What Not To Feed A Pet Rabbit: The Ultimate Guide!

Owning a pet rabbit comes with many joys, but it’s crucial to understand what to feed them and, most importantly, what not to feed them.

A properly balanced diet not only keeps your bunny healthy but also contributes to their overall happiness.

In this article, we will specifically focus on the types of foods that should be avoided when it comes to your rabbit’s nutrition.

Surprisingly, some well-known foods commonly associated with rabbits, such as certain types of lettuce and carrots, can be harmful to their health.

Furthermore, feeding your bunny the wrong types of food can lead to various health issues, including digestive problems and potentially fatal conditions.

Therefore, it is essential to educate yourself about the potential dangers lurking in your rabbit’s diet and ensure the food you offer aligns with their natural eating habits.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding rabbit nutrition is crucial for a healthy and happy pet
  • Some common foods, like carrots and certain lettuces, can be harmful to rabbits
  • Ensuring a balanced diet can help prevent serious health issues
What Not To Feed A Pet Rabbit

For more advice on rabbit care, feel free to explore these additional resources:

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Rabbit

In this section, we will explore the foods that should be avoided when feeding your rabbit, providing insights into potentially harmful items and considerations for maintaining the health and well-being of pet rabbits through appropriate dietary choices.


Toxic and Poisonous Substances for Rabbits

As a rabbit owner, it’s crucial to be aware of toxic and poisonous substances that can harm your pet.

This includes chocolate, caffeine, and certain plants that rabbits should never consume.

To learn about the 30 plants to avoid feeding your rabbit, check out this helpful list of What Plants are Toxic for Bunnies.

High Starch and Sugary Foods

Feeding your rabbit high starch and sugary foods can lead to obesity and digestive issues.

Foods like cereal, crackers, cookies, bread, and potatoes should be avoided.

It’s important to remember that rabbits have a sensitive digestive system, and keeping sugar and starch intake low will help maintain their overall health.

Harmful Fruits and Vegetables

Not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for rabbits. Some can cause more harm than good, such as iceberg lettuce, rhubarb, and onions.

In particular, iceberg lettuce lacks nutritional value and can lead to diarrhea, while rhubarb and onions can be toxic.

Additionally, be cautious with fruits containing seeds like apple seeds and avocado—as they can be harmful to your rabbit.

Dairy and Meat Products

Rabbits are herbivores and should not be fed any dairy or meat products.

Items like yogurt, cheese, and milk can cause digestive issues and are not part of a natural rabbit diet.

As a rabbit-specialist vet, I’ve seen firsthand how feeding dairy to rabbits can lead to health issues.

Other Unsuitable Foods and Ingredients

There are several other foods and ingredients that are unsuitable for your rabbit, such as nuts, seeds, cereal, corn, and pasta.

These foods lack necessary fiber and can lead to indigestion and other health issues.

Providing a balanced diet rich in hay, leafy greens, and limited fresh vegetables and fruits will ensure your rabbit stays healthy.

Health Concerns Related to Poor Rabbit Diet

In this section, we will discuss health concerns related to a poor diet in rabbits, providing insights into the potential impact of inadequate nutrition on the well-being and overall health of pet rabbits.

Vegetables and Fruits That Will Kill Your Rabbit

Obesity and Weight Management

A poor diet can lead to obesity in rabbits, which in turn contributes to several health issues.

Overweight rabbits often suffer from difficulty breathing, arthritis, and even heart problems, so it is crucial to monitor their weight properly.

You can help your rabbit maintain a healthy weight by offering them a balanced diet consisting mainly of hay and fresh vegetables, with limited amounts of fruits and treats.

Engaging your rabbit in regular play and exercise is also essential for a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on the causes, health risks, and solutions for overweight rabbits, refer to this guide.

Gastrointestinal Stasis and Bloat

Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system, and a poor diet can lead to issues such as gastrointestinal stasis and bloat.

Gastrointestinal stasis occurs when your rabbit’s digestion slows down or stops completely, leading to gas build-up and severe discomfort.

This can be life-threatening, hence it is essential to learn about signs of GI stasis and seek immediate veterinary care if needed.

To avoid such digestive problems, ensure your rabbit’s diet is rich in fiber, with a focus on high-quality hay.

Diarrhea and Digestive Upsets

Feeding your rabbit improper foods can cause diarrhea and other digestive upsets.

Foods high in sugar or lactucarium, such as iceberg lettuce, can negatively impact your rabbit’s gut health.

Instead, offer them a variety of leafy greens and vegetables that have been washed and dried well. When introducing new foods, do it gradually and observe your rabbit for any adverse reactions.

If you notice signs of diarrhea or other digestive issues, consult your vet for advice and calming strategies for stressed rabbits.

As a rabbit owner, it is crucial to be aware of what not to feed your pet and to provide them with a balanced diet.

They require a diet rich in hay, fresh vegetables, and minimal fruits. Controlling their sugar intake and maintaining proper weight control are fundamental for a healthy rabbit.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with common rabbit illnesses and their symptoms to ensure a proactive approach to your pet’s well-being.

Safe Practices and Regular Health Checks

Rabbit Diet 101

A key aspect of caring for your rabbit is ensuring a balanced nutrition and fibrous diet.

Feed your pet dark leafy greens, non-starchy fruits, and vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, and parsley to provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Avoid unhealthy pellet mixes and high-sugar foods like carrots and fruits, as they can lead to weight gain and digestive problems.

