Even though limes & lemons are rich in vitamin C, guinea pigs should never eat these food items. This is because limes and lemons are very acidic in nature and as guinea pigs have a sensitive stomach, it can lead to severe stomach distress, sores & teeth-related problems.
Let’s take a deeper look at this topic.
Is Citrus safe for guinea pigs?
Certain kinds of citrus fruits particularly those with a low ascorbic acid content are not harmful to their health. This includes items like oranges, Tangerines, Clementines, etc. Other citrus fruits including lemons and limes are much richer in their acidic content and can lead to health-related problems for the guinea pig.
Guinea pigs must always be fed citrus fruits in moderation, even the ones with low acid content. This is because fruits are normally rich in sugar which can, in turn, lead to digestive distress for the guinea pigs.
So you should only feed them these fruits in tiny portions, once in a while, maybe once a week or every two weeks, as a treat. In this way, they will also get a natural supplement of vitamin C in their diet which is an important factor as guinea pigs are often known to suffer from vitamin C deficiency.
In case your guinea pig has certain kinds of health problems or has a record of suffering from mouth sores, it is always best to consult with the vet before feeding them any citrus fruits.
What is the best source of vitamin C for guinea pigs?
The best source of vitamin C for guinea pigs is citrus fruits with a low acidic and sugar content. This includes fruits like oranges, satsumas, clementines, tangerines, Pomelo, etc.
These citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C source, have moderate sugar content, and are stuffed with antioxidants. They also act as a good source of dietary fiber. Oranges for example also contain vitamin A which is important in keeping their eyes and fur healthy.
Satsumas and clementines are seedless and juicy in nature which is something guinea pigs absolutely love to eat. They cannot eat seeds and you should get rid of the seeds of the other citrus fruits before feeding them.
What if you have already fed limes & lemons to your guinea pigs?
Even though limes and lemons are rich in vitamin C, because of the excess presence of ascorbic acid in them, they are just not suitable for the consumption of guinea pigs.
However if they eat only a tiny portion or a small slice of a lemon, in most cases, they will be fine. Just make sure they haven’t consumed a large portion of those food items. In that case, contact the vet for immediate advice.
Otherwise just keep a close eye for a few days on the guinea pig to see if he or she shows signs of digestive illness or any other health concerns. In most instances, even if they accidentally end up eating these fruits once in a while, they will be okay provided they don’t have any already existing serious health concern particularly related with digestion, teeth or sores.
For the next few weeks avoid feeding them any fruits with a high acidic content.
What to feed guinea pigs instead of limes & lemons?
- Tropical fruits: Papaya, pineapples, bananas are some of the fruits that falls under this category of fruits.
- Berries like strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, etc are perfect for them.
- Melons: This includes watermelons, casaba melons, Honeydew melon, etc. Most guinea pigs love eating melons and they are just as squizy and juicy like lemons and hence are a perfect alternative to those fruit items.
- Low to Moderately Acidic Citrus fruits: This includes the previously mentioned fruits like oranges, clementines, Satsumas,etc. Give these fruits once a week or at most twice a week as these are quite high in sugar content.
Thats it folks! Leave your comments below!