Guinea pigs love fruits, so let’s see whether dragon fruit is one of the fruits that’s safe for guinea pigs. Can guinea pigs eat dragon fruit?
Guinea pigs can eat dragon fruit. This fruit contains little calcium and sugar, so guinea pigs can eat it 2 to 3 times per week at most. Additionally, the vitamin C in dragon fruit is especially important for guinea pigs.
However, this fruit isn’t very sweet and has an almost bland taste, so guinea pigs might not be crazy about it.
What Is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit grows on the Hylocereus cactus, also known as the Honolulu queen, which has flowers that are only open at night.
The plant is native to Mexico’s southern borderlands and Central America.
It is now grown all over the world.
Dragon fruit is known by a variety of names, including pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear.
The two most common types have bright red skin with green scales that look like dragons, which is where the name of this fruit comes from.
The most common variety has white pulp with black seeds, but there is also a less common type with red pulp and black seeds.
Another variety, known as yellow dragon fruit, has yellow skin, white pulp, and black seeds.
Because of the crunchy black seeds, many people compare this fruit to kiwi fruit, although they taste much different.
Besides, 1 gr of kiwi fruit contains twice the amount of Vitamin C compared to oranges and twice the amount of nutrients compared to apples.
Overall, kiwi is much more nutritious compared to dragon fruit.
Let’s see whether guinea pigs like to eat dragon fruit and what is its nutritional value.
What Is the Nutritional Value of Dragon Fruit?
Here’s the nutritional value of dragon fruit per 100 grams, (about the size of one dragon fruit):
Protein: 1.18 g
Fat: 0 g
Carbohydrate: 12.94 g
Dietary fiber: 2.9 g
Sugars (total): 7.65 g
Calcium: 18 milligrams (mg)
Iron: 0.74 g
Sodium: 0 mg
Vitamin C: 2.5 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg
In addition, dragon fruit also contains other minerals that are important for guinea pigs:
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
The fruit also contains smaller amounts of calcium and copper, which the body also requires for good health.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dragon Fruit?
Guinea pigs eat dragon fruit flesh, but they cannot chew its skin.
This fruit is beneficial for guinea pigs because it’s low in calories, sugar, and calcium.
Try to find the dragon fruit the next time you go grocery shopping.
It is an excellent fruit for the guinea pig because it provides much-needed vitamin C while avoiding excessive calcium and sugars.
The fruit may have a bland taste for a guinea pig, but the cavies will eat it anyway.
What Are the Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit for Guinea Pigs?
One of the most important benefits of dragon fruit for guinea pigs is scurvy prevention.
Guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C on their own and cannot store this vitamin.
As a result, they require a lot of vitamin C foods to stay healthy and alive.
Guinea pigs are susceptible to scurvy that appears as a result of vitamin C deficiency.
The symptoms of scurvy are:
- Rough coat
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Wounds on the body that don’t heal
The illness is extremely painful. All this should emphasize the importance of vitamin C for guinea pigs.
Antioxidants (Vitamin A)
The red flesh dragon fruit contains carotenes and 100 IU (International Units) of vitamin A, which are the best antioxidants.
Antioxidants fight free radicals and make us healthier.
Free radicals harm the body and make it more susceptible to chronic illnesses and aging.
As a result, foods rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A, strengthen the immune system, give more energy, and prevent diseases.
All this applies to the immune system of guinea pigs.
Iron is essential for a healthy body and, of course, a healthy cardiovascular system.
With enough iron in their bodies, a guinea pig, just like human beings, experiences less weakness, fatigue, and risk of disease.
The immune system is much stronger.
However, without enough iron in the body, anemia occurs and, with it, weakness, hair loss, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
The dragon fruit also contains potassium.
Potassium keeps blood pressure at normal levels and contributes to a much healthier cardiovascular system.
Other Benefits (Enhanced Digestion)
If you consume dragon fruit, you should know that it’s super healthy for you, as this fruit has a prebiotic effect (enhances digestion).
Oligosaccharides in it stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach and intestines of human beings.
What Are the Dangers of Feeding Dragon Fruit to Guinea Pigs?
One of the biggest issues with feeding guinea pigs dragon fruit is weight gain.
