Have you ever offered your rabbit a bit of your sandwich and then wondered if it is okay for it to have cheese? After all, cheese is not a food that rabbits would encounter in the wild, so is it safe for them to eat?
No, rabbits should not have cheese. Rabbits have not evolved to eat dairy, and their digestive systems are really only able to cope with vegetation, not animal products. You should not feed rabbit cheese under any circumstances; this is not a viable food for many different reasons.
Why Can’t Rabbits Have Cheese?
There are quite a few reasons why cheese is bad for rabbits. Firstly, cheese is high in fat and salt, both of which could be harmful to your rabbit, and are better avoided. Rabbits need high fiber diets, with very little fat, making cheese unsuitable for them to eat.
Secondly, cheese has lactose in it, which rabbits cannot digest properly, and this is likely to cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and possibly gas buildup. Rabbits cannot pass gas, so this is uncomfortable for them and can be severe in some cases.
Cheese can upset the bacterial balance in your rabbit’s stomach, and may contribute to gastrointestinal blockages, which could sometimes be fatal.
Furthermore, cheese contains a lot of calcium, and while calcium is important for bone strength, there is too much in cheese for rabbits to cope with. The calcium could block the urinary system and might cause kidney stones in the long term, which will be very painful and dangerous for your rabbit.
Finally, the texture of cheese is not good either. Rabbits need robust, chewy foods to keep their teeth down and their digestive systems working well. Cheese is crumbly and soft, and will play havoc with the rabbit’s digestion, leaving it very uncomfortable, and causing messy droppings.
Overall, you should not give your rabbit cheese, even in small quantities, because there are a lot of elements that are bad for rabbits, and it will not offer them any significant nutritional benefits at all.
Help, I Fed My Rabbit Cheese
You should never give a rabbit something without first checking that it’s safe, but if you have done so or your rabbit has accidentally got hold of cheese in some other way, it’s important not to panic. Firstly, check how your rabbit seems to be doing.
If your rabbit is showing any signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, pain, or sleepiness, you need to take it to a vet as soon as you can, because it could be very seriously ill. If, however, your rabbit seems healthy and happy and you think it has only had a small amount of cheese, it may be worth observing it for a while.
As long as the rabbit remains healthy and does not take a turn for the worse, it may be fine, especially if it has only eaten a small amount of cheese. Make sure that you feed it plenty of hay, as this will help to push the unwanted food through its digestive system and should help it to better process all the unsuitable ingredients.
Even if your rabbit seems fine after eating cheese, take extra care to avoid it getting cheese again. Invisible damage could be done by the salt content and the high fat quantities, and these are not good for your rabbit even if you can’t see any signs that they are causing upset.
Give your rabbit plenty of fresh water if it has eaten cheese, and keep a close eye on it for the next few days. Be prepared to call a vet if there are any issues.
Do Rabbits Like Cheese?
You might think that rabbits won’t eat cheese if it isn’t good for them, but unfortunately, rabbits often do eat things that are unsafe. They don’t automatically know that cheese is unhealthy, and they are quite curious creatures that often explore using their mouths.
You may well find that your rabbit happily nibbles on cheese if you offer it, or if it finds a piece that has fallen on the ground. It is important to be vigilant and to keep unsuitable foods away from your bunny at all times, because you can’t always trust that they will know what food to avoid.
Before you let your rabbit out of its pen, always do a quick sweep around the room for anything that the rabbit shouldn’t have, including scraps of unsuitable food that may have fallen on the floor (particularly if your rabbit is kept in a kitchen or dining room). This reduces the risk of your bunny eating things it shouldn’t.
Will A Rabbit Die If It Eats Cheese?
Most rabbits will not die from eating a small amount of cheese as a one-off. Their bodies will deal with the fat and salt fairly effectively, getting rid of it. However, if a rabbit eats cheese on a regular basis or in a large quantity, this could do major damage to its system, particularly because of the salt content.
You should not assume that your rabbit is going to die just because it has got hold of some cheese, but you should keep a close eye on it and consider taking it to a vet. Always be vigilant and keep strong-smelling foods away from your rabbit unless they are suitable for it to eat.
Rabbits should not eat cheese under any circumstances, and there is no kind of cheese that you should feed to a rabbit. They won’t gain any real nutritional benefit, and many of the ingredients could actively hurt them. This is true of all cheeses, including blue cheeses, soft cheeses, cottage cheese, cream cheese, etc.
Only give your rabbit hay, grass, raw fruit and vegetables (approved ones) and occasionally pellets. All other foods should be kept off your rabbit’s menu, especially highly processed options and those that contain animal products, such as cheese. These are not safe and could make your rabbit sick both in the short term and the long term.