All pets have their place, behaviors, and needs. You cannot give a cat’s scratch post to a dog. Similarly, you cannot give a dog’s chew toy to a cat. Both animals have their favorite things.
However, if two pets live together, they can develop similar interests and behaviors. Hamsters and bunnies are small, cute, playful, and can become good friends. They can share veggies and fruits. However, can rabbits eat hamster food?
Rabbits cannot eat hamster food. Rabbits require specific foods and a balanced diet for their sensitive stomachs and immune system. You need to feed your rabbit hay, greens, and fruits for a healthy life for your rabbit.
Rabbits need a high-fiber diet to maintain a healthy gut. Furthermore, they need a nourishing meal with a variety of things daily. Hamster food is designed for a hamster and does not contain the essential nutrients your bunny needs. Keep reading to know more about why hamster food is unsuitable for your pet rabbit.
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Why is Hamster Food Unsuitable for Rabbits?
Hamsters are omnivores, whereas rabbits are herbivores. A food designed for hamsters has qualities to meet the nutritional needs of an animal that eats both meat and vegetables. Rabbits do not need that. As grazing animals, rabbits have their own digestive needs.
Rabbits are sensitive creatures. Even the slightest imbalance in their diet can cause them to feel stressed and get sick. Rabbits are not supposed to eat rabbit pellets too much, let alone hamster pellets. As plant lovers, a rabbit’s daily diet should contain fresh things, not processed ones.
Rabbit food is very different than hamster food because both animals have different needs. Each of their pellets is designed specifically for each animal.
Comparison of Nutritional Needs of Rabbits and Hamsters
Rabbits and hamsters have different bodies, immune systems, and nutritional requirements. Their foods are designed keeping those values in mind. A hamster needs a low-fiber high-fat diet, and a bunny requires a high-fiber, low-fat diet.
Here are the nutritional needs of the two animals on a daily:
- Rabbits need 18-22% fiber, 14-18% protein and 0-3% fat.
- Hamsters need 10-14% fiber, 15-18% protein and 6-12% fat.
As you can notice, both pets require specific amounts of certain nutrients. It is evidence that hamster food is not suitable for your furry rabbit.
What will Happen If You Feed Hamster Food to Your Rabbit?
Rabbits are fragile pets. The littlest of things can disrupt your precious pet’s peace. If your bunny eats something wrong, it will suffer through digestive issues that will damage its organs. Furthermore, when a bunny suffers physically, its mental health also beings to deteriorate.
Hamster food can harm your pet rabbit in many ways. A few are mentioned below:
Fatty Liver Disease
The high content of fat present in hamster food can cause liver issues for your rabbit. Bunny’s body cannot digest such a high amount of fat, resulting in its accumulation in the liver.
Your precious rabbit will show the following signs if it is developing fatty liver disease:
- Loss of appetite
- Unusually less fecal excretion
All these symptoms will be easy to notice as bunnies are hyper and get zoomies often. If your rabbit is slow and tired, you should get it to the vet for a fatty liver test.
Rabbits require a good amount of fiber in their diet for healthy bowel functioning. Hamster food has very low fiber content because hamsters do not need too much fiber.
If you give it to your rabbit, your bunny’s gut bacteria will react and get disrupted. It will cause your furry friend to experience painful gas. If this lasts, it can cause organ failure and be fatal for your pet.
There are some signs to look out for if you suspect GI stasis:
- Appetite loss
- Hunched posture
A low intake of fiber can result in serious health issues for your rabbit. If you notice any symptoms, go to the vet immediately.
The high fat component of hamster food can make your bunny gain weight. Being obese does not suit rabbits as they are hyperactive creatures. A bunny loves to run, hop, zoom and groom itself.
When a rabbit gains weight, it cannot do its favorite things. Plus, obesity inhibits your rabbit’s cecotropes eating as it cannot reach that part of its body due to excessive weight.
Obesity also puts stress on your rabbit’s heart and mind. It can cause damage to its internal organs.
Feeding your rabbit a diet that is not designed for it can result in an upset stomach. The fiber requirement of your bunny keeps its metabolism stable and its bowel functioning optimally.
When you give your rabbit hamster food, its natural functions get disrupted. It results in diarrhea and loose stools. It can also cause your rabbit to experience stomach aches.
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What is The Optimal Diet for your Bunny?
There are many foods out there that are better than hamster food, and even cheaper. Bunnies love eating raw vegetables and fruits. You can give your bunny almost everything green you eat.
Having a pet rabbit does not mean expensive food like with dogs and cats. Yes, rabbits do require pellets but in a very minute quantity. There is a specific diet to ensure that your furry baby gets all the nutrients it needs for a healthy life.
Feed your furry friend an excessive amount of hay, and a moderate amount of greens and fruits, with an occasional treat. You will wake up to a healthy, happy, and loved bunny every day.
How Much Hay Should You Feed Your Rabbit?
Hay is rich in fiber and essential for your rabbit. It should be a bigger portion of your rabbit’s daily diet. Many people say you can give unlimited hay to your pet, but it is better if you give 80-90% of hay and mix it with other foods to give your rabbit a balanced diet.
Hay is the least risky food for your rabbit because they are grazing animals. They were born to eat all sorts of things that grow in the soil. Hay is not only good for your rabbit’s gut, but it is also beneficial for your bunny’s ever-growing teeth as it helps trim them. Add hay in every meal you give your pet and in the majority. There are no side effects to eating too much hay.
How Many Greens Should You Feed Your Bunny?
Vegetables should occupy 10-15% of your bunny’s daily diet. Greens have a lot of nutrients in them that your bunny can benefit from. Mix these with hay and a little fruit, and you have a gourmet meal for your bunny.
You should always wash the greens before feeding them to your bunny to remove pesticides or bugs. Remove any moldy or wilted food, as it will not agree with your rabbit. Not all greens are good for your rabbit, and some can be toxic. So, here is a list of bunny-approved greens that you can feed your furry friend:
- Bok choy
- Carrot tops
- Romaine lettuce
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How Much Fruit Should You Feed Your Furry Friend?
Fruits should not be given to a rabbit in large quantities as they have high sugar content. Only add 5-10% of fruits to your rabbit’s weekly diet. If your bunny has learned a trick or was a good boy all day, you can treat it to a fruit.
Just like vegetables, not all fruits are good for your bunny. Some can be harmful to your baby bunny’s health and immune system. Here is a list of safe fruits you can add to your bunny’s diet:
Feeding Rabbits Pellets in Low Quantity is Beneficial
You can feed your bunny a few quality pellets once in a while. These pellets contain essential nutrients to give your pet an extra kick. Make sure you are not overfeeding your bunny. A bag of rabbit pellets should last a month or two, not less.
Every living being has its way of life and eating. Humans do not eat dog treats, and cats cannot drink too much milk without upsetting their stomachs. There is a way everything is done. Rabbits are meant to eat fresh food, not bagged food. Hamster food is not suitable for your little guy.
It is your responsibility to give your bunny the best things to eat. Why waste money on hamster food when you can give your pet rabbit the common grocery items? A healthy diet of greens and fruits can help you start a healthy living style with your pet. It is a win-win.