Both guinea pigs and rabbits require hay as part of their diet. This may lead to pet owners wondering if both of them can have the same diets or snacks. Can guinea pigs eat rabbit food? Let’s dig in and find out.
No, guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit food. The reason why guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit food is the fact that rabbit food lacks vitamin C, which is a crucial part of a guinea pig’s diet. Your pet piggy cannot produce or store vitamin C and needs it from other sources.
Both guinea pigs and rabbits are vegetarians. But, one requires vitamin C, whereas the other one (rabbit) does not need vitamin C since it can make them sick. Here’s what you need to know about your pet’s food needs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rabbit Food -Understanding The Diets
Rabbits and guinea pigs are fun little animals that many people would want to own. For this, you have to understand their diets. Rabbits and guinea pigs may feed on hay, but their diets are not necessarily the same.
Guinea pigs cannot produce or store vitamin C in their bodies. This is why their diet is mainly focused on foods with a high concentration of Vitamin C.
If you are worried about the high concentration of vitamin C, stop worrying. Since guinea pigs cannot store vitamin C in their bodies, they excrete the excess amount.
Now, let’s talk about rabbits. Rabbits require foods that either have no vitamin C or only have vitamin C in trace amounts. This is due to the fact that, unlike guinea pigs, they can produce vitamin C.
If a rabbit routinely eats vitamin C based foods, it may lead to health complications, which can be painful.
Now, to further help you distinguish between the two, let’s look at some differences and similarities between them.
1) Guinea Pigs And Rabbits: Similarities & Differences
Here are the similarities and differences between guinea pigs and rabbits.
Guinea pigs are referred to as domestic cavies. They are essentially herbivores and require grass hay, fresh veggies, and fruits. Grass hay not only keeps them healthy but also keeps their teeth’ growth normal.
Similarly, rabbits are also herbivores. Since they are herbivores, their primary diet is also focused on hay, grass, and a balance of fresh veggies and fruits.
Even though the primary food in their diet is the same, you should know that their dietary needs are different than each other.
Guinea pigs are generally sensitive and more likely to suffer from diseases. A healthy immune system requires vitamin C, which they cannot produce.
Guinea pigs have a very delicate and sensitive digestive system, Due to this, unless they have a balanced diet, they will suffer from numerous health complications.
One of these complications is scurvy which is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. This deficiency is caused due to the fact that guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C in their bodies.
In contrast to guinea pigs, rabbits are more immune to diseases and are generally not sensitive as guinea pigs. Unlike guinea pigs, a rabbit’s digestive system does not go well with vitamin C.
This is due to the fact that rabbits can produce vitamin C in their bodies.
Providing them foods rich in vitamin C content will take a toll on your pet bunny’s health. A surplus of vitamin C will put your pet bunny in severe discomfort and become a cause of kidney diseases.
2) Can You Keep Rabbits And Guinea Pigs Together?
In short, No you cannot keep them together. Since their primary diet is about the same with only a few exceptions, many pet owners wonder if they can keep them together. Unfortunately, you can’t keep them together.
The best thing to do in this regard would be to get them in pairs or just separate them. A guinea pig will be happier with a guinea pig. Whereas, a rabbit will be happy with another bunny. As simple as that.
Keeping them in pairs will allow them to communicate with each other as well.
Additionally, rabbits can also create problems for your pet guinea pig. Wondering how? They may get into fights and your pet bunny may end up kicking your pet guinea pig. It may be accidental or on purpose.
So, to avoid any accidental or intentional fights, it is best to keep them separate or get them in pairs.
3) Can Guinea Pigs And Rabbits Eat The Same Food?
Not necessarily. Apart from hay, their dietary needs are different than one another.
Just like us, animals too require a perfectly balanced diet that fulfills all of their daily requirements. A balanced diet will keep your pet active, full of energy, and protect him or her against a number of health complications.
While guinea pigs and rabbits may feed on hay, there are many differences in their diets. So no, guinea pigs and rabbits cannot eat the same foods.
To help you understand their diets better, let’s put it this way.
Your pet bunny will likely have no trouble eating your pet guinea pig’s food. However, your pet guinea pig will end up with numerous health complications if you feed him or her rabbit food.
