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Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rabbit Food? (Serving Size, Hazards & More)

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Tim Rhodes

Can guinea pigs eat rabbit food?

Both rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores.

Many people want to keep rabbits or guinea pigs, while others want both rabbits and guinea pigs together but they don’t know how to feed and treat them.

Is there any difference in the way we should care for these small animals?

Rabbit and guinea pigs are similar in many ways.

Their diet includes grass or fresh hay, which is important for their digestive system.

They also need veggies and fruits.

However, although their diet is alike, they have different dietary needs and nutritional requirements.

So, is it safe to feed rabbits with guinea pig food or vice versa?

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Rabbit Food?

Guinea pigs and rabbits have different behaviors, dietary plans, and the nutrients they need.

So let’s immediately answer the question of whether guinea pigs can eat rabbit food.

The answer is no; guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit food because rabbit food doesn’t contain sufficient amounts of vitamin C, which is one of the crucial components of a healthy guinea pig’s diet.

Rabbits vs. Guinea Pigs

Let’s learn more about the similarities and differences between rabbits and guinea pigs.

Rabbits

Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus is the scientific name for a domestic rabbit, which people keep as pets.

The rabbit is a small mammal from the family of Leporidae.

Rabbits are herbivore animals and need mainly hay, grass, and green and small vegetable leaves.

So, when we picture rabbits eating roots, especially carrots, it can create misconceptions since carrots and other roots can be quite dangerous for rabbits.

Just like guinea pigs, rabbits cannot process foods high in sugar levels, and such foods are quite dangerous for them.

Rabbits need minerals and vitamins, just like all beings.

However, unlike humans and guinea pigs, rabbits cannot consume vitamin C, which damages their kidneys.

What rabbits always need is unlimited amounts of fresh water and hay.

Guinea Pigs

A guinea pig is a cavy belonging to the family of Caviidae.

Guinea pig is also a herbivore animal, just like rabbits.

For that reason, a guinea pig diet should consist of high-quality hay and small amounts of fresh veggies and fruits.

Guinea pigs require unlimited amounts of hay to limit the growth of their teeth.

Fresh water and foods are important for guinea pigs.

Besides, without enough vitamin C, guinea pigs may develop different conditions.

One such dangerous illness is scurvy, which is potentially fatal for guinea pigs if left untreated.

Also, unlike rabbits, guinea pigs require more attention and care.

Can I Keep Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Together?

Many people wonder whether they can keep rabbits and guinea pigs together.

The usual advice is not to keep rabbits and guinea pigs together in one place.

There are a few reasons for this advice.

Firstly, guinea pigs and rabbits are not good companions to each other.

The best companion for a rabbit is another rabbit, and the same is true for guinea pigs.

Their behavior isn’t the same; rabbits cannot communicate with guinea pigs and vice versa.

Secondly, their diet is similar, but not similar enough for them to safely consume each other’s food.

A reminder: guinea pigs need high amounts of vitamin C but vitamin C can hurt rabbits.

Thirdly, rabbits are larger and they can injure guinea pigs by intentionally or unintentionally kicking them.

Thus, by keeping them in separate habitats, you will be able to provide the best care for both rabbits and guinea pigs.

Can Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Eat the Same Food?

Just like humans and other species, rabbits and guinea pigs need proper nutrition that sustains them.

Guinea pigs and rabbits have different dietary needs, and their digestive system is also different.

For those reasons, rabbits cannot benefit from guinea pig food and guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit food.

The only type of food they can share is hay!

Rabbit Food Diet

A rabbit requires a balanced diet of hay, fresh vegetables and fruits, and rabbit pellets.

Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems; therefore, it can be done slowly for the rabbit to adjust if there is a change in food.

The main diet consists of unlimited amounts of hay (timothy hay or meadow type of hay), fresh water, and grass.

Also, please note: guinea pig pellets are usually fortified with vitamin C, as guinea pigs need this vitamin in high amounts.

On the other hand, rabbit pellets do not contain this vitamin.

Therefore, never give your guinea pig rabbit food and never give your rabbit guinea pig food.

Guinea Pig Food Diet

Similar to rabbits, guinea pigs require a balanced diet of hay, fresh vegetables and fruits, and guinea pig pellets.

