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Home > Rabbits > 10 Foods That Are Harmful to Rabbits: Health Facts & FAQ

10 Foods That Are Harmful to Rabbits: Health Facts & FAQ

woman holding cute rabbit

If you have a pet rabbit, you likely know they have an extremely sensitive digestive tract. A little bit of the wrong food can have disastrous consequences for them, which is why it’s essential to research any food you plan on feeding them.

With that in mind, we’ve highlighted 10 different foods that you should never give to a rabbit. We’ve also highlighted why they’re such a bad idea and given you a general idea of the likelihood that you’ll need to take them to the vet if they get a hold of a little bit of each one!


The 10 Foods That Are Harmful to Rabbits

1. Avocados

Image Credit: Asiya Kiev, Unsplash
Harmful Component: Persin
Trip to the Vet?: Likely

While avocados might seem like a great sweet treat for your rabbit, the truth is that most animals can’t digest them. That’s because avocados contain an ingredient called persin, which is toxic to most animals, including rabbits.

Every part of an avocado has persin, so you should avoid feeding it to them in all circumstances. If your rabbit does happen to eat an avocado, there’s a good chance you’ll need to take them to a vet to get them the treatment they need.

2. Chocolate

Harmful Component: Theobromine, caffeine, and sugar
Trip to the Vet?: Likely

Chocolate contains multiple ingredients that make it an extremely dangerous food for your rabbit. Caffeine can lead to a potentially fatal raised heart rate, while sugar can cause various health problems for your rabbit.

But the most dangerous ingredient in chocolate is also one of the lesser-known ones: theobromine. The darker the chocolate the more theobromine the chocolate has and the more dangerous it is. Chocolate toxicity can quickly prove fatal, so err on the side of caution and get your rabbit treatment immediately if they get into some chocolate.

3. Bread, Pasta, or Crackers

variety of bread
Image Credit: Evgeni Tcherkasski, Pixabay
Harmful Component: Carbohydrates and sugar
Trip to the Vet?: Unlikely

Bread, pasta, and crackers all contain higher levels of carbohydrates and sugar than what’s safe for your rabbit. While a single dried noodle, cracker, or piece of bread shouldn’t kill your rabbit, if you make it a regular part of your rabbit’s diet you’re asking for problems.

In fact, if it’s a regular part of your rabbit’s diet, you’re slowly making them more and more ill, even if they seem fine immediately after eating it.

4. Rhubarb

Harmful Component: Oxalic acid
Trip to the Vet?: Unlikely

Rhubarb is another surprising entry on this list, but it’s certainly something you won’t want to make a regular part of your rabbit’s diet. That’s because the oxalic acid in rhubarb can interfere with your rabbit’s ability to absorb essential nutrients like calcium.

Small quantities of rhubarb likely won’t require a trip to the vet, but it’s best to play it safe and keep rhubarb out of your rabbit’s diet completely.

5. Raw Alliums

Small bulbs of decorative roundhead onion
Image Credit: Marina Bakusheva, Shutterstock
Harmful Component: N-propyl disulfide
Trip to the Vet?: Likely

Alliums are a family that includes onions, garlic, and leeks, and you should never feed them to your rabbit. The offending ingredient is n-propyl disulfide, which will actually destroy a rabbit’s red blood cells. Without proper treatment, this can quickly lead to fatal side effects.

6. Iceberg Lettuce

Harmful Component: Lactucarium
Trip to the Vet?: Unlikely

While iceberg lettuce might seem like a surprising addition to this list, it’s because iceberg lettuce includes an ingredient called lactucarium. This is really only an issue if your rabbit eats a lot of it, but since iceberg lettuce provides almost no nutritional value, there’s really no reason to give it to your rabbit in the first place!

Instead choose dark lettuces, like romaine, as these don’t contain lactucarium and they actually provide nutrients that your rabbit needs.

7. Potato Leaves

organic potato plant's leaves
Image Credit: Jace Cameron, Shutterstock
Harmful Component: Alkaloid
Trip to the Vet?: Likely

While there’s really no good reason to feed your rabbit any potatoes, you’ll want to be especially careful with potato leaves. That’s because while potatoes are hard for a rabbit to digest and provide little nutritional value, the leaves can be downright poisonous.

8. Meats, Eggs, or Dairy

Harmful Component: Fat, low fiber, etc.
Trip to the Vet?: Unlikely

Rabbits are herbivores, which means they don’t have the digestive tracts to break down animal products. You’ll likely find it difficult to even convince a rabbit to eat meat, but often, rabbits will eat things like yogurt because of their sweet tooth.

If they do eat animal products, it’s a recipe for digestive problems. But if the problems get bad enough, you might need to take them to a vet for treatment.

9. Cauliflower

Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay
Harmful Component: Raffinose and other oligosaccharides
Trip to the Vet?: Unlikely

Cauliflower is another vegetable that’s better off far away from your rabbit. While cauliflower might seem like a great choice since it’s high in fiber, it’s also notoriously gassy. While this isn’t an issue for people, for rabbits it can cause a potentially fatal condition called bloat.

This is generally only an issue if a rabbit eats large quantities of cauliflower, but because of the potential seriousness of the condition, it’s best not to give them any.

10. Sugary or Processed Foods

Harmful Component: Sugar and carbohydrates
Trip to the Vet?: Likely

Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system and do better on a natural diet of the right vegetables, and sugary and processed foods don’t fit that mold. Even if they don’t cause immediate health problems for your rabbit, they will over the long run.

However, since heavily processed foods high in sugar can cause so many immediate health problems for rabbits, there’s a good chance you’ll need to take them to a vet even if they only eat a little bit!



If your rabbit does happen to eat any of the foods on our list and you think you might need to take them to the vet, always err on the side of caution. If you suspect something is wrong, there’s a good chance it is, and if you wait too long it might be too late.

While prevention is better than response, if they already ate something they shouldn’t have, all you can do is get them the necessary treatment and then ensure it doesn’t happen again!

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Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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