NOTICE: If you believe that your rabbit or pet encountered something toxic or harmful contact your vet ASAP. Any information on this page or site should not be considered medical advice or medical information. I try my best to give the best, most accurate information possible but I am not a Veterinarian.
What foods are toxic to rabbits
Believe it or not there is not a complete or definitive list of toxic foods for rabbits. In this post I will do my best to cover all foods that are toxic to rabbits as well as foods that are highly unhealthy and can cause damage over time. It is important to keep in mind that rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and it does not take a large amount of toxic substances to do severe damage or cause death.
- 1 Processed human food is “toxic” for rabbits
- 2 Toxic rabbit treats
- 3 Toxic rabbit pellets
- 4 Natural foods that are toxic
- 5 List of natural foods toxic to rabbits
- 6 Signs of toxicity in rabbits
- 7 Preventing poisoning in rabbits
- 8 Diagnosing Toxicity & Poisoning in Rabbits
- 9 You need a specialized veterinarian
- 10 About the Author
Processed human food is “toxic” for rabbits
Rabbits will eat and beg for processed human food. While it is not toxic, it is very bad for them in the long term. A rabbit’s digestive system is not meant to digest starchy and sugary foods.
- Potato Chips
Anything like these should be off limits for rabbits. If you drop a chip and your rabbit gets a few bites of it no big deal. The problem is when you feed this stuff to rabbits on a regular basis it will shorten their lifespan.
Toxic rabbit treats
I am sick to death of seeing toxic rabbit treats for sale on Amazon and in pet stores. The manufactures have either done no research on what is acceptable for a rabbit to eat or they simply don’t care and want to sell anything to make a buck. Do not buy rabbit treats that contain nuts or seeds, these can cause all kinds of terrible long term health problems for your rabbit. If you are looking for a quality treat for your rabbit check out this post, Best treats for Rabbits. You can even make your own healthy homemade rabbit treats.
Here is an example of some very bad treats that are toxic to rabbits.
Toxic rabbit pellets
Just like toxic treats there is toxic rabbit pellets. Many manufactures add corn and seeds into their pellets. This is a terrible idea and again can cause severe health issues for your bunny in the long term. Pellets that have all of this bad stuff mixed in does look appealing to the eye and they often use words like gourmet to make it even more appealing. Don’t buy into the marketing! I have a post about the best pellets for rabbits if you would like some guidance.
Here is an example of junk rabbit pellets.
Natural foods that are toxic
There are many natural foods that are toxic to rabbits. A good rule of thumb is that if humans can’t or shouldn’t eat it don’t feed it your rabbit. With that being said it is important to keep in mind there are things we can eat that rabbits can’t.
List of natural foods toxic to rabbits
- Avocado – Avocados are toxic to all breeds of rabbits and many other animals. If a rabbit happens to eat a small part of an avocado, they most likely will be okay. If your rabbit has eaten a large amount of avocado, then they may have health problems. Either way you should call your vet ASAP.
- Chard – There are many types of chard like Swiss chard and rainbow chard. Chard can be fed to rabbits but in limited quantities since it contains a high oxalic acid.
- Apple Seeds – These seeds contain something called cyanide. It is a toxin that can cause significant health issues if eaten regularly. Thankfully the seeds contain only small amounts of cyanide but if eaten regularly it can build up in their body.
- Apricot – All parts of an apricot are toxic to rabbit except for the fruit. Do not feed the skin, stem or pit to your rabbit.
- Spinach – Contains high levels of oxalic acid which is toxic to rabbits ONLY in large quanities. Feed in limited qualities
- Yogurt Drops – Even though many manufactures make these treats for rabbits they are not good for them and can slowly cause long term health issues.
- Rhubarb Leaves – These leaves are deadly. Contact a qualified rabbit veterinarian ASAP.
- Onions – These are toxic to rabbits and can cause an anaphylactic reaction. In addition to that onions can suppress a rabbits immune system and leave them vulnerable to diseases and illness.
- Tomato – The fruit part is fine but never feed the leaves, vines, flowers or stems. There is some evidence that the skin of tomatoes may also be slightly toxic.
- Iceberg Lettuce – Is toxic if fed long term. Can cause bloating and digestive problems. Stick with darker lettuces.
- Almond – Rabbits should not be eating nuts. Consuming large amounts can cause your rabbit to become obese and to have medical problems like GI Stasis.
