For those of us who have guinea pigs as pets, concepts of sharing and caring are very different from normal. We put all our efforts into taking care of the little furry babies, who melt your heart with their adorable antics. It does not matter what are we eating, we just want our beloved pet to have a bite of that. Yet, we must ask ourselves, is this is a commendable approach? For your pet’s digestive system is very different from your digestive system. Some things are fine by guinea pigs, some or not. What about berries, especially the blackberries? A question that is quite commonly asked on pet help platforms. It is also the question around which today’s debate has been orchestrated.
A word about blackberries
Blackberries belong to the genus Rubus. The juicy berries make quite a refreshing change from the normal junk that humans gobble up these days. We do wish you ate more fruits, they are essential for great health. Anyways, coming back to the berries, they are a quite popular fruit because they are enriched with some amazing nutrients and vitamins. Adjectives like soft, succulent, and punchy describe the blackberries well. They are closely related to blueberries, which are also very tasty. There are numerous health benefits associated with eating blackberries, for both humans and guinea pigs. At a point later in this discussion, we will elaborate on these health benefits for guinea pigs in detail. Blackberries can be served in many ways, raw or cooked.
Can guinea pigs eat blackberries?
The short answer, yes. Guinea pigs can eat blackberries. However, that does not mean that you are at liberty to pick up the berry bowl and start forcing the fruit down your pet’s throat. No, there are certain things about blackberries that you must know. For example, what are the key nutrients found in this fruit? Not only that, your knowledge about twigs and leaves should also be adequate, in case you are plucking fresh blackberries. Once you know more about berries in detail, only then proceed and incorporate this fruit into your guinea pig’s diet. Do not worry, for we have incorporated all the relevant information in upcoming passages. Feel free to bask in enlightenment!
Blackberries: A nutritional overview
It is important to have an idea of what nutrients are going to enter your pet’s system, once you feed them those blackberries. This approach must be followed in the case of every food item they have. Right then, the blackberry nutrients. We thought it would be best to take 100 grams of raw blackberries as a standard, and then break it down for you. This is done purely for better understanding. The first thing to be considered is the energy value. Well, for 100 grams of blackberries, you get 43 kcal of energy. Kcal is the unit of energy in this case. The carbohydrate quantity is around 9.6 grams. However, the levels of protein and fat are quite low. You get 1.3 grams of protein and 0.5 grams of fat from 100 grams of this juicy fruit. Oh, and there are vitamins and minerals as well. Vitamins include A, B1, B9, B3, B6, C, and a few others. Important minerals include calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and a few others.
Health benefits associated with guinea pigs eating blackberries
Well, we know about the nutrients now. However, their role in providing health benefits to your guinea pig yet needs to be established. The low quantity of fats means that the chances that your guinea pig will become obese after eating blackberries are thin. A good percentage of fiber, something that has been shown to have a very positive impact on rodents’ digestive systems. We also like sugar levels, which are significantly lesser than blueberries. However, most of the health benefits attributed to berry consumption are courtesy of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins have a crucial role to play in boosting up the immunity of your rodent friend. Vitamin C has been shown to have a great down regulatory effect on diseases like scurvy. Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are critical for shiny coat development, as well as stronger bones and muscles. Hence, we can safely say that blackberries are bound to improve the physical agility of your beloved pet.
What about blackberry leaves?
Well, it sounds a little odd, this question. However, it begins to make perfect sense if you are picking blackberries from your garden. No one is a master of refining leaves from fruits with one hundred percent accuracy. So what if a few leaves find a way into your pet guinea pig’s body? Is it safe? Well, most vets seem to agree that there is particularly nothing wrong with a few blackberry leaves. However, it must be noted that this observation holds only for newer leaves. They are softer to nibble on and are perhaps not laden with a few toxic substances that are found in the older leaves. The older leaves are quite rough and tough; eating them is a problem for your guinea pig anyways. It poses a choking hazard as well. However, you can rest assured that the spikes are not fatal to your pet’s life.
Some precautions to consider
We said the sugar content is lesser as compared to the blueberries. However, it is still very high for guinea pigs. Hence, you have to be careful about how many berries are you feeding your pet friend. The high sugar content can certainly cause a few problems in rodents’ bodies, so you might want to avoid that. You must be wondering about the ideal quantity of blackberries for your pet guinea pig. Well, let us just say that 2 or 3 times per week is enough. How these are fed is also important. You must not let your pet become an addict. No, what you can do is mix the berries with their regular diet. Another way of giving blackberries to your furry pet is to offer them as an occasional treat, a more subtle way of introducing a sense of incentive in your little friend.
Another important point to consider is the freshness of the fruit you are offering. Well, orchard plucked berries are the best, but they are a bit rare! Even if you buying them at the local market make sure that you wash them well. Oh, and do not forget that only ripened berries are OK with guinea pig’s digestive system. Weed out any berries from your bought stock that are close to reddish color. Again, we must emphasize washing the fruit properly. There is a bunch of stuff sprayed on fruits these days, to keep them fresh. Make sure you wash it all off!
We wish we could go on, but the limitations of time and space force us to conclude this discussion here. However, we hope that you learned something, if not everything, from this discussion. Blackberries are a juicy, healthy fruit that can do a world of good to your pet’s health. However, too much of anything is bad. Hence, you must be careful about the number of berries you are tipping into your pet’s bowl. Do not want to do more harm than good, do we?