Rabbits are usually very easy to take care of as pets – you don’t have to take them out for walks, they don’t require a lot of space, and they are not particularly picky eaters. However, there are some things that you should know about your pet bunny’s diet. If you are reading this, you are probably wondering if rabbits can eat potatoes, so let’s find out all about that.
Can Rabbits Eat Potatoes?
Rabbits are herbivores, so they should exclusively eat plants. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t eat other things when offered – chicken, lamb, pork, you name it – they are curious and like to munch on new, tasty snacks.
Unlike many other animals, they can’t distinguish between what’s good for them and what’s not based on the smell or taste of food. The same goes even for plants. Certain plants are not suitable for rabbits, but they will eat them anyway.
One of these plants is potato, so if you see a rabbit willingly taking a potato in any form, you should stop them from doing so. The fact that they are willing to eat them doesn’t mean that they should.
Can Rabbits Eat Raw Potatoes?
Rabbits primarily eat hay, grass, and fresh fruits and vegetables. They can eat various raw vegetables, but potatoes are not in this group. This is a shame because potatoes are cheap, easy-to-get, and rabbits would probably love them!
However, their digestive system is not sufficiently equipped to handle this plant well. Even raw, potatoes have a high content of sugar, starch, and carbohydrates that bunnies cannot digest well. Avoid leaving raw potatoes at a place your bunny can reach because it won’t be good for them, although they will readily eat it.
Can Rabbits Eat Mashed Potatoes?
Mashed potatoes are a favorite meal of many, and I’m sure that many rabbits would love it too, but they are not supposed to eat them. This is because mashed potatoes are, at the very least, cooked food. Rabbits are not supposed to eat cooked food because they do not have the enzymes needed to break it down properly.
Add butter, salt, pepper, or milk to that equation, and the situation becomes much worse because of all the additional calories, fat, and sugar. This is the reason bunnies are not supposed to eat mashed potatoes either.
Can Rabbits Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Potatoes and sweet potatoes share a name, and they look pretty similar, but they are not a part of the same family of plants. While sweet potatoes are nutritional for humans, they are another thing that wouldn’t be good for your rabbit to eat.
Although they are not related to regular potatoes, they are still high in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. Therefore, you should avoid your rabbit from finding sweet potatoes in your home, whether processed, cooked, or raw.
Can Rabbits Eat Potato Chips?
Another potato product we humans adore is potato chips. You can probably guess that rabbits shouldn’t eat this potato variation either. The reasons are the same as with other potato products – too much starch, sugar, calories, and carbohydrates.
Potato chips also have a high amount of fat in them – the amount that is sometimes too much for people, let alone bunnies with their sensitive gastrointestinal system. Despite this, if you are snacking on potato chips with your bunny around, you can expect them to try and steal a bite or two from you – try to resist and make sure they don’t eat any.
Can Rabbits Eat Potato Skins?
Unfortunately, there is not one part of a potato that would be good for your bunny, including potato skins. Although they are thin and seem insignificant compared to the part we usually eat, they also contain the same and even more significant amounts of nutrients that are not suitable for rabbits’ tummies.
What Happens If Rabbit Eats Potatoes?
We concluded that potatoes are not suitable for rabbits and that they shouldn’t be allowed to eat any type of potato product. Let’s see some potential consequences if a rabbit manages to steal a few bites of this starch-loaded vegetable.
If your rabbit ate a little bit of potato once, you probably have nothing to worry about. However, you should follow their condition and see if anything changes in their behavior and potty situation. If nothing changes, just make sure your pet doesn’t eat potatoes anymore in the future.
Suppose you notice some weird or unusual behavior – drowsiness, lethargy, irritability, or similar. In that case, you should contact the vet so they can help you with the next steps to help your bunny. Rabbits can have an upset stomach after eating potatoes, so it’s best to closely follow their condition and see what happens.
Gastrointestinal stasis, or GI stasis, is a more severe condition that can happen if your bunny eats potatoes. Like other animals, rabbits have good bacteria that live in their stomach and help them digest and pass food easily. When this microbiota changes, the gastrointestinal tract can slow down or stop working altogether.
If the digestion is slowed down, your rabbit may experience very painful gasses. This can, in turn, stop your rabbit from wanting to eat because they associate that pain with food. As a result, your bunny can become more and more dehydrated and deprived of the necessary nutrients, which only causes the condition to worsen.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your rabbit to the vet as soon as possible – the vet may provide them with pain killers, IV fluids, and similar treatments that can help your rabbit feel as good as new soon.
Unfortunately, this condition can be deadly, so it’s best to act as soon as you notice that your rabbit ate something potentially dangerous.
What Are Other Plants Dangerous For Rabbits?
Potatoes are not the only food that can cause gastrointestinal problems in rabbits. If you have a pet bunny or are planning to get one soon, you should know what foods you are supposed to avoid from giving them. Here are some of the plants your rabbit isn’t supposed to ingest.
Avocado is one of the most admired foods by people. It is nutritious, has a lot of good fats, and is also delicious. Although this is all true, you should never give it to a rabbit. Avocados contain a compound called persin that is highly toxic to many household animals, including bunnies. If ingested, it can cause organ failure and quickly lead to death.
Rhubarb also looks like the perfect food for a snacky rabbit. However, this is not the case. Rhubarb contains oxalic acid that can be highly toxic for bunnies. If consumed in small quantities, it can lead to stomach problems, lethargic mood, and lack of appetite, at the very least.
When eaten in larger amounts, it can easily lead to death. So if you see your rabbit eat even a little bit of rhubarb, it’s best to take it to the vet immediately to ensure that your bunny is good or prevent some serious consequences.
If you are planning on having a rabbit in your home, you should probably rearrange your houseplants so your new pet can’t come in contact with any of them. Although not all of them are dangerous, many are, so it’s best to be safe and not let your bunny try to chew on them.
Leek looks like a good, crunchy snack for a rabbit, but it’s not. Leek has little to no value for diet in terms of nutrients, so it is not a necessary part of a diet. Allium family members (onion, garlic, chives) can cause gastric problems for rabbits. If consumed in larger quantities, these plants can be deadly.
If It’s Not A Plant, Your Bunny Shouldn’t Eat It
It’s essential to add that you shouldn’t feed your bunny anything other than plants that are safe for them. If you are snacking on chocolate or some other food you like eating, and you want to treat your bunny, refrain from doing so because you will be doing them much more harm than good.
They are not equipped with bacteria, enzymes, and other necessary components to break down that kind of food. If you are about to have a bunny as a pet, talk to a veterinarian who will explain everything you should and shouldn’t do in detail, and enjoy your time with a new house member.
Rabbits are not very good at figuring out what is good for them and what’s not, so even if your bunny wants to eat potatoes in any form, you should make sure they don’t do that.
Along with potatoes, some other fruits and vegetables can be toxic and deadly for these wonderful pets, so try to stock those ingredients somewhere unreachable. If your rabbit ingests something you think can be harmful to them, take them to the vet immediately.