- Arum lily – A flower that is highly toxic to rabbits and many other mammals. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Symptoms of poisoning include swollen tongue, pain and diarrhea. Gastric swelling can also appear and is deadly.
- Bindweed – Highly toxic to rabbits, particularly the seeds. Causes neurological problems.
- Bracken – A toxic fern that rabbits generally ovoid eating. Never feed any type of fern to a rabbit since they contain carcinogens.
- Parsley – Contains high levels of oxalic acid which is toxic to rabbits ONLY in large quantities. Feed in limited qualities
- Woody nightshade – Also known as bittersweet. Causes convulsions and death.
- Walnuts – Toxic in large quantities. Do not ever feed your rabbits any type of nut.
- Deadly nightshade or belladonna – Never eat or feed your rabbits the berries that form on potato plants, but deadly nightshade is the worst. Very scary!
- Delphinium – A beautiful flower that is poisonous to rabbits and livestock.
- Fools parsley – Looks like Queen Anne’s Lace and is highly toxic to rabbits and people.
- Oatmeal – Not considered toxic but not healthy for rabbits to consume in quantity on a regular basis.
- Herbicides – Make sure to wash any vegetation that you feed your rabbit.
- Foxglove – A common flower in the United States, all parts of the plant are poisonous to rabbits.
- Evergreens – Toxic to rabbits.
- Bread dough – Can lead to GI Stasis and death.
- Chocolate – Poisonous to most mammals including rabbits. Not deadly but in small amounts.
- Poppies – Extremely toxic to rabbits. Can cause a lethargic state, small pupils and death.
- Potato plants – Potatoes are very bad for rabbits but the plant itself and berries are highly toxic to all mammals including rabbits (lagomorph).
- Ragwort – Toxic to rabbits. Can cause liver failure and GI Stasis.
- Wild Carrots – Debated as being toxic.
- Milk – Can cause diarrhea and digestive problems.
- Wild Cucumbers – Looks nothing like a cucumber is the grocery store. It is deadly to rabbits.
- Pesticides – Make sure to wash any vegetation that you feed your rabbit.
- Wild Parsnip – A plant that is toxic and blisters the skin.
- Wild peas – Toxic to rabbits. Can cause neurological problems and mimic a copper deficiency.
- Colored Cardboard – Cardboard is fine for rabbits as long as it does not have ink on it.
- Meat – OMG don’t feed your rabbit meat! Believe it or not some rabbits will eat breaded meat products like chicken strips since they are salty.
- Lead paint – Rabbits love to gnaw on wood. There should be no paint on any of the wood they chew on especially if it contains lead.
Signs of toxicity in rabbits
Nobody knows your bunny rabbit like you do. For many of us our bun is part of the family and we know their habits and personality. The easiest way to tell if your rabbit has been exposed to something toxic is a change in behavior.
Some questions you should ask your self are:
- Is my rabbit still asking for treats or communicating with you?
- Is he or she sleeping in the same area?
- Have dietary habits changed?
- Is your rabbit binkying and running like always?
If you see a drastic change in your rabbit’s behavior this is a excellent indicator that something is wrong. It could be due to toxicity or a different medical issue. Keep in mind that when rabbits are sick, they can die quickly so it is important to get the to a qualified rabbit vet as soon as possible.
Other signs that may indicate that your rabbit has been exposed to something toxic may include the following:
- loss of appetite
- reduced activity
- dilated pupils
- contracted pupils
- drinking lots of water
- loss of hearing, seizures
- not pooping
- odd colored urine
Preventing poisoning in rabbits
The best way to keep rabbits from toxins is to control what is in their environment. If you have a house rabbit that runs free and has a litter box, then do not allow harmful things to be within reach of your rabbit. Rabbits are quick, can jump very high and can get into just about anything before you even know. Keep any toxic substances away and you will have nothing to worry about.
Diagnosing Toxicity & Poisoning in Rabbits
Diagnosing poisoning in rabbits can easily be done by a qualified rabbit vet. You should never try and treat your rabbit at home or offer human medicine to a rabbit. If you suspect that your rabbit has been exposed to a toxic substance it is very important to contact a vet immediately.
You need a specialized veterinarian
It is important to have a vet that specialized in small mammals or exotic animals. Most veterinarians will not treat a rabbit, so it is important to find a vet that l specializes in treating rabbits. Rabbits and other “exotic” pets have very unique bodies that function different than dogs and cats. Never trust a vet that does not have experience treating lagomorphs (rabbits).
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.