Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Rei Garnet
It’s fine if your rabbit ate small amounts of hamster food, but make sure that you don’t make it a habit. Rabbits and hamsters have different nutritional needs.
As an example, most hamster foods has the following nutritional percentage 15-18% protein, 6-12% fat, and 10-15% fiber while most rabbit foods have 18-22% fiber, <3% fat, <1% calcium, and 14-18% protein. As you can see, hamster food contains too much fat and too little fiber.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat hamster food long-term:
Table of Contents
Risk of feeding hamster food to rabbits.
Because rabbits and hamsters have different nutritional needs, feeding your rabbits hamster foods has risks if fed long term.
Here are some of the risks associated when you feed your rabbits large amounts of hamster food:
Fatty liver disease
Because most hamster food is high in fat, feeding your rabbits hamster 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 hamster food contains 6-12% 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 hamster food, which is high in fat. GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a 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 hamster food to older rabbits, whose metabolism is slower, could lead to obesity due to the high-fat content of hamster 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 hamster food would check those two boxes I mentioned.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little bit of hamster food?
While it’s true that rabbits should not eat hamster food, eating small amounts of hamster food is not a problem.
As long as you’re not feeding your rabbit a lot of hamster 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 hamster food.
Hamster food should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because rabbits’ nutritional needs are different from hamsters.
Rabbit food needs to have 18-22% fiber, <3% fat, <1% calcium, and 14-18% protein. While most hamster foods have 15-18% protein, 6-12% fat, and 10-15% fiber.
As you can see, hamster food contains too much fat and too little fiber. Feeding your rabbits hamster food long-term could lead to all kinds of digestive problems like GI stasis, diarrhea, 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 Pet Food Facts