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13 Healthy Foods That Can Kill Or Harm Your Rabbit [2023]

What Food Kills Rabbits

Rabbits make good companions.

They are like family.

And sharing our snacks with them…

Is simply an act of love.

However, it’s time to go down the rabbit hole…

And find out if our all-time food faves might actually upset their tummy.

Read on to learn more:

  • Tummy-friendly diet guide for your bunnies.
  • Fruit seeds that your bunnies should never eat.
  • 13 nutritious foods that can kill or harm your rabbit.
  • And so much more…

What food kills rabbits? 13 foods that can kill or harm your bunny

Disclaimer: While this content is written with the most accurate and helpful information available to the author’s knowledge at this moment, the following article is not a substitute for professional vet help. Always consult your vet when in doubt. The article below is simply for informational purposes.

#1: Avocado

Avocados are rich in nutrients.

They’re ideal for the human body. 

But it’s not a healthy option for your rabbits.

Specifically, the fruit, stem, leaves, tree bark and seeds can poison animals.

Persin is a toxic substance that’s present in avocados. 

If rabbits ingest this, it can cause the following:

  • Death.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Heart rhythm problems.
  • Decrease in milk production.
  • Inflammation of the mammary gland.

According to Colorado State University, avocados also negatively affect other animals.

Even bigger ones such as horses.

Hence, it’s best not to give your rabbits even the tiniest bit.

#2: Yogurt

Yogurt promotes healthy digestion.

But not all digestive structures are the same.

Especially a human and rabbit’s.

Yogurt is made from fermented milk and bacteria.

And it’s primarily made from cow’s milk. 

Moreover, yogurt can also be processed from the following mammals’ milk:

  • Sheep.
  • Camels.
  • Oxen or hairy cattle.
  • Mares or adult female horses.

Yogurt products catered for pets are now gaining popularity in the market.

Most yogurt brands contain probiotics (good bacteria) such as lactobacillus.

But consider this before feeding them to your rabbits: 

Lactobacilli are only present in 1 out of 16 rabbits.

If a rabbit’s system is not compatible with the ingested probiotics…

It’s like welcoming an unfamiliar bacteria in their gut.

A study warns: 

It may not survive in their digestive environment.

Therefore, possibly rendering its benefits useless.

Or even cause harm to your bunny.

According to VetTimes, the European Union only recommends 1 probiotic strain safe for rabbits:

It’s called S cerevisiae (CNCM I-4407) 4b1702.

This specific strain balances your rabbit’s digestive tract.

It mingles well with other bacteria in your bunny’s tummy. 

And it’s now available in the market as powder supplements.

So instead of yogurt, you can mix this with your rabbit’s water…

Or add it to your rabbit’s food.

#3: Bread

Bread is a household staple.

You can easily buy it everywhere.

Despite its convenience, it’s not ideal for your rabbit’s diet.

Bread is a mixture of flour, water, yeast, and other ingredients.

They’re usually high in carbohydrates.

Excess carbs and starch are not stomach-friendly for your rabbits.

It’s because carbohydrates stop the release of motilin in rabbits.

Motilin helps regulate their gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

The GI tract is where food is digested, absorbed, and expelled from the body.

Moreover, excess starch can also lead to an increase in bacteria.

Bad bacteria in the GI tract produce toxins.

Other popular high-carb foods that you shouldn’t feed your rabbit include:

  • Pasta.
  • Cookies.
  • Crackers.

#4: Lettuce

You heard that right.

Lettuce can be harmful to your rabbit.

Here’s why:

Some varieties of lettuce contain lactucarium.

This milky fluid has the following medicinal uses:

  • Laxative or constipation aid.
  • Sedative or sleep-promoting drug.

For humans, lactucarium is a remedy for pain relief.

But for rabbits, it’s a red flag.

According to a study, lettuces have sedative-hypnotic properties.

Meaning, it can make rabbits high.

Some lactucarium-rich varieties include:

  • Iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa).
  • Wild or opium lettuce (Lactuca virosa).

Initial findings of Floppy Rabbit Syndrome (FRS) showed plant toxins such as lactucarium present in rabbits’ bodies. 

FRS describes muscle weakness or paralysis in rabbits.

What causes this syndrome remains unclear. 

But, lactucarium ingestion is a possible source.

Note: Be careful when feeding your rabbits leafy greens. If unsure, hay is the safest and best option.

#5: Silverbeet

Rabbits Can't Eat Silverbeet

Other people also call it swiss chard or chard.

