What toxic foods should not be given to a rabbit?

If you have adopted a small rabbit, you probably know what diet he should follow because this small animal has very specific nutritional needs. But it’s also important to be very careful with what you offer because many of the foods we eat are highly toxic to rabbits. While some can cause mild stomach upset, others are fatal. Let’s take a look at these foods to avoid.

What are the nutritional needs of rabbits?

Rabbits are small animals with very specific nutritional needs. A rabbit needs to consume certain essential nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.

Hay is the rabbit’s main diet. In young animals, alfalfa hay is preferred, rich in nutrients necessary for good growth of the animal. For adults, steppe hay is ideal.

In addition to hay, a rabbit can eat fresh plants, leaves, herbs, flowers, and buds. In addition, rabbit pellets and some of the products that we consume can be offered. However, be aware that many human foods are toxic to rabbits. It is better to avoid them, because some of them are dangerous, even deadly.

What foods are toxic to rabbits?

Many of the foods we regularly eat should never be given to rabbits because they are toxic to the small animal.


If people value chocolate for its delicious taste and magnesium content, it should be avoided by all pets. Very dangerous to all species, chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that is toxic to rabbits.

tea and coffee

It seems obvious that offering tea or coffee to a rabbit is a bad idea. But if your little buddy is wandering around for breakfast, he might be interested in those drinks we all love. It is best to give your rabbit only water, as theine and caffeine weaken the animal’s digestive system.

Please note that a rabbit needs to drink from 50 ml to 150 ml per kilogram of its body weight per day.


It is extremely important to exclude sweets, pastries and sweets from the rabbit’s diet, as they are highly toxic to this animal due to their high sugar content. Sugar does cause disturbances in the intestinal flora as well as infections which can lead to the death of a rabbit in the case of a high dose.

Milk products

Dairy products are toxic to rabbits as they can cause indigestion and rheumatoid lesions. Therefore, do not give your little companion milk, yoghurts and cheese.


Wheat is toxic to rabbits. Therefore, any food that contains it must be avoided. Bread, crackers, cereals… don’t offer them to him for pleasure, because they are dangerous to his health.


We may all be tempted to give a rabbit corn, but this food is too high in carbohydrates for him. In small doses, it ferments in the stomach and causes liver and digestive disorders. Too much of it is deadly.

some fruits

The rabbit is intolerant to many fruits, so it is better not to offer it to him. Apple, pear and apricot are possible in very small quantities, but it is imperative to pay attention to their sugar content.

On the other hand, cut out all very ripe fruits, bananas, avocados, and rhubarb.

Also beware of fruit pits and seeds, which contain cyanide, which is toxic to rabbits.

some vegetables

You can give your rabbit some carrots, zucchini, radishes, lettuce, or celery from time to time. On the other hand, others must definitely be avoided, because they cause more or less serious digestive disorders.

  • Rabbits do not digest turnips and cabbage. They cause an unpleasant bloating in the animal. A slight exception is turnip leaves, which can still be given to a rabbit to ease his transition.
  • Peas and beans are toxic to the liver and kidneys of rabbits.
  • Leek, onion, garlic, and mushrooms are poisonous and cause anemia, which can be severe.
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes, too rich in starch, are toxic to rabbits.

green plants

Of course, plants are not considered food, but they can be found in the presence of your little companion. Both indoors and outdoors, most plants are toxic to rabbits.

You can give your small animal fresh grass or even some aromatic herbs (unprocessed) such as basil, parsley, or green onions.

On the other hand, avoid the following plants at all costs:

  • spurge;
  • burdock;
  • belladonna;
  • boxwood;
  • poppy;
  • fern;
  • Holly;
  • irises;
  • hyacinth;
  • daffodils;
  • laurel and oleander;
  • ivy;
  • lupine;
  • lily;
  • chandra;
  • thrush;
  • poplar;
  • philodendron;
  • Cape gooseberry;
  • primrose;
  • rhododendron;
  • spruce;
  • elder;
  • tulip.

Make sure all your houseplants are out of your little pet’s reach. Outdoors, be careful that it doesn’t get to the plants in your garden. This will keep you from poisoning your little companion.

What are the signs of food poisoning in rabbits?

Despite all your precautions, your little rabbit may ingest food that is poisonous to him. In this case, here are the signs that should alert you:

  • loss of balance, movement disorders;
  • diarrhea;
  • muscle twitching;
  • convulsions;
  • respiratory disorders;
  • excessive salivation;
  • lethargy, inability to move.

If in doubt, don’t wait and contact your veterinarian immediately. You need to take him to a practitioner as soon as possible. The sooner a rabbit is taken care of, the better its chances of survival in the event of a serious poisoning.

Your veterinarian may soon be able to give you advice on what to do, because it is important not to medicate the animal or try to vomit or feed it.

Depending on the toxic food he has eaten, your rabbit may have more or less severe signs. In some cases, mild and transient diarrhea may occur, but in most cases, your pet will be poisoned and may suffer from liver problems, heart problems, breathing problems, nervous breakdowns, or even die quickly, without which no intervention is possible.

Unfortunately, be aware that in some cases, despite prompt treatment, the veterinarian will be unable to do anything other than suggest euthanasia to end your little companion’s suffering. So it’s always better to be very careful.

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