You may one day find yourself in a situation where you have a hungry rabbit, but no rabbit food. Perhaps you forgot to stock up and all you have is your guinea pig’s pellets, or maybe the nearest store didn’t carry rabbit food?
Regardless of which – a rabbit needs to eat, and the question is if it’s okay to feed food made for guinea pigs to a rabbit? Let’s find out.
Is Guinea Pig Food Bad for Rabbits?
The quick answer is no, it isn’t, and rabbits can safely eat food for guinea pigs. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop buying rabbit food and allow your rabbits and furry little guinea pigs to share food for the rest of their lives but is perfectly fine in the case of an emergency or unexpected rabbit food shortage.
It is important to remember that they are two different species and may have differentiating nutritional needs, which is why it is unwise to make a permanent swap, but a great temporary solution.
Fruit ; Vegetables
This article centers mostly on pellets, but both rabbits and guinea pigs also eat fruit and vegetables. In this scenario, both can eat the same fruit and greens without any issues, but you always want to make sure that the snack you are feeding your pet is suitable for animals in general.
Do your research as to whether rabbits can eat tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, or whatever you plan to feed them, and provide your small fur friends with healthy fruit and vegetable snacks, and if you have both rabbits and guinea pigs – let them share! A strict pellets diet is not healthy for either species.
Are Rabbit Pellets and Guinea Pig Pellets the Same?
Both food for pet rabbits and guinea pig food are very similar, but not identical. If they were identical, there wouldn’t have been a need for both foods on the pet food market.
This is also the reason why we suggest that you avoid changing your rabbit’s food permanently, but it is actually even more important not to do it the other way around!
The reason why you shouldn’t feed guinea pigs your rabbit’s food is that rabbits produce vitamin C while guinea pigs do not. If you put your guinea pig on rabbit food – it will inevitably need additional vitamin C supplements.
Is There a Difference Between Rabbit and Guinea Pig Food?
To better understand what differentiates rabbit food and guinea pig food, we need to have a look at what makes the two animals different. Both are mammals, but rabbits are considered lagomorphs while furry little guinea pigs are rodents – different species.
Just like dog and cat food is different, so are rabbit food and guinea pig food. The two-incisored guinea pig species and rabbits with four incisors need to chew to keep their teeth from growing, and in that sense, either food works just fine.
However, it is not considered ideal to feed any pet food that wasn’t designed for that specific animal. The occasional use of guinea pigs for rabbits is considered okay and safe by both experts and veterinarians, but long-term use is not advised.
To put it in the simplest possible way: Rabbits can survive on guinea pig food if needed, as the two are very similar, but guinea pigs need vitamin C and cannot (and should not) be feed rabbit food exclusively. The food in itself is not harmful, but the lack of vitamin C is.
Choosing the Right Food
The pet market is full of small mammal food options, and it can be difficult to find the right one for both your rabbit and your beloved guinea pigs! The habit you want to form is to always read on the back of the product, to learn what the pellets you intend to buy contain.
The recommended amount of fiber is at least 18%, making it something worth keeping an eye out for. Also, rabbits do not tend to thrive on pellets alone (rabbit pellets or guinea pig food), and they also need a mix of hay, fruit, and vegetables. Note that rabbits need more hay than, for example, a guinea pig.
Feeding Appropriate Amounts
Rabbits are small mammals, and it is crucial to make sure they get the right food and nutrition, but also the right amount of food. Overfeeding a rabbit can lead to obesity, which is a known cause of bone and joint problems, but it can also cause nutritional imbalances.
Can Rabbits Eat Hamster Food
Now that we know it’s okay to feed guinea pig food to rabbits, how about hamster food? Can rabbits eat hamster or gerbil food? In this case, the anatomy of the two animals is just too different, and it applies also to the digestive system.
It won’t harm your rabbit to try it once, but it does not meet the nutritional requirements of a rabbit.
It can be tempting to buy only one type of pellets for all the small mammals in the household, but, while it sounds practical, it is not suitable for either animal. Rabbit food and guinea pig food are similar enough to feed guinea pig food to your bunnies, but this is not the case with hamster food.
Different pet foods exist for a reason, and the reason is that all animals have different nutritional needs. Some are similar, but none are the same. When it comes to guinea pig food, it is fine to feed it to your rabbit occasionally or if you run out of rabbit food, but you shouldn’t make it a habit.
While rabbits can eat guinea pig food, guinea pigs should not eat rabbit food, and the reason is that it doesn’t have vitamin C. A vitamin C deficiency in guinea pigs can quickly become serious, but this is not something you have to worry about when feeding your rabbit food made for guinea pigs, as they produce their own vitamin C.
Other small mammals, like gerbils and hamsters, are even more different, and it is not recommendable to swap your rabbit’s rabbit food for hamster food. Also, make sure you purchase quality products for your small pet.