Feeding your pet rabbits human food is a hot topic in the rabbit community. Can you feed them human food? Can they eat it? What are some health benefits of feeding human food to your pet rabbits? Can humans feed their pets their own family’s leftovers, or should we just buy pre-packaged carrot sticks for our beloved bunnies?
This blog post will answer these questions and more!
Food family of human food.
Human food is any food that humans eat. This includes grains, fruits, vegetables, meats (fowl and fish), dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), edible oils like coconut or olive oil, sugar, nuts/seeds/legumes/beans.
Do rabbits like human food?
Some rabbits will eat human food, and some won’t. Some will only eat certain foods, like carrots or bananas or leafy greens. Others may try to eat almost anything you give them!
Can pet rabbits eat human food?
Yes, it is safe to feed pet rabbits some human food. But remember, not all human foods are healthy for pets. If your rabbit doesn’t like the taste of a certain food, leave it on the table; rabbits don’t need any (or even small amounts) of these types of “people” foods:
1. Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea (and chocolate),
2. Alcoholic beverages like beer and wine,
3. Avocado (and all parts of the avocado plant – fruit, leaves, bark),
4. Chocolate (seriously, it’s toxic to rabbits!),
5. Fried or greasy foods like doughnuts or fries,
6. Onions/garlic (small amounts are OK),
7. Grapes/raisins (including grapeseed oil or grape extract flavoring),
8. Raw, unripe fruits like apples and bananas and
Please note that all four steps are needed in order for these foods to be safe to feed your rabbits. If a step is omitted, the food may not be safe.
4 steps to prepare human food for rabbits.
- Remove poisonous foods (see list above)
- Peel, cook, de-skin or de-seed vegetables and fruits to make them safe
- Grind raw nuts/seeds into powder form to break down their fiber-like shells that are difficult for rabbits to digest
- Cook meats thoroughly before serving 4 health benefits of human food for rabbits. Human food can be a healthy supplement to your pet rabbit’s diet.
4 health benefits of human food for rabbits.
1. Enrich a rabbit’s diet and provide variety
Rabbits can benefit from eating food items that are not part of their usual commercial diet. This will ensure they get the full range of nutrients found in healthy foods – something that rabbits on commercially-prepared diets may lack.
2. Get more vegetables into your bunny
When feeding fresh vegetables, choose dark leafy greens and root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, celery); these contain the most healthy nutrients.
3. Reduce risk of obesity
Obesity in rabbits is a very serious problem with many potential health risks, like heart disease and heat problems.
4. Get more water into your bunny
If you feed your rabbit a slice of apple or a few strawberries, they will get more water into their system from these fruits than from a bowl of plain water.
4 health benefits for humans.
- Enjoying the company of your bunny companion while he eats healthy food!
- Enjoy the taste and texture of new foods with your bunny
- Nutrition for yourself
- Fun for humans, too! Many people love to feed children and pets because it’s a great opportunity to bond with your child or pet while he eats healthy food and experiences new tastes and textures.
6 Possible concerns when feeding human food to rabbits.
- The same reason humans are advised not to feed their pets human food is the same reason it can be dangerous for rabbits – they may choke on large pieces, or attempt to eat the whole serving at once.
- Variety in your rabbit’s diet is always best! Be aware that feeding certain foods, like raw nuts/seeds, may cause toxicity issues for your pet.
- Obesity is a huge issue for rabbits, and feeding human food can contribute to weight gain if not done carefully.
- Remember that your rabbit still needs his regular bunny food, so avoid feeding him all “people” foods.
- The added sugar content in many people foods (fruits, juices) can be dangerous in large quantities.
- While you may think it is healthy to feed your pet the same thing you are eating, this may not be true. Don’t assume that just because something is safe for humans means it’s also OK for rabbits!
4 signs your rabbits are sick from feeding human food.
- Sudden weight gain or loss, accompanied by lethargy or weakness. Be aware that even if your rabbit gains a little bit of weight after eating people food, it may still be overweight in comparison to its ideal body condition.
- Drooling, runny nose and/or eyes, vomiting, diarrhea. These are all signs of digestive problems and need to be addressed immediately before they worsen!
- Sudden refusal to eat their regular food (happened with one of my rabbits who stopped eating pellets after I fed him an orange). Be aware that your rabbit may not be able to digest certain foods, and it may make him sick.
- Change in color of stool (it should be brown and round). Also, an intense smell means your rabbit is not digesting his food properly!
What to do if your pet rabbits are sick from eating human food?
- Stop feeding your pet any and all people foods immediately!
- If your rabbit is not eating regular food (like pellets), try mixing the pellets with some of his favorite fresh veggies and fruits, and see if he will start eating again.
- If you suspect that a particular food item is causing digestive problems in your pet, remove that food and replace it with a fresh food item.
- Ask your veterinarian to check for parasites (internal and external), bacterial infections, and any other health issues.
Where can I get human food for my rabbits?
As you begin to offer your bunny more people foods, you also want to make sure you are offering him healthy food options.
Is it safe to feed human food to your pet rabbits?
It is always best to ask your veterinarian before feeding your pet any new foods, especially human foods.
Is human food bad for rabbits?
Human food can be very harmful to your rabbit’s health if it is not given in moderation, and especially if fed daily or as the only source of food. This is because some human foods can cause obesity, digestive problems (like diarrhea), dental problems (like tooth decay), and malnutrition when fed often and in large quantities.
What is your experience feeding human food to rabbits?
I’ve found that my rabbits will eat pretty much anything I put in front of them (within reason). Most would pick at fresh fruits or veggies if they were hungry enough, or nibble on a leaf of lettuce. However, when it came to crunchy stuff like carrots and celery, they just weren’t interested.
Two of my rabbits will grab a piece of banana and run, while trying to find the best hiding spot. They were usually successful!
4 Tips before giving human food to rabbits.
- Make sure your rabbit is healthy enough for a dietary change. If he has digestive problems or other health issues, make sure they are cleared up before adding in any new food items.
- Be aware that just because something is okay for humans, it may not be okay for rabbits! Even if something is healthy and natural, your bunny might still have a hard time digesting it or might get sick from eating too much of it.
- Do not give your rabbit people food as his only source of food, and only give it to him once a day or less. This will help you avoid your rabbit getting sick from malnutrition, and also helps keep his teeth healthy.
- Give your bunny people food in moderation – just like any other treat! Rabbits can’t survive on carrots and apples alone – they need their pellets too! Just like giving your bunny treats like fruit or dried herbs, make sure that you are still feeding him his regular food.
What human food is safe for rabbits?
It is safest to feed your rabbit all-natural and unprocessed foods, like:
- Vegetables (for example leafy greens, root vegetables, broccoli, corn)
- Fruits (for example strawberries, blueberries, bananas)
- Grains or seeds (like whole grains breads and whole-grain cereals)
How much human food do rabbits eat a day?
As I said before, it is best to only feed your pet rabbit one type of people food per day. This gives his body proper time to digest that item and he will have enough time to absorb the nutrients properly.
If you are trying to get your bunny to eat more, offer him vegetables as his only “people food” for the day.
How often should I give my rabbits human food?
Rabbits can be fed a small amount of people food once or twice per day, but only as a treat and not as their main source of nutrition. Make sure to avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium as well as those that are high in calcium.
Now That We’ve Reached The End
After reading this article, what are your thoughts on feeding human food to rabbits? Do you have any past experience with it? Please share below in the comments.