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Guinea pigs are wonderful animals to have as pets. As with all pets, guinea pigs require constant maintenance and gentle caregiving. This caregiving entails providing them with a steady and balanced diet with no adverse side effects. From rabbits to rats to caterpillars, many animals benefit from eating lemons. Thinking of trying this fruit on your pet, you may wonder, can guinea pigs eat lemons?
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lemons?
Yes, guinea pigs can eat lemons but in moderation. Lemons have high acidic properties, and so ingestion of excess lemons might lead to severe adverse effects. Some of these negative effects include stomach upsets, teeth sensitivity, and urinary complications.
A lemon, like any citrus fruit, offers an abundance of vitamin C. However, guinea pig owners should take great precautions when giving them the said lemons. Below, we will provide the benefits and drawbacks.
Health Benefits of Lemons to Guinea Pigs
Lemons, also called Citrus limon, is a Mediterranean-grown citrus fruit. Lemons are known for their numerous medicinal properties, such as lowering stroke risk. Unsurprisingly, guinea pigs also gain the same benefits, provided they get the proper intake.
Lemons provide little caloric value, as they have low sugar levels. Hence intake would provide negligible weight gain. Coupled with the fact that lemons have an acidic make-up and fiber to provide bulk, lemons might help in weight-loss programs for your guinea pig.
Lemons have an abundance of vitamin A and B6 that are popular antioxidants. Vitamin A assists in capturing free radicals in the bloodstream. Free radicals may cause diseases in your guinea pig if left unchecked. The capture of free radicals also prevents premature aging of your guinea pig as a bonus.
Vitamin B6 helps in the cleansing of the bloodstream leading to improved eyesight while soothing body aches.
The calcium contained in lemons helps in the maintenance of teeth. Lemon consumption can aid in the strengthening and repair of damaged enamel on your guinea pigs’ teeth. Vitamin C in lemons prevents the manifestation of scurvy that may instigate bleeding gums.
With minimal levels of fat and cholesterol, lemons hold a negligible risk of clogging arteries and veins. Clogging the coronary system increases the risk of your guinea pigs suffering from strokes and hypertension that might lead to eventual premature death. The minimal amounts of potassium in lemons actively help in lowering blood pressure.
The fiber in lemons promotes digestion and promotion of regular bowel movements, thereby preventing constipation. Carbohydrates and protein provide a healthy source of energy that your guinea pig requires for their daily activities.
Side Effects of Feeding Lemons to Guinea Pigs
Lemons in moderate amounts provide beneficial nutritional advantages to the well-being of your guinea pig. However, the high acidic content (ph levels of 2-3) of lemons in significant amounts may lead to acute health problems for your guinea pig. Some of those disadvantages include:
Lemons have a high acidic profile that might injure the mouth of a guinea pig. The acid in lemons might actively weaken or damage the teeth’ enamel, causing the enamel to be degraded, leading to eventual chipping and cracking. Weakened enamel prevents your guinea pig from being able to chew their food leading to eventual starvation.
The high pH might also lead to the development of painful mouth sores because the mouth linings of guinea pigs are very delicate. The mouth sores might also prevent the ingestion of food, just like in the case of damaged teeth enamel. Should the mouth sores be exposed to bacteria, they may develop infections that can cause severe disease.
The acidic levels contained in lemons may cause severe stomach upsets in your guinea pigs. The stomach upsets are caused by the acid slowly damaging the stomach lining. This damage can be a painful experience for the guinea pigs and even prevent them from eating their food.
Guinea pigs tend to find it challenging to digest high amounts of sugar because their stomachs do not have a significant capacity for sugar digestion. The guinea pigs’ inability to digest sugar causes stomach pains during digestion. The harmful bacteria in your guinea pig’s stomach might get nourished by the undigested sugar, leading to diseases and further discomfort.
Your guinea pig’s inability to digest sugar extends to excess fiber. Too much fiber causes a bloated stomach full of gas leading to the generation of loose stool.
High amounts of calcium and phosphorus present in lemons may cause urinary tract complications in your guinea pig. Calcium and phosphorous minerals can accumulate and form kidney or bladder stones in the urinary tracts. The kidney stones might block the guinea pig’s urinary tract preventing the eradication of waste from the body.
Tear of the urinary tract walls caused by the stones may cause some blood to combine with urine. Should bacteria invade the exposed urinary tract wall tears, the guinea pigs might end up developing urinary diseases that may be fatal.
Can Guinea Pigs Drink Lemon Juice?
Lemon juice is hazardous to guinea pigs as it is too acidic for their stomachs. Water is the only liquid that cavies can drink safely.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Lime?
Guinea pigs can extract a worthwhile amount of vitamin C from lime. However, lime’s calcium and sugar content may prove a downside as they can harm guinea pigs. It is advisable to feed them minute portions of lime at most twice a week.
Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and other minerals. However, constant intake of lemons by guinea pigs proves detrimental as its high acidic content leads to complications such as mouth sores and stomach upsets. It would be best to feed your guinea pigs lemon peels at most twice a week as they are less acidic than the pulp.