The dragon fruit contains sugars that, when consumed in excess, contribute to obesity.
Sugars are always dangerous for piggies.
If you give your cavy too much fruit frequently, your little furry friend may become plump soon!
However, dragon fruit contains oligosaccharides, which researchers believe stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the stomach and intestines of human beings.
Also, this fruit is not as rich in sugars as many other fruits that are considered safe for guinea pigs.
Still, be careful not to exceed the recommended serving amount.
Dragon fruit is high in carbohydrates, and guinea pigs cannot digest them well.
The good news is that dragon fruit has less sugar compared to other fruits, but you should still be careful when considering your guinea pig’s diet.
When a guinea pig consumes too much sugar, they may experience cramps, flatulence, gas, bloating, and loose stool.
All these conditions are serious for a guinea pig.
One way to avoid them is to limit the serving size of sugary foods.
For that reason, guinea pigs diet should rest on leafy greens and other vitamin C-rich veggies.
Urinary Issues (Bladder and Kidney Stones)
Dragon fruit contains calcium and phosphorus.
Again, the good news is that dragon fruit is lower in calcium and phosphorus compared to many other fruits and vegetables that are on the list of safe foods for guinea pigs.
Be careful when combining your guinea pig’s daily menu and never mix fruits and vegetables that are similar in nutrients.
You don’t want to combine foods rich in one nutrient with other foods that contain the same nutrient in larger amounts.
This is especially true for calcium, phosphorus, and sugar.
Calcium is especially dangerous for guinea pigs because it causes bladder and kidney stones.
Bladder and kidney stones cause much pain and difficulty urinating.
They damage the urinary tract and can become stuck, resulting in a urinary blockage, especially in male guinea pigs.
Therefore, in a male guinea pig, bladder, and kidney stones are life-threatening.
How Much Dragon Fruit Can a Guinea Pig Eat?
The appropriate serving size for a guinea pig is a small slice or scoop of dragon fruit two to three times a week.
Don’t exceed the recommended serving size because you risk diarrhea and obesity in guinea pigs.
Feeding guinea pigs dragon fruit is a good idea only if you make it an occasional treat.
When it comes to a healthy guinea pig diet, moderation and balance are key.
You already know that your guinea pig’s diet rests on unlimited amounts of hay, leafy greens, and vegetables high in vitamin C.
Fruits serve as a tasty treat and a source of vitamins, fiber, and minerals, which is the main reason you should include them in your pet’s daily diet.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat the Skin of Dragon Fruit?
Guinea pigs cannot eat dragon fruit skin.
It is not edible neither for humans nor for guinea pigs.
The skin of dragon fruit is too hard. You cannot chew it and it’s also spikey. Therefore, give your guinea pig only the fleshy part.
If this is a new food for your guinea pig, introduce it slowly, at first just once a week.
If you see that your guinea pigs eat dragon fruit, you can start feeding your piggies this fruit two to three times a week.
Some guinea pigs will like it, while others will still prefer kiwi fruit over dragon fruit.
Don’t exceed the recommended amount of any fruits guinea pigs can eat.
How To Prepare Dragon Fruit For Your Guinea Pig?
The preparation of dragon fruit is simple:
- Wash the dragon fruit several times in lukewarm water
- There’s no need to peel the fruit because you can simply cut it in half or lengthwise and scoop out the fleshy part
- Cut the flesh into thin slices.
Most guinea pigs won’t be crazy about dragon fruit because its taste is somewhat bland, although sweet.
Nonetheless, dragon fruit is safe for your pet guinea pig as long as you don’t exceed the recommended serving size.
Feed dragon fruit to your guinea pigs two to three times a week.
Make sure to thoroughly wash the fruit and scoop out the fleshy part. Then cut it into thin slices and offer it to your piggy.
Don’t try to feed dragon fruit skin to your guinea pig because it’s not edible.
Your piggies won’t be able to chew it because it’s too hard and spikey in some areas.
Don’t forget that dragon fruit is only a tasty treat to your piggies, as their diet rests on unlimited supplies of timothy hay, guinea pig pellets, and leafy green vegetables, as well as vegetables rich in vitamin C such as bell peppers.