An easy example of this would be nuts and seeds. Rabbits can have them, whereas guinea pigs cannot.
4) Why Is Rabbit Food Not Safe For Guinea Pig?
Due to the lack of vitamin C in rabbit food, it is not safe for your guinea pig.
Since rabbits have the tendency to produce vitamin C in their bodies, their food contains no vitamin C. Even if it does contain vitamin C, it is in trace amounts.
Due to this, their diets are focused more on other vitamins and minerals rather than being focused on vitamin C. So due to the absence of vitamin C in rabbit food, your pet guinea pig will have trouble staying healthy.
Your pet piggy will end up with a weak immune system which will expose your pet piggy to a number of health complications. The primary result of no vitamin C in the guinea pig diet is scurvy.
Here are some symptoms of scurvy that you need to watch out for.
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble eating foods
- Poor healing of wounds
- Swollen joints
- Bacterial infection
Cure For Scurvy:
The cure for scurvy is rather simple. All you need to do is provide your pet guinea pig with a balanced diet that focuses on vitamin C-based foods.
Additionally, you will also need to feed your pet guinea pig vitamin C supplements. You can simply get guinea pig pellets and provide them these supplements for two weeks.
Along with giving your pet piggy these supplements, you should also take him or her to the local vet for further diagnostics. Your vet will likely suggest some blood tests to determine the levels of vitamin C in his or her body.
But, as mentioned earlier, the best solution to this is simply feeding your pet piggy vitamin C-based foods and supplements.
6 Risks Of Giving Rabbit Food To A Guinea Pig
There are many things that can go wrong with feeding your pet guinea pig rabbit food. Vitamin C deficiency is on top of the list, but the list does not end there.
Here are other risks of giving rabbit food to your pet guinea pig.
1) Poses A Choking Hazard:
Guinea pigs have a comparatively weaker and sensitive digestive system. Their digestive tract and stomach cannot process foods the same way as a rabbit’s digestive system would.
Rabbit foods such as seeds and nuts pose a choking hazard to your pet guinea pig. Your adorable little pet’s digestive tract cannot process these seeds and nuts and he or she may end up choking on it.
2) Can Cause Allergic Reactions:
Due to the inability to produce vitamin C, the guinea pig’s immune system is weak. Due to this, the chances of your pet guinea pig suffering from allergic reactions will be higher compared to a rabbit.
This is specifically true considering the fact that some rabbit foods can cause allergic reactions in your pet guinea pig.
Besides, your pet piggy’s digestive system cannot process foods the same way as a rabbit’s digestive system. This further increases the chances of these allergic reactions.
Some signs of allergic reactions include diarrhea and vomiting. If you notice any of these, you should take the hint and take your pet piggy to the local vet.
As a first-aid measure, you need to give your pet a lot of water and avoid feeding the same food to your pet piggy.
3) Excess Of Fat And Protein:
Rabbit foods mostly contain foods that have a high concentration of fats and proteins. Generally, rabbits require a high carbs diet. Even though, all animals need fats and proteins. But, some require them more than others.
In this case, guinea pigs do not need a high carbs diet. They do not need too many fats or proteins in their diet.
It will lead to cardiovascular complications and take a toll on your pet guinea pig’s health. Additionally, your pet will also put on excess weight. An overweight guinea pig will become inactive and lack the will to move.
4) Health Complications:
When it comes to the dietary needs of a rabbit and a guinea pig, they differ in a number of ways. An example of different dietary needs is vitamins C and K.
Rabbit diet lacks both of these whereas guinea pig diets prefer them.
Guinea pigs require them the most whereas rabbits do not require them. So, if you keep your pet piggy on a rabbit diet, you are likely going to increase the chances of illnesses and other health complications.
Other health complications also include stunted growth. So, if you keep your pet on a rabbit diet, he or she may end up with poor growth and weak bones as well.
5) Presence Of Harmful Antibiotics:
As mentioned earlier, a guinea pig’s dietary needs are different than a rabbit’s. This can be backed by the fact that there are certain antibiotics in a rabbit’s diet that do not go well with guinea pigs.
