Do you have multiple pets at home? If you have both a ferret and a guinea pig, you might want to buy the same pet food for both animals. So, can ferrets eat guinea pig food?
Feeding a ferret the same diet as a guinea pig would be a grave mistake. Both types of animals have very different nutritional needs. Ferrets, specifically, need a protein-based diet, while guinea pig food is full of fiber and is vegetable-based. Guinea pigs normally eat hay and grass, which ferrets are unable to digest.
Keep reading this complete guide to learn more information about the ferret diet and why these animals should avoid guinea pig food.
Can Ferrets Eat Guinea Pig Food?
The simple answer is: no, ferrets cannot eat guinea pig food. Ferrets are meat-eaters and need to have a protein-based diet. As such, the ferret diet should avoid vegetables, fruits, and grains. Guinea pig food, however, consists of hay and vegetables.
Is Guinea Pig Food Safe for Ferrets?
Further, can ferrets eat guinea pig food safely? The general answer is no. Guinea pig food is not safe for ferrets because it is mainly vegetable and grain-based.
In pet stores, most dry pet foods are grain-based and contain corn, wheat, rice, oats, or different grain. It’s fine to feed your ferret dry pet food even if it contains some grain, but it does need to be mainly protein-based. Otherwise, your ferret can suffer from digestive problems and may even develop cancer if their diet has too many carbohydrates.
If you are looking for dry ferret food like pellets, one of the most popular brands is the Marshall Premium Ferret Diet.
Guinea pig food, however, is not protein-based, which means your ferret will suffer from malnutrition if given only this type of food. As such, when picking out the right food for your ferret in the pet store, look for food bags that are high in protein and low in grain.
Why is Guinea Pig Food Bad for Ferrets? (3 Reasons)
There are three main reasons why guinea pig food is bad for ferrets.
- First, it lacks the protein required for these meat-eaters.
- Second, ferrets are unable to digest the vegetables, fruits, and grains found in the guinea pig diet.
- Lastly, ferrets do not belong to the same family of rodents that guinea pigs belong to, which means their nutritional needs are different.
Ferrets require meat, which means the guinea pig diet would leave a ferret malnourished and generally sick. It may even lead your ferret to die prematurely if your pet develops pancreatic cancer from the carbohydrate-heavy diet.
Ferrets will also have pain in their stomach and constipation when eating too many vegetables, fruits, and grains. Guinea pigs are in the family of Mustelidae, which ferrets do not belong to. Guinea pigs are herbivores while ferrets are carnivores, so both animals have different nutritional needs.
To keep your ferret healthy, choose protein-based dry food when you visit the pet store.
Can Guinea Pig Food Be Toxic to Ferrets?
A small or medium amount of guinea pig food fed to a ferret once or twice should not be toxic to your pet. However, if your ferret’s diet mainly consists of guinea pig food and this continues for months or a few years, then it could be toxic and lead to the death of your ferret.
Guinea pig food consists of grains and vegetables, which is dangerous for your ferret. The high carbohydrate levels in the guinea pig food can spike the sugar levels in the blood of your ferret and put your pet at risk of insulinoma, which is a type of pancreatic cancer.
It can also lead your ferret to develop diabetes. These serious medical conditions could lead your ferret to die prematurely.
My Ferret Ate Guinea Pig Food, What Should I Do?
If your ferret ate way too much guinea pig food by accident, you should call your veterinarian. You can also look for an American Animal Hospital Association in case it is after-hours at your veterinarian’s office. An American Animal Hospital Association can provide urgent care and emergency assistance to pet owners any time of day.
Then, follow all the advice and directions that your vet tells you about. You can also take your ferret to the vet with a sample of the food that your pet ate. This can help diagnose any problems with your ferret much more quickly.
You should keep an eye on your ferret over the following several days to see if the animal’s bowel movements are normal and whether your pet is consuming enough protein-based food.
Are All Types of Guinea Pig Food Bad for Ferrets?
Regardless of the type of guinea pig food, it is generally unhealthy to feed ferrets any guinea pig food. Usually, guinea pigs are fed hay, pellets with a high level of fiber, and fruit for treats. However, all of these things are not healthy for a ferret to eat.
Ferrets cannot digest foods high in carbohydrates and fiber. Furthermore, fruits high in sugar can lead your ferret to develop diabetes, blood sugar spikes, and even a form of pancreatic cancer.
Generally, guinea pig food is very low in protein, which is bad for ferrets since they are meat-eaters. So be sure to feed your ferret plenty of protein. You can make some scrambled eggs for your ferret as a treat.
Should Ferrets Ever Eat Guinea Pig Food?
After reading this complete guide, you should know pet owners should avoid feeding their ferrets any guinea pig food even if they have both types of animals living in their homes.
Guinea pig food is full of fiber, carbohydrates, and sugars, which ferrets are not able to digest well, and it can even lead your ferret to develop diabetes or pancreatic cancer. When you stick to a protein-based diet for your ferret, your small creature will be healthy and happy for years to come.