It’s always fun to find new things that your rabbit can snack on when it’s hungry, and if you’re glancing around the kitchen, you might wonder whether you can share one pet’s food with another. Can rabbits eat dog food?
No, rabbits should never be given dog food. Rabbits are herbivores and should not eat meat, as they cannot digest it well, and it may cause havoc in the digestive system. Furthermore, dog food tends to be full of carbohydrates and protein, making it unsuitable for a rabbit.
Why Can’t Rabbits Have Dog Food?
Rabbits cannot have dog food for two reasons: firstly, it contains a lot of meat, and secondly, it is too high in fat, carbohydrates, and protein for the rabbit to cope with.
Meat can be problematic for rabbits because their systems are not designed to handle it well. A rabbit that consumes meat may quickly start to suffer from stomach upset and diarrhea. It will not be able to digest the meat properly, which may stop it from taking in other foods.
In some cases, eating meat could cause a digestive blockage because it won’t get broken down efficiently. Rabbits cannot vomit, so they have no choice but to try to digest things once they have swallowed them, even if this is tough on the system.
Your rabbit may not get sick from eating a small amount of meat, but this should still be avoided as much as possible. Rabbits are herbivores, and meat should never be on their menu.
Furthermore, meat is usually high in fat, carbohydrates, and protein, and rabbits do not need a lot of these things in their diets. They do need fiber, however, which meat is low in.
This imbalance can make them sick quickly. Rabbits have large stomachs and can eat a lot at once, but they depend upon high-fiber foods to push the things they eat through their guts.
If they don’t eat enough fiber, they are likely to suffer from a condition known as GI stasis. This happens when food gets stuck in the guts and starts to ferment, and it can be fatal if it is not treated. If your rabbit isn’t pooping, get it checked out by a vet promptly.
Even if your rabbit manages to digest the meat, the level of fats and carbohydrates in dog food could be problematic. Rabbits are vulnerable to weight gain, partly because they do not do much exercise, and an obese rabbit may suffer from other health conditions.
Arthritis and heart disease are common problems associated with overweight rabbits, so avoid foods that are heavy in fats and carbs to keep your bunny healthy.
Can Rabbits Have Dry Dog Food?
No, rabbits should not have dry dog food. It is not safe for them to consume for the above reasons, and although the crunchiness may be good for the rabbit’s teeth, there are plenty of other things that you can give a rabbit to gnaw on.
This also applies to dog treats that are hard. Because dogs enjoy meat, most dog treats will contain it and, therefore, will not be suitable for rabbits. Additionally, most dog treats will contain protein and fat because dogs need these things.
All dry dog food, including treats, should be kept away from your rabbit. Don’t leave packets of food lying around; rabbits can easily gnaw through bags. You might think that dog food wouldn’t appeal to your bunny, but some rabbits will simply classify it as “food” and try to eat it, even though it isn’t good for them.
Can Rabbits Have Wet Dog Food?
Your rabbit should not be given wet dog food either. This does not even have the benefit of being good for the teeth; it is mushy and soft, which isn’t ideal for rabbits.
Wet dog food could contribute to diarrhea and stomach pain and should not be offered to your rabbit at any point. If you are feeding your dog, remove the rabbit from the room or put it back in its cage.
It’s good practice not to let your rabbit approach your dog’s food bowl at any time. Some dogs can be possessive of their food, and your bunny could get hurt if it tries to eat your dog’s dinner.
Help, My Rabbit Ate Dog Food!
Occasionally, your rabbit may manage to get hold of dog food, even though you are cautious about this. It’s important not to panic if this happens.
You should start by assessing how much dog food it has eaten and how your bunny is looking. On the whole, a small amount of dog food will not be harmful to your rabbit, although you need to be more careful in the future.
You should offer your rabbit some clean water and fresh hay, as the fiber will help to push the food through its guts and minimize the risk of issues.
If your rabbit seems sick or lethargic, you should call your vet. If not, it should be safe to monitor it for a day or two. If it develops any signs of being unwell, take it to the vet promptly.
If your rabbit has eaten a large amount of dog food, it’s a good idea to get it checked out as soon as possible, even if it doesn’t seem unwell.
What Should I Feed My Rabbit Instead?
Your rabbit’s diet should be almost entirely based on hay or grass, with a small portion of fresh greens and a few vegetables each day. This will create a fiber-based diet that should keep its stomach healthy and its weight low.
Don’t feed your rabbit dairy or meat-based products at any time, and avoid any foods that contain these ingredients.