We all know what papaya looks like, even though some still confuse papaya with mango, strangely. The papaya is a tropical fruit with a green outer layer and vibrant orange flesh inside. It has seeds and the taste is very mild and sweet, similar to a melon. Most of us eat papaya or have tried it, so you probably want to know if your pet guinea pig can eat papaya. Well, let’s find out.
Can guinea pigs eat papaya? Yes, guinea pigs can eat papaya. This fruit is a great vitamin C source for them. But, you have to be cautious about how you serve papaya to the guinea pigs. The seeds have to be removed because they are a choking hazard for them. Also, because of the sugar content, as with every fruit, you can only feed them papaya 2 times per week maximum.
The papaya is a very tasty fruit and guinea pigs really love it! The owners who have fed their cavies papaya claim that this fruit got a 5-star rating from their furry friends. But, as with any fruit, there must be some precautions and possible risks. Keep reading in order to learn more about this fruit, we will cover the benefits and risks, also any information you’d like to know about the papaya for your guinea pig’s diet.
Health Benefits of Guinea Pigs Eating Papaya
- Antioxidants – vitamin A in papaya will remove toxins and free radical damage, so this means fewer diseases and stronger immunity.
- Scurvy prevention – the vitamin C in papaya will keep the guinea pig safe from scurvy, which is fatal (it starts with these symptoms: rough coat, no appetite, diarrhea, bleedings, and discharge…)
Nutrition Facts of Papaya
The nutritional information for 100 g (3 oz) papaya:
- A normal amount of calories – 39 calories. For fruit, a tropical sweet fruit, this is not too much, and it means that this fruit is not too fattening (if served in moderate amount).
- Carbs and protein – the papaya offers the main two energy sources, 9.8 g of carbs and a bit of protein too, 0.6 g. The carb content is quite high, so there is a small risk of weight changes if you feed the guinea pig consumes too much papaya.
- Fiber – 1.8 g. The papaya also has a good amount of fibers, and the fibers are essential for good digestion as we know. Lack of fibers will make the guinea pig constipated, and excess fibers will cause gas or loose stool.
- Sugars – 5.9 g. The amount of sugar in papaya is too high and this is very bad for the guinea pig. This is why they can eat this fruit 2 times per week on average – they cannot digest sugars very well, and if they have excess sugars in the stomach, they will get cramps or digestion problems.
- Low in fat – 0.1 g. Luckily, papaya is low in fat so there is one risk less for the health of the guinea pig. Less fat means a healthier cardiovascular system.
- Vitamin A – 22%. This vitamin works as an antioxidant and removes free radicals. In other words, the lungs, kidneys, skin, heart, and eyes will be in good health, and the immunity will be boosted as well.
- Vitamin C – 103%. The vitamin C is crucial for survival in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs don’t produce this vitamin naturally, so they must get it from food and supplements. Without it, they are prone to a fatal disease called scurvy. It is amazing that papaya is rich in this vitamin!
- Vitamin E – 4%. This vitamin is mainly beneficial for healthy skin and eyesight too. It prevents inflammations and irritations of the skin. It is noted also that vitamin E prevents heart diseases and boosts the immunity too.
- Vitamin K – 3%. This vitamin is crucial for producing prothrombin, the protein that clots blood.
- Thiamin – 2%. Also known as vitamin B1, it keeps the heart, muscles, brain, intestines, and stomach healthy. It promotes good oxygen through the cells too.
- Riboflavin – 2%. This is the B2 vitamin and it is responsible for converting the foods into energy, and for carrying oxygen in the cells too.
- Niacin – 2%. This is the B3 vitamin and it can lower cholesterol.
- Vitamin B6 – 1%. This vitamin prevents anemia, but most importantly it reduces anxiety, boosts the serotonin (happiness hormone) and helps sleeping disorders.
- Pantothenic acid – 2%. Also known as vitamin B5, it converts foods into energy.
- Calcium – 2%. A mineral vital for the formation of strong bones, but it is not so needed once the guinea pig grows up. Then, it can even be damaging for them and cause urinary problems.
- Iron – 1%. Iron prevents anemia.
- Potassium – 7%. This nutrient balances the blood pressure and keeps the cardiovascular system healthy.
Remember, feed papaya to guinea pigs 2 times per week. A normal serving would be a small handful or a few slices/chunks. If you want, you can peel it first, but this is not mandatory (if unpeeled, wash it very well). However, you must remove the seeds and slice the fruit so that it is easier to chew. Make sure to use ripe papaya, it is softer and tastier. Once you remove the seeds with a spoon, you can also spoon out the flesh with ease. If this is a new food for the cavy, feed him just one bite, and if it likes it, you can give the guinea pig a few more slices or chunks.
Risks to Consider When Feeding Papaya to Guinea Pigs
- Urinary complications – the calcium in the papaya can cause bladder and kidney stones for the guinea pig (if fed in excess). Unless the guinea pig is very young and still growing, this is not a crucial mineral for them.
- Problems with digestion – the fiber and sugar in papaya could damage the digestion if you feed the cavy too much papaya of course. Excess sugar and fiber will cause tummy pains, gas and loose stool with cramping.
- Weight changes – we mentioned how papaya is not very caloric. But, it is rich with carbs and sugar, and these nutrients are the fattening ones here – if you feed the guinea pig too much papaya! There is a risk of weight gain if you don’t pay attention to the serving size and the frequency too.
Quick Facts on Papaya
- It is believed that papaya originates from Central America and Mexico
- There is a National Papaya Month – September
- There is a white powder named “Meat Tenderizer” and it contains the papaya enzyme, papain!
- You can find two kinds of papaya in markets: Mexican and Hawaiian.
- Another name for papaya is ‘tree melon’, and in Australia, they call it Paw Paw or Papaw
- In Asia, the papaya leaves are eaten when steamed
- Too much papaya can cause the same effect as too many carrots – the yellowish color of the skin on palms and feet
- The seeds of papaya are edible too, in fact, they are used as black pepper!
- Unripe papaya has green skin, and ripe one is orange-yellow
- The Hawaiian papaya looks like a pear and weights less, and Mexican looks bulkier and weighs up to 10 lbs.
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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