When you think about vitamins and refreshing fruits, what is the first fruit that comes to your mind apart from lemons? Oranges of course! The oranges are maybe the fruit that’s used the most for both eating and making juices.
It is full of vitamins, especially vitamin C, and it contains more vitamin C than lemons. Who would have thought? Now, are oranges safe for guinea pigs? In this article, we will discuss can guinea pigs have oranges and if oranges are good food for our guinea pigs (we have covered different types of oranges).
Can guinea pigs eat oranges? Guinea pigs can eat oranges. This fruit is very beneficial for guinea pigs because oranges contain high amounts of vitamin C, which is crucial for their survival and health. The guinea pigs love the taste of oranges, and to be honest, they are very refreshing for them, especially during the warmer months. Unlike hamsters, the guinea pigs can consume oranges and have benefits from them as well.
In the sections below we will cover all the benefits a guinea pig can have from eating oranges but also possible risks and precautions you should be aware of.
Oranges are known to be among the best fruits for the overall health and truth be told, they are not just good for the health but they are also a great refreshment that is very versatile (can be consumed in various ways).
Keep reading in order to learn how to properly feed your guinea pig with delicious oranges. Also, see what are the nutritional facts and risks of oranges for guinea pigs. Let’s begin with health benefits!
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Oranges
Are oranges good for guinea pigs? Yes, oranges are very good for guinea pigs and that is mostly due to the high amounts of vitamin C that they have. Also, oranges provide energy and other benefits.
- Energy – Oranges have a very good amount of calories to provide the organism with enough warmth and nutrition.
- Healthy weight – Orange has almost 90 calories but that is not much for fruit and the guinea pigs won’t eat a whole orange anyway! Also, it is low in fat so it won’t change the weight.
- Healthy cardiovascular system (low in fat, potassium, magnesium) – Oranges are low in fat and this keeps blood vessels unclogged. Also, the potassium contributes to a good balance of salt and water in the body and the magnesium keeps the heart muscle healthy and strong in guinea pigs. All this means guinea pigs will have excellent health of the cardiovascular system!
Nutrition Facts of Oranges
- A good amount of calories – 86.5 calories. For fruit, this amount is great and will provide more energy throughout the day (see carbs and proteins point below). Also, this caloric amount is not extremely high considering we are talking about fruit. So, the guinea pig will not get fat from oranges!
- Carbs and proteins – there are 21.6 g of carbs and 1.7 g of protein in one big orange. These two are the main sources of energy for any organism to survive and fulfill any daily activities, even if it’s just resting without movements.
- Low in fat – 0.2 g. With a low amount of fat, the bodyweight will not be affected and most importantly, the blood vessels will not be clogged so the guinea pig heart will work better too.
- Fibers – 4.4 g. The fibers are always beneficial for good digestion. Without them, there is a chance of constipation and unhealthy bowel movements (irregular emptying).
- Vitamin C – 163 %. With such a high amount of vitamin C, your guinea pig is surely safe from the dangerous scurvy disease. This disease starts when the cavies are lacking this vitamin because they don’t produce it naturally or store it in their bodies.
- Thiamine – 11 %. This is the B1 vitamin and it turns the carbs into energy very fast.
- Potassium – 10 %. The potassium helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and balance of electrolytes and water in the body too. Without potassium, there is a risk of fatigue, constipation, and dehydration.
- Vitamin A – 8 %. This is a strong antioxidant which will keep immunity in amazing health and it will protect it against free radicals that damage the lungs, liver, heart, skin – every organ.
- Calcium – 73.6 g. This amount of calcium is too high for the guinea pig. When this mineral deposits in excessive amounts, there are serious urinary problems for the guinea pig.
- Sugar – there is 17 g of sugar in one large orange. Of course, this means you can only serve oranges in only in moderate amounts because this is too much sugar for the cavy to digest!
- Magnesium – 18.4 g. This mineral is keeping the muscles strong and healthy.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Oranges to Guinea Pigs
Are oranges bad for guinea pigs? No, oranges are not bad for guinea pigs but in larger serving sizes they cause some problems. These are the most common risks that oranges cause to guinea pigs:
- Urinary problems – The orange contains quite a lot of calcium. Fully grown guinea pigs will not benefit from calcium. Those mineral deposits create bladder and kidney stones, pain during urination and bloody urine too.
- Bad digestion – Also, orange has sugars too. It contains beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, but precaution is needed because of the sugar. Sugar can cause painful digestion or bowel problems like a loose stool.
How to Feed Guinea Pigs Oranges (Serving Size and Frequency)
Do guinea pigs like oranges? This is the first thing you need to know. Yes, guinea pigs like oranges because they are refreshing to them. Also, they like the texture and the fruity smell of an orange. That is why you need to be careful with the serving sizes when feeding guinea pigs with oranges.
How Often and How Much Orange Is Good for My Guinea Pig?
Because of the sugar content and calcium as well, limit oranges to 2 times per week. Of course, do not give them a whole orange! A slice or two, or one thick big wedge is enough for the guinea pig to be delighted! Otherwise, there is a risk of urinary issues and bladder/kidney stones, as well as bad digestion and belly pains from the sugars in the orange.
How to Prepare Orange for Your Guinea Pig?
- Step 1 – Choose an orange that is ripe and not green or rotten. If the orange is not ripe it will be too acidic for your guinea pig. Any type of rotten food is out of the question.
- Step 2 – As always, any fruit or a vegetable that you are planning to give your guinea pig needs to be washed. The same needs to be applied to oranges.
- Step 3 – You can give guinea pigs orange peels but we don’t advise it because of pesticides that are commonly used in the world. Pesticides can sometimes be found in the peels (orange skin) and that is why it is better to remove all of it.