One such antibiotic is penicillin. While it might be beneficial for a rabbit, the same antibiotic will end up being fatal to your pet guinea pig. This is why you need to avoid giving your pet piggy rabbit food.
6) Rabbit Food Harm The Beneficial Bacteria In Guinea Pigs:
Your pet piggy relies on certain bacteria in its body to keep things running smoothly. It is usually present in the stomach of your pet guinea pig and is there to keep the digestive system healthy.
Rabbit food can have an impact on the performance of such bacteria in the guinea pig body. Since your pet piggy has a relatively weak digestive system, the absence of these bacteria will further complicate things.
Not only will it result in an imbalance and disturbance in the digestive system, but it will also make it difficult for your pet piggy to extract nutrients from foods.
5 Things To Include In Your Guinea Pig’s Diet
By now, you should have understood the fact that a guinea pig’s diet is not the same as a rabbit’s diet. It needs to be focused on vitamin C-based foods along with a balance of other healthy foods.
Here are some pointers on how you should feed your pet guinea pig and what to include in your pet’s diet.
- Feed your pet guinea pig timothy hay. Make sure your pet has unlimited access to hay and never compromise on your pet’s hay intake.
- Give your pet guinea pig unlimited access to water. Make sure you fill up the water bottle of your adorable little friend every day and ensure you refill it routinely.
- Provide your pet piggy foods that are rich in vitamin C. These include broccoli, lettuce, carrot tops, etc. Both foods and vegetables should make up for a serving size of 1 cup.
- Provide your pet guinea pig fruits that do not have a high concentration of sugar in them. Some healthy fruits and veggies for your pet guinea pig are mentioned in the latter part of this section.
- Give your pet piggy guinea pig pellets. 1/8 cup a day would suffice and will be more than enough for your pet’s daily diet.
45 Healthy Fruits And Veggies For Your Pet Guinea Pig:
When it comes to the fruits and vegetable options for your guinea pig, you have an endless list to choose from.
Some healthy fruits and vegetables for your pet guinea pig include:
Even though you have plenty of foods to choose from, it is still wise to conduct proper research on what you intend to feed your pet.
For instance, there are certain foods that are harmful to your pet guinea pig. A good example of this is popcorn. To avoid any potential hazards, always consult your vet or consider doing prior research on new foods.
4 Things To Avoid Feeding Guinea Pigs
To keep your guinea pig’s body healthy and protect them against a number of health complications, there are certain things you need to avoid. Here are some pointers on what you need to avoid or stop doing:
- For starters, you should avoid feeding your pet guinea pig rabbit food.
- Never feed your pet guinea pig rabbit pellets. Rabbit pellets may contain some beneficial nutrients but it lacks the most important nutrient i.e. vitamin C and K.
- Never feed your pet guinea pig foods that have a high concentration of fats and proteins.
- Avoid feeding your pet piggy food such as nuts and seeds. These pose a serious choking hazard to your pet and should be avoided at all costs.
As long as you avoid these foods and follow our directions, you will not have to worry about risking your pet guinea pig’s health.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Can Rabbit Food Kill A Guinea Pig?
Unfortunately, yes, it can kill a guinea pig. Rabbit foods such as pellets lack the necessary vitamin C and contain certain antibiotics. As mentioned earlier, these will harm the naturally occurring bacteria in your pet piggy.
As a result, your pet guinea pig may die due to the absence of these naturally occurring bacteria in the stomach.
2) What Foods Are Poisonous To Guinea Pigs?
Here are some foods that you need to avoid including in your pet guinea pig’s meals. These include:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Chocolate (Avoid feeding foods that contain caffeine)
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rabbit Food – Conclusion:
Can guinea pigs eat rabbit food? No, they cannot eat rabbit food due to the fact that their digestive systems and dietary needs are different than rabbits.
Even though they both can have hay, but when it comes to the other foods in their diets, they cannot be interchanged. A rabbit’s diet lacks vitamin C whereas a guinea pig diet focuses the most on vitamin C.
Feeding your pet guinea pig a rabbit diet will lead to many complications such as scurvy, obesity, cardiovascular complications, and a lot more. All of this can be avoided by simply not feeding your pet rabbit diet.