We all love hamsters! Don’t we? Their silky fur, wide black eyes, and calm nature are indeed an adorable sight, which can instantly melt anyone’s heart! What your Hamster eats significantly impacts the quality of its life; therefore, its diet is an essential concern among most hamster owners.
Usually, stores are loaded with a diverse range of pet food for cats and dogs, that sometimes it seems like our little cuties are getting glossed over. Plus, if you have a little hamster at your place, you would agree that how frustrating it gets, when your local pet store is short on your rodent’s food.
Apart from this, nowadays keeping guinea pigs and hamsters together is quite popular. Both these mammals aren’t just adorable but require marginal care, and with a proper diet, they can surely live for years!
Therefore, there’s a common query raised among most hamster owners if they can actually feed guinea pig food to their hamsters. Curious about it? Fortunately, you are exactly at the right place as here we have gathered a comprehensive to help you solve your queries in this regard.
Let’s get started!
So Can Hamsters eat Guinea Pig Food?
To cut it short, NO you shouldn’t! Although you may find divided opinions on the internet in this regard; however, we suggest you not include Guinea Pig food in your Hamster’s diet. Although, they both are rodents and have similar natures, but have very particular nutritional requirements. Feeding them once in a while might be fine, but including it in your hamster’s diet regularly is a big NO!
Hamster and Guinea pigs: Diet Comparison
Unlike most rodents, hamsters are omnivores; and prefer a diverse range of plants and animals in their diet. The best diet you can offer to your pet hamster is similar to what they would eat in the wild. Hamsters simply love to hoard their food in their mouth. Although they can consume a wide variety of food items, in general, they require three main things, which are fresh fruits, vegetables, and dry foods. In addition to three basic things hamsters also need a small amount of protein. Today, a wide variety of Hamster’ diet is available that is specially formulated to have essential vitamins and minerals to keep Hamster stay fit and healthy. In a natural environment, Hamster eats a variety of food items like plant roots, insects, seeds, nuts, grains, cracked corn, and even small animals.
Not just that, you can even give Hamster some of the remains of your own food, including sugar. If you are worried about the appropriate quantity, a single tablespoon would be enough for your little munchkin.
It’s a common misconception among hamster owners that their little friends can feed on literally everything. However, this is merely false, as they have a sensitive digestive system. They must only be given the food which is actually for them!
Our ultimate Tip: Make sure to keep a scrap of wood in your Hamster’s terrarium, as it ensures the healthy and strong teeth of your little rodent!
On the other hand, Guinea pigs are exclusively herbivores and can only consume a plant-based diet. Generally, they can have almost all the common vegetables such as lettuce, chard, peppers, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, green beans, and others. However, certain vegetables such as spinach and parsley must only be given in specified quantities, as they are rich in calcium content. Not just calcium-rich vegetables, carrots must also be given only in limited quantity as excessive sugar can be harmful to the pigs.
Therefore, they usually prefer commercially manufactured diets to their pigs, as they aren’t just convenient but also budget-friendly. These commercial diets are specifically developed to meet the nutritional requirements of guinea pigs only. They may good enough for guinea pigs; however, unfortunately, they are not sufficient enough for rodents, including Hamsters. A prominent example in this matter is vitamin C content, which is quite rich in guinea pig food; however, it may be harmful to your little Hamster!
Distinct Ingesting Behavior
Differences in eating, chewing, and digesting habits are some of the most significant reasons why you can’t feed your Hamster with guinea pig foods. Well, for hamsters, they love to stock their mouths will a lot of food! Like, really a lot! They can fill in their cheeks with food up to double or triple the size of their head. On the other hand, Guinea pigs are unable to transport this way. Hence, it very crucial to make sure that you don’t feed anything sticky or something that may go bad or rot quickly after being in their mouth for a while, such as carrots, kale, strawberries, and bananas(In contrast, guinea pigs love them!)
Not just that, there are also noticeable differences in the volume they take in their food. As hamsters are relatively smaller rodents (weighing no more than a quarter of a pound), they require food in limited volumes. Meanwhile, guinea pigs can weigh more than two-and-a-half pounds; and need food in larger volumes.
What does a hamster need which Guinea pig food can’t provide?
Commercially manufactured pellet or chow is widely available in the market, and they are a staple part of your Hamster’s diet. These highly popular food pellets contain 15% crude protein, which can effectively meet the recommended requirements. They are developed with a variety of nourishing essentials such as hay for fiber, oats, and barley for energy along with canola. Not just that, the pellet also contains an ideal blend of supplements, pre-biotic, and pro-biotic in the perfect proportion, which is vital for optimal digestive and dental health.
Alternatives for Guinea Pig food
Luckily, hamsters are omnivores; therefore, they can be given a wide range of foods. As mentioned above as well, you may complement a balanced hamster diet by offering fresh fruits or vegetables such as apples and spinach every two or three days. Apples, in particular, are an incredible treat for your little munchkin!
Apart from fresh fruits and hay, you may also serve your little furry friend with small pieces of fully cooked, unseasoned chicken or beef (It’s beneficial for their health!). Hamsters can also be treated with small insects like crickets, mealworms, and grubs occasionally.
Well, if you love spoiling your little friend (in a healthy way of course), you may also provide your Hamster with Yogurt based treats. These Hamster specific yogurts are available in multiple flavors, and trust me; your little munchkin will love you for this!
An important aspect to be comprehended here by every hamster owner is to always introduce these alternative dietary portions in your Hamster’s diet in limited quantities. As every Hamster is unique, their sensitivities and tolerance toward certain food may vary. Hence, if you witness any allergic reaction, weakness, or any other symptom in your Hamster, immediately stop feeding it!
Ultimately, feeding Guinea Pig food to your Hamster is a big NO! It’s not that the formulated guinea pig pellets are not an ideal alternative, but in fact, their high vitamin C content can be harmful to your little munchkin. Not just that, Guinea Pig food is also reported to harm inside of Hamster’s mouths as it’s not designed for it. So it’s better to always avoid it!