GuineaDad Food Blog: Can guinea pigs eat lemons?

Can guinea pigs eat lemons?

Technically? Yes, guinea pigs can eat lemons, but they really shouldn’t. Lemons have such a high acidity that feeding it to your piggy could lead to some pretty sour consequences. (Pun intended.)

We've also got a Fruit Master List that lists common fruits that your piggy can and can't eat! 

What vitamins and other nutrients do lemons contain?

Vitamin C 

This is necessary for growth, development, and repair of your guinea pig’s body tissues! It’s important that the body is able to repair its tissues, whether it’s skin tissue from surface-level wounds and injuries, or tissues like muscles. Because this helps with growth and development, you can imagine that it works with calcium as well, especially in young guinea pigs! It also helps maintain their immune system. There is 53 mg in 100 g of lemon.

Calcium 

Guinea pigs need calcium to form strong bones and maintain them as well! Different guinea pigs will need different amounts of calcium, but it will depend on factors like their age, sex, and health conditions!

For example, a guinea pig that carries the satin gene might need more calcium because their condition makes it difficult for their body to properly absorb it from their food, and it renders their bones pretty delicate. However, calcium needs to be fed to average guinea pigs in moderation, because too much can lead to urinary tract issues. Their heart, muscles, and nerves also need it in order to function properly. There is 26 mg in 100 g of lemon.

Phosphorus 

Its main function is in the formation of bones and teeth, so less on the maintenance side than their partner calcium is on! It also is important for helping the body properly use carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates need to be used properly in order for your guinea pig’s body to be fueled for the activities they need to perform, whether physically, or internally in their biology.

Fats don’t need to be worried about as much, since guinea pigs shouldn’t be having much fat in their diet. There is 16 mg in 100 g of lemon. The Ca:P (calcium to phosphorus ratio) is 1.6:1, which is quite high, but is OK as long as its fed in moderation. (However, this is lemon, and lemons shouldn’t be fed to your guinea pig anyways.)

Infographic displaying the vitamins and nutrients in lemons for guinea pigs

What other benefits do lemons provide for your guinea pig?

Lemons have some antioxidant properties and can help with protecting your guinea pigs’ cells from free radicals, which have a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. 

What are the downsides about lemons for guinea pigs?

In general the downsides of lemons actually outweigh any good benefits that they may have for your guinea pig. Our best advice is that guinea pigs generally really shouldn’t have lemon. The high amount of acid can cause mouth sores, issues with their teeth, and stomach problems. 

When your guinea pig has mouth sores, it will make it painful and uncomfortable for your guinea pig to eat until the sores are healed. It’s also important to note that just like in humans, citrus can affect the enamel of your piggy’s teeth. The acid in lemons can also mess with the lining of your guinea pig’s stomach.

Guinea pigs can technically eat lemons, but do they like it?

No, because they’re sour!

Overall, you really shouldn't feed your guinea pig lemons!

There are so many other foods that have the same nutritional value and benefits that you could feed them instead. By doing so, you can avoid any of the uncomfortable and painful effects of eating lemon for your guinea pig. Our number one priority is keeping your guinea pigs safe and healthy, on top of making them happy!

What else can guinea pigs eat?

Check out our Fruit Master List for quick facts on common fruits that your guinea pig can and can't eat.


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