Elderberries are a great vitamin C and sugar provider, making them beneficial and harmful in equal measure. However, guinea pigs need a balanced diet of hay, vegetables, and fruit to stay healthy. So, you might wonder whether guinea pigs should eat elderberries or not.
Guinea pigs can eat elderberry berries, including the skin and seeds. However, avoid the stems, leaves, and elderberries in the form of juice or jam, as these are harmful to guinea pigs. Elderberries contain a moderate amount of sugar. So feed it sparingly to avoid health problems.
Elderberries belong to the Moschatel family. It is mainly grown for its berries.
Guinea pigs are allowed to eat these elderberries. They are even relatively healthy for them in moderation.
But what if guinea pigs are allergic or don’t like elderberries?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Elderberries?
Guinea pigs are allowed to eat elderberries in moderation. Elderberries are poisonous to guinea pigs if they eat them in excess. But this does not mean that they cause serious harm to guinea pigs.
When fed in moderation, elderberries are safe and even quite good for them.
Everyone reacts differently to different foods. Some are sensitive; others don’t react to it at all.
The same applies to guinea pigs. You should, therefore, look out for signs of health problems when you give them elderberries for the first time.
However, if you feed them in moderation, elderberries are not generally dangerous for guinea pigs.
Are Guinea Pigs Allergic to Elderberries?
Typically, guinea pigs are not allergic to elderberries.
However, eating elderberries regularly can harm guinea pigs because of the sugar, phosphorus, calcium, and pantothenic acid they contain.
Sugar and calcium are also the disadvantages of many other healthy berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, or cranberries.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Elderberries?
It depends on the guinea pig, as not every guinea pig may like them.
Many guinea pigs like the taste of elderberries. But some dislike it. This depends on the preferences of your guinea pigs.
Is Elderberry Poisonous for Guinea Pigs?
Elderberries are widely used plants with various health benefits. Elderberries are also edible and very healthy for guinea pigs.
They are not toxic to guinea pigs in small quantities. However, elderberries contain cyanogenic glycosides.
These cyanogenic glycosides release cyanide when they enter the body. Each part of the plant has a different level of toxicity.
Excessive consumption of elderberries can cause some significant problems in guinea pigs:
- Digestive problems: Elderberries contain high levels of sugar and phosphorus, which can cause severe health problems such as diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.
- Toxicity: Elderberries contain cyanogenic glycosides that release cyanide when consumed. However, they do not harm guinea pigs if they eat the elderberries in moderation.
- Urinary tract infections: The calcium in this fruit can be helpful for guinea pigs in building bones and structures. However, it can be dangerous for adult animals. Excess calcium can lead to urinary stones, blood in the urine, urination pain, and urinary tract infections. In the worst case, this can lead to kidney failure.
- Weight gain: All carbohydrates can contribute to guinea pigs gaining weight if they are regularly given too much. Weight gain can make them sluggish and slow down their metabolism.
So, it’s better to give elderberries to guinea pigs in moderation.
Health benefits of elderberries for guinea pigs
We’ve already taken a look at the consequences of eating elderberries regularly. Now let’s look at the health benefits they have for guinea pigs:
- Prevents various diseases: Elderberries are a great source of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and makes the animal more energetic.
- Unfortunately, guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C themselves.
- Elderberries can, therefore, be an excellent source of vitamin C for guinea pigs.
- Cures blood deficiency: they contain a small amount of iron, which ensures smooth blood flow. The berries also increase the hemoglobin level in guinea pigs. They also prevent blood clots and make guinea pigs healthier overall.
- Rich in vitamins: Elderberries contain many vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, calcium, and B-complex vitamins. All these vitamins help guinea pigs if they get them in moderation.
How Many Elderberries Can Guinea Pigs Eat at Once?
Elderberries are suitable for guinea pigs, but only if you give them in moderation.
You can give a guinea pig 3 to 4 elderberries with their other healthy food.
Giving them elderberries and a healthy bowl of vegetables such as peppers, cilantro, celery, and the like is more beneficial.
While elderberries are suitable for guinea pigs, they should not be given too many and not too often. They contain a lot of sugar and other minerals, which would be risky if fed daily.
How Often Should Guinea Pigs Be Given Elderberries?
Guinea pigs should not eat elderberries more than 1-2 times a week.
For example, if you gave them elderberries on Sunday, you should stop for 2-3 days and only give them again on Wednesday.
