A good friend of mine has a beautiful white bunny called Daisy. Daisy is a cute, very curious rabbit that gets along great with another house pet- dog called Roger ( a boxer). The problem is that Daisy steals the food from Roger’s bowl very often! Roger seems to be ok with that but is it ok for Daisy? Could dog food be harmful to rabbits?
Dog food is not good for rabbits. Rabbits are herbivores. That means they eat plant material. On the other hand, dog food is rich in proteins ( that come from meat), fat, and carbohydrates. Too many of these elements can lead to obesity and different severe health conditions in rabbits.
I did research on this topic to discover what could be possible consequences if rabbit eats dog food. How to prevent that? Is anything can happen to a dog if he eats rabbit food? If you are eager to learn more about this keep reading our article.
What Will Happen If My Bunny Eats Dog Food?
If your rabbit eats a small amount of dog food, probably will not experience any big trouble. But if he eats large amounts of dog food or he eats it on a regular basis, eventually that will damage your bunny’s health.
Dog food is not poisonous to rabbits, it is simply not good for them since rabbits don’t have the enzymes needed to digest meat and other things that can be found in dog food. They don’t have them naturally nor they can develop those enzymes if they regularly consume that kind of food.
Since rabbits need food rich in fiber, they have to eat a lot of hay, some pellets, and dark green veggies. Intake of large amounts of fat, carbs, and meat-based proteins may upset their digestive system and cause different stomach issues. Also, high fat and carbs diet may lead to obesity.
On the other hand, dog food is quite poor in fiber which is not good for rabbits’ health. A low-fiber diet can lead to GI stasis and other gastrointestinal issues that could be life-threatening for your bunny.
That is why you never should offer your rabbit dog food on purpose but also you should make sure he cannot reach it accidentally.
Since dog food is rich in protein, your bunny can suffer from kidney damage if he eats it.
Dog food is also high in calcium and although rabbits are fine with calcium, they even need it, too much of it can cause UTI infections and problems with the kidneys.
For healthy teeth, your bunny needs a lot of grassy food so if the lack of grassy food in the rabbit’s diet may result in dental problems.
If your bunny eats a lot of dog food at once( for example 1/2 cup) you should monitor him for at least 24 hours. Pay attention to his eating and drinking habits, as well as potty behavior and energy level.
Offer your rabbit to eat hay only, for a day or two just to help him get rid of the things that are not good for him. If you notice any change, contact the vet.
Rabbits may get sick very easily and fast. You must have heard stories that go something like this ”Yesterday my bunny was just fine but this morning I found him dead” To tell you the truth – that bunny wasn’t ok yesterday but his owner just didn’t pay enough attention.
Also, any changes in the diet may cause gases to build up in the rabbit’s digestive system. This can be rather painful, keeping the rabbit away from food. If your rabbit doesn’t eat, he will not ingest enough fibers which will result in slowing down the digestive tract which further may lead to GI Stasis and death.
Why Does My Bunny Eats Dog Food?
Your bunny may be confused, thinking that dog food is some giant pellets.
Dog food is grain-based food so that is why might be attractive for bunnies.
Although rabbits hate the smell of meat sometimes the shape of the dog’s pellets is similar to the rabbit’s but also the smell could be disguised somehow and as result, we have a bunny that is stealing food from your dog’s bowl.
I have also heard that in some rare cases, pregnant or nursing rabbits could be craving proteins and because of that eat dog food but in any case, you should stop your pet from eating a dog or any other pet food( cat or hamster or guinea pig ).
Not all rabbits are the same. There are rabbits that are simply voracious and eat whatever they come across.
How To Prevent Your Rabbit From Eating a Dog Food?
If you notice that your rabbit is acting the same way as Daisy, trying to steal food from your pet dog, you need to do something.
First of all, think about your dog’s eating habits. When does your dog eat? Once, twice a day or he has multiple snacks? Does he eat dry or wet food?
Although dogs’ eating habits and diet are not topics of this article, answers to these questions are actually quite important if you have a naughty bunny stealing food from the dog’s bowl.
You will experience this problem only if you feed your dog dry food( pellets ). If your pet dog eats wet food, your bunny will hardly ever come closer to his bowl. On the other hand, only pellets can be left in the bowl for a couple of hours.
Does your dog have unlimited access to his bowl full of pellets? If the answer is yes then you can expect your free roam bunny will stick his snout to your dog’s bowl. This habit is not precisely healthy for dogs either. Dogs should eat once or twice a day, at a certain time instead of grazing the whole day.
If your dog is used have many meals in one day, you should change this habit. Do it very gradually. Reduce the number of meals gradually in 3-4 weeks after which he should have only one or two meals.
Unlike rabbits, dogs should eat when their stomach is completely empty. Grazing is not a good habit for dogs ( exceptions are highly active dogs that burn a lot of calories in a short time ).
Make sure the dog’s bowl is not easily accessible to the rabbit. This could be rather challenging, as some dogs are the same size as rabbits so if you put a bowl on some shelf then a dog won’t be able to reach it either.
Try to feed your dog with more wet food. But be careful, don’t leave wet food too much time in the bowl ( cca 30min ) as it can spoil easily.
Make sure your rabbit is in his cage during the dog’s mealtime. That way you will prevent your bunny from stealing your dog’s food.
Although dog food is toxic to rabbits, they shouldn’t eat it. If that happens by accident, do not worry, your bunny won’t have any serious issues however eating dog food shouldn’t be a regular eating habit for rabbits.
Meat is something that herbivores don’t need, nor they can digest it the same as dairy products. Too many carbohydrates, fat, and meat-based proteins from dog food can lead to obesity and many other health issues in rabbits.