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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lemon? (Leaves, Peel, Risks & FAQs)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: October 15, 2022

Did you know that guinea pigs need on average about 10-20 mg of vitamin C per day?

Most fruits will provide this amount in one serving, and this includes lemons as well.

But can guinea pigs eat lemons without dire consequences?

Fortunately, there’s lots of research demonstrating the pros and cons of your pet guinea pig eating lemons.

In this article, we’re going to cover if eating lemons is safe for your guinea pig, the proper serving size and some risks involved when consuming too much lemon.

Can guinea pigs eat lemons?

While there are a number of fruits that guinea pigs can eat, they shouldn’t eat lemons. Lemons are too acidic for guinea pigs to digest properly, and they can cause stomach upset. Additionally, the citric acid in lemons can irritate their skin and mucous membranes.

Although you shouldn’t let your piggy eat lemons, there’s no need to worry if they happen to take a nibble. A small taste of lemon is not likely to cause any serious problems.

Community & Forum reviews

We took a look at what other pet owners have to say about the question, “Can guinea pigs eat lemons?”

One owner specifically stated that guinea pigs can eat lemon on occasion, but it’s best to mostly avoid it except for every one to two months.

owner says to feed lemon sparingly, otherwise upset digestive system

Another owner chimed in and stated that their guinea pig doesn’t even like oranges.

This hints that their pet probably dislikes most fruits high in citrus.

owner says their pet won't even eat oranges or most citrus fruit to avoid health problems

And finally, this owner noted that if you feed lemons to your pet, they will get mouth sores and an upset digestive system.

May lead to an upset digestive system and mouth sores

What happens when guinea pigs eat lemons?

Guinea pigs are very curious animals and often like to explore their surroundings. This can sometimes lead them into trouble, such as eating something that they shouldn’t.

Lemons are acidic fruit and can be harmful to guinea pigs if eaten in large quantities. The acid content in lemons can upset a guinea pig’s stomach, cause diarrhea and create growth of harmful bacteria.

The citric acid content can also cause mouth sores, which will make it painful for your guinea pig to eat. Mouth sores can be treated with a topical antiseptic.

Lemons also contain a compound called psoralen, which can be toxic to guinea pigs if ingested. Psolaren can cause skin irritation and inflammation.

Additionally, when guinea pigs eat lemons, it can irritate their mucous membranes. This can lead to runny eyes, nose, and sneezing.

lemon lemons

In most cases, a guinea pig who has eaten a small amount of lemon will not experience any serious problems.

However, if your pet has eaten a significant amount of lemon, it’s important to watch for signs of distress. These signs can include:

  • Sudden onset of vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle twitching or seizures
  • Difficulty breathing

If you see any of these symptoms, immediately contact your veterinarian. Lemon poisoning can be fatal to guinea pigs, so prompt treatment is essential.

Early intervention gives your guinea pig the best chance for a full recovery.

How to treat a guinea pig with lemon poisoning

If you think your furry friend has eaten a harmful amount of lemon, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian.

They will likely recommend bringing them into the clinic for treatment.

Treatment for lemon poisoning will vary depending on the severity of the symptoms. In some cases, they may need to be hospitalized for supportive care.

lemon peels

This may include IV fluids to prevent dehydration, as well as medication to control vomiting and diarrhea.

If your pet is having difficulty breathing, it may need oxygen therapy.

In severe cases, lemon poisoning can be fatal. However, with prompt treatment, most guinea pigs make a full recovery.

Can guinea pigs eat lemon leaves?

Fortunately, guinea pigs can eat lemon leaves. These leaves contain Vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy diet.

In addition, lemon leaves can help to improve the gastrointestinal health of your pet.

lemon squash

Lemon leaves are a healthy treat for guinea pigs. However, they should only be given in small quantities.

If you have any concerns about giving your piggy lemon leaves, contact your veterinarian.

Can guinea pigs eat lemon peel?

Guinea pigs shouldn’t digest lemon peel because it is too acidic for them and can cause stomach upset. It can also be a choking hazard.

If you have a lemon tree in your yard, make sure your guinea pig doesn’t have access to the lemons.

healthy fruit

When you’re cutting lemon fruit for yourself, be sure to put the peel in the garbage and not the compost bin.

Guinea pigs are also attracted to the smell of citrus, so be sure to wash your hands after handling lemons or other citrus fruits.

Can guinea pigs drink lemon juice?

Lemonade is not a good choice for guinea pigs. The sugar in lemonade can cause obesity and dental problems.

Additionally, the acidity of lemonade can irritate your guinea pig’s stomach.

feeding lemons

If you’re looking for a way to give your guinea pig a treat, try offering them a small piece of watermelon or cantaloupe instead.

These fruits are a good source of hydration and vitamins, and they’re much safer than lemonade.

What citrus fruits can guinea pigs eat?