An unlimited supply of orchard grass hay or timothy hay, fresh water, guinea pig pellets, and a mixture of fruits and vegetables is what your guinea pig needs every day.

Foods for guinea pigs must contain a high amount of vitamin C.

Vitamin C in your guinea pig’s diet can come from fresh veggies and fruits, or commercial pellets and chewable tablets.

Also, just like rabbits, guinea pigs cannot process food high in sugar, and it leads to diabetes, obesity, and similar chronic conditions that can significantly reduce the lifespan of your pet.

Is Rabbit Food Safe for Guinea Pigs?

Rabbit food lacks vitamin C, which plays a vital role in a guinea pig’s health.

Excess of vitamin C can damage the kidney of a rabbit.

However, on the other hand, excess vitamin C that a guinea pig’s body doesn’t use/absorb is excreted through urine.

Therefore, excess vitamin C cannot harm guinea pigs but can hurt rabbits.

So, if guinea pigs eat rabbit food (such as rabbit pellets) consecutively, it can lead to sickness and serious disease because of the lack of vitamin C.

Rabbis and guinea pigs are similar in many ways but the nutrients they need are different.

Dietary Needs of Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs need guinea pig pellets that contain high amounts of fiber, protein, and vitamins, including vitamin C.

Also, guinea pigs need an unlimited amount of timothy hay and fresh water.

Likewise, you should feed guinea pigs with fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C but do not contain high sugar levels.

Similarly, rabbits need access to unlimited quantities of hay.

However, rabbits do not need vitamin C because it can cause kidney disease, which is why rabbit pellets do not contain this vitamin.

Rabbits can eat guinea pig pellets but guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit pellets, which lack vitamin C.

Will Eating Rabbit Food Make Guinea Pigs Sick?

Not only will guinea pigs suffer if they live on rabbit food because of the lack of vitamin C but also because rabbit food can cause other types of harm to your guinea pigs.

We have listed some of the most common reasons why guinea pigs shouldn’t eat rabbit food.

Choking Hazard

Rabbits eat seeds and nuts, which are a choking hazard for guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs cannot eat seeds of any kind.

Allergic Reactions

Guinea pigs are prone to allergic reactions as they don’t have a robust immune system.

Compared to rabbits, guinea pigs need more fresh water and require more vitamin C.

Besides, guinea pigs can be allergic to rabbit food.

Too Much Fat and Protein

Rabbits need foods that are rich in calories, carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Excess fats and proteins can harm guinea pigs’ health and lessen their cardiovascular strength.

You must balance your pets’ foods that have fats and protein.

Illnesses and Defects

Rabbit food is low in vitamin C supplements and their pellets lack vitamin C.

Guinea pigs need extra vitamin C to enhance their immune system and to avoid illness.

Scurvy is a common disease in guinea pigs that occurs because of vitamin C deficiency.

Presence of Antibiotics

Some rabbit foods contain antibiotics, including penicillin, that can harm guinea pigs.

Feeding Guidelines for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

We know these species are closely related and both are herbivores, but they do not have the same dietary needs.

Fresh Water

Rabbits and guinea pigs require fresh water, so ensure they have constant 24/7 access to it.

Provide water in an easily accessible way, in a heavy ceramic bowl or a drip-feed water bottle.

Clean the water container daily to keep away the algae.

Unlimited Hay and Grass

Both rabbits and guinea pigs must have unlimited access to hay.

Provide them with a good quality timothy hay.

Guinea pig needs unlimited orchard grass or timothy hay for their majority diet and it helps their digestive system to function properly.

Fresh Green Vegetables Daily

Rabbits and guinea pigs need veggies and fruits for their nutrition requirements.

Provide different types of vegetables, including but not limited to cabbage/kale/broccoli/parsley/mint.

Vegetables are served for both rabbits and guinea pigs.

Guinea pig needs vegetables and fruits high in vitamin C.

Feeding Guidelines for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs must not overeat, but it’s important to maintain a healthy diet that contains hay, vegetables, and vitamin C supplements.

Like other animals, guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C; therefore, they require vitamin supplements from different sources.

How to Feed Guinea Pigs

Feeding guinea pigs requires care.

Guinea pigs are true herbivores and can eat unlimited amounts of low calcium hay that is also rich in fiber, such as timothy hay.

