Rabbits Eating Human Food: The Good, The Okay, And The Dangerous

Rabbits Eating Human Food: The Good, The Okay, And The Dangerous

Disclosure: We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Food is one of the best ways to bond with your pet bunny so what about sharing your food with your rabbit? Could you really have lunch with your rabbit? In this article, you will find out just what human foods are safe for your rabbit to eat so that the next time your eating you can offer some to your buddy.

This article was written with my friend Rebecca Turner who also shared her expertise on the Best Rabbit Diet Article. Rebecca has a diploma in animal care and she is training to be a veterinarian nurse who also happens to be an experienced rabbit breeder and enthusiast. As always, I’m tickled to collaborate with such an authoritative rabbit expert.

We are going to start out by listing the best people foods that rabbits can eat, and then we’ll move down the list until we get to the human foods that are actually dangerous to rabbits. Be sure to stick around to the end of the article, where we answer questions about specific human foods and if they can be eaten by rabbits.

Not only did Rebecca and I rely upon our own years of experience, but when we weren’t 100% sure of the answer, we went to other pet rabbit experts, including The RSPCA, PDSA, RWAF, VCA, and Vets4Pets


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Rabbit Sharing People Food - Salad
List of Good Human Food For Rabbits To Eat

1. Mixed Dark Greens

A salad made of mixed dark greens is a wonderful people’s food that rabbits can eat daily as part of a healthy diet. This salad is ideally made up of four to six kinds of dark greens, i.e. kale, and should not be too heavy on spinach which is high in oxalates and should only be enjoyed in moderation.

For rabbits, fiber is very important, and dark green vegetables are a great source of fiber. In the wild, rabbits like to graze on plants of all kinds. Besides grass and hay, dark leafy greens are an important part of a rabbit’s diet in the wild.

If you’ve read our article on the ideal rabbit diet, you already know that rabbits should have 80% hay, 15% greens and vegetables, and 5% pellets. This is why dark leafy greens are so important in a rabbit’s diet because they make up 15% of their diet.

So go ahead and share your salad with your bunny and you’ll both be healthier for it. Just don’t go too heavy on the higher sugar toppings like carrots or fruits. We’ll talk more about this in the next item.

Salad Dressing And Rabbits

Rabbits should not eat salad dressing on their bunny salad. Nearly all salad dressings are fat-based and most also contain sugar. There’s simply no reason to give a rabbit salad dressing and doing so will likely upset your bunny’s tummy.

So if you’re sharing your salad with your bunny, have your salad dressing on the side and just dip your greens before you chomp your greens.

2. Fresh Raw Vegetables

Raw fresh vegetables are a great human food to share with your pet bunny. Rabbits love cucumbers, green beans, and carrots as well as many other vegetables. Starchy vegetables like carrots should be given to a rabbit in moderation because they can make your rabbit fat and cause GI problems.

“Although rabbits love carrots, they contain a lot of sugar and calories but not any good fibre to help keep their guts moving. Like fruit, carrots are OK but only occasionally as a treat. It’s best to stick to other veg to keep your bunny healthy.”

The People’s dispensary for sick animals (PDSA)

3. Fresh Low Sugar Fruit

Pet rabbits can eat fresh low-sugar fruit in moderation. Fruit that is high in sugar which can easily lead to obesity and diabetic symptoms in rabbits. Berries tend to be the lowest sugar fruits and as such are a great people food to share with your pet rabbit.

We wrote an article about natural rabbit treats, that includes information about the amount of sugar in various fruits as well as a discussion about diabetes in rabbits.

3. Herbs

Rabbits can eat all kinds of herbs! Some herbs that rabbits can eat are;

  • Dill
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Lemon balm
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Coriander
  • Thyme

If you have a nursing bunny you should avoid herbs like; sage and mint as these are known to dry up a mother’s milk.


List Of Okay Human Food For Rabbits To Eat

These are human foods that rabbits could eat, but shouldn’t eat too often…

1. Spinach

Spinach is good food for rabbits as long as it’s fed in moderation because it’s high in oxalates. Too many oxalates in a bunny’s diet can turn into calcium and cause kidney stones. These stones will cause irritation and can even cause a blockage. Spinach should be fed once or twice a week.

Oxalates And Rabbits

Oxalates are naturally occurring food toxins, organic acids, that can produce itchiness in the skin or mouth if eaten in greater quantities and also cause kidney stones in rabbits. Potential rabbit foods highest in oxalates include spinach, kale, beets, and blackberries.

The oxalic acid will bind Calcium and other minerals together and this will make them insoluble. as a result, it makes it difficult to use them in the bone structure and the calcium might get stuck in the bladder and cause bladder stones.

Still, you should definitely not avoid high oxalate foods when feeding your house rabbit. All of these foods are nutrient-dense and are healthy for your rabbit in moderation. Moderation is a small serving of around a tablespoon offered only once a week.

