If you’re looking for new rabbit treats, bread seems a good choice. After all, it is a human staple food. So, it might sound reasonable to share a piece of your sandwich with your rabbits occasionally. But is that a good idea?
Rabbits are not allowed to eat bread. They have evolved to eat mainly grass, hay, and small amounts of vegetables and fruit. Their digestive system cannot process bread. If you feed your rabbits bread, they can eat it, but it will probably make them sick.
Bread is, therefore, unsuitable for rabbits. But why is that? And what should you do if a rabbit does get a piece of bread?
Is grain bread suitable for rabbits? We answer all these questions in this article.
Why Can’t Rabbits Eat Bread?
Bread is unsuitable food for rabbits because it has the wrong composition of nutrients.
It mainly contains starch, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. This is not suitable for the digestive system of rabbits.
Bread can even make a rabbit sick, as it is high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. However, rabbits need the exact opposite, i.e., food that is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
Bread also contains salt and sugar, which is unsuitable for your rabbits.
It is also too soft to be good for rabbits’ teeth. Rabbits need to grind their teeth while eating to keep them in a healthy size and shape.
Stale bread is not a solution, either. It may be harder, but it still contains the wrong balance of nutrients. Therefore, you should not feed old, dry bread either.
Baked goods can really upset a rabbit’s digestive system.
Rabbits have a very sensitive digestive system by nature. Bread can cause a blockage to form or the food to ferment in the gut.
This problem is sometimes referred to as gastrointestinal stasis. With this health problem, food stops moving through the intestines.
In some severe cases, gastrointestinal stasis can be fatal for rabbits. Therefore, you should never give your rabbits bread.
What if My Rabbit Has Eaten Some Bread?
It’s easy to turn your back on your rabbits for a few moments while doing something else. And before you know it, a rabbit has nibbled on a piece of bread lying around.
Don’t panic if this has happened to you or if you feed your rabbit a piece of bread without realizing it can be harmful.
Bread is not actually poisonous to rabbits. It will usually not cause significant harm if the quantities are relatively small.
However, you should remove the bread from the environment immediately. And keep a close eye on the rabbit. Observe its behavior, food intake, and bowel movements over the next two days.
If the rabbit stops eating or defecating or seems lethargic, unhappy, or in pain, you should call your vet.
Your rabbit may have a blockage that needs to be corrected by surgery.
You should also contact your veterinarian if your rabbit’s feces are extremely hard or if he is suffering from diarrhea.
These are signs of digestive problems that may only be resolved by experts.
During these two days, you should ensure that your rabbit only eats soft food and mainly feeds on hay or grass.
Please do not give him any other difficult food, such as cabbage or anything he has never eaten before.
Provide plenty of hay and fresh water. This should give his digestive system time to digest the bread and recover again.
The fibrous consistency of hay helps to keep the digestive system going. So, if a rabbit eats plenty of hay, it is more likely to digest and dispose of the bread quickly.
You should contact your vet immediately if you have any concerns during these two days. Rabbits are sensitive animals; having this checked is better than losing your rabbit.
Can Rabbits Eat Grain Bread Or Whole Grain Bread?
You may be wondering whether one of the healthy breads is better. After all, wholemeal bread with grains is considered beneficial for humans. But what about grain bread and wholemeal bread for rabbits?
Unfortunately, these breads are not suitable for rabbits either. Although they contain a bit more fiber, they are still full of carbohydrates and, therefore, not a good choice.
Even supposedly healthy bread can lead to weight gain, dental problems, and digestive issues if you feed it to your rabbits too often.
Eliminate baked goods from your rabbit’s diet and choose fruit and vegetables as treats instead.
What Can I Feed My Rabbits Instead of Bread?
There are many healthy things you can give your rabbits. Their diet should consist almost exclusively of hay or grass, as this is the main diet of wild rabbits and keeps their digestive system healthy.
However, you can also give your rabbits a few treats. About ten percent of their food may consist of freshly cut vegetables.
Fresh carrots, some basil or cilantro, small amounts of broccoli, small pieces of banana, and a few leaves of dark lettuce, such as lettuce or romaine lettuce, are suitable for your rabbit.
Ensure that every time you give your rabbit a new food, you only give them a small amount at first.
This will ensure that they don’t upset their stomachs. And you have time to assess the rabbits’ reaction to the food in case of any intolerances.
I Know Rabbits That Eat Bread and Are Fine
You may be surprised now if you know rabbits that have survived well on bread in their diet.
However, remember that bread is not actually poisonous. It’s just not suitable for rabbits. It has no ingredients that can cause direct harm in the short term.
However, a rabbit that is regularly fed bread tends to become overweight. It is also more likely to develop joint, dental, and stomach problems.
Bread does not necessarily harm a rabbit immediately, but it should not be on the menu.
Conclusion: Can Rabbits Eat Bread?
It would be best not to feed your rabbits bread. It’s not a food they can naturally process correctly and doesn’t contain the nutrients your rabbits need.
If you want to share your food with your rabbits, opt for fresh, unprocessed vegetables and small portions of fresh fruit. You should not give bread or other baked goods.