It helps their digestion and limits the growth of their teeth.

Don’t give them rabbit pellets because it lacks vitamin C; instead, provide them good quality commercial food (pellets) that contain vitamin C.

Also, feed them with a limited amount of leaf vegetables such as bell peppers, lettuce, carrot tops, and other leafy greens, high in vitamin C.

Provide them with a small amount of fruits or root crops since they are rich in sugar.

Such foods, with high sugar content, may lead to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria and cause diarrhea.

Among the long-term negative effects of feeding your pets with food rich in sugar is diabetes.

Serving Size for Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs tend to overeat so it is important to provide them a proper quantity of hay, timothy hay-based pellets, and fresh vegetables and fruits.

On their daily diet, guinea pigs need unlimited access to:

  • timothy hay or orchard hay
  • fresh clean water

Also, they need limited access to:

  • guinea pig pellets (about 1/8 cup once a day)
  • approximately one cup of fresh vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits

The pellets and vegetables must contain vitamin C.

Commercial Food

Guinea Pigs need vitamin C, so choose vitamin C-fortified guinea pig pellets without added content such as seeds or dried fruit.

Although occasionally you can feed a rabbit with good quality guinea pig timothy hay-based pellets, you should not do it daily.

Also, don’t feed a guinea pig with rabbit pellets that are specially formulated for these animals.

Fruit and Vegetables

A cup of fresh vegetables per guinea pig can be offered daily.

Fruits and crops are limited also since they may be high in sugar content.

Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale, cilantro, or parsley should comprise the bulk of your pig’s fresh produce diet.

Vegetables like red or green pepper, broccoli, and tomatoes have high levels of vitamin C and are a great menu for their daily diet.

Fruits can be served limited and can be offered once a day or several times a week.

Provide carrots, zucchini, and sweet potato once a week since it’s high in sugar.

Give vegetables and fruits like orange, pepper, tomato, and other fruits and vegetables that have high levels of vitamin C.

Introduce different fruit and veggies to avoid diarrhea.

Vitamin C Recommendation

Vitamin C plays a vital role in your guinea pig’s health and requires at least 90 mg of vitamin C each day.

Unhealthy guinea pigs require 150 mg or more of vitamin C each day to lessen the sickness and avoid infections.

Importance of Vitamin C for Guinea Pig

To treat this disease, a good selection of food can help provide a proper level of vitamin C to your guinea pig.

Vitamin C helps to protect them from diseases and keeping guinea pigs healthy.

It helps wounds to heal faster and is good for healthy bones and joints.

Lack of vitamin C will lead to scurvy.

Source of Vitamin C

Vitamin C can be found in some leafy and fresh vegetables.

It includes:

  • citrus fruit
  • peppers
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • parsley
  • kale

Commercial guinea pig pellets also contain vitamin C.

It has also available chewable tablets and some vitamin C supplements.

If your guinea pig didn’t get enough vitamin C, it will have vitamin C deficiency and lead to scurvy.

Guinea Pigs Vitamin C Supplementation

Unlike other animals, guinea pigs need Vitamin C supplements since they can’t produce their own.

Guinea pig pellets on the market contain vitamin C.

Another source of vitamin C came from vegetables and fruits.

Chewable tablets and vitamin C supplements are also available on the market for guinea pigs.

The vitamin C needs for average guinea pigs is about 10 to 30 mg/kg daily.

A guinea pig who is deficient in vitamin C can receive up to 50 mg/kg once a day.

Some vegetables, fruits, and guinea pellets have vitamin C.

However, some guinea pigs develop vitamin C deficiency even though they receive vitamin C in their dietary plan.

Guinea Pigs Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency is common in guinea pigs that may lead to skin and joints problems

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency on guinea pigs include the following:

  • loss of appetite
  • the difficulty of eating foods
  • diarrhea
  • wounds healing problem
  • lameness
  • joint swellings
  • bacterial infection

Lack of vitamin C in the body will face the condition of impeding the manufacture of collagen and can cause blood clotting problems.

The reason why guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit food is that rabbit pellets lack vitamin C.

Cause of Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency occurs when guinea pigs are not given a proper diet.

It also occurs due to other illnesses and physical problems.

