Question: Can rabbits eat chocolate?
Answer: Absolutely not!
Chocolate is a treat made from ground cacao pods. It’s available in different forms – solid, liquid, or paste – and can be eaten on its own or alongside other foods. This treat is common among humans of various ages, and some would even count it as their favorite treat/food.
How Safe is Chocolate for Bunnies?
It’s an obvious fact that bunnies will eat just about anything you give them. As a rabbit owner, you can take advantage of this detail and share with your rabbit whatever it is you’re eating at that moment. Still, does that mean that everything that’s good for us is also suitable for these bunnies? Especially sweet treats like chocolates?
Don’t be deceived by the Easter bunny that brings us candies and chocolates – the real rabbits can’t stomach them. Bunnies have a digestive system that’s so unlike humans, which is why their diet isn’t the same as ours. This implies that there are some things we can conveniently eat which may be harmful to these pets.
What Effect(s) Does Chocolate Have on Rabbits?
While chocolate is enjoyable for humans, it is absolutely toxic to rabbits. Yes, chocolate is sweet and will make a nice treat for rabbits who are known to have quite the sweet tooth. However, the sweetness aside, chocolate contains two chemicals that are dangerous to your rabbit’s health. These chemicals are caffeine and theobromine, and they can stimulate a rabbit’s nervous system.
The primary effects of this stimulation are dehydration and increased heart rate. Another harmful effect is increased calcium levels in the muscles, which could lead to seizures. Bunnies that eat chocolate can also suffer from heart attacks and, sometimes, respiratory problems.
For all these reasons, it is advised that you keep your pet away from chocolate. No rabbit’s digestive system can handle the adverse effects of those two chemicals in the chocolate.
However, although chocolate is harmful to all rabbits, its harmful effect on the rabbit depends on the animal’s weight. So a bigger rabbit that takes in a certain quantity of chocolate might not have as many adverse reactions as a smaller rabbit that consumes the same amount.
Also, not all chocolates contain an equal quantity of these harmful chemicals. For example, dark chocolate has more theobromine and caffeine content than milk chocolate, making the former more toxic than the latter.
If Chocolates Are So Harmful, Why Do Bunnies Like Them?
Rabbits will eat anything as long as it’s delicious. They don’t know whether it’s good for them or not – and they honestly don’t care. The onus then lies on you to keep the sweet away from them. They may hate you for that, but you’ll be doing your pet – and yourself – a whole lot of good.
How About White Chocolate?
White chocolate contains less theobromine content than other kinds of chocolate, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe for rabbits either. Your rabbit can still get sick after eating it.
To prevent unwanted issues that may crop up, you should avoid giving your rabbit any kind of chocolate – dark, white, milk, or any other kind that exists.
What Can I Do If my Rabbit Eats Chocolate?
You can’t always be around your rabbit, and pets do the craziest thing when we aren’t watching. So, your rabbit could have robbed your private stash of chocolate while you weren’t looking and eaten a bite or two out of it. Or maybe you didn’t know that chocolate was bad for bunnies and fed it to your bunny. What do you do?
If you fall into either of these categories, you need to act fast. It may look like all is well with your rabbit, but that isn’t the case. Rabbits that have eaten chocolate do not react until about 6-12 hours later, sometimes earlier.
The first sign of trouble is vomiting and diarrhea. Once this starts, you need to get the animal to the vet – and quick. In fact, to prevent things from getting out of hand, when you discover that your rabbit has ingested some chocolate, take the rabbit to the veterinarian. Don’t wait until the rabbit starts vomiting before you do something. A delay could be fatal.
How Will the Vet Treat my Rabbit?
Not to worry, a vet has been trained to handle food poisonings like this. Most likely, he will first attend to severe symptoms like cardiac arrest and seizure. You can also help lessen the effect of the chocolate on your rabbit’s system. Make sure that there’s enough fluid in your rabbit’s system. Water will help get rid of and flush out some of the deadly chemicals in the rabbit’s stomach. If you don’t do this, the doctor will help you.
Once your rabbit is past the threshold of danger, it might still take a while before he is healthy enough.
Watching your pet suffer from food poisoning is not anyone’s favorite pastime, so it’s better to avoid this by doing everything in your power to keep chocolate away from the bunny. If it still gets to eat it by chance, take the animal to the vet, even before the first symptoms manifest.
What Alternative Treats Can I Feed my Rabbit?
Even though your rabbit might not be able to eat chocolate, there are other treats you can feed them to keep them happy. However, remember that all kinds of fruits and sweet things should be given to your animal in moderation. So, here are some options:
- Apples (without the seed and core)
Chocolate is manufactured, and humans are better suited to eat manufactured or processed foods. This is one of the reasons why the sweet is bad for your rabbit – the caffeine in the chocolate works better on men.
So, whatever you do, keep your pet away from this sweet and introduce them to healthier treats. Above all, let their main diet be hay, high-quality pellets, and lots of water.