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Can Rabbits Eat Sweet Potato? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

As you try to vary your rabbit’s diet, you may be considering giving your rabbit sweet potatoes. Since potatoes and sweet potatoes seem to match the vegetarian-type diet that your bunny follows, you may be inclined to cut up a few chunks as a special treat for your rabbit.

Before you give your rabbit sweet potatoes, read this information first. While sweet potatoes aren’t necessarily bad for your rabbit, they also aren’t as good as other food choices and treats. We’ll look at the composition of sweet potatoes and go over whether you should feed this particular potato to your rabbit.

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Great for Humans but Not Recommended for Rabbits

close up sliced sweet potato
Image Credit: Pixabay

It’s true that we humans enjoy our potatoes. Sweet potatoes, in particular, offer many helpful nutrients and are a part of a healthy human diet. So, it makes sense that while you’re cooking up sweet potatoes as a side dish for your dinner, you’d set a portion aside for your bunny. However, we’re here to tell you to instead offer your rabbit something off their regular and dietarily approved menu.

What If My Rabbit Likes Eating Sweet Potatoes?

Here’s where rabbits and humans have something in common. Unfortunately, just because something tastes good doesn’t make it a nutritious choice. If you offer your rabbit a few chunks of sweet potatoes, they’re likely to gobble them up and ask for more. If your rabbit somehow gets into your sack of sweet potatoes, they’ll probably help themselves without hesitation.

Fortunately, sweet potatoes aren’t toxic to rabbits unless your rabbit has consumed a large amount at once. If you recently fed your rabbit a small chunk of sweet potato, there’s no need for concern. However, your rabbit may experience stomach upset.

sweet potato
Image by Silentpilot from Pixabay

Why Are Sweet Potatoes Bad for Rabbits?

Sweet potatoes are comprised of two things that your rabbit’s digestive system doesn’t need: sugar and starch. Rabbits need low-calorie foods such as hay or leafy greens. The high quantity of sugar and starch in sweet potatoes drives up the calorie count well out of a rabbit’s natural dietary range.

As we mentioned, sweet potatoes are difficult for your rabbit to properly digest. Your rabbit may begin acting sick and refusing to eat, and its stool may clump in pellets. If your rabbit does successfully digest sweet potatoes, be aware that a regular diet of sugary, starchy foods can lead to excessive weight gain, obesity, and possibly diabetes.

When Can Sweet Potatoes Be Good for Rabbits?

Surprisingly, your veterinarian may recommend that you feed your rabbit sweet potatoes. If you own a rabbit who’s having trouble gaining weight, then you can use this high-calorie food source to your advantage. Still, be aware to limit the portion so your rabbit doesn’t suffer an upset stomach.

dried sweet potato
Image by 鸿 张 from Pixabay

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Conclusion

Although a tempting treat, you’re better off not feeding your rabbit sweet potatoes. Your rabbit may enjoy eating this food, but it isn’t worth the possible health issues. To keep your rabbit healthy, stick to high-quality hay and leafy vegetables. A slice of banana or a bit of apple or carrot are better choices if you’d like to give your rabbit a treat.

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Featured Image: Suanpa from Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.