Food eaten by guinea pigs lacks vitamin C.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Guinea pig is prone to vitamin C deficiency since their body cannot synthesize vitamin C.

Therefore, you will need to provide a proper diet.

The guinea pig-faced with vitamin C deficiency will undergo treatment including giving them daily vitamin C supplements for 1-2 weeks.

Your veterinarian will make an initial diagnosis of vitamin C deficiency after performing an examination.

The veterinarian will look for symptoms, especially joints problems.

To identify the level of vitamin C in the blood, it will undergo blood analysis.

As a recommendation, your pet guinea pig will need to monitor every day and must consult the veterinarian for the dietary plan of your pet.

Prevention

You should take steps to prevent vitamin C deficiency problems for your guinea pig.

Ensure that your guinea pigs have vitamin C in their food.

The diet contains an allowance of 10 milligrams of vitamin C.

For pregnant guinea pigs, it must have an allowance of 30 milligrams of vitamin C per day.

However, it is important to take note that too much vitamin C is another set of problems.

Healthy Treats for Guinea Pig

Provide a proper dietary plan with the proper balance of pellets, hay, vegetables, fruits, and another source of vitamin C.

Root crops and fruits and other vegetables have high sugar levels served in small amounts only.

Don’t give foods that can harm them.

Consult a veterinarian for health concerns and consultants.

Tips for Guinea Pigs

Here are some tips on how to have a pet and how to maintain a properly balanced diet.

Guinea pigs need more care and attention compared to other pets.

This will help you to avoid health problems with your guinea pig.

Vitamin C

Having a diet with a proper level of vitamin C is a huge impact on your guinea pig since Vitamin C is the main source of energy and appetite of your guinea pig.

It will boost the immune system of your pet and lessen the risk of having illness and diseases.

Vitamin C can be found in pellets and other sources of food including vegetables and fruits.

Proper Dish

We advise a ceramic food dish rather than a plastic-type.

Plastics can be chewed by your pet.

Ceramic dishes are chew-resistant and difficult to overturn.

Ceramic dishes are more durable than plastic types.

Provide a wide type of bowl since guinea pigs are more like to place their front on the rim of their food bowl.

Proper Foods

Always provide unlimited fresh water and unlimited hay for your guinea pig.

Give limited fresh fruits and vegetables for them, it means removing all perishable foods or spoiled foods.

Remove rotten parts of fruits or vegetables and uneaten parts.

Give them new pellets, it means don’t give the leftover food to them.

Adjust their food according to their weight and ensure that they’re not overweight or underweight.

Young, pregnant, and a guinea pig having illness have a different type of food and must be advised to a veterinarian for its consultant.

You can have a special dietary plan for your guinea pig given by your veterinarian.

The teeth of your guinea pig are continuously growing, it was advised to give unlimited hay.

Final Thoughts

Rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores that both require hay and fresh water and along with a limited amount of veggies, fruits, and pellets.

However, providing rabbit food to guinea pigs is not an advisable thing to do.

These two animals have completely different dietary needs or nutritional requirements, which is why commercial food is specially formulated for each animal.

Rabbit foods contain less vitamin C since the rabbit doesn’t need more vitamin C.

Taking more vitamin C can cause kidney damage for rabbits.

On the other hand, guinea pigs need more vitamin C as a source of energy and to avoid diseases.

So, should you feed guinea pigs rabbit food?

No, because guinea pigs can’t eat rabbit food since it lacks vitamin C and can lead to serious problems for your guinea pig pet.

External Links

https://www.mountvet.co.nz/index.php/small-furries-healthcare-and-advice/preventative-healthcare/feeding-guidelines-for-rabbits-and-guinea-pigs

https://www.templestowevet.com.au/what-to-feed-your-rabbit-and-guinea-pig-friends/

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rabbits/company/rabbitsandguineapigs

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-feeding

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/guinea-pigs-feeding

https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-should-i-feed-my-guinea-pigs/

https://www.mariposavet.com/guinea-pigs-vitamin-c-supplementation-know

https://animals.mom.com/can-feeding-guinea-pig-rabbit-food-make-sick-1875.html

https://www.mountvet.co.nz/index.php/small-furries-healthcare-and-advice/preventative-healthcare/feeding-guidelines-for-rabbits-and-guinea-pigs

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