No, rabbits shouldn’t eat any type of dog food. Rabbits need a plant-based diet (as they’re herbivores) and dogs are carnivores (meat-eating). As a result, rabbits and dogs require a totally different type of food to get all the nutrients they need.
The same goes for dogs eating rabbit food. Try to keep your pet’s food separate to avoid any crossovers. Dogs require carbohydrates and proteins while rabbits need fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating the wrong sort of food can cause digestive issues for the pet.
If your rabbit eats your dog’s food too often, or if they manage to eat a lot in one go, then they’re at risk of several health issues.
- Digestive issues: If your rabbit eats the wrong type of food, such as protein, their sensitive digestion system won’t work properly. This is because rabbits are designed to digest fiber and plant-based products.
- Obesity: If your rabbit eats food high in fats and carbohydrates, they’ll likely start to gain weight, and with no change they could become obese. Eventually, they’ll develop heart problems, struggle to groom themselves, and more issues.
- Dental issues: Another issue from eating the wrong type of food is your rabbit’s teeth. If they don’t have enough fiber (e.g. hay) their teeth could overgrow, requiring vet treatment.
- Urinary issues: Too much calcium can cause urinary tract infections and kidney problems for rabbits. Dog food usually has high levels of calcium in it, making it unsuitable for rabbits.
- Kidney damage: Dog food is typically high in protein, and too much protein can lead to kidney damage for your rabbit.
- Nutritional deficiencies: If your rabbit is eating the wrong food, they won’t be getting the specific nutrients that they need to thrive. They’ll get sick and feel the effects quite quickly, in worse cases they’ll need medical intervention.
- Vitamin A toxicity: Dog food contains high amounts of vitamin A, far more than your rabbit needs. If they eat excessive amounts of this vitamin, their body won’t be able to properly get rid of it.
Never hesitate to contact a vet if you’re concerned about your pet. Signs of something not being right include lethargy, diarrhea, not eating, glazed eyes, and behaving out of character.
Some signs of gastrointestinal distress are slow to show, so if you catch your rabbit eating dog food, call your local vet for advice.
Rabbits are notorious grazers and will eat anything they come across. Try these tricks to see if you can keep your rabbit from eating the wrong type of food:
- Feed your pets separately, such as closing your rabbit in the dining room and your dog in the kitchen. If your rabbit has a hutch, close the door while your dog is eating to keep your rabbit away.
- Clean up any spills or leftovers. Make sure you’re looking out for any mess surrounding the food bowl and if your dog finishes eating, don’t leave food sitting in the bowl where your rabbit can reach it.
- Make sure your rabbit isn’t hungry or bored. A rabbit that’s not full will actively seek a snack, and if they’re bored they’re more likely to want to eat. You can buy chew toys to keep your rabbit entertained.
- Avoid automatic feeders. Your rabbit could figure out how to access the food, and help themselves. Rabbits are foragers and won’t know when to stop eating, they’d keep eating until they got sick.
- Supervise your pet at all times. Make sure you don’t leave your pet unattended or with children or people not familiar with rabbits who might mistakenly feed them the wrong food.
- Store food properly. All food (including dog food and rabbit food) should be sensible and securely stored. This can be in a box with a fitted lid or a locked cupboard.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes rabbits will find a way to get to the forbidden dog food. Try to keep your rabbit away from dog food as best you can, and if they do manage to eat some, be prepared to take them to a vet.
If your rabbit eats a small amount of dog food, they might be able to digest it without any need for vet intervention. If you’re unsure how much they’re eaten or if they’re having problems then check in with a professional.
Follow these steps if your rabbit eats dog food:
- Remove the dog food from them straight away.
- Monitor them for signs of distress.
- Make sure they have plenty of hay and water. Your rabbit should be eating a balanced diet.
- If they deteriorate, take them to a vet ASAP.
Can Dogs Eat Rabbit Food?
No, dogs shouldn’t eat rabbit food. It isn’t toxic to your dog, but it isn’t good for them either. Dogs are carnivores and rabbit food is designed for herbivores so it won’t satisfy their nutritional requirements.
Can Rabbits Eat Cat Food?
No, rabbits shouldn’t eat cat food. Similar to dog food, cat food usually contains proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that are unsuitable for rabbits to digest. Try to keep any cat food out of your rabbit’s reach.
What Should Rabbits Eat?
Rabbits should eat a specific diet to be as healthy and happy as possible. They need unlimited hay and drinking water to meet the fiber requirement and to stay hydrated. Twice daily they should be given a variety of fresh vegetables to eat, and once a day they can have a bowl of pellets. The final addition to their diet is treats, which can be given to your rabbit up to twice per week.