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It is common to run out of dog food. Maybe you forgot to buy a new bag of guinea pig food, or you underestimated how long it would take for the one you had to finish. If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder: can guinea pigs eat dog food.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Dog Food?
Guinea pigs cannot eat dog food. Guinea pigs are herbivores, and most dog food contains meat-based ingredients that are not safe for guinea pigs. Most guinea pigs are also incapable of digesting dog food.
Apart from giving no nutritional value to your guinea pig, dog food is likely to seriously harm your guinea pig or even cause death. Diabetes, obesity, intestinal distress, and high cholesterol are some of the conditions that your guinea pig will develop if you feed it dog food over a long time.
Companies that manufacture pet food ensure they list the ingredients they use to make the specific pet food and even mention the pets you feed it to. The same goes for dog food and guinea pig food.
You cannot substitute your guinea pig’s food with dog food and hope nothing will go wrong. It most likely will. The following are reasons you should not feed your guinea pigs dog food.
Guinea Pigs are Herbivores
The digestive system of a guinea pig is incapable of digesting dog food; they are only capable of digesting plants. They are also not able to chew or swallow bones. You may think that cutting meat into small pieces would be great, but it will affect the guinea pig as they do not have the enzymes to digest it.
Feeding meat to guinea pigs will:
- Lead to problems with digestion
- Cause intestinal blockage
- Cause them to have high cholesterol levels
- Become obese due to high-calorie intake
- Develop heart disease due to unsaturated fats
Guinea Pigs Are Incapable of Producing Vitamin C
To remain healthy, guinea pigs need Vitamin C; however, their bodies cannot produce this essential vitamin. To get it, you have to feed them foods rich in Vitamin C, and dog food is not one way for them to get it.
Dogs’ bodies produce Vitamin C; hence most of their food does not have Vitamin C. The same goes for rabbit food; rabbits make Vitamin C, feeding it to your guinea pig may not give it the benefits you think they are gaining. Your guinea pigs may develop scurvy which can be fatal.
Things to feed your guinea pig that supply it Vitamin C include:
- Leafy greens
- Vegetables and fruits
- Red peppers
It is essential to know that Vitamin C depletes over time. You probably feed your guinea pig pellets, ensure you replace them after a few months. If you continue feeding them these same pellets for a long time, the Vitamins may be depleted, and they may begin to experience signs and symptoms of deficiency.
Guinea Pigs Require High Fiber Content
Being herbivores, guinea pigs’ diet should have high fiber content, and dog food does not have this. The following are some things that may occur if you feed your guinea pig food with less or no fiber content.
- Unhealthy intestines from improper digestion
- Constipation resulting from improper bowel movements
- Blockage of the intestinal tract from hard stool
- A distressed pet that may end up being malnourished
You can use supplements to ensure your guinea pig gets the required fiber content. Dog food also has a high protein content that may cause your guinea pig to develop kidney stones. When this happens, the guinea pig may lose their ability to urinate, pass bloody urine and be in a lot of pain.
Dog Food May Cause Illnesses
When you consume junk, your body is likely to suffer the consequences. The same goes for guinea pigs when they eat dog food as it is junk. They will most likely end up becoming obese from the meat and bacon that is fed to dogs.
When they become obese, chances are their blood sugar will rise to abnormal levels, and they will develop diabetes mellitus. This may further lead to kidney failure and even damage the guinea pig’s body organs.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cat Food?
Guinea pigs can’t eat cat food. You could get away with a small amount of it but you shouldn’t do it. Do not try to feed it dry or wet food as it will affect their health. Cat food is mostly protein-based and it can make your guinea pig sick.
What to Do If a Guinea Pig Eats Dog Food?
When you discover that your guinea pig ate dog food, the first thing is to take a picture of the ingredients of the food and send it to your vet. They will know the best thing to do and advise you accordingly.
Dog food is not safe for guinea pigs to consume. It poses a significant health risk and may end up being fatal. It is crucial to separate your pets’ food and feed them the right food if you do not want to compromise their health.