To a guinea pig, pumpkin is an amazing treat. Almost all guinea pigs adore the taste of pumpkin, and this fruit is packed with nutrients and vitamins. Obviously you’ll still need to be careful about how much you offer your pet. Pumpkin is very rich food, so it can cause digestive issues in a guinea pig. All the same, few things will make your pocket pet’s day more than a small serving of fresh pumpkin guts!
Is Pumpkin Suitable for Guinea Pigs?
All new small animal owners need to research one simple question – “what can guinea pigs eat?” The answer to this question is not always the same as what guinea pigs like to eat! Thankfully, in the case of pumpkin, both of these things apply.
Pumpkin flesh is as good for guinea pigs as it is tasty. As always, you’ll need to cut the pumpkin up small for your guinea pig to eat safely. Fresh fruit and vegetables should make up no more than 10% of a guinea pig’s daily food. In moderation, though, pumpkin is a recommended treat for your pet to eat.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Guinea Pigs
We have already answered the question of can guinea pigs eat pumpkin. Now we will go one step further and explain why guinea pigs should do so! We are happy to report that raw pumpkin is good for a guinea pig, as long as you feed it properly. These reasons for this are…
- Pumpkin is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E, all of which are important to a guinea pig
- Pumpkin contains lots of water, which keeps a guinea pig hydrated
- Pumpkin is low in carbohydrates, so your guinea pig will not gain too much weight
- Pumpkin is low in fiber, so appropriate amounts will not upset the digestion of a guinea pig
- Perhaps most importantly, pumpkin tastes amazing to a guinea pig!
In many respects, letting a guinea pig eat pumpkin is similar to feeding carrots. Just like carrots, pumpkin is good for your guinea pig. In fact, as pumpkin contains higher levels of Vitamin C, it’s arguably even better to eat – and tastier!
Health Risks of Pumpkin for Guinea Pigs
The only real risk of fresh pumpkin is a stomach upset from eating too much. Most guinea pigs love to eat pumpkin and are unlikely to moderate their intake accordingly. If a guinea pig over-eats pumpkin, it will become gassy and bloated. Pumpkin can also give a guinea pig diarrhea if eaten to excess, which leads to dehydration.
Feeding Pumpkin to Guinea Pigs
If you plan to let your guinea pig eat pumpkin, keep it fresh. Chop up some of the flesh from a pumpkin for your guinea pig to eat, and feed a one-inch cube at a time.
Do not keep feeding pumpkin to your pet. Keep it as a treat. Most guinea pigs love this ingredient, and may lose interest in other food while they wait for more pumpkin!
We should also note that pumpkin comes in many forms. Let’s take a look at all the different types of pumpkin available for purchase, and whether they are all safe for guinea pigs.
Pureed and Canned Pumpkin for Guinea Pigs
Canned pumpkin should be avoided when looking for a treat for your guinea pig. This is because canned pumpkin has usually been cooked before it is placed in a tin. Guinea pigs cannot digest cooked foods – even pumpkin. You are likely to do your pet more harm than good by offering this item.
Around the holiday season, jars of pumpkin puree will also be available from most supermarkets. This form is pumpkin is not safe for guinea pigs. It will be loaded with sugar and preservatives. A guinea pig’s small body will struggle to cope with these ingredients. Keep your pumpkin fresh when serving to your pet.
Pumpkin Seeds for Guinea Pigs
The seeds of a pumpkin take many forms, none of which are toxic to guinea pigs. If you head to a health food shop, you’ll likely find the following for sale.
- Fresh Pumpkin Seeds
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Salted Pumpkin Seeds
None of these are really safe for guinea pigs to eat, unfortunately. The seeds of a pumpkin are small and tough. As a result, they could break your guinea pig’s teeth, or become a choking hazard. They are also high in fat. Remove the seeds from a pumpkin and feed them to birds instead.
Pumpkin Skin for Guinea Pigs
The skin of a pumpkin is not toxic for a guinea pig, so your pocket pet can nibble on pumpkin skin for fun. However, the goodness and nutrition of pumpkin is found in the inside, not the skin. Only offer this part of pumpkin to your pet very occasionally, and remove it before it starts to rot.
Pumpkin Leaves for Guinea Pigs
The leaves of pumpkin are very tasty to guinea pigs, so you can offer this greenery to your pet. Just be aware that pumpkin leaves are high in calcium. This can cause issues within a guinea pig’s kidneys if eaten to excess. Avoid giving letting your guinea pig eat more than an inch of leaves at a time, and feed them very occasionally.
Pumpkin Pie for Guinea Pigs
Pumpkin pie is a cornerstone dessert at Thanksgiving. You may tempted to offer some of your guinea pig some of the leftovers. This is not safe, though. The filling of a pumpkin pie will be packed with sugar, cream and dairy products like eggs. None of these foodstuffs are good for a guinea pig.
You arrived at this page asking, “can guinea pigs eat pumpkin”, and now you know the answer is a firm yes. If you offer pumpkin to your guinea pig in the right quantity, it will enjoy a delicious treat that is high in vitamins and minerals. Don’t let a guinea pig eat pumpkin to excess. Like any food outside of hay, that’s a bad idea. On occasion, though, pumpkin is a genuine delight for your pocket pet.