Last Updated on July 26, 2022 by Rei Garnet
Although honey is not considered poisonous to rabbits, feeding them large amounts of honey could lead to problems like diarrhea, dental problems, uneaten cecotropes, and GI stasis because rabbits are not designed to digest large amounts of sugar.
Honey has a lot of sugar, 100 grams of honey contains 82 grams of sugar. That’s why honey it’s not recommended to be given to rabbits in any amount intentionally.
If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s stool after feeding them honey, both in size and consistency, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits can’t eat honey:
Risk of overfeeding honey to rabbits.
High-sugar food like honey should not be fed to rabbits intentionally. They carry certain risks when fed in large amounts because rabbits’ digestive system is not really designed to digest large amounts of sugary food like honey.
Here are some of the risks associated when you feed your rabbits large amounts of honey:
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. Feeding your rabbit large amounts of honey would check those two boxes I mentioned.
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of honey, which are high in sugar. GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a high-carb, low-fiber diet.
GI stasis happens when the balance of bacteria in your rabbit’s gut is disrupted. 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:
- Hunched posture
- Decreased appetite/anorexia
If you notice any of these signs, immediately bring your rabbit to a veterinarian.
Soft uneaten cecotropes are also possible when rabbits are eating large amounts of honey instead of hay. This could lead to softer cecotropes due to the lack of fiber.
Due to high amounts of sugar in honey, feeding them to rabbits could cause damage to your rabbit’s delicate teeth and gums. Dental damage in rabbits is extremely serious. A rabbit that’s in pain due to dental damage would refuse to eat or only eat a little.
A rabbit that’s refusing to eat would eventually develop some kind of digestive problems like GI stasis because rabbits need to constantly eat for their gut to function properly.
Healthy alternative to honey as treats.
If you planning on giving your rabbits honey 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:
- Apple (remove seeds)
- Cherries (remove seeds)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little bit of honey?
While honey is not recommended for rabbits, it’s still not toxic. It’s just that honey is too high in sugar which is not digested well by rabbits.
Just feed them a lot of hay if you are worried. The extra fiber would likely fix the problem on its own.
What to do if your rabbit ate honey?
Observe their behavior and poop for any changes. You should also feed them a lot of hay. The extra fiber would help balance their gut flora. If you notice any changes in their poop or behavior, consult a veterinarian immediately.
A rabbit that’s fed large amounts of sugary food like honey could lead to digestive distress like GI stasis, soft uneaten cecotropes, dental damage, and diarrhea. It could also lead to obesity, especially to rabbits who are confined in small cages all day without access to regular exercise.
If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of digestive distress, immediately bring them to a veterinarian.
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