Can Rabbits Eat Chocolate?
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We humans love chocolate – and we’ve even discovered that dark varieties offer some important health benefits. Since chocolate can be good for us it’s natural to wonder whether it’s okay to share with your pet.
We hear these questions all the time:Is chocolate okay for rabbits? If rabbits can eat chocolate, how much can they have?
In case you’re searching for a quick answer, here it is: Chocolate is toxic to rabbits.
Hold on, because there’s a lot more to learn.
For instance, we are about to tell you why rabbits can’t eat chocolate and how much it takes to cause harm. In addition, we’ll share tips for taking care of your rabbit in case they’ve accidentally had a nibble of chocolate.
Keep reading for all the facts about rabbits and chocolate.
Is Chocolate Harmful to Rabbits?
Your bunny shouldn’t eat it – but believe it or not, chocolate isn’t all that bad for you!
So long as you choose dark, low-sugar varieties and enjoy it in moderation, that is.
The average 1.4-ounce bar of dark chocolate contains:
- 216 calories
- 25 g carbohydrates
- 6 g fiber
- 8 g protein
- 6 g g fat
The nutrition in chocolate depends on what percentage of cacao the chocolate contains, as well as the percentage of other ingredients.
You’ll want to check your own package for specifics but in general, the darker the chocolate, the more nutrients it’s likely to contain!
Here are some nutrients you might find in dark chocolate:
- Vitamin B12
Can Rabbits Have Chocolate?
No – absolutely not! Chocolate is toxic to rabbits. Never give a rabbit chocolate.
You might think that high sugar content is the reason behind our advice. While it’s true that sugary foods aren’t good for rabbits, chocolate hides two compounds that are fine for us but deadly to our pet bunnies.
These compounds are caffeine and theobromine. Both compounds do the same thing to rabbits that they do to us: they stimulate the central nervous system.
While we humans enjoy things like coffee and chocolate for their ability to offer us a quick energy boost, chocolate components that provide that sense of energy are too strong for rabbit’s system to process.
Theobromine and caffeine speed up a rabbit’s heart rate and lead to rapid dehydration. In addition, both compounds can cause heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, respiratory failure, and seizures in rabbits.
Is Chocolate Good For Rabbits?
Unfortunately, we’re pretty sure that given the opportunity, a rabbit might nibble on chocolate and continue eating. Rabbits love sweets and chocolate is no exception.
This doesn’t mean it’s okay to feed chocolate to a rabbit!
We’ve seen marketing messages from different brands that pair rabbits and chocolate. When we think of the Easter Bunny, it’s very likely that our minds also turned to chocolate!
Cute and whimsical as these characters might be, they are sending a confusing message. Even though your rabbit might like the taste of chocolate, this food is so toxic even a tiny nibble isn’t worth the risk.
How Much Chocolate Can A Rabbit Eat?
People who love chocolate can eat lots of it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for rabbits. Absolutely none.
We’re wearing are serious faces here: never give a rabbit chocolate for any reason or in any amount!
It can take less than an ounce of sweet milk chocolate to kill a rabbit, depending on the rabbit’s size.
Since the darkest chocolate with the highest percentage of cacao contains far more caffeine and theobromine then sweeter milk chocolate varieties, far less than an ounce of dark chocolate could be deadly.
How Often Can A Rabbit Eat Chocolate?
You guessed it: Never! Even if you rabbit has tried chocolate in the past without any serious consequences, its best not to tempt fate.
What Happens if a Rabbit Eats Chocolate?
Since even tiny amounts of caffeine and theobromine can be deadly to rabbits, consider this an emergency. Get your rabbit to the vet right away even if they only ate a tiny bit of chocolate and aren’t showing any symptoms. Unlike some other toxins, these two compounds can take time to take effect – up to 12 hours in some cases.
The faster your vet can begin flushing your rabbit’s system, the better chance your bunny has at making a recovery.
The Correct Diet is Important
Now that we cleared the air about chocolate for rabbits and provided you with all the reasons why bunnies and chocolate don’t mix, here’s a quick guide to keeping your bunny healthy with all the right foods.
Even though pet rabbits come in all kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes, they share the same digestive system as their wild cousins. This means your pet bunny should be eating a natural diet that’s similar to a wild rabbit’s.
Luckily, you don’t have to forage for your rabbits food. Everything they need is easy to shop for.
Here’s a quick list of what to feed your rabbit every day:
- Fresh rabbit hay – no limit; make sure hay is always available
- A serving of good quality, age-appropriate rabbit pellets at least once per day (The food’s label is your guide to serving size)
- “Bunny salad” made with about 1 cup of mixed leafy greens for every two pounds of body weight along with a few crunchy vegetables (see the list below for some rabbit-approved ideas)
- A few treats – you can offer different items each day, but no more than about a teaspoon of rabbit-safe fruit per two pounds of body weight. Apples, pears, peaches, bananas, and berries are a few favorites.
- About one tablespoon of large seeds, i.e. pumpkin, squash, and sunflower seeds unless they’re already blended into your rabbit’s food
Last but not least, let’s touch on some other necessities.
Your rabbit needs clean, dry bedding at all times, along with a constant supply of fresh water. Be sure to rinse and refill their water bottle every day.
That’s not all: Rabbits’ teeth never stop growing so it’s up to us as pet parents to provide our bunnies with items that are safe to chew.
There are lots of fun rabbit toys on the market plus you can offer things like hay cubes, unbleached slices of loofah, or untreated softwood sticks from trees such as apple or pear. Willow branches are great for rabbits’ teeth, too!
Not only does constant nibbling help keep your rabbit’s teeth from becoming painfully overgrown and perhaps even infected, it’s also essential for their mental health.
What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Chocolate In A Rabbit’s Diet?
So, chocolate is off the menu. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy treats to give your bunny.
Here’s a quick list to help you plan your rabbit’s menu:
- mustard greens
- carrot tops
- swiss chard
- radish tops
- beet greens
- romaine lettuce
- butter lettuce
- bibb lettuce
- brussels sprouts
- dandelion greens
- bok choy
- yu choy
- snow peas
- turnip greens
- okra leaves
- bell peppers
These healthy herbs and veggies are just a starting point!
While some foods you enjoy – such as chocolate – aren’t safe for rabbits, many of your favorite fruits and vegetables make fantastic treats for your little friend.
Just be sure to spend a few minutes looking for information about new items so that you can avoid potential toxins and keep your bunny healthy by offering the right amount of each food.
For now, how about a small blueberry or maybe a bit of carrot? Both are sweet treats rabbits can enjoy in moderation!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chocolate safe for rabbits?
No! It's not safe to give chocolate to a rabbit, ever.
Can chocolate make my rabbit sick?
Yes. Chocolate can kill your rabbit, so be sure to keep it well out of reach. If your bunny accidentally ingests chocolate (it’s been known to happen!) get them to the vet ASAP. Prompt treatment is essential.
Can rabbits have white chocolate?
No – While white chocolate doesn't contain the same compounds found in milk chocolate and dark chocolate, it's still high in sugar and fat – neither of these are good for your rabbit in high concentrations. In addition, rabbits aren’t capable of digesting dairy products – and most white chocolate products contain milk, cream, or a combination of the two.
White chocolate can make your rabbit very sick. It could cause serious indigestion, diarrhea, or GI stasis. All three conditions are serious, so call your vet if your rabbit ate even a small amount of white chocolate.