How many of us have seen or tasted the dragon fruit? The dragon fruit is pink on the outside, but white with black spots on the inside. It has a very specific look, and sometimes it comes in other colors as well. The taste of this fruit is almost neutral but still pleasant. The texture is very similar to a kiwi, but unlike kiwi, this one is not so sweet. In culinary purposes, the dragon fruit is amazing for all recipes: fruit salads, smoothies, desserts, or freshly served too. Today we will discuss if our guinea pigs can try this exotic fruit, so keep on reading.
Can guinea pigs eat dragon fruit? Yes, guinea pigs can eat dragon fruit. The guinea pigs can consume this fruit 3-4 times per week maximum, because there isn’t too much calcium and sugar in dragon fruit. Also, this fruit has vitamin C, so that is another good thing for the guinea pigs. This fruit isn’t too sweet, and it has an almost bland taste, so the guinea pigs might not go crazy for it too much.
Alright, so now you know that you can add a new fruit to the list of foods that your guinea pig can eat. Next time you are shopping for groceries, try to find the dragon fruit. It is a really good fruit for the guinea pig because it offers much-needed vitamin C, without too much calcium and sugars. The fruit itself might be bland in taste, but the cavies would munch on it anyway. So, let’s see all the details for the dragon fruit below.
Main Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Dragon Fruit
- Scurvy prevention – the guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C by themselves. When they get this vitamin through foods or supplements, they can’t store it either. So, they need lots of vitamin C foods to always be in good health and to survive. Yes, cavies cannot survive without it! As a result of vitamin C deficit, the guinea pigs are prone to getting the disease scurvy. This disease manifests with a rough coat, appetite loss, diarrhea, fatigue, discharge, weight loss, and wounds on the body that don’t seem to heal. So, maybe this would encourage you to give more vitamin C foods to your lovely, furry cavy.
- Antioxidants – the dragon fruit has vitamin A, and this is the best antioxidant for an organism. Why are antioxidants so beneficial? Well, they fight free radicals, and they make us healthier. The free radicals damage the body and make it more prone to chronic illnesses and aging. So, when the organism receives antioxidants, like vitamin A, it has a stronger immune system, more energy, and fewer diseases of any kind.
- Healthy blood and a healthy cardiovascular system – iron is crucially important for a healthy body, and of course, healthy blood. The organism couldn’t be healthy without healthy blood in the first place. This mineral is found in all cells of the human body, but mostly it is found in the red blood cells. With enough iron, there is less weakness, fatigue, fewer risks of any disease, the immune system is much stronger, the appetite is normal, and so on. In other words, with lack of iron, there is a risk of anemia – weakness, hair fall, weight loss and loss of appetite… Also, the dragon fruit has potassium as well. The potassium regulates the blood pressure to be at normal levels all the time, so overall, the cardiovascular system is much healthier too.
Nutrition Facts of Dragon Fruit
These are the nutrients in 100 g (3 oz) of dragon fruit:
- Low in calories – 51
- Low in fat – 0.38g
- High in carbs – 12.38g
- Low in proteins – 0.78g
- Fiber – 1.7g
- Sugars – 9.61g
- Calcium – 16mg
- Iron – 0.19mg
- Potassium – 192mg
- Vitamin A – 1%
- Vitamin C – 85.1mg
- Vitamin B1 – 0.04mg
- Vitamin B2 – 0.05mg
- Vitamin B3 – 0.16mg
- Phosphorus – 22.5mg
Risks to Consider When Feeding Dragon Fruit to Guinea Pigs
- Rapid weight gain – the dragon fruit is very rich in carbs. The carbs always contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. And, since this fruit is low in protein, but high in carbs, weight changes are possible. If you give too much of this fruit in one serving for the cavy, and too often, your little furry friend could get a bit chunky over time! In the section below, you can see the right amount for the servings, and similar tips.
- Problems with digestion – in dragon fruit there is sugar too, and sugars are not so well digested by guinea pigs. The good thing here is that this fruit has less sugar compared to other fruits, but it is still something to pay attention to. When guinea pigs ingest excess sugars from foods, they have bad digestion (cramps, flatulence, gas, bloating, and loose stool). Limiting the serving size is one way to avoid these problems.
- Urinary problems – in dragon fruit there is also calcium and phosphorus. Again, as with the sugar, there is less of these nutrients here than in other fruits. But, that doesn’t mean you should just let the guinea pig eat this fruit as much as it wants. The calcium and phosphorus bind together to form bone tissues. Excess of these two minerals is not good for grownup guinea pigs. The risk here is problems in the urinary tract (blood in the urine, urinary infections, bladder and kidney stones, pain during urination, and urinating too frequent)
Dragon Fruit: Serving Size, Frequency, and Preparation
The proper serving size of dragon fruit would be just a ‘few bites’, or a full scoop of the fruit (small handful). You can give this to the guinea pig 4 times per week maximum, not more.
And, the preparation is simple: wash the dragon fruit with water several times. Check for any dirt that may have been left behind, and if needed, rinse again. No need to peel the fruit, because you can just cut it in half, or lengthwise, and scoop out the fleshy part inside. You can cut this fleshy part in thin slices, to make them easier to chew for the guinea pigs.
Can The Guinea Pigs Consume the Skin of Dragon Fruit?
No! The skin of the dragon fruit is not edible; it is too hard, not chewy, and is even spikey in some spots as you can notice. Give only the fleshy part to the guinea pigs.
- Dragon Fruit is a New Food for my Guinea Pig, How Do I Make Sure my Guinea Pig Will Like It?
You cannot know for sure until you try giving it to your cute pet. If this is a new food, you should start off slowly, 1-2 times per week. During the feeding time, you can notice if the guinea pig starts to adapt to the taste or not.
Quick Facts on Dragon Fruit
- This fruit is also known as pitaya, strawberry pear, red pitahaya, the belle of the night, night-blooming cereus, and conderella plant
- The dragon fruit can only grow larger in size if unpicked. It won’t become sweeter if you don’t pick it when it’s time.
- Sometimes the flesh of dragon fruit can be red instead of white. This red flesh contains the antioxidant lycopene (the same antioxidant in tomatoes). This nutrient can lower the risk of cancers, heart diseases, and hypertension.
- A mix of dragon fruit, cucumber juice, and honey is a natural remedy for sunburnt skin
- People in Nicaragua make a beverage of dragon fruit (crushed), lime juice, and water, and it is extremely refreshing for the hot summer days!
- The dragon fruit has a flower (a cactus flower). It lasts only one night, and then dies off!
- This fruit is native to Central America, and Mexico
- Today, dragon fruit is cultivated in Australia, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia too.
- The name ‘pitaya/pitahaya’ comes from Mexico and the parts of Central and South America. It means something like ‘tall cactus with flower’
- The dragon fruit dates back to the 13th century, according to the Aztec literature remains
Before I let you go, one final thought on food. With food, you can’t ever be too careful which is why I get all guinea pig food from a reliable source such as Amazon. If you are not sure what to order but believe your little piggies deserve some great treats please check our Helpful Guide to the Best Guinea Pig Treats to get some ideas. We have also made a full list of foods that guinea pigs can and can’t eat (150+ Types of Foods). Be sure to also check our recommended products page for everything you will ever need to assure a happy life for your Guinea Pigs. Hope this information was helpful and you have found the answer you were looking for.
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