Can Rabbits Eat Nuts

Categorized as Bunny Diet

Last Updated on December 21, 2021 by Rei Garnet

Nuts should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because it’s too high in fat. Also, some nuts are potentially poisonous to rabbits like almonds and peanuts.

Almonds belong to plants that are noted for their cyanide-producing potential. While peanuts carry the risk of aflatoxin poisoning.

Rabbit’s diet should mainly focus on fiber, while fats should be limited to 3%. Feeding your rabbits excessive amounts of fatty food could lead to all kinds of health problems like GI stasis, diarrhea, fatty liver disease, and obesity because rabbits don’t tolerate fatty food well.

If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s stool, both in size and consistency, or any signs of poisoning after accidentally eating nuts, 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 nuts:

Risk of overfeeding nuts to rabbits.

Fatty and starchy food like nuts 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 food like nuts.

Here are some of the risks associated when you feed your rabbits large amounts of nuts :

Poisoning

Because some nuts like almonds and peanuts are potentially poisonous to rabbits, feeding them large amounts of nuts could lead to intoxication.

Here are the most common symptoms of cyanide intoxication in rabbits by eating almonds:

  • Seizures
  • Digestive signs of intestinal inflammation
  • Loss of body temperature regulation – high or low
  • Lethargy, listlessness
  • Loss of appetite
  • depression

While here are the most common symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning in rabbits by eating peanuts:

  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced weight gains
  • High mortality
  • Depression

If you notice or suspect that your rabbit might be suffering from cyanide or aflatoxin poisoning, immediately call your veterinarian or the animal poison control hotline.

Fatty liver disease

Because most nuts are high in fat, feeding your rabbits nuts long-term could lead to Hepatic Lipidosis or fatty liver disease. Rabbit’s diet should only consist of less than 3% fat, while nuts are high in fat.

Here are the signs that your rabbit might be suffering from fatty liver disease caused by excess fat:

  • Loss of appetite (anorexia) – may be sudden or gradual
  • Weight loss
  • Decline in number and size of droppings (feces)
  • Dehydration
  • Depression and lethargy

Diarrhea

Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. Feeding your rabbit large amounts of nuts would check those two boxes I mentioned.

Gastrointestinal Stasis

Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of nuts, which are high in fat. GI stasis mainly happens when a rabbit is fed a 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:

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

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

Uneaten cecotropes

Soft uneaten cecotropes are also possible when rabbits are eating large amounts of nuts instead of hay. This could lead to softer cecotropes due to the lack of fiber in your rabbit’s diet.

Obesity

Obesity in rabbits is also possible when fed large amounts of starchy food. Rabbits that are confined in cages all day without exercise and fed large amounts of high carb, low-fiber diet are the most susceptible to obesity.

Healthy alternative to nuts as treats.

If you planning on giving your rabbits nuts 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 ate a little bit of nuts?

While nuts are not recommended for rabbits, most of them are still not toxic. It’s just that nuts are too high in fat, sugar, and starch, all of which are 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.

If you’re worried about cyanide/aflatoxin poisoning, just observe your rabbit for any additional symptoms like seizures, depression, loss of appetite, diarrhea, jaundice, lethargy, high/low body temperature, and signs of digestive inflammation.

You can also call The Poison Control Hotlines if you suspect or are worried that your rabbit is experiencing intoxication.

What to do if your rabbit ate nuts?

Observe your rabbit’s 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.

Conclusion

Nuts should never be fed to rabbits intentionally because they could cause cyanide(almonds)/aflatoxin(peanuts) poisoning in rabbits. Nuts are also high in fat and starch which could lead to digestive problems in large amounts.

If you suspect or are worried that your rabbit might be suffering from cyanide/aflatoxin poisoning, call your veterinarian or your animal poison control hotlines.


Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (January 28, 2022) Can Rabbits Eat Nuts. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-nuts/.
"Can Rabbits Eat Nuts." Bunny Horde - January 28, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-nuts/

Sources

  • Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.

Image credit – “Pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts and hazelnuts on a black background” by Marco Verch Professional Photograph

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.