Do rabbits eat potatoes?
Can Pet Rabbits Eat Potatoes?
Rabbits are a pretty popular pet to have nowadays. They are kid-friendly and their general adorableness may them a pretty easy sell. According to current research rabbit sales have increased over the years. Even though you have to do some preparatory work to get your home ready for them, they are worth it. So, if you plan to get a pet rabbit or just bought or adopted one, his or her diet is going to be one of your primary concerns. You may have done some research and worked out that bunnies are herbivores and therefore may be wondering whether pet rabbits can eat potatoes.
Little known fact: the smell of meat actually scares them. So you are on the right track but not all plants, fruits and vegetables are created equally for rabbits. Potatoes are one of the most common and accessible vegetables. So it may have come up on your list when you decided to go shopping for your rabbit. However, are potatoes really a good idea for rabbits? Let’s get into it.
Do rabbits like potatoes?
So if you give your pet rabbits potatoes they will certainly not refuse. They will certainly nibble on it without hesitation. Apparently, they like the taste of potatoes. Like us, rabbits enjoy foods high in carbohydrate content i.e. starchy foods. However, the question is if you should. Unfortunately, pet rabbits only taste the delicious starchy goodness and are likely to eat as much as they are offered.
Are potatoes a healthy food choice for rabbits?
The straightforward answer to this question is no. Potatoes are high in sugars and starch and a pet rabbit’s digestive system is not built to handle this quantity of complex carbohydrates. Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and the slightest deviation may severely affect the health of your pet rabbit. You may have heard that wild rabbits eat potatoes. Gardeners often have to chase them out of their gardens. Wild bunnies are far more active than pet rabbits and their metabolisms are better able to process the starch content in potatoes, than your domesticated bunnies. Remember that your bunny spends most of his or her time in its hutch or cage. They do not get as much physical exercise as those rabbits in the wild. So, even though, a little potato may not do your pet rabbit any harm. It is certainly not poisonous to your rabbit. It is not a recommending dietary requirement.
How will your rabbits feel if they eat potatoes?
So we have already established that potatoes are not good for your pet rabbits, but you may want to know what may befall your poor bunny if you feed him or her potatoes. Here are some of the symptoms that your pet rabbits may experience if you introduce potatoes to their diets.
- Diahhrea – Where the rabbit’s bowel movements become abnormally frequent and liquid inconsistency.
- Constipation or gastrointestinal stasis – On the opposite side of the spectrum, your rabbit may become constipated. The rabbits may not have a bowel movement at all or there may be small dry hard stool pellets in the cage. This condition may cause the rabbit significant discomfort and pain.
- Lost of appetite – Due to the digestive disturbance, your rabbit may refuse food.
- Lethargy – pet rabbits may stop moving around their cages and interacting with each other.
- Weight gain – Potatoes may cause your rabbits to put on too much weight and increase the risk of obesity.
Can you feed your rabbit cooked potatoes?
You may wonder if cooking the potato will alter the potato and make it consumable for your rabbit. While cooking does change the potato, making its starch, less resistant, it is still not suitable for rabbit consumption. Cooked potato is till too harsh on your pet rabbits digestive system.
Can rabbits eat potato peelings?
Often animals may not be able to eat the fruit or vegetable, but the peels are fair game. Potato peelings are known for their fiber, vitamin C and potassium content. However, it is still not advisable to feed your pet rabbits potato peelings, since they still have a pretty high starch content. This, as we have discussed, can cause gastric distress for your bunnies.
Are the potato leaves safe for your pet rabbit?
They are most definitely not! Plain and simple, potato leaves are poisonous. Potato leaves are poisonous to both you and your pet rabbits. They are a part of the nightshade plant family. The reason they are poisonous is that they produce solanine in their leaves. Potatoes produce Solanine as a chemical defense. Solanine helps potatoes keep insects and predators away. It also helps protect them from a wide range of diseases. It seems that you have to be particularly careful regarding which leaves to feed your rabbit. In addition to potato leaves, here are a few other leaves that are also harmful to your pet rabbits’ health. You should be particularly alert if you have a garden and allow you pet rabbits to have free time outside.
- Tomato leaves
- Onion leaves
- Rhubarb leaves
- Fools Parsley
- Pepper leaves
If your rabbit ingests potato leaves, he or she may exhibit these symptoms.
- Rapid pulse
- Gaspy breath (indicative of respiratory failure)
If on the of chance, you have a potato garden and you allow your pet bunnies to have outdoor time, you should fence the garden. if your pet rabbits exhibit any of the symptoms mentioned above and they may have had access to potato plants, take them to a veterinarian immediately.
Can rabbits snack on potato chips?
