If you’ve ever been to the pet store, you have noticed all the different types of pet food. You might have also seen that rabbit food and guinea pig food look very similar and stored next to each other. By looking at them, you may wonder to yourself, “Can a guinea pig eat rabbit food?” Let’s explore this together.
Can A Guinea Pig Eat Rabbit Food?
No, it’s never a good idea to feed any animal food that is not specific to their breed. Guinea pigs and rabbits have very different nutritional needs. The biggest difference being that guinea pigs need additional Vitamin C added to their food because their bodies (like humans) cannot synthesize Vitamin C.
Feeding your guinea pig rabbit food once or twice will probably not have an immediate effect on their health. But with time, you will notice that your guinea is not acting like themself. This is because rabbit food doesn’t contain all the nutrients that guinea pigs need.
Rabbit Food Requirements
To better understand why rabbit food is not ok for guinea pigs, we need to break down the nutritional requirements. The three biggest components to compare are:
- 18% Fiber
- 16% Protein
- 1% or less Calcium
Guinea Pig Food Requirements
Guinea pigs have vastly different needs.
- 10-16% Fiber
- 18-20% Protein
- 1% or less Calcium
- 25-50 mg Vitamin C
As you can see, a guinea pig needs a pelleted food with less fiber and higher protein. They also need a considerable amount of vitamin C to stay healthy.
One of the main concerns of feeding a guinea pig rabbit food is health concerns. Rabbit food (as you can see above) has very different core nutrients. And that doesn’t even include all the vitamin and mineral differences. Let’s look at what will happen to your guinea pig physically if you feed them too much rabbit food.
Rabbit food is slightly higher in fiber than guinea pig food. At first, you might not notice a difference in feeding it. But over time, the high fiber in rabbit food will cause your guinea internal unrest. They will begin to bloat and eat less because their stomachs are full. You might even notice that your guinea pig starts having diarrhea. If this goes on for too long, you risk dehydrating your guinea pig. Without proper food and water, your guinea pig’s immune system will rapidly decline.
Feeding a lower protein diet like rabbit food could cause your guinea pig not to have the resources available to grow. Guinea pigs need protein for muscle and bone structure. It also keeps the hair shiny and growing. If your guinea pig doesn’t get enough protein, they could be stunted. Their hair can become dull, and sometimes it could fall out.
Low Vitamin C
The most significant difference in rabbit food is that it doesn’t contain vitamin C. A guinea pig needs 25-50 mg of stable vitamin C to be healthy. What we mean is vitamin C has a very short shelf life, which is why we don’t recommend getting the VitaDrops to put into their water. Vitamin C rapidly degrades, and any drops will quickly become ineffective within a matter of hours.
If a guinea pig does not get enough vitamin C, they will quickly develop scurvy. Their joints will start to swell, and they lose appetite. Then they lose the energy they need for regular play and eating. You might even notice that they get sick quickly and have bouts of diarrhea. If they get hurt, they won’t heal like they used to, and it gets infected easily. Guinea pigs are one of the few animals that can’t produce their own vitamin C, which is why rabbits don’t include it in their diets. Even a week of eating rabbit food is enough to harm your guinea pig seriously.
What To Look For In Guinea Pig Diets
So now that we have discussed why rabbit food isn’t ok, we can talk about what makes a brand of guinea pig food good.
- Timothy-based pellets for adult guinea pigs is needed to keep their weight in check
- Alfalfa-based pellets for guinea pigs under six months to get them plenty of fats and protein needed to grow
- No seeds, nuts, or dried fruit to prevent your guinea pig from becoming picky and overweight
- 25-50mg of vitamin C in the crude analysis
- And high-quality timothy hay and orchard grass should always be provided
Guinea pigs eat an average of two tablespoons of food a day and will free-feed their hay all day. If you are feeding a high-quality pellet, your guinea pig should not overeat and become overweight.
Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
In addition to this, you should be giving your guinea pigs fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Each guinea should get at least a cup of fresh food daily. Some favorites are:
- Bell peppers
- Dark leafy greens
- And Celery just to name a few
There is a fantastic app called the Guinea Pig App (Google Play & iOS) that has an amazing meal planning tool. This app can help create the perfect meal plan for your piggies with what fruits and vegetables you have on hand. It is excellent to prevent overloading on produce that should only be once or twice a week. Your pigs will love the variety and how healthy they will feel afterward.
Best Guinea Pig Food Brands
If you have ever run out of food, it might be tempting to buy rabbit food to hold you over until you get some. But, this isn’t the best option for you or your guinea pigs. The best solution to never run out is to order your food on Chewy.com and have it auto-shipped. You can get up to a 5% discount for having the food auto-shipped, and you can edit how often you receive food at any time.
Oxbow is the highest recommended food on the market for many animals. It is a high-quality food that has specialized ingredients just for your pet. This bag of food comes in a 5, 10, and 25-pound bag depending on how many guinea pigs you have. For reference, a five-pound bag should last one guinea pig for two months.
Manna Pro Small World Complete Guinea Pig Food
Manna Pro is another highly recommended food for piggies. It tastes great and has no harmful ingredients. It is also a cheaper brand that makes good quality food.
Mazuri Timothy-Based Guinea Pig Food
Another great favorite is the Mazuri brand. This brand has been around for a while and cares about your animal’s well-being. When you order this through Chewy, it also comes in two sizes, a 5 and 25-pound bag.
Can a guinea pig eat rabbit food? No, this could lead to harmful side effects and a decline in your pig’s health. There are some great food choices out there, and you can have them auto-shipped, so you never have to run out again.
Can guinea pigs eat bird food?
No, don’t feed your guinea pig bird food or anything with seeds. You may find “treats” marketed as safe for guinea pigs on the shelves of pet stores; it’s best not to buy them. These types of treats are unnecessary to a pig’s diet, and guinea pigs are prone to choking, so if it looks like birdseed or hamster food, move along to the next choice.
Can a guinea pig eat grapes?
Yes, absolutely! Guinea pigs can eat grapes! In fact, guinea pigs love grapes because they’re so sweet. And when guinea pigs eat them, they tend to get juice all over their furry whiskers, which only makes them cuter!