Can Rabbits Eat Pickles?

Categorized as Bunny Diet Tagged

Last Updated on October 20, 2022 by Rei Garnet

While pickles are not toxic to rabbits if they accidentally eat some, giving them a large amount of pickles is not a good idea due to their high sodium levels and low levels of nutrients.

Pickles (cucumber, dill, or kosher dill) contain 61.2 mg of sodium per 7 g (1 slice). 

While the limit of sodium for rabbits per day is 5-10 g/kg-1, meaning a 2 kg rabbit should only consume 10-20 grams of sodium per day.

According to the BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine, excess sodium could result in reduced growth.

Based on that information, we can conclude that it’s okay for rabbits to accidentally eat small portions of pickles. Just make sure that you don’t do it intentionally.

Remember, a rabbit’s stomach is extremely sensitive.

Be mindful when giving your rabbit pickles because your rabbit could also suffer from digestive distress like diarrhea and GI stasis if they are fed too many pickles.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on for a more in-depth explanation:

Would rabbits intentionally eat pickles?

A pickles in a fork

Your rabbit would likely not eat pickles due to the vinegar content of pickles. It’s a popular method amongst gardeners to spray vinegar around their fence to repel rabbits.

The smell of vinegar would be too strong for your rabbit’s sensitive noses, so they would likely avoid it.

Risk of overfeeding pickles to rabbits.

Here are the different risks you should know when a rabbit is overfed with pickles:

Reduced growth

As I said earlier, pickles contain a lot of sodium.

While sodium is helpful in the regulation of pH and nutrient transport, too much of it is reported to reduce growth in rabbits.

While it’s hard to meet the criteria for this to actually be a problem (> 8–10 kg sodium chloride (NaCl) kg−1 diet), you have to remember that there are other sources of sodium that you might not be aware of in your rabbit’s diet.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is also possible, especially if a rabbit is overfed pickles when it’s their first time eating them.

Every time you’re planning to feed a rabbit something new, you have to introduce it slowly over time to avoid triggering an imbalance in their gut flora and reduce the risk of developing diarrhea.

GI stasis

GI stasis could also be a problem if a rabbit is fed a large amount of pickles and, in turn, does not meet its required fiber for the day.

Keep in mind that rabbits need a lot of hay in order for their guts to function properly.

Healthy alternative to pickles as treats.

A wild rabbit eating an apple left in the ground.

If you’re planning on giving pickles as treats to your bunnies, consider this healthier alternative instead:

Just remember to only give your rabbits treats two times a week to prevent any digestive distress.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little bit of pickles?

While pickles are not recommended for rabbits, they’re still not toxic. It’s just that pickles are too high in sodium.

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 pickles?

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.

Conclusion

Pickles contain a lot of sodium. A 2 kg rabbit should only consume 10-20 grams of sodium per day. Excess sodium could result in reduced growth.

Do not feed pickles to your rabbit intentionally. If your rabbit accidentally ate some, just observe their poop and behavior for any changes and feed them a lot of hay.

If you’re giving pickles as treats, consider a healthier alternative instead: melon, apples, grapes or peaches.

Cite this article:

Bunny Horde (December 7, 2022) Can Rabbits Eat Pickles?. Retrieved from https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-pickles/.
"Can Rabbits Eat Pickles?." Bunny Horde - December 7, 2022, https://bunnyhorde.com/can-rabbits-eat-pickles/

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.