The popularity of keeping various types of rodents all the way from mice and hamsters all the way up to rats and guinea pigs is growing at a rapid pace with many people who initially start with one pet rodent quickly falling in love with them and adding additional pets to their family quickly. Quiet often this will result in people having multiple types of pet rodents such as hamsters and guinea pigs in the same home and today’s article is going to be focusing on a question that we commonly see from these people.
Over the last six to twelve months, there has been a drastic increase in the number of people reaching out and asking questions about if guinea pigs are able to eat hamster food or not. There is a huge amount of confusion on social media about the topic with much of it being totally incorrect and actually potentially dangerous to your pet guinea pig so we wanted to publish out own article on the topic in the hope that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible better identify what they should be feeding their pet guinea pigs.
With so many people asking if they are able to feed their pet guinea pig the cheaper hamster food products, we felt that it was important to publish this article and cover the three main questions that we see from the community on the topic. This means that our article should be able to fully answer the topic and ensure that you understand why you should not feed your guinea pig hamster food in any situation.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Hamster Food?
Although guinea pigs will eat hamster food if you give them the chance, you should always avoid offering food designed for hamsters to eat to your pet guinea pig. Hamsters and guinea pigs have a totally different nutrient requirement from their food with hamster food being drastically deficient in essential nutrients that your guinea pig requires, especially Vitamin C with these issues quickly being able to develop into various health problems.
As you can probably guess, the majority of hamster food products have been specifically designed to meet the nutritional requirements of the much smaller hamster and do that job perfectly. Guinea pigs on the other hand often require much larger amounts of Vitamin C as well as other vitamins and minerals to be able to lead a long and healthy life free from problems with illness and disease.
Some people do try to top up their pet guinea pigs vitamin and mineral intake using a specialist guinea pig multivitamin and this can be a great idea even if you are using a high-quality guinea pig food. We have seen some people try to feed their guinea pig a hamster food as its primary food source and then top their guinea pigs nutritional intake up using a multivitamin and in our opinion, this is just not worth the risk when there are plenty of great guinea pig food options on the market.
Why Is Hamster Food Bad For Guinea Pigs?
Hamster food is not suitable for use as a guinea pig feed due to it not containing the required vitamin and mineral profile to meet the nutritional requirements of a guinea pig. Although they are perfect for use with pet hamsters, the larger size and slightly different immune systems of a guinea pig require a considerably higher vitamin and mineral intake.
In addition to that, the macronutrient profile that guinea pigs require is also slightly different to that of a hamster too meaning that hamster food does not have the correct ratio of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins required for a guinea pig. This can quickly result in digestive upset in your guinea pig that can otherwise have easily been avoided if you had fed your guinea pig a high-quality guinea pig food instead.
Guinea pigs also tend to do much better on a diet of pellets that have been designed for them to consume with most commercially available guinea pig food products on the market following this production style now. Hamster food is usually loose ingredients with some of the seeds being so small that many guinea pigs may not even try to eat them where as a hamster will. This further reduces the available nutrients in the food for your guinea pig in a food source that is already nutritionally deficient for what they require.
What Should You Feed Guinea Pigs Instead Of Hamster Food?
You should always try to feed your guinea pig a nutritionally complete food that has been specifically designed for guinea pigs to eat rather than a food designed for any other rodent. Guinea pigs are unique in the rodent world in their high vitamin and mineral requirements making it difficult for them to lead a long and healthy life on foods that have not been specifically designed for them.
This is why we always recommend that our readers go with a high-quality guinea pig food if possible and if you notice that your guinea pig does not eat its full food portions you can also look to add a a specialist guinea pig multivitamin can be a good idea. Guinea pigs can end up suffering from some health problems that may require them to have their diet supplemented with one of these multivitamins too, if your veterinarian ever recommends you add one of these multivitamins to your guinea pigs diet then be sure to do it as they are cheap yet offer a ton of value to your guinea pig.
Still, the vast majority of our readers will be totally fine by feeding their guinea pig a decent guinea pig pellet based food. This should be able to provide your pet guinea pig the majority of what it needs in its diet and reduce the chances of it having any problems with a vitamin and mineral deficiency or any problems with incorrect macronutrient values too.
That brings our article going over if guinea pigs can eat hamster food or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand why they should avoid feeding their guinea pig a food designed for hamsters. It is simply not suitable for the requirements of your pet guinea pig and can end up causing some serious health problems if your pet guinea pig is fed hamster food for an extended period of time.