Can Rabbits Eat Chocolate?

Categorized as Bunny Diet Tagged

Last Updated on April 23, 2022 by Rei Garnet

Chocolate should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because it can be toxic to them.

Chocolates contain theobromine and caffeine, which could speed up your rabbit’s heart rate, which could then lead to heart attacks, heart arrhythmia, seizures, and respiratory failure.

The sugar content in most chocolate bars is also not ideal because it could lead to digestive problems like diarrhea, GI stasis, soft uneaten cecotropes, and dental damage.

If your rabbit ate chocolate accidentally, it’s best that you consider it an emergency and call a veterinarian for proper advice.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain why rabbits can’t eat chocolate:

Risk of overfeeding chocolate to rabbits.

The sugar content, theobromine, and caffeine present in chocolate, carries a risk when fed to rabbits in any amount.

Rabbits are not designed to consume these ingredients.

Here are some of the risks associated with feeding your rabbits large amounts of chocolate:

Increased heart rate

Chocolates contain theobromine and caffeine, which could stimulate your rabbit’s nervous system.

Just like with us humans, these stimulants would increase your rabbit’s heart rate.

The only difference is that rabbits can’t handle the increased heart rate and would likely suffer some serious medical conditions like heart attacks, seizures, arrhythmias, and respiratory failure.

Signs that your rabbit is suffering from chocolate toxicosis:

  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Aggitation
  • Hyperthermia
  • Tachycardia
  • Seizures

Diarrhea

Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when the diet is changed too fast. 

Feeding your rabbit large amounts of chocolate would check those two boxes I mentioned.

Gastrointestinal Stasis

Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of chocolate, which is high in sugar.

GI stasis happens when the balance of bacteria in your rabbit’s gut is disrupted due to a high-carb, low-fiber diet.

This disruption would cause painful gas that would eventually lead to organ failure and death if not treated immediately.

The signs of GI stasis are:

  • Depressed
  • Hunched posture
  • Bruxism
  • Decreased appetite/anorexia

If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.

Healthy alternative to chocolate as treats.

If you are planning on giving your rabbits chocolate as treats, these alternatives are much healthier.

Here are some alternatives that you can give to your rabbits one to two times per week as a treat:

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Should you panic if your rabbit eats a bit of chocolate?

Yes, if your rabbit ate any amount of chocolate, it’s best that you consider this an emergency and call your veterinarian right away.

A 6-pound rabbit needs less than 1 ounce of milk chocolate to be fatal.

Dark chocolate is even deadlier. It contains three times the amount of theobromine and caffeine compared to milk chocolate.

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Chocolates also have a delayed reaction before you notice any symptoms.

It could take anywhere between 6-12 hours before you see any adverse reaction from your rabbits from the time they consume the chocolate.

What to do if your rabbit ate chocolate?

Call a veterinarian for proper advice.

Chocolate is toxic to rabbits in any amount.

If your rabbit ate chocolates, you should consider it an emergency.

Conclusion

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to rabbits.

They would stimulate their nervous system and increase their heart rate.

This increase in heart rate could lead to heart attacks, seizures, arrhythmias, and respiratory failure.

If your rabbit ate any amount of chocolate, call your veterinarian and consider it an emergency.

A 6-pound rabbit needs less than 1 ounce of milk chocolate to be fatal.

Dark chocolates are even deadlier. They contain up to three times the amount of toxic ingredients as milk chocolate.

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.