Monitor your rabbit’s health daily. Watch for signs of illness such as changes in behavior, appetite, or physical appearance. Familiarize yourself with plants that are safe for rabbits to ensure a proper diet.

Rabbit’s teeth continuously grow, making proper dental care crucial for their well-being. Provide suitable abrasive materials like hay and wooden chew toys to maintain their teeth. Learn how to care for your rabbit’s teeth to prevent complications.

You should also have a well-stocked rabbit’s first aid kit to address any minor injuries or issues. When necessary, don’t hesitate to contact your vet for professional advice.

Regular vet visits are essential to monitor your rabbit’s overall health.

Your vet can provide timely interventions to prevent any issues from escalating, maintaining your pet’s well-being. Invest time in learning how to know if your rabbit is sick for early detection and treatment.

Remember, maintaining a healthy and safe environment for your rabbit is an ongoing commitment. Stay vigilant, informed, and proactive in caring for your pet to ensure they lead a happy and healthy life.

Unsafe food for rabbits: Recap!

Unhealthy pellet mixes: Many rabbit food mixes in pet stores contain colorful, fruity pieces with high sugar content, nuts, and seeds that are harmful to a rabbit’s digestion. Instead, opt for a trusted brand like Oxbow rabbit food.

Bad vegetables: Avoid vegetables in the onion family (onions, garlic, scallions), as they negatively affect a rabbit’s immune system.

High starch foods like potatoes and corn should also be avoided, along with high fat content vegetables like avocados and olives. Note that tomato leaves are toxic to rabbits, but the fruit is safe in small amounts.

Unsafe VegetablesReason
Onion familyAffects immune system
PotatoesHigh starch content, mildly toxic parts
CornHigh starch content
AvocadosHigh fat content, contains toxic persin
OlivesHigh fat content
Tomato leavesMildly toxic

Cereal and processed grains: Processed human foods like cereal, bread, and pasta are off-limits to rabbits. They lack nutritional value and contain starch and sugar that are harmful to a rabbit’s diet.

Store-bought rabbit treats: Most pet-store treats are high in sugar or contain unhealthy ingredients like nuts and seeds. Opt for flavored baked hay treats or small portions of fresh or dried fruits and vegetables as healthier alternatives.

Iceberg lettuce: This type of lettuce contains high levels of lactucarium, which can be harmful to a rabbit’s digestive system if given consistently over time. It is also low in nutrients and high in water content.

Unsafe Leafy GreensReason
Iceberg lettuceHigh lactucarium content
JicamaLow nutrients
Potato and tomato topsMildly toxic
Rhubarb leavesToxic
SilverbeetHigh oxalic acid content

Most nuts and seeds: High in fat content and potentially toxic, nuts and seeds are not suitable for rabbits. Their digestion requires more fiber, making these types of food unhealthy choices for your pet.

As a veterinarian specializing in rabbits, I have seen many rabbit owners unintentionally cause harm by providing unsafe food. Understanding what makes certain foods unhealthy for rabbits and providing them with a nutritious diet can significantly improve their overall health.


In summary, it’s essential to be mindful of your rabbit’s diet to ensure their health and well-being. Rabbits require a diet primarily composed of hay, with a variety of vegetables and limited fruit added for variety.

Avoid feeding your rabbit harmful foods such as:

  1. Sugary treats and fruits in excess
  2. Caffeinated beverages
  3. High-carbohydrate foods
  4. Unhealthy pellet mixes found in some pet stores

As a vet specializing in rabbits, I’ve witnessed first-hand the negative impact that an inappropriate diet can have on rabbit health. By sticking to a balanced diet and steering clear of harmful foods, you’ll be helping your furry friend thrive.

Remember, to consult with a rabbit-savvy vet if you have any concerns or questions about your rabbit’s diet. Happy bunny parenting!



Q: What should I avoid feeding my pet rabbit?

A: It’s important to be aware of toxic foods for rabbits. Here are some examples to keep in mind:

  • Unhealthy pellet mixes: Many store-bought mixes contain colorful, fruity pieces which are unhealthy for your bunnies.
  • Lettuce: It contains lactucarium, which may lead to fatal diarrhea for rabbits. Iceberg lettuce contains laudanum, harmful in large quantities.
  • Chocolate, caffeine, and high-sugar treats: These can be dangerous for your rabbit’s health.
  • Starchy or high-sugar fruits and vegetables: Limit these to avoid imbalances in your rabbit’s diet.

As a vet specializing in rabbits, I have encountered a number of cases where a seemingly harmless treat has resulted in digestive issues for the pet.

Q: What are some safe foods for my rabbit?

A: A pet rabbit’s diet should primarily consist of hay, which helps maintain their digestive and dental health. Fresh vegetables, such as leafy greens, can be added in moderation. Some examples:

Safe VegetablesSafe Fruits
ParsleyApple (no seeds)
Bok choyPapaya

Remember, it’s crucial to provide a balanced diet to keep your rabbit healthy and happy.

Q: How often should I feed my rabbit?

A: Rabbits should have access to hay at all times, as it helps maintain their digestive and dental health. Fresh vegetables can be fed daily, depending on the rabbit’s size and preferences. Fruits should be offered sparingly, as they are high in sugar, and can be fed as an occasional treat.

Feel free to consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations regarding your rabbit’s diet.

Maurice Alice

Dr. Maurice Alice is a veterinary expert with over 10 years of experience in exotic animal medicine, specializing in dental care for rabbits and rodents. He is dedicated to providing exceptional care for his patients and is passionate about promoting animal welfare.

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