If you ever found yourself in the situation where you need to feed your rabbit, but all you can find is guinea pig food, you may be wondering if you can get away with feeding guinea pig food to your rabbit. The good news is that yes, rabbits can eat food that’s formulated for guinea pigs.
Since these two common pets are so similar, there’s quite a bit of overlap with their diets. However, we don’t recommend making a habit out of feeding your rabbit guinea pig food. There are specific reasons that the food is labeled for guinea pigs only.
We’ll go over the similarities and differences between rabbits and guinea pigs, especially when it comes to their diets. We’ll also explain why it’s better over the long term to feed your rabbit a diet that’s tailored specifically for your rabbit’s nutritional needs.
Both Small Mammals, But Different Species
Rabbits and guinea pigs belong to different species. Guinea pigs are rodents, while rabbits are lagomorphs. The difference is most apparent if you look inside each of their mouths. Rabbits have a total of four incisors, while guinea pigs have only two incisors.
Regardless of their number of teeth, both of these small mammals have incisors that continuously grow throughout their entire lifetimes. They need to constantly chew on fibrous food to prevent their teeth from growing too long.
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Almost the Same Diet
The reason that you can get away with feeding your rabbit guinea pig food, at least in the short term, is due to their similar dietary requirements. Both animals need more vegetables than fruits, and both eat hay and pellets.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores. Most of their diets should consist of good quality hay. Since their digestive systems need plenty of fiber, hay is an important food source. It helps grind down their growing teeth and provides essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A and D, as well as protein and calcium.
There are differences between rabbits and guinea pigs when it comes to their hay consumption. While timothy hay is an excellent choice for both animals, rabbits prefer oaten hay and guinea pigs like meadow grass hay. Also, rabbits need a higher percentage of hay in their diets compared to guinea pigs.
Be Sure to Eat Your Veggies
Both rabbits and guinea pigs benefit from a diet of certain kinds of vegetables and fruits in smaller portions. You can’t go wrong with feeding them Asian greens, carrot tops, celery, kale, spinach, or herbs.
Perhaps the biggest difference may be the amount of vegetables and fruits that you feed each pet. Guinea pigs need a higher amount of fruits and vegetables than rabbits.
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While your rabbit may be fine eating guinea pig food, the opposite scenario is harder on a guinea pig’s body. Rabbits can produce their own vitamin C and in turn, don’t need to supplement their diets with extra sources. On the other hand, guinea pigs must get their vitamin C from food sources because their bodies can’t produce it. Over time, a vitamin C deficiency can lead to severe, perhaps fatal, health concerns for the guinea pig.
With such similar diets, it’s fine if you need to feed your rabbit guinea pig food. However, keep in mind that these small mammals have a few key differences in their dietary requirements. Rabbits need a higher percentage of hay and a slightly smaller amount of vegetables and fruits than guinea pigs.