Can Rabbits Eat Dog Food?

If you are a multiple pet owner, you must know how difficult it is to keep one pet from eating the other food. It’s even more difficult if the pets are completely different animals altogether.

If you want to get a rabbit and a dog simultaneously, you probably should know that combined, these are two of the hungriest animals you will find. Dogs will eat just about anything they can get their paws on, including things they shouldn’t be eating. And rabbits are constantly hungry. So much so that they can eat up to thirty times a day and probably still feel hungry. This is mainly because of the unique digestive system that allows them to process food at a much faster rate than for other animals. 

Keeping your rabbit away from your dog’s food doesn’t seem like such a difficult task since their meals are at times, but keeping your dog away from your rabbit’s multiple-a-day feeds is much more of a challenge. Sometimes it becomes so frustrating you consider giving your rabbit dog food so that at least your dog doesn’t eat anything they’re not supposed to and end up with an upset stomach.

The question is, however, is it safe to do so? All things considering, a rabbit is a herbivore who relies on fruits, vegetables, and hay for nutrition, while dogs are omnivores and eat both plants and meat for a complete and healthy meal.

So, what will happen to your rabbit if you do feed them your dog’s food? We’ve done the research to answer all your questions. Read on to find out the answers.

Can Rabbits Eat Dog Food?

If you were hoping for a quick solution for mealtime problems, unfortunately for you feeding your rabbit dog food isn’t the answer. Rabbits should not be fed dog food under any circumstances, even in small amounts.

As we mentioned, rabbits are herbivores and have different digestive systems as opposed to omnivorous dogs. To strive, rabbits need an ample amount of fiber, which they get from hay and the commercially available pellets that have been designed especially for our bunnies. 

They won’t get that nutrition from dog food since that has been designed to keep your dog’s nutrition in mind and focuses more on meats, grain, and fillers. These are foods that a rabbit’s digestive system won’t be able to break down and, as a result, will suffer from stomach problems.

As multiple pet owners, we need to understand that not all pets are the same, just like humans aren’t the same. And so they have different needs. What works well for your dog doesn’t mean that it will work well for your rabbit, and the same applies the other way round.

Feeding your rabbit dog food will give them all the food that they don’t need to be eating since it doesn’t contain any nutritional value for them—especially meat. Rabbits cannot and should not eat meat or anything derived from animal protein. Dogs, on the other hand, need meat. And there is the major reason why dog food just won’t cut it for rabbits.

How a herbivores system works:

The distinction between the system of a carnivore and herbivore lies in their digestive systems. Dogs have a much more complex system that can tolerate meat and plant nutrition, where rabbits are pure herbivores, and so the meat is a foreign body in their system, which simply just doesn’t belong. So what happens if meat makes its way into their system?

As it turns out, digesting plants and plant material is much more difficult for the system to do. This is because plants have chemical properties that make them difficult to do. So a herbivore, such as your rabbit, has digestive systems that have been specially adapted to the extra hard work they have to put in to digest your rabbit’s meals. Some animals have special enzymes that have evolved to break down these plant particles, while some animals even have extra stomachs (like cows do).

The enzymes’ needed to break the meat down are much more different, and your rabbit does not possess these enzymes. They don’t occur naturally in their systems and nor can they develop as a result of your rabbit being fed meat. That’s just the way nature works.

What is missing in dog food for rabbits?

Rabbits have a unique digestive system, and one thing their system needs is fiber and lots of it. Since rabbits process their meals at a very quick pace and thus need to eat more, they are given hay as a filler, and it also serves as an important source of fiber.

Meat does not contain enough fiber for rabbits. Instead, for a rabbit-specific standard, it has way too much fat and protein. This won’t work well for your rabbits. They will be deprived of their needs and will also have to suffer from stomach upset distress.

It doesn’t even matter if you find the most nutritious and most high-quality meat possible. It doesn’t matter how you cook it or how you season it. The meat will never be good enough to be fed to your rabbit.

Will dog food kill my rabbit?

This is a loaded question, and the answer depends on a few factors. The most important thing to consider is how much dog food you have been feeding your rabbit. Too much dog food can most definitely kill your little bunny. The lack of proper nutrition and the damage meat causes to your herbivore bunny’s insides are a deadly combination.

However, you don’t need to worry if your rabbit steals a few pieces of dry kibble from your dog’s bowl. A few pieces here and there won’t land your rabbit in the ER, and chances are you won’t even find immediate signs of distress. If they do show any reaction, it will probably be bowel problems or a tummy ache, but nothing of severe consequences or concern even.

It should be of comfort to you that rabbits are much smarter than we give them credit for. Your rabbit will mostly like to choose not to eat the meat flavored dog food, and even if they take a piece to try out, the chances are that they’ll spit it out themselves and won’t repeat the same mistake. Nevertheless, you can’t rely on their instincts alone and especially where processed dog food is concerned. This dog food used a lot of grains and fillers, and as a result, the smell and taste of meat may be disguised, and it might attract your rabbit. Not to mention that rabbits as-is are always hungry, and if you have an especially greedy rabbit, they might not hold back, even with dog food!

How to stop rabbits from eating dog food?

While dogs are the ones who are notorious for eating just about anything they can get their paws on, it doesn’t mean rabbits won’t go around experimenting with the food they find in easy access. To keep your rabbit away from your dog’s food, you’ll have to take certain precautions.

To start with, educate everyone at home that dog food isn’t safe for rabbits, and so everyone is on the safe page. Extra eyes on your rabbit are always helpful. Make sure never to offer the dog food to your rabbit yourself, no matter how tempting it may be or no matter how much your rabbit shows interest in the food.

Rabbit owners are encouraged to let their rabbits roam freely at home. If this is something you allow, make sure they aren’t left unsupervised, especially around your dog’s food plates and bowls. Rabbits are curious animals, and so if they see something new in your dog’s bowl, they will be drawn to it, which is why they need to be kept away. If your dog has finished their food, try to remove their bowls and keep them out of your rabbit’s reach.

If your rabbit is desperate to taste your dog’s meal and is excessively begging for it, make sure that you’re feeding them enough and their food meets their nutritional requirements.

Also, make sure that your rabbit has constant access to hay. This is the healthiest snack come filler for your rabbit to munch on.

Take away:

It is never a good idea to mix your pet’s food up, especially if they have varying food needs. Herbivores such as rabbits do not have the same food tolerances as dogs who eat meat as well as plants. The last thing any pet owner wants is for their pets to suffer both physically and nutritionally, and so if you want to keep your rabbits away from dog food.

Rabbits need a wide selection of fruits and vegetables to keep healthy. The list of rabbit appropriate food is long and has very few limitations. In addition to the green, pellets and hay provide great nutritional value to their diets. Happy feeding!

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