Rabbits and guinea pigs are popular pet animals that are similar in size and dietary patterns. Both of these little creatures are herbivorous, meaning they rely on plant foods as the main part of their diets. Since the teeth of these animals are constantly growing, rabbits and guinea pigs also need a high proportion of hay in their diet.
As their diets appear to be similar, many people who own both rabbits and guinea pigs wonder if rabbits can eat guinea pig food.
Generally speaking, rabbits can safely eat guinea pig food in the short term. However, there are several things that you should keep in mind before giving your guinea pig’s food to your rabbit.
In this article, we discuss the diet of rabbits and guinea pigs, explain if rabbits should eat guinea pig food, and how such a dietary change might affect them.
Rabbits vs. Guinea Pigs — What Does Their Diet Look Like?
Rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they need plant-based foods in their diet, including various hay, grass, veggies, and occasional fruits. They also eat pellets as pets, as these help to provide necessary nutrients and fiber.
Although the foods that these animals consume are similar, rabbits and guinea pigs do have different needs, which is why it’s often not the best idea to mix up their food. Guinea pigs are classified as rodents, while rabbits are lagomorphs. The difference between the two lies in their jaw structure and dentition.
Can Rabbits Eat Guinea Pig Food? Is It Safe for Them?
Generally speaking, rabbits can eat guinea pig food because it’s not that different from theirs, but that doesn’t mean this diet will do them good. Rabbits require specific nutrients in their diet, which is why consuming guinea pig food could be unsafe and lead to nutrition imbalance in the longer term.
For example, many commercial foods and pellets that are guinea pig appropriate contain added vitamin C because guinea pigs can’t manufacture it on their own. Rabbits also need vitamin C in their diets, but not as much as cavies do, as they can produce it on their own. Consuming too much vitamin C (which can happen if your rabbit regularly eats guinea pig food) could promote kidney stones and reduce vitamin B12.
Should Rabbits Eat Guinea Pig Food?
Generally speaking, offering guinea pig food to your rabbit as a quick replacement when you don’t have time to run to the store is entirely fine and shouldn’t do any harm to your bunny. However, guinea pig food shouldn’t become a main part of your rabbit’s diet, as they don’t need that much vitamin C. Some foods we compared also differ in that the rabbit foods contain higher levels of fiber, less vitamin A and less protein than guinea pig foods. So while some brands are almost identical for the two species, others have wider variations so you may need to check the labels.
Rabbits can eat guinea pig food occasionally if you are currently unable to get rabbit food for your little friend. That said, you should never entirely replace a rabbit’s diet with a guinea pig’s pellets. Even though these animals have similar dietary needs, there are still differences, which is why it’s best to stick to species-appropriate foods.