You should not risk feeding these berries to your guinea pigs too often as they contain cyanogenic glycosides, which will turn into cyanide if consumed in excess.
However, you can still feed these berries occasionally as they are a good source of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals.
When Should You Call Your Vet?
If you notice a change in a guinea pig’s behavior and think it may be due to excess elderberries, you should call your vet immediately.
The guinea pig has probably eaten too many elderberries and suffered cyanide poisoning as a result. You should act quickly because cyanide is a fast-acting poison that can rapidly induce organ deterioration.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you must act immediately.
- Change in behavior
- Heavy breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in urination and bowel movements
- Physical changes such as hair loss, reddening of the skin, etc.
Which Elderberries Can Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs should only be fed ripe elderberries.
Wash them thoroughly to remove dirt and unwanted chemicals such as pesticides.
You can tell if elderberries are ripe by the following characteristics:
- The elderberries should be plump and juicy.
- They should be slightly soft to the touch.
- They should have an intense color.
Not every elderberry is poisonous if it is unripe. But to be safe, serving your guinea pigs only ripe elderberries is better.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Elderberry Leaves?
Elderberry leaves are poisonous, so it is better not to feed leaves to guinea pigs. They also have no nutritional value to speak of.
Guinea pigs should not eat food that has no nutritional value for them.
It is, therefore, better not to give your guinea pigs elderberry leaves.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Elderberry Seeds?
Typically, it would be best not to give seeds to guinea pigs as they can choke on them.
However, elderberries have tiny seeds, and there is no evidence that they can harm guinea pigs.
So you can feed elderberries to your guinea pigs without de-seeding them.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Elderberries With the Skin On?
Yes, elderberries can be served with the skin on. Elderberries are a fruit that can be eaten whole.
Its skin gives the berry a sweet and sour taste. It has a high vitamin C content, which makes it ideal for guinea pigs.
However, it would be best to feed it to your guinea pigs in moderation as it contains tiny traces of cyanide.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Elderberry Jam?
Guinea pigs should not be fed elderberry jam as it contains sugar and other ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, etc.
These ingredients are added to make the jam more palatable. But they can seriously harm guinea pigs. Ingredients such as cinnamon or cloves can damage their digestive system.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dried Elderberries?
Guinea pigs should not eat dried elderberries. Dried fruit usually contains an excessive amount of sugar.
Eating them can lead to various health problems, such as diarrhea and obesity.
Can Guinea Pigs Drink Elderberry Juice?
Guinea pigs should also not drink elderberry juice or elderberry syrup. Guinea pigs cannot digest the high sugar content, preservatives, and other ingredients that make the juice more palatable.
These ingredients can be very harmful to guinea pigs and cause various health problems.
How to Prepare Elderberries for Guinea Pigs?
We don’t have to do anything special to prepare elderberries for your guinea pigs. It’s effortless and straightforward:
- Rid the elderberries of dirt and unwanted chemicals such as pesticides by washing them thoroughly.
- Select the best elderberries that are soft, plump, and ripe, so they are not too hard for them.
- The skin should not be removed as guinea pigs can eat whole elderberries.
- The quantity should be limited. 3-4 elderberries are sufficient.
- Serve elderberries in a healthy fruit and vegetable mix.
- Always remove leftovers from the cage soon after eating.
Conclusion: Can Guinea Pigs Eat Elderberries?
When it comes to their diet, guinea pigs need a lot of attention and consideration. Elderberries are pretty good for them, but only if fed in moderation.
They are rich in vitamin C, which guinea pigs cannot produce themselves.
They are rich in vitamins and minerals, which boost the metabolism. They also contain the right amount of iron, which can help prevent iron deficiency.
However, it is crucial to select the right berries. Elderberries for guinea pigs should be plump, soft, and brightly colored.
You should only feed ripe berries. Do not give your guinea pigs elderberries more than 2-3 times a week and no more than 3-4 per portion.
The amount of sugar and various other minerals your guinea pigs get should be balanced.
Elderberries contain cyanogenic glycosides, which turn into cyanide when consumed, so it is vital to limit the amount.
However, elderberries are not poisonous, although they can have side effects if consumed frequently or in large quantities.
You can serve elderberries with the skin and seeds as this fruit is entirely edible.
However, the berries are the only part of the elderberry that you should feed to your guinea pigs. Avoid the leaves, twigs, and stems, as these can be poisonous.