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Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food? Is It a Yummy Alternative?

can gerbils eat guinea pig food

Gerbils are widely loved for their curious personalities and joyous antics.

But if you’re considering adding a gerbil to your family, it’s important to be aware of their dietary needs. A common question those new to gerbil ownership ask is: Can gerbils eat guinea pig food?

So while it might seem strange to ask if gerbils can eat guinea pig food, it’s an important question for many pet owners.  You’ve probably walked past the pet supply aisles and noticed just how similar the grains and nutrition in both gerbil and guinea pig food are and have wondered if it’s safe for your pet.

Let’s explore the nutritional needs of gerbils and whether guinea pig food is suitable for them. We’ll discover the essential nutrients that gerbils need in their diet and examine the ingredients in guinea pig food to see if it’s safe for gerbils to eat. 

While both have similar characteristics, gerbils are rodents and guinea pigs are cavies. So it is crucial then that we look at the risks, if any, of gerbils eating guinea pig food. 

Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food?

Cute gerbil with grain

Gerbils are often seen as close cousins to guinea pigs, but there are still many differences between the two animals. One big difference is what they can and can’t eat, so the question of “can gerbils eat guinea pig food” is an important one. 

Gerbils can certainly eat guinea pig food, as it is fortified with nutrients that gerbils need in order to survive. However while guinea pig food may contain some of the same ingredients as gerbil food, it is not the same, and it is not the best option for gerbils. 

Guinea pig food is usually high in calcium, which can be dangerous for gerbils. It also comes fortified with Vitamin C which guinea pigs need and gerbils do not. Gerbils also need higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals, which guinea pig food may not provide.

So if you do happen to purchase guinea pig food by mistake, it’s best to return it or feed only a small amount at a time along with gerbil food mixed in. 

 Is the Nutritional Value of Guinea Pig Food Beneficial for Gerbils?

Watercolor gerbil

Gerbils Diet

Gerbils are omnivorous, necessitating an intake of protein as part of their diet. Pet gerbils can feed on mealworms and crickets which are abundant in protein. Additionally, gerbils may be offered small amounts of apple, carrot, broccoli, sprouts, and cauliflower!

Guinea pig food has some nutritional benefits for gerbils, as it contains a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals. While it is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of guinea pigs and other small animals, it may not meet all of your gerbil’s needs. Guinea pigs are herbivores, while gerbils are omnivores, so their nutritional requirements are somewhat different. 

Do Gerbils Like Guinea Pig Food?

Gerbils, who can be quite ravenous, may enjoy guinea pig food on the rare occasion that they do receive it. The taste may be quite similar to a gerbil mix so they may not notice the difference in taste.

However, their like or dislike is not the real issue at hand here, but rather that gerbils have different nutritional needs to guinea pigs. 

In reality, guinea pig food may not provide the balanced diet that gerbils need. Because gerbils require a diet that is relatively high in protein, guinea pig food will not meet this requirement.

Some gerbil owners opt to feed their gerbils guinea pig food but supplement it with additional proteins such as seeds, nuts, or mealworms. Ultimately, it is best to consult with your veterinarian for advice on the best diet for your pet gerbil.

gerbils health requirement

Risks of Feeding Guinea Pig Food To Gerbils

While guinea pigs are usually fed hay, fresh vegetables, and a vitamin-fortified pellet, gerbils require seeds, dried fruits, and a variety of pellets including protein to remain healthy. Eating guinea pig food can cause an imbalance in the gerbil’s diet, leading to digestive issues and conditions like obesity, malnutrition, and poor dental health if eaten regularly.

In essence, the main risk of feeding guinea pig food to gerbils is nutritional imbalance. For example, most pellet mixes for guinea pigs come fortified with a high amount of Vitamin C which is essential for these little animals to thrive.

Gerbils can and do eat food that contains Vitamin C, however, science has not yet proven if it is indeed necessary for their diet.

Most guinea pig pellet mixes also contain high amounts of fiber which is necessary for their digestive system. However, these amounts may be too much for a gerbil and may actually cause digestive issues. 

With that said, most guinea pig pellet mixes contain some amount of protein, calcium, and Vitamins A, D, and E which are beneficial for gerbils. 

How Much Guinea Pig Food Can a Gerbil Safely consume?

We would not want to make assumptions about this matter, so it’s best to consult a veterinarian concerning the amount. If you are in a dire situation and there is simply nothing else to try, the key is to provide just the right amount of guinea pig food for the gerbil’s size and activity level.

 As with any pet, it’s important to make sure your gerbil enjoys a balanced and nutritious diet to ensure it stays healthy.

Guinea Pigs Diet

It is recommended that guinea pigs feed on large amounts of hay with high-fiber, along with a daily Vitamin C supplement or small amounts of vitamin C rich fruits.

Difference Between Guinea Pig Food and Gerbil Food

In terms of nutritional value, gerbils thrive on a diet that is higher in protein than guinea pigs. Additionally, gerbils enjoy a wide variety of seeds, nuts, and dried fruits, while guinea pigs can benefit from hay, along with certain fruits, and veggies. It is best that guinea pigs avoid nuts and seeds. 

Guinea pig and gerbil food types

 How Regularly Can a Gerbil Eat Guinea Pig Food?

When it comes to your beloved pet gerbil, you want only the best. While gerbils can actually benefit from guinea pig food in small amounts, it’s best to purchase a high-quality pellet mixed that is made just for them. 

For optimal health, feed your gerbil on a pellet mix along with small quantities of fruits, nuts, seeds, insects, and veggies. 

Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food?

So, gerbils can eat guinea pig food, but it is not recommended due to the different nutritional needs of the two species. Gerbils need more protein and fat, than guinea pigs to stay healthy, so something with a higher percentage of these nutrients is preferred.

 It is essential to give gerbils a variety of foods to ensure that they are getting the nutrition they need.

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