Guinea pig and food bowl

Can rabbits eat guinea pig food?

Find out if you can safely give guinea pig food to your bunny, with the similarities and differences between guinea pig and rabbit pellets.

Perhaps you are a proud rabbit owner who is also a proud guinea pig owner. Or perhaps you’ve run out of rabbit pellets (also called rabbit nuggets) and the local supermarket only has guinea pig pellets. Either way, you need to know whether you can safely give food designed for guinea pigs to your rabbit if you need to (or if your bunny steals food from your guinea pig – some bunnies are quite mischievous…). So here’s a complete answer, beginning with a short summary for those who want the key points.

Is guinea pig food safe for rabbits to eat?

Rabbits can safely eat guinea pig food, including guinea pig pellets and snacks. Their diets are extremely similar, both being mainly based on hay. The main difference is that guinea pig pellets have extra vitamin C added, which bunnies don’t need but guinea pigs do. Because of this, guinea pig pellets are safe for rabbits in an emergency or for a short period of time, but switch back to pellets formulated for rabbits when you can.

What foods do guinea pigs eat?

Guinea pigs are herbivores who need high quantities of fibre. The best diet for guinea pigs is lots of fresh hay (preferably timothy hay) or grass (about 90% of their diet). Roughly, you need to give them each day a quantity of hay about equal to their body size. You can then supplement this with some fresh vegetables or herbs, and about a tablespoon of guinea pig pellets. Small quantities of fruit can be given as a treat. And don’t forget fresh water. Check out more details here.

What foods do rabbits eat?

You will notice the similarity with guinea pigs. Rabbits are also herbivores who need lots of fibre in their diets. Like guinea pigs, rabbits also need mostly fresh hay or grass, and again about the size of their body each day. A handful of green vegetables or herbs can be given in addition. And rabbits can have about an egg-cupful of rabbit pellets each day. Just like guinea pigs, small quantities of fruit make a tasty treat for bunnies. And rabbits drink lots of water.

What is the difference between rabbit pellets and guinea pig pellets?

If you look at the ingredients on rabbit pellets and guinea pig pellets, they are almost identical. The only significant difference is that the makers add vitamin C to guinea pig pellets.

This is because guinea pigs can’t make vitamin C in their bodies – they need it in their diets. Rabbits are different. Rabbits do make vitamin C in their bodies, and so don’t need it added to pellets or in their diets (find out more about what vitamins and minerals rabbits need).

Here’s a table comparing the ingredients of guinea pig pellets and rabbit pellets from the same manufacturer (Burgess). As you can see, the biggest difference is how much vitamin C is in the pellets, with guinea pigs getting an order of magnitude more.

IngredientGuinea pig pelletsRabbit pellets
Beneficial fibre31 %39%
Crude protein17 %13%
Crude oils and fats4 %4%
Crude fibre17 %19%
Crude ash6.5 %6.5%
Vitamin A25,000 IU/kg25,000 IU/kg
Vitamin D32,000 IU/kg2,000 IU/kg
Vitamin E125 mg/kg155 mg/kg
Vitamin C1,050 mg/kg70 mg/kg
Copper sulphate pentahydrate28 mg/kg28 mg/kg
Calcium iodate anhydrous2.34 mg/kg2.34 mg/kg
Sodium selenite0.22 mg/kg0.55 mg/kg
Ferrous sulphate monohydrate133 mg/kg133 mg/kg
Manganese oxide16.1 mg/kg16.1 mg/kg
Zinc oxide139 mg/kg139 mg/kg
Table comparing guinea pig pellet ingredients with rabbit pellet ingredients. Manufacturer is Burgess.

Is the extra vitamin C in guinea pig pellets dangerous to rabbits?

The amount of vitamin C in guinea pig pellets is not dangerous for rabbits. While a gigantic excess of vitamin C is bad for rabbits (a gigantic excess of pretty much anything is never healthy), the levels in guinea pig food are fine. The safe limit for vitamin C in rabbit food is double what you find in guinea pig pellets (check out more about rabbit nutrition here).

Can you feed your rabbit guinea pig treats?

Any treat that is sold by a reputable manufacturer as being suitable for guinea pigs is also almost certainly suitable for rabbits, because their diets are so similar.

However, by the same token, just as you can get some treats that are unhealthy for guinea pigs, so these will also be unhealthy for rabbits.

But a good rule of thumb is, if guinea pigs can eat it, so can bunnies.

How much guinea pig food should you feed your rabbit?

You should feed your rabbit their normal amounts if substituting guinea pig food. Of course, hay is the same for both guinea pigs and rabbits. If you need to use guinea pig pellets, give your bunny about an egg-cupful of pellets a day, just as you would with rabbit pellets.


If you need to feed guinea pig pellets to your rabbit, or if your rabbit steals some guinea pig pellets, you can relax. Guinea pigs and rabbits have pretty much the same diet, and the pellets are extremely similar in composition. The only significant difference is that guinea pig pellets have additional vitamin C, which rabbits don’t need, but the vitamin C won’t cause your rabbit any harm.

If you want to find out more about your bunny’s diet and health, check out these posts:

We have an article on the vitamins and minerals that rabbits need.

This article explains which fruit (and how much) you can give your bunny.

Not all herbs are safe for rabbits. Find out more here.

Explore how rabbits digest their food.

Posted by Jonathan