Can Rabbits Eat Hamster Food?

Categorized as Bunny Diet Tagged

Last Updated on April 26, 2022 by Rei Garnet

It’s fine if your rabbit eats 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 have 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:

Risk of feeding hamster food to rabbits.

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 with feeding your rabbits large amounts of hamster food:

Fatty liver disease

Most hamster food is high in fat, feeding your rabbits hamster food long-term can lead to hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease.

A rabbit’s diet should only consist of less than 3% fat, while most hamster foods contain 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)
  • Dehydration
  • Depression and lethargy

Gastrointestinal Stasis

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:

  • Depressed
  • Hunched posture
  • Bruxism
  • Decreased appetite/anorexia

If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.

Obesity

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 bottoms,” because obese rabbits wouldn’t be able to reach their cecotropes to eat them.

Diarrhea

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 eats 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, you should be fine.

Just observe your rabbit for any behavioral changes or any changes in their poop.

Welcome to Bunnyhorde
Welcome to Bunnyhorde

You can also feed your rabbit a lot of hay to help their gut flush out that hamster food.

What to do if your rabbit ate hamster food?

Observe their behavior, poop, and urine for any changes.

If you did notice something after your rabbit accidentally ate hamster food, call a veterinarian for proper advice.

Conclusion

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.

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 have noticed some behavioral, urine, and poop changes, call a veterinarian for proper advice.


Attribution: Photo by openfoodfacts-contributors per Open Pet Food Facts

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.