Pet owners always find it challenging to understand if their guinea pigs can eat rabbit food bought from the store. This is due to both animals being herbivores. Because of their mode of eating many people want to rear both animals thinking that they can feed the food of rabbits to guinea pigs and vice versa without it leading to any possible health risk. Although, rabbits can eat hay, grass, pellets, and some fruits conveniently, just like guinea pigs can do also. However, the nutrients they derive from these foods are extremely different because they have different dietary needs and nutritional requirements.
Can guinea pigs eat rabbit food? Can rabbit food offer any beneficial or detrimental health benefits to your cavies? What is the nutrient your guinea pigs look for in rabbit food? Journey with us in this article to find out the answers to these questions and all other questions you have.
Can guinea pigs eat rabbit food?
No, guinea pigs can not eat rabbit food. Although rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores, you will see them with different needs, likes, nutritional requirements, and different digestive systems. The biggest difference is that rabbit does not require an additional vitamin C since their body system can synthesize them, whereas guinea pigs need the extra vitamin C that can be found in hay, vegetables, and other foods to stay healthy since their body system can not synthesize this nutrient just like a human. You should know that vitamin C is responsible for improving the immune system of your little cavies and also preventing them from a common disease among guinea pigs called scurvy. This disease leads to paralysis or bleeding among the gums and eventually death if it is not properly treated. Hence, rabbit food should be served to rabbits, while guinea pigs food should also be served to guinea pigs.
Why you should not feed rabbit food to guinea pigs
There is always a reason behind a result, before you can attain a result, you should undergo a series of tests, and observations. This principle is the reason behind studies indicating that rabbit food should not be fed to your pets. It is also one of the reasons you will find a label that says 'rabbit food' 'dog food' and every other type of food when you get to the store. Veterinarians also follow this principle, hence, they keep telling pet owners not to give their pets just any type of food, but their recommended food alone. The reasons for all these beliefs will be explained below
Rabbit Food Lack Vitamin C
Unlike rabbits and some other small pets, guinea pigs and humans are the only types of animals that can not produce vitamin C by themselves. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required by your guinea pigs to remain healthy, you should know that the average vitamin C a guinea pig needs daily to survive is between 10mg and 40mg. Since rabbits' body system can provide their vitamin C, their food does not contain them. However, if your guinea pigs lack vitamin C in their body system, it will lead to a health condition known as Scurvy, and its effect may range from mild to detrimental depending on how much they lack.
Rabbit food contains the wrong nutrients
Rabbits and guinea pigs seek different nutrients in their food, and this made them aware of their food content. Rabbit food is high in fiber and fats, but low in protein, and they also have little but no vitamin C present in them. This combination of nutrients is wrong for your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs require a high amount of vitamin C, less amount fiber which helps them aid digestion, and low protein and fats.
Possible health risks of feeding rabbit food to guinea pigs
This article has enunciated and explained in multiple ways that rabbit food may be dangerous for your pets therefore, they should not eat them. The question now is, what happens to your pets if they feed on their food? The answer to that is listed below
Since rabbit food contains little to no vitamin C in most of their foods because of their body system, feeding this kind of food to your guinea pigs will make your guinea pigs develop scurvy, a common health condition among guinea pigs.
Rabbit food comprises pellets, nuts, fruits, and some vegetables. However, pellets and nuts always take up a high portion of their daily intake, hence, it is found in almost all their food. Guinea pigs can not digest nuts because it leads to choking hazards for them. Their food also contains high amounts of fats and cholesterol, feeding them to guinea pigs will lead to weight gain. Too much fat in their body system may eventually develop into heart complication
Although, guinea pigs and rabbit are herbivores, the amount of fiber needed by both are entirely different. A rabbit requires more fiber compared to guinea pigs, too much fiber in your guinea pigs' food may lead to some digestive problems like constipation and stomach upset.
What food can you serve to your guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs' digestive systems may be super sensitive, however, this does not stop your little cavies from eating too much food. Yes, guinea pigs love to eat a lot, studies have even shown that eating is one of their favorite exercises. This is why they require food with low cholesterol so they will not be fat and have high fiber and vitamins. An example of such food is Hay. Some common hay that can be given to them are timothy hay, alfalfa hay, clover, Bermuda, etc
Vegetables and fruits are also regular meals for guinea pigs. Fresh vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, kale, artichokes, tomatoes, parsley, etc are enriched with nutritional benefits that help to keep your cavies healthy. You can also feed them fruits like apples, carrots, berries, bananas, apricots, etc.
Guinea pigs can not eat rabbit food because rabbit food is enriched with the wrong proportion of nutrients required by guinea pigs. Feeding this combination of nutrients to guinea pigs may lead to health complications. All information needed to understand why rabbit food should be avoided by your guinea pigs has been discussed in this article.