If you have a pet rabbit then you are going to naturally want to know what you can and cannot feed them. What about rice? Is this a safe and healthy food to provide? I decided to conduct some research into rabbit rice consumption. I’d like to share this with you here today.
So, can rabbits eat rice? Rabbits should never be fed rice, either cooked or uncooked. This is due to the lack of fiber, high starch content, and lack of nutritional value.
While rice is a staple food in many countries, this is something you should leave on your plate.
Let us now take a closer look at why this is along with some other foods that are dangerous and problematic for your rabbit that will be best to steer clear from.
Why Is Rice Bad For Rabbits?
While rabbits can enjoy a lot of different foods, rice is not one of them. You should never feed your rabbit rice.
Even if you take rice straight out of the package and offered it unseasoned and plain – There are a number of reasons why rice is bad for a rabbit.
Rice may seem like a good idea, it’s inexpensive, easy to store and quick and easy to feed. However, rice provides no nutrition with no nutrients or vitamins that your rabbit needs to thrive.
Perhaps most importantly, rice (especially white rice) is completely devoid of fiber.
This is essential to a rabbits welfare and without the fiber, the high calorie and carbohydrate content can cause a sudden spike of insulin which they will not be able to appropriately handle. It puts a lot of burden on their organs not designed for such foods.
Brown rice, with fiber intact, is also not a good idea. It also contains a lot of other components that are difficult for your rabbit to break down and digest.
Rabbits should not eat grains in general. It causes a lot of gastrointestinal issues and distress which will be hard to ignore. Your rabbit will likely suffer from stomach aches, cramps and bloating. All of which will be early visible and you will notice that your rabbit is in pain.
Long term, this can lead to dire consequences. Gastrointestinal stasis can slow down the functioning gut of a rabbit. This can be lethal to a pet if it is not treated.
Another consideration is that rice is rarely cooked plain.
We tend to season our rice dishes with a variety of different spices, herbs, and ingredients. Cultures that are high in rice consumption (such as Latin America and east/west Asia) are also known for adding a lot of spice.
Spice is not something that will settle well with your rabbit. Even if you try to “wash” the ingredients away, there can still be traces left.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) also report regularly around the levels of the heavy metal arsenic in our foods.
Rice is known to contain more than other crops. While these levels are considered low meaning it is generally safe for human consumption, it could have a lot more severe impact on small animals including rabbits.
Can Rabbits Eat Uncooked Rice?
You should note that no rice is safe for rabbits. Even if it is uncooked, grains are not a suitable food.
Rice absorbs a very large amount of water, and can expand three times its size in weight and volume. If your rabbit consumes some of these crunchy grains, when it eventually comes into contact with water in your rabbits stomach, its going to expand rapidly. This is very dangerous.
So while there is no benefit, and it is not recommended to feed rice, already cooked rice would be the least harmful.
There are many inexpensive rabbit food brands on the market that are packed with vitamins and minerals and designed for your rabbits to thrive. This is what you should be feeding on a regular basis.
- A Nutritionally Balanced, High Fiber Rabbit Food
- Promotes Wellbeing And Vitality
- Kind To Rabbit Teeth
- Promotes Healthy Digestion
- Naturally Great Taste And Satisfaction
Of course, there will be times when you can’t always stop your rabbit. Especially if they are given free roam of living space. There may be a time or two where you simply cannot stop them.
If you are worried about the few grains of rice your rabbit stole from the floor, there is nothing to be concerned about.
While rice isn’t healthy for them, it is also not poisonous.
You should take care to clean up of living space as much as possible before you let your pet roam around the room, but don’t be concerned that you need to deep-clean everything before it is safe.
Can Rabbits Eat Rice Krispies?
You may have heard that Rice Krispies are a great treat for rabbits. Although it may seem a little counter-intuitive with the information provided above, this is perfectly true.
Rabbits can enjoy a very small amount of puffed cereal every now and again. There are some important things you should keep in mind before handing over your breakfast to them.
- Sugar: The cereals you give them should be low in sugar. This means they can enjoy a small helping of plain Rice Krispies or a few corn flakes, but steer clear of any breakfast cereals adorned with marshmallows and frosted coating or added sugars. With rabbits it is easy to feed it in excess which will make a rabbit gain weight and rot teeth – in a little more extreme way considering their size.
This also means you should avoid potent flavors. Rabbit enjoy their cereal plain. Do not give them cereal that is chocolate flavored or has a touch of vanilla. You want it as “boring” as possible.
- Dry: Sure, it can be difficult to imagine enjoying breakfast cereal without milk -but that is how they have to consume it. Milk is not something that you should feed to your pets – even if it is organic or a nut milk that is vegan. Don’t worry, the rabbits don’t know what they are missing out on and are happy to have the dry food.
- No nuts: Your rabbit can enjoy cereals that are made of puffed rice or oats. You should avoid ones that have nuts. It is okay for you to give your rabbit some of the freeze-dried or dehydrated fruits that come with breakfast cereals, but they should not have nuts.
- It’s a treat: This kind of snack is just that – a snack. It is not a substitute for real rabbit food and offers little to no nutritional value. While it is a great thing for them to enjoy once in a while, this should not be given too regularly (5% of their diet is a good frame of reference). You should also not give them an entire human-portion when offering them some cereal. A few pieces here and there are okay, but they do not need to scarf down their body weight in cereal.
What Other Foods Are Dangerous To Rabbits?
Rice is not the only thing that you should avoid giving to your rabbit. There are a number of foods that should never be given to them due to health concerns.
It is important to remember that health-value is not equal. Foods that make a nutritious treat for humans can be toxic to an animal. It is important to always do your research.
While some animals tend to only eat foods that their bodies can have, rabbits tend not to be too discriminatory at signs. It is better to be safe than sorry, but there are some things you should know to keep your rabbit away from.
Try to avoid the following foods:
- Bread: Bread and other carbohydrate products are not good for your rabbit. This includes every bread product from a slice of wholegrain toast to a muffin. This also means that they can’t enjoy pasta either.
- Meat: Rabbits are herbivores and should never be given meat products. They are not evolved to handle this.
- Potatoes: Potatoes are also not healthy in any form. This includes raw, fried, or baked.
- Cookies: Typically anything high in sugar (including candies and cakes) should be avoided.
- Avocado: Avocados may be a super-food to people, but they are toxic to rabbits. Even in their raw form, they are not a great snack for a rabbit.
- Onion: Onions are food that is generally toxic to most of your pets. Be sure to keep them away from your rabbits, cats, and dogs.
- Chocolate: Also like with dogs and cats, chocolate should never be given to your rabbit.
- Almonds: We have already mentioned that nuts are a no-go for rabbits. Although they are a “drupe,” they are also not healthy for rabbit consumption.
When it comes to raising your rabbit, it is important to remember that they require different foods and quantities to you. While rice is a food that is consumed by a significant amount of the human population, it does not, nor should not be fed to rabbits.
Rabbits handle and digest foods very differently, and have a different need and requirement for calories, fiber etc. They have an entirely different digestive system with their own unique needs. Although they feel like part of the family, they have very different living restrictions.
Making sure that you give your rabbit the best diet is your responsibility as a pet owner to keep them happy and healthy.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.