Warning! Never Feed Your Rabbit These Foods--They are deadly! Rabbits love eating. They are herbivorous animals, but that doesn’t mean every plant is safe for them. The digestive system of rabbits is very specialized and requires constant fiber intake for smooth running. Traditional practices and bad marketing from pet food companies have given rise to many myths when it comes to their diets.
Never Feed Your Rabbit These Foods
List of Foods to Never Feed Your Rabbit
Dairy products and processed foods are a big NO for rabbits. There are some other vegetables and grains as well that are bad for rabbits. Here is a non-inclusive list of food items you should never feed your rabbit as they can interfere with its digestive system.
Cereals and grains
Onions, garlic, leeks
Fruit Pits and seeds
Since rabbits are herbivores, avocados are probably the first few fruits that come to your mind for feeding your little fluffy pet. But this is one of the worst food items to be included in your rabbit’s diet. Persin is a toxic compound present in avocados that can cause breathing problems in rabbits when consumed in high concentration. The leaves, seeds, and skin of avocado are all dangerous for your bunny. If your rabbit has taken a bite or two of avocado, you need to get him checked by a veterinarian immediately.
Chocolates are toxic for most animals. Just like with your dogs, you cannot feed chocolate to rabbits. Two harmful chemicals are present in chocolate that include caffeine and theobromine.
Eating only a few bites of chocolate can create an emergency for your rabbit. The higher cocoa content means caffeine and theobromine will be present in higher amounts, which can be poisonous to rabbits. Therefore, you should avoid feeding chocolates to rabbits at all costs.
All dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, and milk, are very harmful to rabbits. Feeding dairy products can cause enterotoxemia in them, which is an overgrowth of very toxic bacteria in the intestinal tract. The rabbit should be taken to a vet immediately in this case; otherwise, the situation can worsen.
No matter what the case is, rabbits should never be given cow’s milk. If a baby rabbit has been separated from its mother, then you should get goat milk or puppy formula milk for him. In any other case, avoid dairy products completely. And don’t forget to keep the bunny hydrated with fresh water, as it is necessary for rabbits to survive.
Cereal and Grains
Cereals most commonly cause mouth and stomach problems in rabbits. Processed grains that we, as humans, can consume easily are very bad for rabbits. Bread, crackers, and rice also fall under this category. People typically give cereals and grains as snacks to rabbits, not knowing that they are not easily digested by them. Processed grains and cereals are devoid of nutrients and are left with sugars and carbs only, which are harmful to the health of rabbits.
Remember that any processed food that does not provide nutritional value to your bunny is useless and should be avoided at all costs.
There is no doubt that dark leafy lettuce is healthy and provides good nutritional benefits to rabbits. However, light-colored iceberg lettuce is quite unhealthy as it contains a chemical called lactucarium. On consumption, it can cause physical weakness and diarrhea as it is a nutritionally dense food.
Though eating small amounts of iceberg lettuce doesn’t cause any harm, it can be fatal for small bunnies if overly consumed.
Having a fun snack time should be limited to yourself. You might be tempted to share a piece of potato chips or cookie with your rabbit, but you should refrain from doing so.
Processed food typically contains a high sugar and carbohydrate content, which is unsafe for rabbits. Such high concentrations can increase the risk of obesity and cause abdominal cramps and discomfort.
If you really want to feed something to your bunny alongside, try getting small bites of appropriate fruits that are nutritious as well.
Bloating and stomach pain are the common symptoms observed in rabbits due to excessive eating of nuts. Rabbits need low amounts of fat, while nuts are high in fats. Though rabbits typically love the taste of nuts, they should be fed in small amounts only. Nuts are also a choking hazard. Including nuts in a rabbit’s regular diet can soon cause nutritional imbalance and several other health problems.
Rhubarb might seem the best food for rabbits, but it can be the worst in many cases. There is a high amount of oxalates in rhubarb, so they can cause negative effects in them. Eating these fleshy stalks can cause diarrhea, lethargy, or sore mouth in rabbits. The symptoms can be severe depending on how much of this food has been eaten by rabbits.
Toxic mushrooms are not limited to the ones that pop up in your backyard overnight. The ones you buy from the store are also dangerous for rabbits. Mushroom consumption can cause diarrhea, harmful neurological effects, and organ damage.
No matter if you feed cooked or raw mushrooms to the rabbits, mycotoxins will still be present in them, which can be dangerous when ingested in large quantities.
Vegetables like Onions, Garlic, and Leeks
An oxidant called n-propyl disulfide is present in vegetables like onions, garlic, and leeks. It gets attached to red blood cells on consumption. However, it is not harmful to humans in any way. But rabbits cannot bear its effects as they are susceptible to oxidative damage. Consuming these vegetables can result in the loss of red blood cells. Initially, they cause dizziness and weakness, which ultimately leads to the death of rabbits.
Fruits Pits and Seeds
Fruits are typically healthy for rabbits, but you need to be very careful in serving rabbits with fruits. The seeds and pits of fruits are harmful to them as they contain traces of cyanide, which can cause various health problems when ingested. Make sure you remove the seeds, pits, and pips of fruits before serving fruits to your rabbit.
It is also important to note that several seeds, like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, are safe for rabbits. But if you are unsure about the effects of any seeds on rabbits, the best practice is to avoid those seeds.
What are Some Healthy Treats for Rabbits?
Dried hay-based treats are the healthiest choice for your rabbits. Apart from that, here are a few items that you can feed your rabbit:
Almost all kinds of fruits can be given to rabbits. But ensure you do not feed them fruits daily as they are high in sugars, which can damage their teeth.
Always give food to your rabbits in small sizes. It is easier to serve them with pellet portion size as they provide protein, fiber, and all other nutrients in safe amounts. This also prevents overfeeding your rabbit.
Feeding Tips for Rabbit Owners
The most common concern for any rabbit owner is their feed. We need to be really careful in feeding anything to them as feeding the wrong item can cause severe health problems. They are herbivorous animals, which means meat should be avoided in their diet at all costs. Other than that, hay, leafy greens, and other such vegetables can be included in their diet. Here are a few tips for you that can help you feed your rabbit safely.
- Always remove seeds and pits from fruits before giving them to your rabbit. Make sure you cut the fruits into smaller pieces. Don’t serve the fruits regularly as they are high in sugar.
- Avoid milk and dairy products at all costs. Keep the rabbit hydrated with lots of fresh water. This is essential for its survival.
- Almost all sorts of leafy green vegetables serve the job of rabbits. However, be cautious of the vegetables mentioned above, as some of them can be poisonous.
- ⅕ cup of food twice a day is enough to fulfill the nutritional requirement of your rabbit.
- You should give treats twice or thrice a week only. This can include various kinds of fruits.
- Vegetables that are high in oxalates should be removed from their diet completely.
- Make hay a regular part of your rabbit’s diet.
- Avoid processed foods at all costs. This can include any cookies, chips, processed grains, etc.
Feed Your Rabbit For His Health
It really becomes difficult to resist giving some of your snacks to your rabbits. But for their health and safety, you need to educate yourself about the food items that can harm them and then avoid them completely.
Be very cautious in everything you feed to your rabbit. Since rabbits have a very sensitive digestive tract, ensure you feed them things that are 100% safe. If you ever suspect your rabbit has taken a food item that is unsafe for him, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.