This also increases the starch levels in the nectarine.
As compared to the raw form, all types of cooked nectarine are not beneficial for your guinea pig.
Moreover, the cooking process ends up destroying many essential vitamins and nutrients that your guinea pig needs.
This is why you shouldn’t offer any cooked food to your guinea pigs.
Preparing the Nectarine for Your Guinea Pigs
While you can give nectarines completely raw to your guinea pigs, you will have to prepare them so that your guinea pigs can eat them comfortably.
It will also make you feel happier to know that you didn’t give a dirty nectarine to your guinea pigs.
The following are a few simple steps that you need to do before you give nectarines to your guinea pigs:
Wash the Skin
Make sure to wash the skin of the nectarines.
Guinea pigs have no trouble eating the skin of the nectarines.
Unfortunately, if they are not organically sourced, the nectarines might have pollutants on the skin.
From pesticides to other animal waste, you could end up harming your guinea pig. Luckily, by washing the skin, you get rid of such residue.
Remove the Pit
Nectarines have a large peach pit embedded in them.
If you are feeding it to your guinea pigs, make sure to take out the pit and throw it away.
Give your guinea pigs fruit that is free of pits, pips, and other seeds.
This ensures that your guinea pig does not suffer as these pits can have trace amounts of cyanide in them.
Cut Down to Size
Always make sure to cut down your nectarine slices before you are offering them to your guinea pigs.
Smaller sizes are easier for your guinea pig to eat and it also allows you to control the portion size.
Larger slices mean that even if you give it once a week, you are feeding your guinea pig too much.
Due to this, your guinea pig could be experiencing negative effects from eating the nectarine.
Clean the Bowl
Always remember to remove any leftovers or uneaten nectarine pieces from the food bowl.
Leaving food in their bowl can allow bacteria to grow. It also encourages your guinea pigs to overeat which can lead to obesity.
Instead, only leave it for an hour or two and then remove the leftovers.
Nectarines are great treats for guinea pigs but they must be fed in moderation.
They are high in sugars, are naturally acidic, and have high calcium content.
If fed once a week, your guinea pig can enjoy all the benefits without any of the side effects.
Make sure to only feed fresh nectarines and avoid cooked, canned, or dried options.
Other articles you may also like: