Last Updated on March 25, 2022 by Rei Garnet
While pine nuts are not poisonous to rabbits, feeding them large amounts of pine nuts could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea, fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis in the aorta, obesity, and GI stasis because rabbits don’t tolerate fatty food well.
100 grams of pine nuts contains 68 grams of fat and 1.43 grams of starch. While rabbits should limit themselves to 0-138 grams/kg of starch, meaning rabbits can be fine with or without any starch in their diet. Rabbits should also limit themself to 20-50 grams/kg of fat per day.
Feeding fatty and starchy food like pine nuts to your rabbits would do more harm than good, you should focus on feeding your rabbits high-quality hay instead.
If you notice any changes in your rabbit’s stool, 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 pine nuts:
Risk of overfeeding pine nuts to rabbits.
Fatty and starchy food like pine 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 pine nuts.
Here are some of the risks associated when you feed your rabbits large amounts of pine nuts :
Fatty liver disease
Because most pine nuts are high in fat, feeding your rabbits pine nuts long-term could lead to Hepatic Lipidosis or fatty liver disease. Rabbit’s diet should only consist of less than 3% fat, while pine 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)
- Depression and lethargy
Diarrhea in rabbits is often caused by the wrong diet or when their diet is changed too fast. Feeding your rabbit large amounts of pine nuts would check those two boxes I mentioned.
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of pine 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:
- 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 pine nuts instead of hay. This could lead to softer cecotropes due to the lack of fiber in your rabbit’s diet.
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 pine nuts as treats.
If you planning on giving your rabbits pine 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:
- Apple (remove seeds)
- Cherries (remove seeds)
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Should you panic if your rabbit ate a little bit of pine nuts?
While pine nuts are not recommended for rabbits, it’s still not toxic. It’s just that pine nuts are too high in fat and starch both 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.
What to do if your rabbit ate pine nuts?
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 fatty and starchy food like pine nuts could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea, fatty liver disease, and GI stasis. 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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