As you try to vary your rabbit’s diet, you may be considering giving them 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 them.
Before you give sweet potatoes to your rabbit, you should know that while sweet potatoes aren’t necessarily bad for your rabbit, they aren’t as good as other food choices and treats. Let’s look at the composition of sweet potatoes and go over whether you should feed this particular vegetable to your rabbit.
Great for Humans But Not Recommended for Rabbits
It’s true that we humans enjoy our potatoes. Sweet potatoes in particular have 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, sweet potatoes aren’t the healthiest for rabbits. While these vegetables are technically safe for your bunny to eat, you should instead offer them something from their regular vet-approved menu.
What If My Rabbit Likes Eating Sweet Potatoes?
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.
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 like 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.
Sweet potatoes are also difficult for your rabbit to properly digest. Your rabbit may begin acting sick and refusing to eat, and their stool may clump into 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?
Your veterinarian may sometimes recommend that you feed sweet potatoes to your rabbit. If you own a rabbit that’s having trouble gaining weight, you can safely use this high-calorie food source to your advantage. Still, be sure to limit the portion so your rabbit doesn’t suffer from an upset stomach.
Although a tempting treat, you’re better off not feeding sweet potatoes to your rabbit. They 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.