Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Rei Garnet
It’s fine if your rabbit accidentally ate a little bit of gerbil food, but make sure that you don’t make it a habit. Rabbits and gerbils have different nutritional needs.
Most gerbil food contains nuts, seeds, corn flakes, and dried vegetables. While it’s true that rabbits can eat a few dried vegetables, feeding your rabbits large amounts of nuts, seeds, and corn flakes is not recommended because they are too high in fat and carbohydrates.
Feeding your rabbits large amounts of gerbil food could lead to all kinds of health problems like Hepatic Lipidosis, GI stasis, diarrhea, soft uneaten cecotropes, and obesity.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat gerbil food long-term:
Table of Contents
Risk of feeding gerbil food to rabbits.
Because rabbits and gerbils have different nutritional needs, feeding your rabbits gerbil foods has risks if fed long term. Gerbil’s diet is more focused on carbohydrates, protein, and fat. While a rabbit’s diet is mostly fiber.
Here are some of the risks associated when you feed your rabbits large amounts of gerbil food:
Fatty liver disease
Because most gerbil food is high in fat, feeding your rabbits gerbil food long-term to lead to Hepatic Lipidosis or fatty liver disease. Rabbit’s diet should only consist of less than 3% fat, while most gerbil food contains nuts, seeds, and corn flakes, which are high in fat.
Here are the signs that your rabbit might be suffering from fatty liver disease caused by excess fat:
- Loss of appetite (anorexia) – may be sudden or gradual
- Weight loss
- Decline in number and size of droppings (feces)
- Depression and lethargy
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of gerbil food, which is high in fat and starch due to the corn flakes content of most gerbil food. GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a high-carb, low-fiber diet or when fed the wrong diet.
GI stasis happens when the balance of bacteria in your rabbit’s gut is disrupted. This disruption would cause painful gas that would eventually lead to organ failure and death if not treated immediately.
The signs of GI stasis are:
- Hunched posture
- Decreased appetite/anorexia
If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Overfeeding gerbil food to older rabbits, whose metabolism is slower, could lead to obesity due to the high-fat content of gerbil food. Obesity could also lead to uneaten cecotropes or “poopy bottom” because obese rabbits wouldn’t be able to reach their cecotropes to eat them.
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. Feeding your rabbit large amounts of gerbil food would check those two boxes I mentioned.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little bit of gerbil food?
While it’s true that rabbits should not eat gerbil food, eating small amounts of gerbil food is not a problem.
As long as you’re not feeding your rabbit a lot of gerbil food then you should be fine. Just observe your rabbit for any behavioral changes or any changes in their poop.
You can also feed your rabbit a lot of hay to help their gut flush out that gerbil food.
What to do if your rabbit ate gerbil food?
Gerbil food should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because rabbits’ nutritional needs are different from gerbils.
Rabbit’s diet is more focused on fiber while gerbil’s diet is more focused on carbohydrates, protein, and fat which is bad to be fed to rabbits long term. Most gerbil food contains nuts, seeds, corn flakes, and dried vegetables, which are all high in fat.
As you can see, gerbil food contains too much fat and too little fiber. Feeding your rabbits gerbil food long-term could lead to all kinds of digestive problems like GI stasis, diarrhea, obesity, soft uneaten cecotropes, and fatty liver disease.
If you did notice some behavioral, urine, and poop changes, call a veterinarian for proper advice.
Attribution: Photo by openfoodfacts-contributors per Open Food Facts