As an avid animal lover, I have a lot of different types of pets at home. Trying to maintain the diets of a diverse group of animals can get confusing.
So, to understand my pets better and potentially make feeding time a little bit easier, I decided to research whether or not rabbits can eat guinea pig food. So, can rabbits eat guinea pig food?
Rabbits can eat guinea pig food in the short term, but long term, this diet will not sustain the nutrients rabbits need to stay happy and healthy. Rabbits need a special high-fiber diet. Guinea pig food will do little to nothing for rabbits’ nutrition.
Although rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores that look like they could eat the same things, they have differences that require different diets.
As I researched this topic, I discovered similarities and differences between rabbits and guinea pigs. One example is their vitamin C intake and the importance of vitamin C in their bodies. Read on to find out more.
Guinea Pig Food That Can Be Given to Rabbits
As previously mentioned, there is a strong overlap in what you can feed your rabbit and guinea pig.
These animals have an extremely similar diet with only a few key differences to keep an eye out for.
When feeding your rabbits and guinea pigs, both need to have a diet of majority hay, some vegetables, some pellets, and a very small percentage of fruit.
The amount of vegetables each pet needs varies (5-10% for guinea pigs and 10-15% for rabbits). The list of safe vegetables for both pets is below.
Vegetables that can be given to both rabbits and guinea pigs:
● Carrots and carrot tops
● Green leaf lettuce
● Red leaf lettuce
● Romaine lettuce
● Beet greens
● Other herbs
When it comes to feeding your rabbit or guinea pig fruit, the key is moderation. Due to their small size, rabbits and guinea pigs can not consume high percentages of fruit.
They will become obese, leading to more serious health risks. For both pets, fruit should only take up about 0-5% of their diets or be given as a special treat around two times per week.
Fruits that can be given to both rabbits and guinea pigs:
● Apples (no seeds)
● Cherries (no seeds)
Hay is the largest percentage of a guinea pig’s or rabbit’s diet. Rabbits should eat hay for about 80% of their diet, and guinea pigs need it to make up 70-75% of their daily intake.
Rabbits and guinea pigs should have unlimited access to high-quality grass hay like Timothy or Orchard Grass Hay.
Guinea pigs need less hay than rabbits. Guinea pigs need more pellets than rabbits (20-25% for guinea pigs and only 10% for rabbits).
Guinea pig pellets contain vitamin C supplements necessary for their health. Yet, rabbits retain the ability to make their vitamin C and therefore do not need to consume the same amount of pellets as guinea pigs.
It is dangerous for rabbits to consume guinea pig pellets because it could suppress their natural vitamin C production.
How Often Can I Give Guinea Pig Food to My Rabbit?
You can feed your rabbit guinea pig pellets a few times if you’re in a crunch, but make sure that you don’t let your rabbit become dependent on them.
Guinea pig pellets contain vitamin C. If your rabbit starts consuming these pellets regularly, there is a risk that they may stop to make their own vitamin C. This could lead to greater health risks down the road.
Regarding fruits and vegetables, it is ok to feed your guinea pig and rabbit the same thing regularly.
You’re good to go as long as you double-check that they are safe for both pets. You must maintain a 10-15% regimen for rabbits and only a 5-10% for guinea pigs.
It is also safe to regularly feed your guinea pig and rabbit the same hay. But it should be either Timothy or Orchard Grass Hay.
What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Rabbits’ and Guinea Pigs’
Rabbits and guinea pigs have almost the same dietary requirements.
Rabbits and guinea pigs need to maintain similar hay, fruits, and vegetables diets, but with slight variations.
You need to feed them more vegetables than fruit; both need hay or pellets to support their fiber intake.
The reason for these similarities is that rabbits and guinea pigs are small mammals.
That being said, they are members of different species. Rabbits are
lagomorphs, while guinea pigs are rodents.
The main difference between these two species is their teeth. Rabbits have four incisors, while guinea pigs only have two.
This difference is one of the biggest reasons for a variation in their diets. These animals need to maintain nutrition that supports their unique bodies.
