It can be hard to guess what is and is not okay to feed a rabbit, and sometimes things that seem like they should be harmless are actually pretty dangerous. Most rabbit owners are therefore cautious about giving their rabbit any new food without checking if it’s okay. Have you ever wondered about giving your rabbit oats?
Oats are not toxic to rabbits, but they don’t offer many nutritional benefits either, and many rabbit owners skip this food option when it comes to filling up the treat bowl. Rabbits do better if they are fed fresh fruits and vegetables alongside their hay, rather than being given grains such as oats.
Can I Give My Rabbit Oats?
It is okay to feed your rabbit small quantities of oats if you really want to, but you should be aware that there are few nutritional benefits. Oats are unlikely to be harmful as long as they are only fed in small amounts, but they are not enormously good for a rabbit either, and they should not be given in place of better foods, such as fresh vegetables.
Adding a very small handful of oats to your rabbit’s treat bowl once or twice a week is unlikely to be harmful, but you might notice that your rabbit chooses other foods instead, and only eats the oats later.
If your rabbit is not eating the oats at all, make sure you remove them from the cage, and stop giving your rabbit oats if this happens repeatedly. You don’t want food to be sitting around in your rabbit’s cage for long, so try not to offer it things that it does not eat.
Why Aren’t Oats Too Good For Rabbits?
Oats aren’t a suitable food because they contain a lot of starch and carbohydrates, and they can therefore contribute to weight gain. Rabbits don’t need starch or carbohydrates in large quantities; they need high fiber diets instead.
Sadly, oats contain very little indigestible fiber, which is the kind of fiber rabbits need to stay healthy.
Because oats are packed with the wrong nutrients, eating them could also cause digestive issues. The more oats a rabbit eats, the less other food it will eat, and this might result in it getting too little fiber or other nutrients.
This can unfortunately cause a condition known as GI stasis. The rabbit’s guts will stop moving properly because there isn’t enough fiber in them, and food will then start to ferment in the rabbit’s digestive system. This can be both uncomfortable and dangerous, and it could kill your rabbit
You should always make sure that your rabbit is getting about ninety percent of its food from hay or grass, as this provides the fiber it needs to keep its guts healthy. Around ten percent of its diet should be fresh vegetables and fruit.
Oats don’t play a part in either of these figures, so although it is okay to offer a few now and again, it’s really better to leave them out. If your rabbit loves them, a few won’t do any harm, but remember that they aren’t nutritionally valuable to it.
Can A Rabbit Eat Cooked Oats?
Oatmeal is often thought of as a very healthy dish and many people choose it as a top breakfast – but can you give it to your rabbit?
Unfortunately, although it might seem nutritious, warming, and filling, oatmeal is not particularly suitable for rabbits. They do not digest cooked foods well, and oatmeal is sticky and heavy. It again does not contain enough fiber to be safe for rabbits to eat in quantities, and it may cause issues if they get it stuck in their fur.
Some people do offer cooked oats to their rabbits and it probably won’t do them any harm, but it isn’t a great idea. Overall, it’s better not to give your rabbit any cooked foods, and that includes cooked oats. If you want to give your rabbit oats, only offer a few raw ones for it to enjoy on an infrequent basis.
Is There Ever A Reason To Feed A Rabbit Oats?
One of the biggest problems with oats is that they can cause weight gain, but sometimes that does actually make them useful. If your rabbit has ended up underweight and is struggling to return to a normal weight, your vet might recommend including oats in its diet.
Oats are easy for a rabbit to digest, and because of the high levels of carbohydrates, they are beneficial if you’re trying to help your rabbit gain weight. Talk to your vet if you think your rabbit could benefit from being given oats on a regular basis to sort out weight problems. They should be able to offer advice on this.
Make sure your rabbit always has access to plenty of hay and that they are still getting most of their nutrition from this, even if you are feeding them oats. The fiber in the hay will still be crucial to keeping them healthy.
How Do I Know If My Rabbit Likes Oats?
If you want to determine whether your rabbit likes oats, try offering it three or four and see if it eats them. Many rabbits do enjoy oats, but if it rejects them, remove them from the cage and try again another day.
If your rabbit eats them, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it for a couple of days to make sure no problems arise. Although oats should be safe for your rabbit to eat, some rabbits react to foods that are usually fine, so it’s worth watching out for any issues with its droppings or behavior.
Oats are reasonably safe for rabbits in small quantities, but they don’t offer much nutritional value. Rabbits can eat them, but they are better off filling up on other foods that are lower in carbohydrates and starches, and higher in other nutrients. Don’t give your rabbit oats in large quantities or too frequently, because you could make it very sick.