Several pet foods look the same. For example, some dry dog kibble and cat and hamster food resemble rabbit pellets. So, it’s easy for fur parents with multiple animal companions to think that buns can eat these chow without coming to any harm. If you take care of, say, rabbits and hamsters, the question can rabbits eat hamster food probably crossed your mind. Let’s explore the effects and potential risks of feeding your bun chow meant for hamsters?
Reasons Why Rabbit Owners Feed Hamster Food
Aside from the fact that dry food for different types of animal companions looks quite similar to one another, pet lovers may want to feed their bun hamster food because of the following reasons:
- It’s more convenient to buy just one type of pet food.
- Hamster food may cost less in their area than rabbit pellets.
- There’s a shortage of rabbit pellets in their local pet stores.
What’s in Hamster Food?
Hamsters are omnivores. This means they eat all types of food. These include both plant and animal-based food matters, such as grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies, as well as insects. Pet food manufacturers often base the formulation of their products on the specific requirements of a particular animal companion. That means hamster food contains the nutrients hamsters primarily need.
Will Rabbits Eat It?
You know how rabbits are. They love food and will eat most anything. They’ll even chew carpets, wires, and walls if the spirit moves them. So you can bet that your bun will gladly partake of hamster food if he gets access to it. Rabbits will eat not only hamster food but chow for your other pets, and sometimes even human food.
Should They Eat It?
Although rabbits will gladly and willingly tuck away hamster food if you serve it to them, letting your bun dine on food meant for other species comes with some risks.
Hamsters are omnivores, while rabbits are herbivores. As such, buns thrive on a plant-based diet with absolutely no meat, which hamster food contain. Moreover, rabbits also need to consume plenty of fiber to help move the food along their intestinal tract.
Hamster food contains around 10-15 percent fiber. This is less than what’s recommended for rabbit pellets, which should have approximately 18-22 percent fiber. Also, chow meant for hamsters has too much fat at 6-12 percent, which is over 2 times more than what rabbits need (buns need less than 3 percent).
Because rabbits and hamsters have different nutritional needs, a regular feeding of hamster food can endanger your bunny. Here are some health risks that come with letting him tuck away chow for hamsters.
Gastrointestinal Stasis (GI)
We mentioned that rabbits need high amounts of fiber in their diet. That’s the reason why we recommend feeding your pet plenty of hay. Fiber keeps rabbits’ guts in good working order as the bulky material facilitates food movement in the digestive tract.
Buns who get the wrong food, especially those with a lot of fat and very little fiber, can develop GI stasis. A high-fat and low-fiber diet sometimes cause an imbalance of the bacteria in a rabbit’s gut, which can cause a build-up of painful gas in the intestines. Take note that GI stasis might lead to death.
Hamster food is richer in fat than rabbit food. Thus, eating hamster food could lead to excessive weight gain in your bun. Obesity comes with its own health risks, such as strain in the joints, heart problems, and poopy bottoms.
Typically, rabbit poop comes in round solid balls. Rabbits often eat some of their poop (called cecotropes) as it contains the nutrients they need. Buns who eat foods high in fat produce mushy fecal material that sticks to the fur on their tail and butt. Not only are rabbits averse to eating watery poop, but obese buns won’t be able to bend their bodies to reach the cecotropes, causing a build-up of fecal material on their behind.
Fatty Liver Disease
Rabbits have sensitive digestions. As such, any imbalance in their diet can have unpleasant, sometimes even fatal, consequences. For example, buns who eat too much fat can develop hepatic lipidosis, otherwise known as fatty liver disease. This comes as a result of the accumulation of fat in the liver. Without proper intervention, fatty liver disease can cause liver failure and, eventually, death.
A bun’s delicate digestion reacts negatively to a diet that contains too many nutrients than what its body needs. Take the case of fat. Hamster food has a high percentage of this nutrient, but because a rabbit’s gut is designed to process only a small amount of it, eating hamster food can lead to runny stools in your pet, which can be extremely dangerous.
What to Do If Your Rabbit Accidentally Ate Hamster Food?
Maybe you didn’t intend to feed your bun hamster food, but your adventurous pet got into your hamster’s food bowl. Don’t panic. Nibbling on a small quantity isn’t likely to cause harm to your bun. But monitor your pet closely and watch for symptoms of ill health, such as loose poop and upset stomach.
Encourage your bun to drink more water. Feeding him wet veggies can trick him into increasing his water intake. Also, provide him plenty of hay to help move the food through his digestive tract.
What Should You Feed Your Bun?
Hay should form the bulk of your rabbit’s diet as this plant material fulfills his need for fiber. Feeding him fresh leafy greens will provide him with essential vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in hay. You can also offer him small quantities of other veggies and fruits, such as bananas and pineapples, to satisfy his sweet tooth.
Can rabbits eat hamster food? The short answer is no. But if you accidentally gave hamster feed to your bun, it doesn’t mean he’ll fall ill and die. It’s long-term and regular intake of food meant for hamsters that’s more likely to cause health issues. That said, you should observe your fur baby if he tucked away some hamster food. For your peace of mind, you can always have a vet look at him to determine if he’s hale and healthy.
Check Out the Different Types of Rabbits!
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, will you give it a share or two 🙂 Thank you! ~from Every Bunny Welcome