Last Updated on July 25, 2022 by Rei Garnet
Every part of garlic (leaves, stalk, etc..) should not be fed to rabbits because it has an immunosuppressive effect on them.
It’s also possible for a rabbit to develop hemolytic anemia (a decrease in red blood cells) or an anaphylactic reaction (a severe life-threatening allergic reaction) when fed garlic.
Additionally, most rabbits would likely not eat garlic due to its strong smell. I personally have seen my two rabbits (Tyr and Freya) ignore a garlic clove after smelling them.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat garlic:
Risk of overfeeding garlic to rabbits.
Garlic and onion has long been know to have negative effects on other animals (dogs, cats, etc…). While your rabbit would need to eat a lot of garlic for it to have negative effects on their health, there’s still some serious risk when doings so.
Here are some of the risks associated with feeding your rabbits large amounts of garlic:
Garlic contains disulfides and thiosulphates, which can lead to Hemolytic anemia on large doses.
Hemolytic anemia is a condition that occurs when your rabbit’s red blood cells are being destroyed faster than they can be replaced.
The signs that your rabbit might be suffering from hemolytic anemia can be one or more of the following:
- Decreased appetite
- Decreased exercise tolerance
If you notice any of the following symptoms from your rabbit after accidentally eating a garlic, bring them to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Anaphylactic reaction or a severe life-threatening allergic reaction in rabbits is also possible if they accidentally ate garlic.
Here are the signs that your rabbit might be having an allergic reaction to garlic:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face or respiratory tract
- Progressing shock
Some experiments have also been conducted by inducing large amounts of garlic extract on rabbits as test subjects.
What they found was that rabbits needed 3200 mg/kg for it to be fatal.
Signs of acute LD50 toxicity in rabbits include loss of appetite and partial paralysis.
You can read more about the mentioned experiment here.
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when the diet is changed too fast.
Feeding your rabbit large amounts of garlic would check those two boxes I mentioned.
I just want to add that diarrhea (a life-threatening condition) is often confused with uneaten cecotropes (which can be fixed by the right diet) in rabbits.
You can tell the difference between uneaten cecotropes and diarrhea by looking at your rabbit’s poop.
Rabbits that only have uneaten cecotropes would still produce solid poop pellets, while diarrhea would not.
Soft uneaten cecotropes are also possible when rabbits are eating large amounts of garlic instead of hay.
This could lead to softer cecotropes due to the lack of fiber in your rabbit’s diet.
Healthy alternative to garlic as treats.
Here are some alternatives that you can give to your rabbits one to two times per week as a treat:
- Apple (remove seeds)
- Cherries (remove seeds)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit eats a little bit of garlic?
While it’s true that garlic is toxic to rabbits, the amount of garlic your rabbit would need to eat to experience any adverse effects is large.
Observe your rabbit for any additional symptoms like changes in their behavior, poop, urine, or signs of allergic reactions like swelling.
You can also call the poison control hotline if you suspect or are worried that your rabbit is experiencing intoxication.
What to do if your rabbit ate garlic?
Observe your rabbit’s behavior and poop for any changes.
You should also feed them a lot of hay.
The extra fiber would help clear out what’s in their gut.
If you notice any changes in their poop or behavior, consult a veterinarian immediately.
Garlic should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because it could lead to toxicity, allergic reactions, anemia, and weakened immune systems.
While it’s true that garlic is toxic to rabbits, your rabbit would need to eat a lot of garlic before experiencing any adverse effects.
If you suspect or are worried that your rabbit might be suffering from toxicity, call your veterinarian or your animal poison control hotline.
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