Cantaloupe melon is quite the same with other types of melons in most aspects. But, just as how you love munching on this sweet treat, can you also give it to your guinea pigs? Can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe melon?
The simple answer is yes, as long as you feed it in moderation, it is safe for guinea pigs to eat cantaloupe melon. This fruit has high sugar and low fiber content that may make a guinea pig obese. It also has a significantly higher content of phosphorus compared to calcium. Just 9mg of calcium and 15mg of phosphorus may result to a common condition known as phosphate stones.
A guinea pig must consume higher calcium amounts than phosphorus to prevent this problem from happening. Good thing that cantaloupe melon has quite high vitamin C content so smaller quantities can benefit a guinea pig.
These are among the potential risks if you feed cantaloupe in excess amount to guinea pigs. But, don’t worry because it is safe for them to eat a certain amount of this fruit. It is important to put a limit on the quantity and just treat it as a snack. If you don’t, these risks may turn into reality. It is recommended to feed cantaloupe to your guinea pigs only as snack a few times per week and never as actual food.
Advantages of adding cantaloupe melon to a guinea pig’s diet
There are several health benefits associated to feeding cantaloupe to your guinea pig in spite of several dangers. Feeding small quantities of this fruit to your pet can offer several advantages including the following:
- It can help prevent diseases.
You might be surprised to know it but cantaloupe is actually an orange. Its orange color results from the pigment known as beta-carotene that offers a lot of health benefits. You can often find it in vegetables and fruits rich in colors including cantaloupe melon and carrots.
Beta-carotene is a form of antioxidant that helps prevent numerous health conditions in guinea pigs. Most piggie owners are not really concerned about common lifestyle conditions but it might be about time for them to do so. Guinea pigs may develop issues such as heart disease and cancer just like humans. It is especially the case if you serve them too often with foods high in sugar such as cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe contains beta-carotene and it is found to lower risks of heart disease and cancer. This means that you can prevent it to an extent by feeding some cantaloupe to your guinea pig several times a week.
- It can improve immune system.
In general, guinea pigs can be very tough animals. Cavies can make it through various diseases and they are not that fragile at all unlike other types of pets. However, there is something that a guinea pig can never live without. This is none other vitamin C, which is important for healthy immune system of these animals. Without this, it is easy for them to suffer from different diseases because of their weakened immune system.
Cantaloupe has high vitamin C content. In fact, every 1000 grams of cantaloupe has 36.7mg that is a lot if you compare it to other citrus fruits, including oranges that only have 45mg of vitamin C in a similar amount. This means that cantaloupe almost has the same effectiveness as oranges in terms of curing or preventing scurvy and other diseases.
- It is recommended for healthy weight.
Cantaloupe melon is sugary and must only be used as a snack. Feeding it to your guinea pig every now and then can actually help improve the weight of a guinea pig. It is due to the low caloric content of cantaloupe unlike other snacks. These fruits only contain 36 calories for every 100 grams, making it a great alternative to some other snacks. But, it should never be used as alternative to actual food. You can use cantaloupe as a replacement to another snacks to help with weight concerns.
Potential risks of adding cantaloupe to the diet of a guinea pig
Overfeeding is the main cause of the risks of this fruit. It is perfectly safe to feed cantaloupe to your guinea pig several times a week. Below are some of the possible risks of overfeeding cantaloupe melon to guinea pigs.
- It may lead to obesity.
As mentioned earlier, cantaloupe is a great snack. However, it is dangerous to feed cantaloupe to your guinea pig as an actual food instead of an infrequent snack. Despite its low calorie content, this is not low unlike actual foods so always avoid overfeeding.
Consuming high amounts of sugar may also make a guinea pig turn become overweight and this is why you should always minimize the amount and give to your pet together with other healthy veggies such as cabbage, zucchini, and kale.
- There is an issue about the ration of phosphorus to calcium.
Calcium has been known to cause issues in guinea pigs as it can lead to the development of bladder stones when combined with oxalates. However, the phosphorus to calcium ratio is probably the most important concern here. Guinea pig diet requires higher amounts of calcium than phosphorus since it may lead to phosphate stones.
Cantaloupe only contains 9mg of calcium but 15mg of phosphorus. It means that the ratio is not optional and may lead to some issues. The good news is that both amounts are low so you can prevent problems if you feed it together with other fruits and vegetables. It is recommended to add foods that have higher calcium content instead of phosphorus.
Can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe rinds?
Can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe skin? Yes, it is safe for guinea pigs to eat cantaloupe rind. The skin is actually rich in nutrients and fiber not to mention that it is also free from toxins. Guinea pigs will eat only the good parts if you feed them with cantaloupe skin, which means that they will avoid those tougher parts that they won’t be able to digest properly.
But, it is important to remember that cantaloupe skin may still contain some trace amounts of pesticides just like other types of produce. Make sure that you wash the cantaloupe skin first before you give it to your pet.
Cantaloupe melon is safe for guinea pigs to eat and it might offer them several benefits. But, just like with any other type of fruit and vegetable, make sure that you only give it in moderation in the right amount and size a few times every week. Doing so can help you ensure the safety and health of your beloved furry buddies.