If you are a rabbit owner or have observed rabbits in general, you would have noticed that they are constantly nibbling or grazing on something or another.
While bread seems harmless and is liked by almost everyone for its neutral and slightly sweet flavor, it is not recommended to be fed to rabbits.
Bread is indigestible for rabbits and can cause serious problems if ingested in large amounts.
What Happens If Rabbits Eat Bread?
Watching rabbits nibble on food is an adorable sight, making anyone want to feed them some food or a treat. You might want to toss a piece of cake or bread to the rabbit.
The rabbit might jump to eat it, and gobble it up instantly and look at you for more. They may seem to enjoy the bread treat, but that is because a rabbit will eat anything.
Rabbits are not aware of what is good and bad for them and will eat whatever is offered to them. Bread is not one of those foods that should be given to rabbits.
This can harm their digestive system and can pose a threat to their lives. Rabbits have a very sensitive and complex digestive tract that is specialized in breaking down cellulose.
If a rabbit is given bread to eat, it can be negatively affected. It can cause:
- Pain And Inflammation
- Intestinal Obstruction
- GI Stasis
Bread contains a high amount of carbohydrates and starch, which can cause indigestion, obstruction, and pain in the rabbit’s digestive tract.
Undigested starch can accumulate in the rabbit’s digestive tract and ferment in the stomach due to the presence of bacteria. This can cause your rabbit to suffer from diarrhea.
Since rabbits are so tiny, diarrhea can cause rabbits to suffer from severe dehydration, which can even result in the rabbit’s death.
In some cases, bread tends to expand inside in a rabbit’s intestines, causing intestinal obstruction. This is a very painful condition and often requires surgery and the removal of the piece of bread to relieve the rabbit.
Rabbits eat bread happily due to its sugar content and acceptable flavor. But sugar is not healthy for rabbits either, and they must not be allowed to have too much sugar, such as in certain fruits and vegetables as well.
What Is GI Stasis?
GI Stasis is dangerous and quickly progressing condition that should be treated immediately in rabbits.
GI Stasis is defined as the condition in which food movement along the rabbit’s gut slows down or stops completely.
This can be caused by eating toxic, indigestible food. Accumulation of food in the intestine results in the fermentation of food, causing a release of toxins and gas that is poisonous to the rabbit.
It causes bloating, constipation, loss of appetite, and immense pain in the rabbit’s stomach. They become ill and stop eating.
Without timely treatment, this disease can progress quickly and result in the rabbit’s death.
How Much Bread is Too Much?
Is there such a thing as too much bread? Or even the tiniest amount is toxic for the bunny. Since bunny rabbits are big grazers, they won’t know when to stop eating bread if it is kept in front of them.
They don’t know its harmful effects and will continue to eat the bread that is fed to them. Due to its sweet flavor, bread is liked by everyone, and rabbits are no exception.
A small amount of bread is not harmful to the bunny, and you don’t need to fret, but if your bunny has had a large piece of bread or more than one, you must closely watch your rabbit for signs of sickness.
If your rabbit seems unwell, you must immediately take it to the vet for further investigation since bunnies are very tiny and sensitive animals.
Otherwise, it might start causing your rabbit a lot of pain and discomfort and may become more complicated.
Can Bread Be Given to Rabbits Occasionally As A Treat?
Now that we have established that bread should not be part of a rabbit’s usual diet, can it be given to them occasionally? Yes, but only in limited quantities and with careful consideration paid to the type of bread being served.
Make sure that you refrain from feeding white bread to your rabbit to avoid any health risks. White bread is heavy in starch and complex carbs, both of which are detrimental to the health of a rabbit.
Since rabbits are so easily spoiled, they may refuse their regular diet in hopes of being rewarded with novel things like bread. It can be difficult to resist, and you may give in to their adorable pleading eyes when they are asking for treats.
Rabbits eat things like grass, hay, and leafy plants in their natural habitats. Around eighty to ninety percent of a rabbit’s diet should consist of grass.
It is sufficient to give their bodies the basic nourishment they require. It is good for them because their digestive system is optimized to process only plant fibers.
However, if a treat is absolutely necessary, a little amount of natural and high-fiber sweet fruits like berries or apples are probably the best bet.
A modest slice of wheat bread, toasted bread, or whole meal bread will have to do with if you are in a pinch and you want to reward your rabbit for being good.
However, sometimes even eating a small piece of bread may have ill effects on them, so rabbits should probably steer clear of it altogether. We would ask you to prioritize your rabbit’s well-being and avoid giving it anything that could be harmful.
What Should I Do If I Have Already Given Bread to My Rabbit In The Past?
If bread has been a staple in your rabbit’s diet till now, you should stop immediately and consider switching to another food source due to the health issues listed above.