2. Bananas And Other High Sugar Fresh Fruits

Bananas and other high sugar fruits are safe for rabbits but should be considered as a treat because fruit is high in sugar. Having your rabbits on a high sugar diet can lead to weight gain and obesity. Too much fruit can also lead to GI Statis which is a dangerous condition for rabbits.

High sugar foods are digested in the stomach at the wrong PH and this enables bad bacteria to grow in the gut and will slow down your bunny’s digestive systems and therefore, potentially, giving your rabbit GI stasis.

Food Caused GI Statis In Rabbits

In discussing GI Stasis in rabbits, the VCA Animal Hospital says “GI stasis is the slowing of passage of food through the GI tract. This is due to a change in the population of bacteria normally living in the GI tract that ferment (digest) rabbits’ food. GI stasis is not typically caused by an actual physical obstruction (such as a hairball or ingested foreign object, such as a towel or rug), but by a change in GI bacteria.”

GI Stasis is a potentially fatal condition that can be prevented with the correct diet. Part of an ideal rabbit diet includes limiting sugary treats which can causes changes in GI (gut) bacteria and possible lead to GI Stasis.

If your rabbit has GI stasis the digestive system will slow down and eventually stop. Then the bad bacteria will build up in the intestines and releases gas into the system, causing very painful bloating, and therefore your rabbit will lose motivation to eat or drink. Remember, rabbits can neither burp nor vomit. { Click Here to learn more about why rabbits can’t vomit. >>> }


List of Human Food That Is Dangerous To Rabbits

These human foods could cause your rabbit serious health issues or even death.

1. Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is dangerous for rabbits to eat because iceberg lettuce contains lactucarium which is a milky fluid secreted from lettuce stems and has a mild opiate-like effect when rabbits eat too much of it. Eating iceberg lettuce commonly leads to diarrhea in rabbits which, if bad enough, can be fatal.

If your bunny eats some iceberg lettuce, they’ll probably be just fine, though you should aim to keep it away from your bunny.

2. Avocado

Avocado is a very fatty fruit that can be deadly if ingested by a rabbit because avocados contain a chemical called persin. Persin is toxic to birds and rabbits. When a rabbit eats avocado, it can quickly develop breathing problems in a condition called Avocado Toxicity which can be deadly.

The Animal Healing Center has a nice article on avocado toxicity if you’d like to learn more.

3. Fruit Pits Or Pips

Rabbits should not be encouraged to eat apple seeds or the pits/pips of apricots, peaches, and plums because they contain a compound that can be naturally converted into cyanide which is highly toxic to all living things including rabbits.

When it comes to the toxic compound found in apple seeds and other fruit pits, please don’t freak out if your rabbit eats a seed or even a few seeds. It takes a lot of apple seeds to kill a rabbit and if you’d like to learn more about the science behind it, you can read this article about rabbits eating apples and apple seeds.

4. Rhubarb

All parts of the rhubarb plants are poisonous to rabbits, though the leaves are the most poisonous part. Rhubarb Poisoning in rabbits causes a swollen or sore mouth, bloated stomach, diarrhea excessive drinking, being lethargic. It can be deadly though it rarely is.

If your bunny has ingested some rhubarb then take them to your vet.


FAQ – Rabbits Eating Common Human Foods

We regularly get questions from bunny lovers concerning specific human foods that their bunny has developed a passion to eat. We’ve captured the most common questions below and answered each briefly.

Rabbits And Donuts

Rabbits should not eat donuts. Donuts are so high in sugar that they are going to cause short-term stress and long-term obesity and diabetes in any rabbit who eats them regularly. Eating just a little bit of a donut is not going to cause any harm to a pet bunny.

Rabbits Eating Pizza

Rabbits should not eat pizza of any kind, even vegetarian. The crust is made of dough which will cause tummy discomfort in your bunny and if they eat a lot of pizza it might even lead to GI Stasis. If your rabbit eats a little pizza, they’ll be fine.

Rabbits Eating Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to rabbits and they should not be allowed to eat it. Bunnies that have consumed chocolate can overheat, experience heart attacks, and even suffer respiratory failure. However, many bunnies have had a few bites of chocolate when no one was looking, and death is very rare.

Rabbits Eating Potato Chips

Potato chips are not poisonous to rabbits, but they are not healthy for them either. Potatoes chips are high in carbohydrates, starch, and oils that which can all cause issues for your bunny’s digestive system. Many rabbits really like potato chips because of the salt on them.

If your bunny is going nuts trying to get to your potato chips, you should consider getting them a salt lick like this one on Amazon.

Rabbits Eating Meat

Rabbits should never eat meat. Rabbits are herbivores and this means that they only eat plants. In the wild rabbits don’t eat meat, It is not a needed part of their diet. Eating meat will upset your rabbit’s tummy and could lead to GI Stasis which is dangerous to rabbits.

Once again, if your rabbit eats a little meat it’s not the first bunny to do so. When bunnies are curious about something, they don’t have fingers to touch it so they put it in their mouth. If they see you eating something, they might decide to try it themselves.

