Homemade diets

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. August 15, 2022
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries?

There are many things to look forward to when summer is coming round the corner. Along with longer days and more time spent in nature, cherry season certainly has to be up there. While they are one of nature's most delicious and nutritious treats for humans, this doesn't necessarily mean the same applies to our pets. If share our lives with a cavy, we may wonder if cherries are good for guinea pigs.

At AnimalWised, we ask can guinea pigs eat cherries? We look at whether they are a toxic fruit for guinea pigs, find out if they provide any nutritional benefits and see how we might be able to feed cherries to a cavy.

You may also be interested in: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Oranges?


  1. Are cherries good for guinea pigs?
  2. Benefits of cherries for guinea pigs
  3. Feeding cherries to guinea pigs
  4. How much cherries to give to guinea pigs
  5. Side effects and contraindications of cherries for guinea pigs

Are cherries good for guinea pigs?

Before explaining whether guinea pigs can eat cherries, we need to consider the nutritional requirements for this rodent. Guinea pigs are herbivorous animals and their diet is very specific. There are three fundamental components of a guinea pig's diet:

  • Hay (70%)
  • Guinea pig feed (10%)
  • Fresh food (20%)

In terms of fresh food, the vast majority (75%) should be leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, lamb's lettuce, escarole, watercress, cabbage, collard greens, etc. The remaining 25% must be made up of other vegetables and fruits suitable for guinea pigs.

In answer to our main question, guinea pigs can eat cherries. The flesh of the cherry fruit does not contain anything toxic to guinea pigs. Moreover, they do have some nutritional benefit when eaten in moderation. We cannot feed cherries to guinea pis whenever we like. There are certain considerations we need to make when feeding cherries to a guinea pig and we explain them in detail in the sections below.

Benefits of cherries for guinea pigs

As we have already mentioned, cherries are suitable fruits for guinea pigs. They also can provide multiple nutritional benefits, among which can include:

  • High in fiber: cherries provide considerable amounts of fiber which is a fundamental nutrient in the diet of guinea pigs. It helps maintain their gastrointestinal health.
  • Vitamin content: vitamin C, thiamin, folate and provitamin A are found in the nutritional makeup of cherries. There are also significant levels of potassium, with a lesser content of other minerals such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus and calcium.
  • Low calorie: as guinea pigs are prone to obesity, the low-calorie content of cherries means they should not have a significant effect on their weight when eaten in moderation according to the guidelines we detail below.

Find out about other fruit for guinea pigs with our article on whether guinea pigs can eat oranges.

Feeding cherries to guinea pigs

Although cherries are fruits suitable for guinea pigs, it is important to take into account a series of considerations before feeding them. This is to prevent their consumption from producing unwanted effects on the health of these rodents.

The flesh or pulp of cherries provides multiple nutritional benefits for guinea pigs. However, the seeds, leaves and peduncles (the stalks that join the cherries to the branches) should never be given to guinea pigs because:

  • They contain cyanide, a toxic compound that can cause intoxication in guinea pigs.
  • They can cause choking or suffocation.
  • They can generate lesions in the gastrointestinal mucosa.

To offer cherries to guinea pigs safely, it is necessary to follow the following steps:

  • Wash them with plenty of water to remove possible traces of pesticides or contaminants present on their surface.
  • Remove the stem and seed from each of the cherries.
  • Cut them into small pieces that are easy for the guinea pigs to handle.

Finally, we must point out that cherries should only be offered fresh. Preparations in the form of jam, syrup or sour cherries should never be added due to their high sugar content. It is also not advisable to offer the fruit too cold (frozen or directly taken from the refrigerator), but it is preferable to serve it at room temperature.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries? - Feeding cherries to guinea pigs

How much cherries to give to guinea pigs

As we have seen, cherries are not a forbidden food for guinea pigs. However, this does not mean that they can be consumed daily or in large quantities.

Guinea pigs should consume a daily ration of fresh food that includes about 5 different vegetables (mainly leafy greens). Once a week, this fresh food ration can include a small serving of fruit. Cherries can be given to guinea pigs a couple of times a month as their weekly fruit ration. In terms of quantity, one or two cherries per guinea pig will suffice. It is important to note cherries are not essential for their diet and they should only be provided as a rare treat.

Side effects and contraindications of cherries for guinea pigs

Although guinea pigs can eat cherries, we must bear in mind that when they are provided in excessive amounts they can cause negative effects on their health:

  • Cherries are rich in simple sugars, which can cause the growth of harmful bacteria in their intestinal tract.
  • Although their caloric value is not high, they can cause guinea pigs to gain weight if eaten regularly.
  • They have an inverted calcium/phosphorus ratio, which can favor the formation of stones in the urinary system.

There are certain situations in which the administration of cherries can be counterproductive:

  • Obese or overweight guinea pigs
  • Guinea pigs with urinary problems
  • Guinea pigs with food allergies or intolerances
  • Some guinea pigs may not tolerate this fruit well and have diarrhea after consumption

Whenever any fruit or vegetable is introduced into the diet of guinea pigs, it should be offered for 2-3 days in a row in small quantities. If any negative effect on their health such as diarrhea in guinea pigs is observed, it should be removed from the diet and not offered again.

Find out more about a guinea pig's diet with our related articles on whether guinea pigs can eat tomatoes and whether guinea pigs can eat bread.

If you want to read similar articles to Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA). Strawberry, Fragaria vesca. Retrieved from: https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/ministerio/servicios/informacion/Fresa_tcm30-102645.pdf
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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries?