8 Foods That Are Fatal to Rabbits (or NEVER Be Fed to a Rabbit)

Bunny owners, beware! Many common foods can actually be fatal if fed to rabbits. With their sensitive digestive systems, it’s crucial to know what’s safe and what’s dangerous for your floppy-eared friend to eat. In this eye-opening article, we reveal 8 deadly foods rabbits should never consume, including toxins hidden in common fruits and vegetables. You’ll also discover surprising treats to avoid, the importance of fiber, and smart tips for changing diets. Want your rabbit to live a long, healthy life? Don’t let them nibble these fatal foods! We’ve got the must-know nutritional no-no’s to keep your rabbit safe, healthy, and hopping with joy!

What Foods Are Rabbits Not Allowed to Eat?

Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and there are many foods that they should avoid or never be fed at all. Some foods can cause digestive upsets or toxicity that can be fatal if consumed. Here are 8 foods that rabbit owners should never feed their bunnies:


Avocados contain persin, which is a fungicidal toxin that can be deadly to rabbits. Even a small amount can cause congestion, heart failure, breathing difficulties, and death in rabbits. Avocado plants and leaves also contain persin and should be kept away from rabbits.

Fruit Pips and Seeds

The seeds and pits of fruits like apples, apricots, peaches, pears, and plums contain cyanide, which is toxic to rabbits. Swallowing just a few seeds or pits can cause cyanide poisoning leading to seizures, breathing issues, and death. Make sure to core and seed fruits before feeding to bunnies.


Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid and calcium oxalates, which can cause kidney damage in rabbits. The stalks also contain oxalates to a lesser degree. It's best to avoid feeding rabbits any part of rhubarb plants.


Chocolate contains toxic components called methylxanthines, specifically theobromine and caffeine. Rabbits cannot metabolize these properly. Just a few bites of chocolate can cause heart attacks, seizures, and death in rabbits. Keep all chocolate and cocoa powder away from bunnies.

Allium Vegetables

Vegetables in the allium family like onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives can cause hemolytic anemia in rabbits. This causes their red blood cells to rupture. Even small amounts can be toxic over time. Rabbits should never be fed any allium vegetables.

Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce provides almost no nutritional value and is mostly water. The high water content can cause diarrhea in rabbits. Repeated diarrhea episodes can lead to dangerous dehydration and digestive issues. It's better to feed leafy greens like romaine lettuce instead.

Potato Leaves and Sprouts

Potato leaves, sprouts, and plant stems contain solanine, chaconine, and other glycoalkaloids that are toxic to rabbits. Ingesting these can cause neurological issues, organ damage, paralysis, and death. Tubers like potatoes should always be scrubbed and peeled before feeding to bunnies.

Sugary Processed Foods

Foods with high sugar content like candy, chips, baked goods, cereal, ice cream, and sugary yogurt drops can cause digestive upset and obesity in rabbits. The high carbohydrate levels can also lead to fatal enterotoxemia. Rabbits should never be fed processed human junk foods.

Foods Rabbits Should Avoid Eating

In addition to foods that are toxic, there are some other foods rabbits are better off avoiding for health reasons:


Commercial muesli mixes contain nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and sugary cereals that are inappropriate foods for bunnies. The carbohydrate-rich ingredients can also cause selective feeding. It's better to offer plain pellets instead of muesli.


All nuts are too high in fats and oils that can cause obesity and liver problems in rabbits over time. Walnuts and macadamia nuts also contain naturally occurring toxins unsafe for rabbits. Stick to healthier treats instead of nuts.

Cat or Dog Food

Cat and dog foods contain higher protein and fat levels than rabbits require in their diets. They are also deficient in fiber. Eating these foods long-term can cause digestive and urinary issues in rabbits. Rabbits should only eat rabbit-formulated food.


Cauliflower and other brassica vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts contain goitrogens that impact thyroid function when fed excessively. Limit cauliflower to occasional small treat portions for rabbits.


Parsnips are high in potassium and sugar, which can cause diarrhea and digestive upset when overfed to rabbits. While parsnip greens are safe in moderation, limit parsnip root vegetable as an occasional treat.


Raisins are high in natural sugars that can lead to obesity and dental issues when overfed. They are also a choking risk due to the chewy texture. Dried fruits like raisins should be avoided as daily rabbit treats.

What Can Rabbits Eat?

While some foods should be limited or avoided, there are many healthy and safe foods bunnies can eat as part of a balanced diet:

Importance of Fiber for Rabbits

Rabbits are herbivores that need to constantly graze on high-fiber foods to keep their digestive tracts functioning properly. Their diet should consist of at least 75% hay, which provides vital fiber. Grass hay like timothy or oat is preferable to alfalfa hay.

What Vegetables Can I Feed My Rabbit?

Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, arugula, turnip greens, cilantro, parsley and basil make great veggie choices. Carrot tops, beet tops, broccoli leaves, fennel, bok choy, carrots and bell peppers can also be fed in moderation. Introduce new veggies slowly.

Rabbit Pellet Portion Size

A small daily portion of plain pellets ensures bunnies get proper vitamins and minerals. Adult rabbits only require 1/4 cup pellets per 5 lbs. body weight. Limit alfalfa-based pellets to baby rabbits under 7 months old.

Healthy Treats for Rabbits

Good treats include oat hay or grass hay cubes, dried seaweed strips, herb sprigs like dill or rosemary, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, melon chunks, unsweetened shredded wheat cereal and occasional carrot or apple slices.

What If My Rabbit Won’t Eat Hay?

Make sure hay is always available. Try different hays and mix in tastier options like oat or botanical hays. Place hay racks near favorite spots. Hand feed small amounts to encourage interest. Add dried herbs to make it more enticing. Reduce pellets to increase hay appetite.

Changing a Rabbit’s Diet

Any diet changes should be made slowly over 2-4 weeks. Gradually mix in new foods and increase portions while reducing old foods. Monitor stool quality and watch for signs of digestive upset. Drastic changes can disrupt delicate digestive health. Consult a rabbit-savvy vet if needed.

Food Safety Tips for Rabbit Owners

Follow these food safety practices to protect rabbit health:

  • Wash hands before and after feeding rabbits.

  • Wash all vegetables thoroughly before feeding.

  • Select fresh produce and check for mold. Discard wilting greens.

  • Avoid feeding lawn clippings or plants potentially treated with pesticides or fertilizers. Grow rabbit-safe herbs and produce if possible.

  • Discard uneaten fresh veggies after a few hours to avoid spoilage.

  • Store pellets and hay in cool, dry places protected from rodents and molds. Discard moldy hay.

  • Clean food and water bowls thoroughly. Avoid plastic bowls. Use ceramic, stainless steel or heavy crock bowls.

  • Do not feed rabbits foods that have been left at room temperature for extended periods. Refrigerate perishable treats.

  • Monitor rabbit health closely when introducing new foods. Discontinue anything that causes soft stool or diarrhea.

  • Consult an exotics vet about proper rabbit nutrition and any dietary concerns.

By avoiding dangerous foods and feeding a variety of appropriate fresh greens, hay, and limited pellets, rabbit owners can help ensure their bunnies live a healthy, happy life. Be sure to properly research rabbit diets, introduce new foods slowly, provide unlimited hay, and ask a rabbit vet for advice if needed. With proper care and feeding, rabbits can thrive and be rewarding pets.



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