Their incisors never stop growing throughout a rabbit’s and guinea pig’s lifetime. This is primarily why these mammals need hearty diets of fibrous foods.
When rabbits and guinea pigs munch on hay and pellets, the fiber helps grind down their teeth to maintain oral health.
If rabbits and guinea pigs are not fed a fibrous diet, their teeth can grow too long for their mouths, and this could lead to many health risks.
First, their teeth can affect their nasal cavities and impair their breathing if not maintained properly.
Also, if rabbits and guinea pigs cannot effectively grind down their teeth, they may become painful for your pet.
This will cause them to start chewing on different sides of their mouth. If this occurs, it will greatly impact the muscles and ligaments in the mouth.
Therefore, your pets must sustain a diet of high-fiber intake to support their dental well-being. High-fiber meals also provide very important nutrients.
Hay and pellets contain essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, D, and E, protein, and calcium.
In addition, fiber is extremely important for digestion because it helps move food through the rabbits’ and guinea pigs’ intestines and supports healthy bodily waste.
Rabbits and guinea pigs need fibrous foods to maintain their gut health. Being so small, their digestive systems are very sensitive. If they are not receiving enough fiber, they could become constipated.
Although constipation is most uncomfortable for humans, it could be life-threatening for rabbits and guinea pigs.
Overall, you can get away with feeding your rabbit guinea pig food for a little while, but you definitely can not feed your guinea pig rabbit food.
Guinea pigs require the vitamin C supplements often found in nutritional food created specifically for them.
Whereas your rabbits or bunnies can eat guinea pig food for a short time, they eventually need a diet that supports their specific anatomy. Rabbits require a diet of more hay or pellets than guinea pigs because they have more teeth that they need to wear down.
Between fiber and vitamin C, rabbits and guinea pigs have very sensitive bodies that need attentive, individualized care.
If rabbits and guinea pigs are not receiving enough fiber, they could experience ailments in the mouth and the digestive tract that, if not addressed, can lead to death.
Even more, if guinea pigs do not get enough vitamin C daily, they are more apt to contract a disease, and fatal outcomes may occur.
If your pet’s teeth appear to be growing faster than they can wear them down, or if your guinea pig is experiencing diarrhea, swollen limbs, or refuses to walk, consult your veterinarian, as this may result from an imbalanced diet.
CHECK OUT OTHER BUNNY ARTICLES BELOW:
1. Can I Feed Guinea Pigs Rabbit Food?
Since we’ve understood why rabbits can’t eat guinea pig food for an extended period, you may wonder if guinea pigs could eat rabbit food instead.
The answer here is no; guinea pigs can not survive on rabbit food and could contract diarrhea and eventually die if fed a diet strictly for rabbits.
Guinea pigs do not produce vitamin C in their bodies, yet rabbits do. This means that guinea pigs require a diet fortified with vitamin C to survive.
2. Why do Guinea Pigs Need Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a nutrient that all mammals need, but some – like humans and guinea pigs – don’t produce it independently.
Vitamin C is important for guinea pigs because it impacts all aspects of their bodies, such as skin, joints, and mucosal surfaces like gums, and helps them heal wounds.
Since vitamin C is vital to the body and helps alleviate any traumas a guinea pig is experiencing, a lack of vitamin C could cause guinea pigs to contract diseases or experience skin problems.
If a guinea pig appears to have rough or patchy hair, isn’t eating, is averse to walking, has swollen feet, or is experiencing diarrhea, it is likely due to a lack of vitamin C. It would be best if you spoke with a veterinarian as soon as possible.
On average, guinea pigs need 10-50 mg of vitamin C daily, depending on their condition. Circumstances such as if a guinea pig is young or old, pregnant, or has any health risks all impact the amount of vitamin C a guinea pig needs to lead a healthy life.
Check with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate vitamin C dosage unique to your guinea pig.
1. Diet. Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF). (2022, January 29). Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-care-advice/rabbit-diet/
2. Food & Diet. House Rabbit Society. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://rabbit.org/care/food-diet/
3. Nutrient requirements of the guinea pig – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/