Image of rabbits, a dog food bowl and a dog. The caption reads "Can rabbits eat dog food."

Rabbits should not eat dog food under any circumstance, it is not healthy for them and can cause long term health issues. With that being said if you rabbit does eat dog food by accident, they should be fine but do not allow your rabbit to eat it on a regular basis. Rabbits should only be eating approved vegetables, hay, quality pellets and small amounts of fruit.

Can rabbits eat dog food

As stated above it is not a good idea to feed or let your rabbit eat dog food. Rabbits have very sensitive digestive tracts and should only be eating a a diet tailored specifically for rabbits. Dog food does not contain the nutrients that rabbits need and it also contains ingredients that they should not eat ever.

Rabbits will eat almost anything… But

Rabbits love eating, as a matter of fact they will eat almost anything but that does not mean they should. Rabbits have been domesticated for a long time but they still have the instinct to eat whatever they can to survive, much like humans, dogs or any other animal on planet earth. Since our pet rabbits are living in our environment it is our jobs as pet owners to make sure that they are not exposed anything that can harm them like dog food.

How to keep your rabbit from eating dog food

If you have a dog and a rabbit you may be having problems with your rabbit eating your dogs food. Here are a few suggestions to keep your rabbit out of your dogs food bowl.

  • Motion activated dog food bowlThese dog food bowls will only open for your dog and may keep your rabbit out.
  • Elevate your dog food – If you have a larger dog elevate their food bowl up off of the ground. Some rabbits do not like to jump up onto surfaces that they cannot see since they do not know what they will be landing on.
  • High sided dog food bowl – If you switch your dog food bowl to one with high, slick sides your rabbit may be deterred. Try using a large mixing bowl or something similar.
  • Slick surfaces – Some rabbits hate slick surfaces like linoleum, tile or hardwood flooring. If you can make or set your dog food on a slick surface it may be enough to keep your rabbit out of your dogs food.
  • Switch dog food type – If you can switch to a wet/soft dog food your rabbit will most likely stay away from it.

What to do if your rabbit eats dog food… Danger

If your rabbit has stopped eating for more than 24 hours or has not pooped in 24 hours you have an emergency on your hands and you need to find a rabbit vet ASAP.

If your rabbit has consumed a few nipples here and there then you most likely have nothing to worry about but you need to stop the behavior. If your rabbit has eaten a lot of dog food then you may have a problem and will need to watch him or her closely for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Most dog foods contain a large amount of protein, animal fats and grains. Rabbits do not and should not be eating any of those things. Rabbits need a diet high in fiber in order to properly digest their food and receive proper nutrition.

It is possible for a rabbit to dye quickly if he or she is in GI stasis. GI Stasis can occur if your rabbit eats to much dog food, particularly over a long period of time. Stress and a lack of exercise can also complicate a rabbits GI tract.

The best diet for your rabbit

Were sorry to say but dog food is not on this list! Your rabbit, whether a buck (male) or doe (female) should be eating a diet high in fiber including hay, vegetables and a quality rabbit pellet.

  • Timothy hay – Timothy should make up a large portion of your rabbits diet and can be offered in unlimited qualities. Alfalfa should NEVER be fed to adult rabbits since it has a high protein content. Timothy hay can be found in 1st, 2nd and 3rd cuttings and I believe that the 2nd cut is the best for rabbits. If your rabbit is not eating the Timothy hay then you can try orchard grass. Hay is not only important for your rabbits digestive tract health but is also good for your rabbits teeth and oral hygiene.
  • Rabbit pellets – The pellet I trust is “Oxbow Essentials, Adult Rabbit Food.” I believe that they are the best timothy based pellet on the market. Most veterinarians recommend about an eighth cup (1/8 Cup) per four pounds of body weight. If you have a loose house rabbit, rather than caged, they may need a bit more food since they tend to run, jump and get a lot of  exercise. Never feed your rabbit “junk food pellets.” These types of pellets contain seeds, corn and are soft in texture.
  • Vegetables – The house rabbit society has a great list of approved vegetables here. Generally speaking a rabbit should have about one cup of leafy green vegetables per two pounds of body weight. Root vegetables and non-leafy vegetables should be fed occasionally. These include things like carrots, celery and peppers.
  • Fruit – Fruit should make up a tiny portion of your rabbits diet. About 1 to 2 teaspoons per 2 pounds of body weight. Rabbits love, love bananas and should only be fed once per week as a special treat.

Your rabbit should not be eating anything else other than hay, pellets, vegetables and small amounts of fruit. Remember it is your responsibility and moral obligation to offer your pet rabbit healthy food options. Keep that rabbit out of the dog food!

About the Author

My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.

I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.