Can Rabbits Eat Peppers?

Question: Can rabbits eat red, yellow and green sweet peppers?

Answer: Yes- but only as part of a healthy balanced diet. Like humans, rabbits love eating lots of different foods to ‘ring the changes’.  It is very important for them to be given a varied diet, so that they get plenty of different vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as this will help your rabbit to stay really healthy.

Back to basics

The essential basic foods in your rabbit’s diet are very straight forward – plenty of fresh, good quality hay every day, rabbit pellets and fresh water. The water should be changed every day and in a really clean bowl. Rabbits have small and sensitive stomachs so they need a diet that is high in fibre and low in fat. This traditional diet is perfect for them as the hay and rabbit pellets, both contain plenty of fibre and this is essential as this keeps your rabbit’s intestines working well without any problems.

As well as these basics, it is really good to give your rabbit some fresh leafy greens every day too.   Do not give your rabbit a huge pile though,  as he will not be able to eat it all. As a guide, give your rabbit 1- 2 tablespoons of chopped leafy greens per 500g of his body weight. Ideal leafy greens include lettuce (but not Iceberg), curly kale and celery. Try and give your rabbit 4- 5 different vegetables each day.

What are bell peppers?

Bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) belong to a family of sweet peppers that produce fruits in various colours including the more unusual shades of purple and white. Bell peppers are often referred to as capsicum and sweet pepper and are not to be confused with chilli pepper and cayenne peppers, which should not be given to rabbits as the hot spiciness will cause your rabbit problems and could even kill them..   

Can rabbits eat bell peppers?

There are a number of vegetables that can be given to your rabbit as a weekly treat and green bell peppers are one of these foods. All the varieties of bell pepper are good for your rabbit as they are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain fibre, potassium and folate plus important anti-oxidants – but green are best.  A couple of tablespoons of chopped green bell pepper can be given to your rabbit every week as green peppers have a lower sugar content than the other colours. For this reason, the sweeter red, orange and yellow bell peppers should be fed to your rabbit only as an occasional treat.

Can rabbits eat green peppers?

Yes, rabbits can eat green peppers.

Can rabbits eat yellow peppers?

Yes, rabbits can eat yellow peppers.

Can rabbits eat red peppers?

Yes, rabbits can eat red peppers.

Can rabbits eat orange peppers?

Yes, rabbits can eat orange peppers.

Important points to know

Bell peppers can be a safe nutritious snack for your rabbit, as they contain important nutrients including Vitamin A, B6 , E and K1. Most rabbits enjoy the taste of bell peppers, but do not be tempted to give them more than the suggested amount of the coloured peppers – especially the red ones – as they have a high sugar content.

If you have never given your rabbit bell pepper before, give him just a small amount (one tablespoon maximum) without any other vegetables and then monitor him very closely for 24 hours to ensure that he has had no reaction to the pepper. If you spot that they have any gastrointestinal problem including diarrhoea, wind or stomach pain, it is best not to give your rabbit bell peppers again. Some rabbits are allergic to bell peppers.

How do I prepare a bell pepper for my rabbit?

● Wash the pepper really well to ensure that it has no traces of chemicals or pesticides. Even if you have grown the pepper yourself, make sure that it is really well washed.

● Only feed your rabbit pepper that is in really good condition. Damaged or over ripe fruit should be avoided.

● Do not give your rabbit cooked bell pepper. Raw pepper is perfect.

● Your rabbit should not eat the leaves, the stem or core of the pepper as this will give him stomach ache and the round, flat, white seeds of the pepper should be very carefully removed too.

● Cut the flesh of the pepper into small, suitably-sized pieces.

● Because your rabbit has a small stomach, giving him too much bell pepper will mean that he does not eat enough of other foods and if this continues for a while, he could suffer from a nutritional imbalance.

● Bell pepper does have a high water content (about 90% water) so can be useful to feed your rabbit during hot weather to avoid dehydration.

● If your rabbit has not eaten the pepper pieces within 12 hours, they should be removed so that they do not attract bugs or start to rot.

Can bell peppers be bad for my rabbit?

It is sensible to limited the amount of pepper you feed your rabbit because of their sugar content. Green bell peppers are harvested earlier and for this reason contain less sugar. The red, orange and yellow bell peppers contain both fructose and glucose in higher quantities.

Here are some other points to remember:

● Sugar is not good for rabbits as it can cause obesity and also dental problems. 

● If your rabbit is clever, he may well show a preference for red pepper as he knows that it tastes sweeter!

● Although the stems and seeds are not toxic to rabbits, they are much tougher than the fruit itself for your rabbit to eat and can cause your rabbit to choke or suffer an internal blockage.

Do not give bell pepper to baby rabbits

Although bell peppers can be safely given to adult rabbits, it is best to avoid giving pieces of pepper to baby rabbits because of the choke hazard. Your rabbit will be considered an adult when he is one year old and at this stage can be given some pieces of carefully prepared green bell pepper as a weekly treat or the other colours, occasionally

To summarise, can rabbits eat peppers?

Yes, they can. But it is important to ensure that your rabbit enjoys a good variety of vegetables and fruit , given in the right quantity and correctly prepared, with peppers just being a small addition to a primarily hay based diet. This will ensure that your rabbit is enjoying a really nutritional and well-balanced diet to keep him in good health. 

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