Silverbeet is a leafy vegetable with reddish or green leaves.

It’s an excellent source of nutrients, such as:

  • Iron.
  • Calcium.
  • Vitamins.
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.

It sounds like a healthy snack for you and your rabbit, right?

But silverbeets are high in oxalate (oxalic acid).

This is an antinutrient.

It reduces mineral absorption in the body.

Let’s take this scenario as an example:

Silverbeet contains calcium and oxalic acid.

When your rabbit digests it, calcium binds with oxalic acid.

But your bunny won’t get enough calcium. 

Instead, oxalic acid prevents it from being absorbed by their body.

Moreover, rabbits must consume foods that are high in fiber. 

But the bad news is, fiber doesn’t get along well with oxalic acid.

Interesting read: Can Rabbits Eat Paper? 3 Dangers, 4 Reasons, & 5 Tips

#6: Cereal

Various claims are circulating in the rabbit-verse right now:

If cereals can be a part of a rabbit’s diet or not.

But the real question is…

“Is it safe enough?”

Cereal products in the market have a potential health hazard.

In the US, some rice cereals contain high levels of arsenic.

Arsenic is an inorganic toxic substance that can cause cancer and other diseases.

And it’s even present in infant and toddler food, a study confirms.

Another alarming fact is that arsenic is present in pesticides.

This is commonly used in farms, second to lead.

Arsenic pesticides cause poisoning to forage-eating animals, such as:

  • Goats.
  • Sheep.
  • Cattles.
  • Horses.
  • Rabbits.

Both humans and animals are exposed to arsenic poisoning through food contamination.

So, if you’d like to try cereals as rabbit treats…

Think again.

#7: Nuts

The nutritional value of nuts may not be ideal for your rabbits.

Nuts are rich in fat and starch.

And rabbits are prone to gastrointestinal (GI) stasis.

It’s the absence or reduction of digestive movement

Digestive disorders in rabbits reflect more on their diet than bacterial presence.

Naturally, rabbits rely on a plant-based diet that’s at least 90% in fiber.

It’s their digestive blueprint.

Too much intake of carbohydrates and fat slow down the GI movement.

This causes bloating in your rabbits.

So as much as possible, avoid feeding nuts to your rabbits.

#8: Potatoes 

It might look like another healthy snack for your rabbit.

But not really.

Potatoes contain a lot of starch.

And a rabbit’s GI tract won’t tolerate it.

It will only cause possible digestive issues such as:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Loose stool.
  • Constipation.
  • GI stasis or irregular digestive movement.

Plus, potatoes contain 2 kinds of glycoalkaloids.

  • Solanine.
  • Chaconine.

These are natural toxins.

And a whole potato has them.

The highest toxin content is in the following:

  • Leaves.
  • Sprouts.
  • Flowers.
  • Potato eyes.

When a potato turns green, it has high glycoalkaloids.

You should never ingest it.

Neither should your rabbits.

The same goes if a potato has just begun to sprout.

Eating it is highly toxic for bunnies.

Meanwhile, the white body of the potato has the lowest toxin content.

But cooking doesn’t eliminate this.

Which is why peeling your potatoes off before cooking is necessary.

Peeling the skin reduces glycoalkaloid content.

Overall, don’t feed your bunnies potatoes, especially skin peelings.

#9: Carrots

“Wait, my entire childhood is a lie?”

Not entirely.

Rabbits can occasionally munch on carrots.

But what you need to know is that:

Carrots are high in sugar.

A medium-sized, raw carrot contains 0.17 oz (5 g) of sugar.

And sugar intake for rabbits shouldn’t be more than 10% of their diet.

Or else your rabbit’s reproductive health may also be at risk.

Carrot intake reduces progesterone (female rabbit hormone) production.

A study confirms this.

Moreover, sugar-rich food can cause dental problems in your rabbits.

Carrots also contain carbs, which aren’t GI-friendly if ingested in large amounts.

So, if Bugs Bunny and his carrot ever crossed your mind…

Forgive him.

He’s just a cartoon character.

#10: Chocolate

As much as you want to share everything with your rabbit…

This sweet treat poses a threat to their life.

Chocolates contain methylxanthines:

  • Caffeine.
  • Theobromine.

Methylxanthines are natural substances present in tea, coffee, and chocolate.

They’re a unique class of drugs for human lung treatments, such as:

  • Asthma.
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema or shortness of breath.

However, giving chocolates to animals may lead to the following:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Seizures.
  • Restlessness.
  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats.
  • Hyperthermia or overheating of the body.

