Can guinea pigs eat dog food? If you’re thinking of feeding your guinea pig raw meat, then it’s probably not a good idea. Guinea pigs eat plants in their diet. Their digestive system is designed to digest plants only rather than meat.
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You would need to keep the dog food separate from the guinea pig food in most cases, as they are on different diets. This is necessary because animal-based dog foods may not be suitable for guinea pigs, and vice versa.
Guinea pigs cannot eat dog food as it is not compatible with their diet, it is due to the following reasons:
Guinea pigs are unable to produce vitamin C, which is why they need to consume it. Therefore, they must ensure that their foods contain vitamin C to stay healthy.
Dogs produce their own vitamin C, so a dog’s food may not contain any supplemental vitamin C if enough of the essential nutrient is being consumed through natural methods. This means that a Guinea pig cannot have this food due to the absence of vitamin C.
Guinea pigs require the same nutrients as humans (e.g. protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre). Guinea pigs that lack enough vitamin C could develop the disease of scurvy, and it is potentially fatal for them.
However, you should take notice of the fact that the amount of vitamin C is reduced over time, and if a guinea pig eats pellets as recommended, then they will only last for a short period of time.
This is a big problem because when the amount of vitamin C present in pellets depletes, and if you continue to feed your guinea pig without adding another supplement, they won’t have enough nutrients.
In addition, the quantity of the essential vitamin C that a guinea pig requires can increase to higher than 5 times if they are not well or in case of pregnancy in these pigs.
Guinea Pigs as Plant Eaters
Guinea pigs are herbivores, so they cannot digest animal products. Their digestive system is developed in a way that they can process plant food only.
Dogs are carnivores and meat is one of the main ingredients in their diet. Guinea pigs cannot process certain proteins and things that other animals can. Feeding them something different from the food they are used to, like dog food, can make it hard for their digestive systems to cope with it.
Hay is an essential element present in guinea pigs’ dietary intake. Guinea pigs do not have the same enzymes or even acids that are needed to process meat as humans.
Even if meat contains important nutrients that are beneficial for Guinea pigs, then also they should not eat that, as they cannot digest it anyway.
Lack of Nutritional Benefits
Guinea pigs do not require or have nutritional use for meat as it does not hold the nutrients and fibre they require. Hence, feeding your pig exclusively with caged animals is the same as not feeding him anything, as he acquires no benefits from this?
The potential impact of serving meat to Guinea pigs?
Feeding a guinea pig a dog food diet will adversely influence their health.
The impact of serving your guinea pig meat:
1. Increase in Cholesterol Levels
Guinea pigs need to stay away from a diet high in cholesterol because they are likely to have heart disease like humans.
It’s been found that serving your guinea pig with any type of meat can increase their cholesterol levels and in long term, it may even lead to fatal heart diseases.
These pigs are vulnerable to fatness whenever they possess a calorie-intensive diet. Refined sugars and other high-calorie items cause weight gain, which puts extra weight on the animal’s organs, leading to organ damage or other serious diseases.
3. Heart Diseases
Serving your guinea pig high-calorie foods is not good for the reasons that are mentioned previously. These animals have a very delicate system that is not able to ingest fats. Hence, serving pigs a diet high in fats (saturated fats) can lead to serious medical conditions.
Remedial Action When Your Guinea Pig Eats Dog Food
If you find dog food in your guinea pig cage, it might be because they were hungry and the food in their usual home was gone. Check to see if there’s still some other food left in the cage and if so make sure that that’s where your pet is going to eat from now on. If not, you might have to just keep a closer eye.
If mistakenly your guinea breed pig has eaten the dog food left around it, then firstly, don’t panic – it will be just fine. Here are a few things to do to make sure that your pet is healthy and safe.
Feel free to take a picture of the key ingredients present in the dog’s food and notify your veterinarian right away. Veterinarians might be able to guide better about what to do next.
It is necessary to take the guinea pig to the vet if it ate too much dog food or wait for a few days, in case if your pet shows some strange signs of illness. The veterinarian will ensure you what symptoms to check for and what these might mean, as this may indicate serious issues.
Foods That Can be given to Guinea Pig
Purchasing foods for a guinea pig can be a bit of a challenge. The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of diet your pet should have. Is it an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore?
It is important to know that meats can have a negative impact on a pig’s health. There are different types of food that can make their diet healthy.
Hay is the utmost important part of a guinea pig’s diet and it should be always available to them.
There are multiple types of hay and they all make good choices.
Legumes are often thought of as main things like soy and peanuts, but legume hay like alfalfa may possess an excessive amount of calories including protein, and calcium, so don’t feed your baby pig of 6 months or younger and pregnant guinea pigs with these foods.
Hay is the most important part of guinea pigs’ food as it serves to groom and nourish their teeth. Guinea pigs constantly grow new teeth and need large amounts of hay to consume in order to help keep them clean.
Without something to grind, guinea pig teeth can outgrow which can cause irregularities.
Green vegetables are high in vitamin C and make a great addition to your guinea pig’s diet. Before feeding your guinea pig with any kind of leafy green vegetables, you need to ensure that it is a type of leafy green the animal can eat. Some types, for e.g. lettuce, can possess no edible worth, but other leafy vegetables do have nutritional value for them.
Leafy green vegetables, like kale or rocket, are healthy ingredients for your pig’s diet. Other tasty examples include marigold, rosemary and dill. Focus your feed around a maximum of 3 number of leaves in a single day to feed your Guinea pig with these vegetables.
Fruits are a great way to give your guinea pig some extra vitamin C. But they should be used occasionally and only as a supplement to their regular diet, no more or no less.
If you feed a guinea pig a lot of fruit it could create diabetes or another disease known as cataracts and can cause harm to their health with other complications too.
You should give your pig any fruit, a few times or twice a week. The type of fruit that you should feed your pig depends on its breed. There are various fruits that you can include in the diet of a guinea pig. This could include apples and mangoes. If you plan on feeding them an apple, then make sure to remove the seeds first.
They also like to consume vegetables and munch on them occasionally. Vegan diets are even recommended for some guinea pigs. But a good rule of thumb is to only give them a few vegetables in a week because due to the high amount of the essential vitamin C in vegetables, this should not be used to replace hay, which makes up about the most of their diet.
A huge variety of dog foods use animal products, which isn’t healthy for guinea pigs. Dog foods are mostly made up of meat that is not at all suitable for a guinea pig.
Guinea pigs have sensitive digestive systems and can be susceptible to complications if their food or water isn’t regularly cleaned. Have the vet clean their ears, check for fleas and de-hair them periodically. So if you think, that the leftover dog food that you have is not to be wasted and you are planning to feed it to your guinea pig, then please don’t feed them that, instead of that give them some hay to munch on.