You need to be cautious about your rabbit’s diet. Prevent your rabbits from gaining access to and consuming these foods because of the potential health risks they pose.
Unaware and oblivious to the danger, rabbits may eat large pieces of food like bread. As a result of this, their bodies may face major health problems.
If this happens, the first thing you should do is count how many pieces of bread your rabbit ate, and then spend the next day keeping a close eye on it in case it starts having stomach problems.
See if your rabbit is still consuming water normally if it has diarrhea. Keep an eye on them when diarrhea stops to make sure they are back to normal feeding and drinking habits and return to their regular routine.
The rabbit needs to be taken to the clinic immediately if it does not show signs of improvement within 24 hours.
Other Foods That Are Considered Poisonous For Rabbits
There are certain other foods that are also considered poisonous for rabbits. Here is a list of foods that should not be fed to rabbits, along with bread. If one or more of the following are fed to rabbits by mistake, they must immediately be taken to the vet for an examination:
While many of these foods are considered healthy for humans, they don’t have the same benefits for rabbits. In fact, they can be dangerous for rabbits and can cause them to become critically ill.
Potatoes contain high amounts of an alkaloid called solanine which is toxic for rabbits. The digestive system in rabbits cannot break down this alkaloid present in potatoes which can cause the rabbit to become very ill.
Onions, while very healthy for humans, are indigestible for rabbits and can cause a reduction in red blood cells in rabbits. This is dangerous as it can cause severe anemia in rabbits and can even cause death.
Garlic can cause stomach disorders in rabbits and should not be given to rabbits.
Rabbits can be given fruits but in limited amounts, as they contain a lot of sugar and can cause obesity. While plump bunnies look adorable, it is not the healthiest state for your rabbit to be in and can cause a variety of issues later down the line.
Some fruits are forbidden for rabbits and must not be given to them under any circumstances. Accidental ingestion should be watched carefully and the rabbit should be rushed to the vet if symptoms of poisoning show.
Signs Of Food Poisoning In Your Rabbit
Here are some signs that your rabbit might have ingested something poisonous for its body. Watch out for more symptoms; otherwise, you must rush your rabbit to the vet.
You can initially offer hay and clean water to your rabbit to flush or neutralize the poisonous substance in its body. But if it refuses to eat and looks unwell, it is best to take the rabbit to the vet.
- Your rabbit loses its appetite for more than 12 hours and refuses to eat hay as well
- Abnormal and jerky movements in the rabbit
- The rabbit is inactive and lethargic
- The rabbit may vomit or have seizures
- The rabbit isn’t passing urine or stool
- The rabbit has a hunched posture
- The rabbit looks like it is in pain
- Its feces are not normal in texture frequency or color
What Is A Rabbit’s Digestive System Like?
Rabbits are herbivores and live primarily on plants and a plant-based diet. Their digestive systems are designed to digest cellulose and can process a certain type of diet.
Rabbits cannot digest carbohydrates and starchy foods such as bread as their digestive systems are not equipped to handle such complex foods.
What Does A Rabbits Diet Consist Of?
Rabbits are obligate herbivores. This means that they only live on plants and a plant-based diet. They do not need proteins or carbohydrates in their diet.
The best diet for rabbits is hay. Hay is rich in fiber, and this is ideal for maintaining the rabbit’s complex digestive system and keeping it healthy.
Hay should make up the bulk of the rabbit’s diet along with a well-balanced mix of certain fresh vegetables and fruits.
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits should not be fed too many carrots. Carrots are rich in carbohydrates and sugar, which is not recommended for bunnies. They should instead be fed the following dark green leaves:
- Romaine lettuce
- Bok choy
- Carrot top
- Mustard greens
- Broccoli greens
- Brussel sprouts
- Celery leaves
Other vegetables such as the following may also be given but in limited amounts such as:
- Kale leaves
- Swiss chard
This is because they are rich in calcium content and can risk causing bladder stones and infections in the rabbit’s digestive tract.
Offer your pet rabbits lots of fresh water to drink. Hydration is key for rabbits and keeps their food moving along their gut. It is essential to maintain a healthy digestive tract and maintain the lining of the gut.
You must remember to keep changing the water in the rabbit’s water dish and ensure to fill it up with clean and fresh water. The rabbit’s water dish must also be rinsed out and cleaned often to prevent the rabbit from catching disease and infections.
The Final Word
Bread is harmful to rabbits and should not be given under any circumstances. Bread and other similar food items such as cake, cookies, and pastries must all be avoided.
If you have been giving bread to your bunnies in the past, then you must stop immediately. This is not recommended and can eventually cause complications in your rabbit.
If accidental ingestion occurs, you must immediately offer clean water to your rabbit and some fresh hay. This helps to help move the bread along the gut and flush it out as soon as possible.
If your rabbit has ingested too much bread, then it must be taken to the vet for further investigation.
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