These may show within 6-12 hours after ingestion.

Note: Bittersweet chocolates contain higher methylxanthines. 

#11: Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a breakfast favorite for some.

It’s a mix of peanuts, some butter, and sugar.

But these ingredients debunk the misconception:

“Rabbits can also eat peanut butter.”

Bunnies have unique digestive functions.

And they need special dietary requirements.

Unfortunately, peanut butter isn’t one of them.

Peanut butter has contents that are too much for a rabbit’s gut.

  • Fat.
  • Sugar.
  • Calories.
  • Carbohydrates.

It’s also high in calcium which can cause kidney stones.

Moreover, high sodium content isn’t ideal for a rabbit diet.

Lastly, the fiber value in a 3.5 oz (100 g) peanut butter is only 0.17 oz (5 g).

So, feeding your rabbit this nutty spread won’t give them the nutrients they need.

#12: Rhubarb

Just like silverbeets, rhubarb is high in oxalic acid.

And it’s in every part of this plant.

The stalks may be edible…

But the leaves are not safe for your bunny.

The leaves contain the highest amount of oxalic acid.

Although rhubarb is a fiber-rich veggie…

Oxalic acid isn’t happy sharing its mineral companions with your rabbit’s body.

Did you know: in other parts of the world, oxalic acid is used in bleach and laundry products.

There’s even a case report of oxalic acid poisoning in Sri Lanka.

#13: Meat 

Rabbits are plant-eating animals.

But they can munch on meat too.

However, it’ll be difficult for them to digest it.

As a pet owner, you don’t want to upset their stomach.

However, a claim says hares are cannibals

Or animals that eat the flesh of its kind.

Now, let’s clarify things.

Hares are often mistaken as rabbits.

Others call them jackrabbits.

But they are different from bunnies.

Their family class is leporidae.

But they don’t belong to the same species, National Geographic states.

Apart from their physical differences (i.e. ears, legs), rabbits are more social animals.

Plus, hares eat meat to supplement their diet during winter.

So, yes…

Feeding your bunny meat is still a no.

Watch this video about other types of food that can harm your rabbits:

Tummy-friendly diet guide for your bunnies

Whether you’re new to taking care of rabbits…

Or you want to know what your bunnies should be eating.

Here’s a simple guide for your rabbit’s healthy diet.

Hay, grass85-90% 
Vegetables and fruits10%
Fiber-rich pellets5%

You can give your bunnies an unlimited supply of hay and grass daily.

Good quality hays such as Timothy hay is the best option.

Timothy hay is rich in fiber and energy and low in protein.

This makes it easily digestible in your bunny’s tummy.

Meanwhile, you can add veggies and fruits to your rabbit’s daily food intake.

Here’s a list of vegetables that are safe to munch on:

  • Celery.
  • Zucchini. 
  • Beetroot.
  • Pumpkin.
  • Capsicum.
  • Asparagus.

On the other hand, give only limited amounts of fruits to your rabbit.

This is because fruits contain lots of sugar.

It can cause dental problems in your bunnies in the long run.

You can give fruits to your bunnies as treats.

Fruit seeds that your bunnies should never eat

Some fruit seeds should never be ingested.

But accidents and unintentional mistakes happen…

It could be some chopped seeds on fruit slices.   

Or your bunnies nibbling on fruit pits on the floor.

Whatever it may be, it’s best to get rid of them as soon as you can.

Here’s why:

Some fruit seeds and pits contain cyanide.

Cyanide is a deadly chemical.

Uses of this chemical in some industries include:

  • Rat poison.
  • Disinfectants.
  • Soil fertilizers.
  • Gold and silver extracting agent.

This chemical can kill both humans and animals.

And traces of cyanide are present in the seeds of apples and pears.

You can also find this chemical in the pits of these fruits:

  • Plum.
  • Peach.
  • Cherry.
  • Mango.
  • Apricot.

A fruit’s pit is an extra layer that covers the seed.

It’s usually woody or brown.

For your relief, seeds and pits contain little amounts of cyanide.

But just in case your rabbit nibbled one…

Take note of some of these symptoms:

  • Drooling.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Faster heartbeats than usual.

These symptoms usually occur after 15 minutes to an hour.

But for large intakes, signs may show immediately.

In general, animals that survive 2 hours or more after ingestion may recover. 

Note: Rabbits are incapable of vomiting or throwing up. So, be careful of whatever you’re feeding them.