If you’re a new or experienced pet owner and have both a hamster and a guinea pig or plan on getting one or the other soon, you might be wondering if they can share the same food. The truth is, feeding your hamster with guinea pig food is not recommended. Let’s delve into their dietary requirements and find out what hamsters can and can’t eat so you can be sure your furry friend is healthy and well-fed.
Hamsters and guinea pigs look similar, and their food comes in comparable packaging, making it easy to understand why some pet owners get tempted to give their hamster some guinea pig food or stick to guinea pig food for both. However, hamsters and guinea pigs have different nutritional requirements, and their safety is at stake. Here’s why.
Similarities And Differences Between Hamster and Guinea Pig
One notable difference between hamsters and guinea pigs is their cheeks. Hamsters have cheek pouches that they use to carry and hoard food, while guinea pigs don’t have this ability. However, both have open-rooted teeth that keep growing throughout their lives, which requires their diet to include hard foods that can grind their teeth to a healthy length.
Moreover, hamsters are smaller than guinea pigs and weigh less, indicating different food volumes and feeding recommendations. Guinea pigs need lots of hay in their diet, while it’s only a supplemental food for hamsters. In addition, hamsters are omnivores and can eat vegetables, fruits and meat, whereas guinea pigs are herbivores and eat only plant-based foods.
What Does A Hamster Eat?
Hamsters are omnivores, meaning their diet is diverse and should include a nutritionally balanced pellet or chow, and seeds, grains, dried fruits, and vegetables that have the necessary prebiotics and probiotics for optimal digestive health. They can also have fresh fruits and vegetables every two to three days, as well as hay, and fresh, clean water anytime. Hamsters can eat meat, but with the protein in hamster food pellets, it’s not mandatory for optimal health.
Hamsters have a small stomach, and they can become overweight if they eat too many treats, which can be harmful to their health. So, it’s best to limit their treats but spoil them with healthy options such as yogurt-based treats, Vitakraft Hamster Drops, or Ware’s Critter Pops. Make sure to give them small portions and ensure they tolerate the food well.
What Can’t Hamsters Eat
Your hamster’s diet should avoid canned fruits, chocolate, other sweets, processed people food, citrus fruits, peaches, raspberries, and pineapples. Hamsters can also have too many seeds and nuts, so keep them limited as per the hamster mixtures recommendations. Ensure that you don’t give them stale food and get smaller bags of food for freshness.
Can Hamsters Eat Guinea Pig Food?
No, hamsters should not eat guinea pig food. Guinea pigs are herbivores and have a much more restrictive diet that lacks nutrients that hamsters need. Guinea pigs need a lot of hay daily and specially formulated food pellets, which are also suitable for rabbits, chinchillas, and other small animals. Hamsters are omnivores with a particular and diverse diet. Feeding them guinea pig food can upset their digestive system and be harmful to their health.
Summary – Guinea Pig Food For Hamsters
Feeding hamsters with guinea pig food is not safe, and you should not mix their diets. They have different nutritional requirements and feeding recommendations. Hamsters are omnivores, while guinea pigs are herbivores; hamsters eat a variety of foods, while guinea pigs eat mainly hay.
Hamster food options are superb and have all the nutrients that they need. Give them a balanced diet of pellets, seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, hay and clean water. Spoil them with treats but ensure they have limited portions. Keep them healthy and happy.
References And Further Reading
ASPCA, “Hamster Care Fact Sheet”
RSPCA, “How To Take Care Of Your Hamster”
The Humane Society of The United States, “Hamster Feeding”
Horton, S., DVM, Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, “Hamster Care”
Horton, S., DVM, Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, “Guinea Pig Care”
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