Last Updated on April 23, 2022 by Rei Garnet
While walnuts are not poisonous to rabbits, feeding them large amounts of walnuts could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea, fatty liver disease, obesity, and GI stasis because rabbits don’t tolerate fatty foods well.
One hundred grams of walnuts contains 65 grams of fat and 0.06 grams of starch.
Rabbits should limit themselves to 0–138 grams of starch per day, meaning rabbits can be fine with or without any starch in their diet.
Rabbits should also limit themselves to 20-50 grams of fat per day.
Feeding fatty and starchy foods like walnuts 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 walnuts:
Risk of overfeeding walnuts to rabbits.
Fatty and starchy foods like walnuts should not be fed to rabbits intentionally.
They carry certain risks when fed in large amounts.
Rabbits’ digestive systems are not really designed to digest large amounts of food like walnuts.
Here are some of the risks associated with feeding your rabbits large amounts of walnuts :
Fatty liver disease
Most walnuts are high in fat, feeding your rabbits walnuts long-term could lead to hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease.
A rabbit’s diet should consist of no more than 3% 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 the diet is changed too fast.
Feeding your rabbit large amounts of walnuts would check those two boxes I mentioned.
Gastrointestinal stasis is also possible when a rabbit is fed large amounts of walnuts, 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 walnuts 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 diets are the most susceptible to obesity.
Healthy alternative to walnuts as treats.
If you are planning on giving your rabbits walnuts 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 eats a little bit of walnuts?
While walnuts are not recommended for rabbits, they’re still not toxic.
It’s just that walnuts are too high in fat and starch, both of which are not digested well by rabbits.
If you are worried, just feed them a lot of hay.
The extra fiber would likely fix the problem on its own.
What to do if your rabbit ate walnuts?
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 foods like walnuts could lead to digestive distress like diarrhea, fatty liver disease, and GI stasis.
If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of digestive distress, immediately bring them to a veterinarian.
- Nuts, english, walnuts
- Patry, Karen, et al. The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling. Storey Publishing, 2014.
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