I’ve never heard of a rabbit having serious health issues from eating even a few bites of meat. Still, you should allow your rabbit to get in the habit of sharing your hamburger.

Rabbits Eating French Fries

Lots of rabbits think they love french fries, but they should not be allowed to eat them. French fries are fried in oils that will upset your bunny’s complex and delicate digestive system. Foods that have been fried are potentially fatal to rabbits as they can cause GI Stasis.

We had a bunny that grabbed a french fry off a plate when no one was looking and she loved it. After that, we had to always eat fries at the table instead of on the floor because that bunny was a ninja french fry thief.

It’s not the potatoes or the frying oil that your bunny is going after it’s the salt. Get your bunny a salt lick like this one on Amazon and maybe they’ll forget about french fries.

P.S Our rabbit was fine after eating part of a french fry multiple times. Yours will be too.

Rabbits Drinking Sugary Drinks

Rabbits love sugary things, including sweet soft drinks, soda pops, and fruit juices. However, rabbits should not be allowed to drink soft drinks or fruit juice because it will make them fat and sick. Drinking a little sugary drink isn’t going to harm your rabbit.

Rabbits Drinking Alcohol

Too much alcohol is toxic to rabbits and all other living things. Rabbits are very small so it takes very little to be toxic. However, if your rabbit has had a few quick drinks it will probably be fine. Alcohol poisoning in rabbits is very rare.

Here is a link to an article we wrote about rabbits drinking alcohol that you should go read if your bunny took a snort of your booze and now your rightfully worried.

Rabbits Eating Peanuts or Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is not poisonous to rabbits though it does present a possible choking hazard. If your rabbit ate a little peanut butter, you should monitor it for choking, but otherwise, it will be fine.

Peanut butter is high in fat and calories. In addition, most brands are full of sugar if you share peanut butter with your rabbit regularly not only will lead to obesity and digestive issues but all sort of other problems such as GI upset.

Rabbits Eating Candy Canes

Rabbits love sweets and seem to be especially drawn to Christmas Candy Canes. If your rabbit eats part of a candy cane, you need to monitor it physical damage caused by the hard candy including tooth damage, sore mouth, or GI discomfort.

If there is no physical damage to your bunny from the hard candy, your rabbit will be fine.

In the future, keep candy canes out of reach of your bunny, and be sure to rabbit-proof your Christmas tree.

Rabbits Eating Candy Corn

If your rabbit eats some candy corn, they are going to be fine. There is nothing toxic about candy corn, but its high sugar content is going to make your rabbit fat if you let him eat it regularly. The high sugar will also mess up your bunny’s gut bacteria which can cause long-term problems.

Rabbits Eating Candy Bars

Some rabbits become addicted to candy bars after tasting them just once. If your rabbit sneaks a bite of a candy bar, they are going to be fine, even if it’s a chocolate bar. However, you should monitor your rabbit for signs of overheating or stress. If you see these symptoms, get your bunny to the vet.

Rabbits Eating Bacon

I’ve had a number of people tell me that their rabbit loves bacon and tries to steal it from their plates. Rabbits are plant eaters and should not be allowed to eat bacon or any other meat. Rabbits are attracted to bacon not for the meat, but for the salt.

Eating a little bacon is not going to kill your rabbit, but if they eat it regularly it is going to mess up their digestive system and lead to GI discomfort and perhaps even GI Stasis which can be fatal to rabbits.

If your rabbit is going after salty bacon, give them another source of salt like these rabbit salt licks like these on Amazon. Oh, and keep your bacon away from your bunny!

Rabbits Eating Sweet Tarts

I get asked about rabbits eating sweet tarts all of the time so let’s just set the record straight.

Rabbits should be encouraged or even allowed to eat sweet tarts. Sweet tarts are sugar, and some rabbits (like some people) have a real sweet tooth. If your pet bunny eats sugar regularly, they will get fat and develop diabetic symptoms.

In good conscience, I have to also say that if sugar is a staple of your diet, you too will get fat and develop diabetic symtoms. Do yourself a favor, and don’t keep candy around your house where your rabbit or yourself can easily get into it.

Rabbits Eating Flowers

In our house, we love garden salads, and flowers sprinkled on top of our salads are a spring treat we always look forward to. When we share our salads with our bunnies, they too obviously enjoy the flower garnish.

Most flowers are fine for rabbits to eat and even make great natural treats. However, flowers with bulbs like lilies, daffodils, tulips, bluebells, irises, orchids, and many more may be poisonous to bunnies and can cause diarrhea and in some cases death.

For the bulb flowers, you should consider the entire plant to be poisonous to your rabbit (and other animals, including humans); this includes leaves, stems, and bulbs, not just the actual flower.


I hope you found this article about human foods that rabbits can eat. If you have a specific question about other foods, reply to one of our emails with your question or leave a comment below.

~Stacey

Stacey

My name is Stacey Davis and my family has kept rabbits for decades. Here on RabbitPros.com we share our love of rabbits, our experience, and lots of research to help you enjoy your pet bunny even more.

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