Now it may seem obvious that potato chips should not make it into your pet rabbit’s cage or hutch. Potato chips are made by slicing Irish potatoes thinly and frying them in oil, usually vegetable oil. They are usually lightly salted and seasoned. This process just made the potato 100 times worse for your rabbit. Potato chips are high in saturated fats. Rabbits can not have much fat in their diet. it is actually better to feed your rabbit food that is not processed. Just as it’s healthier for us, the same is true for your rabbit. So if you are snacking, don’t share with your bunny.
What about sweet potatoes?
While sweet potatoes are different from Irish potatoes, they are still not a healthy choice for your pet rabbits. Sweet potatoes are from a totally different plant family. Sweet potatoes are from a group called Convolvulaceae, while Irish potatoes belonging to the nightshade family. They may be lower in starch and calories than regular potatoes but they are high in sugar and fat. Even though they are healthier for humans being a complex carbohydrate, they are certainly not to be fed to your rabbit.
If not potatoes, what should a pet rabbits diet look like?
While rabbits can enjoy a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grasses, the portions are what need to be strictly adhered to. A pet rabbit’s diet should consist of about 80% hay. Your rabbit is a grazer and should have mostly fiber in their diet. Their digestive system works better with their daily requirement of fiber. It is advised that you keep a tray of hay in your pet rabbit’s cage so that they can have it readily available. In the wild, rabbits go from plant to plant nibbling throughout the day. So when you have a hay wrack, you are helping simulate their natural environment. The other 20% can be filled with various vegetables. You can also feed your rabbit pellets that can help supplement their diet. Most of a bunny’s nutrients and vitamins come from the vegetables and high-quality pellets that you provide. Fruits should only be offered as a treat. Since most fruits have high sugar content, they should be used sparingly. You can also choose those with the least sugar.
Here is a list of foods that you can offer your bunnies. The list is by no means exhaustive but it can give you a pretty good start.
Let’s start with the vegetables:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Curly Kale
- Green beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Spring Greens
- Sweet peppers
Remember that most of these vegetables are to be used in sparing quantities since vegetables tend to be gassy and this may upset your rabbit’s delicate stomach.
Fruits are to be used even less frequently than vegetables, but i you want to use them every once in a while.
Here are some fruits that are safe
- Apple (remove the seeds)
- Kiwi Fruit
So you should realize by now that potatoes, whether they are raw or cooked are not good for your pet rabbits. Sweet potatoes even though they are a totally different family of potatoes are no better. Potato chips are obviously a no-no. A good diet is essential for your rabbit’s good health and there are many options. So there is really no need to offer your rabbit potatoes in any of its forms.
Can Rabbits Eat Potatoes? Cooked, Raw and Other Forms
Potatoes are a controversial vegetable (two words that early go together) because while they are healthy for us humans, they are often used to produce very unhealthy foods. But what about our animal friends and in particular bunnies? Can rabbits eat potatoes, how much can they eat and if not, what makes them dangerous or toxic?
If you have a rabbit and you’re wondering whether or not they should consume this vegetable, then read on because we have some very important information to tell you.
Can Rabbits Eat Potatoes?
Firstly, it is important to note that there is nothing in potatoes that will do serious and instant harm to your rabbit if they eat them. However, they really should not be eating them because there is also very little goodness in them.
It would be like asking the same question about humans and wood pulp. Yes we can technically eat it and (believe it or not) it wouldn’t do us any serious harm. However, we should not be eating it because there is simply no goodness in there and by filling up on something that has empty calories we are depriving our bodies of high quality calories.
This is even more important for rabbits as they have very delicate digestive systems that require a strict diet and can be troubled even with minimal changes. This was discussed at length in our page on Bunny Diets and it is something we have also addressed in pages such as Rabbits and Lettuce and Rabbits and Grass.
Potatoes are not good for your rabbit and while a little bit won’t do them any harm, it shouldn’t be something you include in their daily diet, nor should it be a treat.
And if you’re asking this question because you’re pondering whether your rabbit will eat a little chip or French fry like a dog or cat would, the answer is “probably not”, but the main point we want to get across is, “You shouldn’t be offering it”.
Why Potatoes Can Cause Rabbits Harm
A rabbit needs a lot of fiber and, believe it or not, very few minerals and vitamins. In fact, a lot of the foods they eat on a daily basis have very little nutrient value and merely serve to bulk up the fibre that they consume. When you add potatoes to the mix you are giving them a massive amount of carbohydrates in the form of starch, as well as all of those vitamins and minerals that are great for us humans, but not much use to your bunny.
Add the fact that raw potatoes can be toxic to many animals and that anything cooked in vegetable oils (and any oil for that matter) can cause serious harm, and you have a recipe for disaster and a message that should be clear: Yes rabbits can eat potatoes, but you should not let them go anywhere near them.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, you may also want to take a look at our page on why sweet potatoes are not ideal for your cat. There are many potentially dangerous ingredients in your kitchen as far as you pets are concerned and it pays to be informed.