- Step 4 – If your orange contains any seeds, please remove them as they can be a choking hazard for your cute guinea pig.
- Step 5 – Slice the orange in smaller pieces in order to make it easier for your guinea pig to eat it. When the guinea pig is done with eating, if there are any leftovers, remove them from the cage. Keeping a guinea pig cage clean is important for their overall health.
Which Oranges Are Best for the Guinea Pig?
The tastiest and best types of oranges for your guinea pig are the Lychees, mandarin orange, as well as Clementine oranges. Of course, you can give the guinea pig a taste of any common orange you buy and consume yourself, as long as you pay attention to the serving sizes.
More Information About Oranges and Guinea Pigs
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Orange Peels?
However, avoid giving the cavy too much of the orange peel and focus more on the flesh fruit part. This is because the orange peel is rougher than the flesh and may irritate their mouth tissue while chewing it.
Can Guinea Pigs Have Orange Juice?
Yes, guinea pigs can have orange juice but there are many rules to follow in order to give them any type of juice. You can’t give them just any type of orange juice that you can buy from the store.
You can take an orange and squeeze the juices into a glass. Now you need to dilute it with water (50:50 ratio). Do not add sugar or anything else, also use fresh water. This type of juice is safe for guinea pigs but this should be given rarely.
Can Guinea Pig Eat Canned Orange?
No, guinea pigs can’t eat canned orange because of the high amounts of sugar, sodium and preservatives that have been added to prolong the shelf life of the product. They come in a sugary syrup and all of this can create different problems for the guinea pig’s stomach.
Avoid canned fruits or vegetables at all costs. They are not good for guinea pigs. Only fresh (raw) vegetables and fruits are good for them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Orange Seeds?
No, guinea pigs can’t eat orange seeds, in fact, they are a choking hazard for them. Always remove orange seeds (pips) from any type of orange before feeding it to your guinea pig.
This preparation step must be followed as it can cause a serious problem.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Blood Oranges?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat blood oranges and some guinea pigs even prefer them more due to the different taste and smell than regular oranges. Blood oranges have a taste similar to that of a raspberry. Due to the amount of sugar, you need to watch out for the serving sizes (one or two slices, only once or twice a week).
It is recommended to switch between different types of oranges when feeding guinea pigs because that way you will be adding even more variety to their diet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Clementines?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat clementines but you need to pay more attention to the serving sizes because clementines contain more sugar when compared to regular oranges.
They are less acidic but the sugar amount is higher and that is not really good for our guinea pigs. Give them a slice or two of clementines every week in order to avoid any problems.
They can also eat the skin of clementines (peel) but as it is the case with oranges, try to avoid giving it to them due to the pesticide problem.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Mandarin Oranges (Mandarines)?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat mandarin oranges/mandarines. Mandarine contains more vitamin A than oranges but they have more calories as well. Oranges also have more vitamin C when compared with mandarine.
Once or twice a week is a good frequency for guinea pigs and for the serving size one or two slices. The preparation is the same.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Tangerines?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat tangerines. They have almost the same nutritional value as the mandarin oranges. Tangerines have more vitamin A when compared to regular oranges but more calories and less vitamin C.
Tangerines are a type of mandarin oranges and almost the only difference is the color of the skin (peel). Tangerines have a darker skin while the mandarin has a lighter skin color.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Satsumas?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat satsumas. This type of mandarin orange is very juicy, easy to peel and seedless, making it a safe food for guinea pigs.
This type of mandarin orange originates from Japan and it is harder to find in stores.
Quick Facts on Oranges
- The orange belongs to a family of berries so it is basically considered a berry!
- Orange was introduced in the Mediterranean area directly by the Arabs, back in the 10th century.
- The Bergamot orange type is grown for the production of cosmetics mostly.
- Orange trees can survive for more than a century!
- The Valencia oranges are most grown all over the world.
- Chinese people believe the Pummelo orange brings luck.
- Orange is not named because of its orange color. The name comes from a Sanskrit word ‘naranga’ coming from Tamil Nadu (India) and the meaning is ‘fragrant’.
- Oranges were considered once a sign of fertility when given to newlywed couples.
- To get all the fibers of an orange, you need to consume more than 6 cups of cornflakes for breakfast!
- Christopher Columbus introduced the first orange and its seeds to America, back in 1493.
- Back in the 18th century, British sailors ate oranges and sauerkraut too for scurvy prevention!
- The orange blossoms and orange fruit itself symbolizes love.
- The Gods thought of oranges as their signature fruit. They called it ‘golden apple’ because Hercules stole many oranges!
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.
If you found this post useful, would you mind helping out by sharing it? Just click one of the handy social media sharing buttons below so others can also learn about guinea pig food and diet!
List of Sources
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O’Dell, B. L., Morris, E. R., Pickett, E. E., Hogan, A. G., Diet Composition and Mineral Balance in Guinea Pigs, The Journal of Nutrition, 1957.
Esch, J. R., Friend, J. R., Kariuki, J. K., Determination of the Vitamin C Content of Conventionally and Organically Grown Fruits by Cyclic Voltammetry, International Journal of ELECTROCHEMICAL SCIENCE, 2010.
Odumosu, A., Wilson, C. W. M., Metabolic Availability of Vitamin C in the Guinea-pig, Nature, Volume 242, Issue 5399, pp. 519-521, 1973.
Davey, A. J., Determination of the Minimum Doses of some fresh Citrus Fruit Juices which will protect a Guinea-Pig from Scurvy, together with some Observations on the Preservation of such Juices, Biochemical Journal, 1921.
Smith, A. H., A PROTEIN IN THE EDIBLE PORTION OF ORANGE, Yale University, 1924.