In addition to lemons, there are a number of other citrus fruit that guinea pigs should avoid. These include limes, oranges, and grapefruits.

Like lemons, these fruits are too acidic for guinea pigs. They can cause stomach upset and may even lead to gastrointestinal problems.

There are some citrus fruits that your pet can consume from time to time. These include tangerines and mandarins.

However, these fruits should only be given in small quantities. Too much citrus can cause problems for your guinea pig.

What other fruits can guinea pigs eat?

A guinea pig’s digestive system is delicate, so it can only digest certain kinds of fruits and vegetables.

With that said, here is a list of fruits that your guinea pig can eat.

Bananas

Bananas are another safe fruit for your pet. You can give them either fresh or dried bananas. Just be sure to monitor how much your pet eats, as bananas are high in sugar.

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is a sweet and refreshing fruit that guinea pigs love. Just make sure to remove the seeds and cut the cantaloupe into small pieces.

Pantothenic acid

Apples

Apples are a safe fruit for guinea pigs to eat. Just make sure to remove the seeds and chop the apple into small pieces.

Watermelon

Just like with cantaloupe, make sure to remove the seeds and cut the watermelon into small pieces.

Remember to always offer a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure that your guinea pig gets all the nutrients they need.

And if you have any doubts about whether or not a certain fruit is safe for your furry friend to eat, always consult with your veterinarian first.

What are some other things that guinea pigs shouldn’t eat?

Remember that guinea pigs are herbivores. They should only ingest plant-based foods.

Furthermore, guinea pigs have a sensitive digestive system, so it’s important to introduce new foods slowly. Here is a list of things that they shouldn’t eat: 

  • Fruit with pits or seeds: This includes fruits like cherries, plums, and apricots. The pits and seeds can be toxic to guinea pigs.
  • Green beans: Green beans contain a substance called solanine, which can be harmful to guinea pigs
  • Potatoes: Potatoes contain solanine as well, so they should be avoided
  • Rhubarb: Rhubarb leaves are poisonous to guinea pigs. The stalks are safe to eat in moderation
  • Spinach: Spinach is high in oxalates, which can bind to calcium and lead to health problems
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes contain solanine, just like potatoes and green beans.
  • Yogurt: Contains lactose, possibly leading to an upset gastrointestinal tract or abdominal pain

Remember, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your guinea pig’s diet.

What are the best sources of vitamin C for guinea pigs?

There are a few different ways to provide vitamin C for your guinea pig. The best way is to give them a vitamin C supplement.

You can also offer them vegetables that are high in Vitamin C, such as kale and broccoli. Just be sure not to give them too much, as too much vitamin C can be harmful.

Vitamin C is important for guinea pigs because it helps them absorb calcium and maintain healthy bones. Vitamin C also helps boost their immune system and protect against infection.

Guinea pigs are unable to produce their own vitamin C and must consume it through their diet. That is why it’s important to make sure your pet has a varied diet that includes enough vitamin C.

You can also supplement their diet with vitamin C drops or tablets. By taking these simple steps, you can help keep your furry friend healthy and happy for years to come.

Nutritional Facts of Lemons

Here’s a table of the nutritional facts according to the United States Department of Agriculture for 100 grams of raw lemon without a peel:

NameAmount
Energy29 cal
Protein1.1 g
Total lipid (fat)0.3 g
Sugars2.5 g
Carbohydrates9.32 g
Fiber2.8 g
Ash0.3 g
Calcium26 mg
Iron0.6 mg
Magnesium8 mg
Phosphorous16 mg
Potassium138 mg
Sodium2 mg
Zinc0.06 mg
Copper0.037 mg

With the carbs and proteins, your cavy may gain some energy, but it’s in too small of an amount to give your pet what it truly needs.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about guinea pigs and lemons, as well as some other foods that they can and can’t eat.

Can guinea pigs eat frozen lemons?

Guinea pigs should not eat frozen lemons. The ice can cause and upset in the gastrointestinal tract and the lemon itself is too acidic for them.

Can guinea pigs eat lemon balm?

Lemon balm is safe for guinea pigs to eat in moderation. However, too much lemon balm can cause stomach upset.

Can guinea pigs eat oranges?

They should not eat oranges. The acidity can cause stomach upset and the orange may contain harmful chemicals that could be toxic to your pet.

Is lemon juice bad for guinea pigs’ health?

Lemon juice is too acidic for guinea pigs and can cause possible problems in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s best to avoid giving them any lemon juice.

Are both yellow lemons and green lemons dangerous for guinea pigs?

Both yellow lemons and green lemons are too acidic for your cavy.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve realized by now that lemons are too acidic for guinea pigs and can cause stomach upset.

It’s best to avoid feeding guinea pigs lemons, whether it be the fruit, the juice, or the lemon peels. Just be sure they’re still getting enough vitamin C to help their immune system.

There are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that your furry friend can eat, so there is no need to include lemons in their diet.

References

Author

Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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