Can guinea pigs eat watermelon? Surprising facts
Watermelon is a fleshy and juicy fruit that is very popular, especially in the summer. But can guinea pigs eat watermelon? Yes, guinea pigs can eat watermelons but only in moderation due to the high sugar content. In fact, the green part of the watermelon is much better to feed guinea pigs because it has more water content and less sugar.
Read on to find out the health benefits, nutritional value, risks involved, serving size and frequency, preparation of watermelons for guinea pigs and more.
Health benefits of watermelons for guinea pigs
- Helps in hydration
Apart from the water you give your guinea pig, it also derives water from the food it eats. Watermelons are among the most succulents fruits and will help your pet to stay hydrated. This is a good option to complement the hay food.
- Prevents malignancy
Watermelons contain compounds such as lycopene that plays a critical role in the prevention of malignant cells. In particular, lycopene is known to prevent the growth of cells in the digestive system by limiting insulin growth factor.
- Improves cardiovascular health
Some compounds in watermelon such as lycopene help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. These are some of the biggest causes of heart problems. Additionally, watermelons contain citrulline that helps to increase nitric oxide. This is an essential amino acid that will help your guinea pig maintain optimum blood levels.
- Boosts immunity
Watermelons are packed with vitamin C that helps to strengthen the white blood vessels. This does not only help prevent diseases but also keep your pet’s health intact. Vitamin C will also help your guinea pig absorb iron.
- Relieve inflammation
Inflammation can be as a result of diseases and injury. This is normal and manageable unless it turns out to be chronic. Watermelons are rich in antioxidants that help in alleviating inflammation.
Nutrition facts of watermelon for guinea pigs
Watermelons are endowed with numerous nutrients that are very beneficial to your guinea pig’s health. Here are some of the main nutrients found in watermelon
- Vitamin C- This is an essential nutrient that guinea pigs require. Lack of it can cause a wide range of problems such as scurvy, anemia, weakness, etc.
- Vitamin A- It has impact on the health of the skin, brain, kidneys, vision, lungs and the immunity of the guinea pig
- Citrulline- This is an amino acid that improves the health of the heart and blood vessels. Also, it can boost the immunity of your cavy.
- Lycopene- This is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the risk of some malignant cells. Besides, it improves heart health.
- Flavonoids- Reduces the risks of severe diseases such as stroke, cancer, heart disease and also protects the brain health of your cavy.
- Iron- Removes weakness, fatigue, boost the immunity and prevent anemia.
- Vitamin B6- Positive impact on the quality of sleep, reduces stress and creates a happier mood by boosting the production of serotonin hormone.
- Zinc- Improves the immunity to fight off infections and diseases. Also, it helps in the growth and development of the body.
- Riboflavin- Also known as vitamin B2, it helps breaks down consumed food into energy and to improve oxygen flow.
Potential risks of feeding watermelons to your guinea pig
- Urinary tract problems
While calcium is an essential mineral, too much of it can cause urinary tract infections. Like most fresh fruits, watermelon contains calcium, so you should not feed it every day.
- Ingestion of pesticides
If you don’t wash the watermelon properly with several rinses, there is a risk that your guinea pig will eat chemicals from pesticides. Nowadays, most fruits are sprayed with pesticides, which can be very dangerous for your guinea pig.
- High sugar content
The pink part of the watermelon contains a lot of sugar than the white rind. Too much sugar is not good for your guinea pig and causes problems such as flatulence, cramps, pains and diarrhea. So, make sure you don’t feed your guinea pig a lot of the pink fleshy part.
Serving quantity and frequency of feeding watermelons to guinea pigs
- Serving quantity
The serving quantity will mainly depend on the part of the watermelon you are feeding your guinea pig. If it is the pink fleshy part, you should only serve a small piece. However, make sure you have removed all the seeds. As for the rind, you can serve a bigger portion but sliced in smaller pieces.
It is not advisable to feed watermelon to your guinea pig every day. The best serving frequency should be twice or thrice a week in controlled quantities.
How to prepare watermelons for guinea pigs
- Step 1: Choose the right watermelon
Select a ripe watermelon because unripe ones can be unfit for your guinea pig. Also, choose a fresh watermelon and not rotten ones.
- Step 2: Wash
The second step is to wash the rind of the watermelon thoroughly to remove dirt and chemical residues. Preferably, it would be best if you opt for an organic one.
- Step 3: Slice into smaller pieces
It is good to slice the watermelon into smaller pieces to serve the recommended quantity. Also, slicing the watermelon enables the guinea pig to eat comfortably.
More information on watermelons for guinea pigs
- Are watermelon seeds safe for guinea pigs?
No, watermelon seeds are not safe for guinea pigs. Therefore, you should remove all the seeds before feeding to your pet. The seeds can cause the guinea pig to choke and even die if you are not careful.
- Can guinea pigs drink juice?
If it is a homemade watermelon juice and diluted with water, there is no problem, and you can give it to your guinea pig. However, you should never attempt to give your pet watermelon juice from the store. It contains a lot of sugar and other components that may be ideal for your guinea pig.
Can guinea pigs eat watermelon conclusion
Watermelon is a great summer treat for your guinea pig. It contains high water content that will make your pet stay hydrated and feel revitalized. At the same time, it is a source of essential nutrients. However, it contains a lot of sugar, and you should serve only the recommended amount.