Peanut butter is often considered a healthy snack and many humans absolutely love it; we eat peanut butter on toast all the time. It is high in protein and calcium, and many diets incorporate it because of these two factors – but can you share this delicious treat with your rabbit?
The answer is no, you should not give peanut butter to your rabbit under any circumstances, and you should not allow your rabbit to lick it off your fingers if you have been eating it. Peanut butter is not toxic, but it contains plenty of things that rabbits should not eat, and it could be damaging to a rabbit’s health.
What’s Wrong With Peanut Butter?
There are quite a few things that are dangerous about peanut butter.
Firstly, peanut butter often has a lot of sugar in it. This makes it taste good, but it is not safe for rabbits to consume, because it can lead to various digestive problems. Too much sugar can cause diarrhea, gas, and stomach issues because rabbits struggle to digest it.
It may also make your rabbit overweight, which can be uncomfortable. Pet bunnies often don’t move around very much, so they don’t burn off fat easily, and you need to be careful about any high sugar foods you give to your rabbit for this reason. An overweight rabbit will often be unhappy.
Furthermore, sugar can feed bad bacteria in the rabbit’s guts, and this can cause long term health and digestive issues.
A second reason for not giving your rabbit peanut butter is that it has a lot of calories in it. Again, this can contribute to weight gain, as rabbits don’t require a lot of calories. 100 g of peanut butter has around 588 calories in it.
Thirdly, peanut butter is very fatty, which is another thing rabbits don’t need. They struggle to digest fats and find them much more difficult to deal with than humans do. A rabbit’s normal diet contains very little fat, so they cannot process it properly, and it can cause diarrhea. Excess fat will also leave your rabbit dehydrated, so be careful about this.
Fourthly, peanut butter contains quite a lot of calcium. Calcium is good for bone strength, but if your rabbit gets too much, it may suffer from urinary tract problems. This is another good reason to avoid offering this snack to a rabbit.
On top of all these issues, peanut butter is a bad idea because it offers very little nutritional benefit. Rabbits need things like indigestible fiber and vitamins from their food, and these are found in fresh vegetables and in hay or grass. They aren’t found in processed foods like peanut butter.
There is therefore little reason to feed your rabbit peanut butter, and a lot of reason not to. Rabbits gain almost nothing from eating it, and may suffer some quite nasty effects from doing so.
Can I Give My Rabbit Small Amounts Of Peanut Butter?
It’s better not to give your rabbit any peanut butter. If you end up giving it tiny quantities, these are unlikely to be harmful as long as the sodium and sugar levels are low, but they still aren’t very good for your rabbit.
People occasionally offer their rabbits little scraps of toast with peanut butter on, and this probably won’t do any major harm, but you should be aware that both toast and peanut butter are bad for rabbits. You can make the choice to offer them in small amounts, but it doesn’t make them a healthy option.
Don’t be swayed by someone else who says they feed their rabbit peanut butter without an issue. Peanut butter may not cause obvious problems to begin with, but it can still be damaging to a rabbit’s overall health.
What If My Rabbit Loves Peanut Butter?
Some rabbits do seem to really enjoy peanut butter, and if this is the case, you might decide that your bunny’s quality of life is significantly improved by having this treat. This is a decision that you will make as an owner, but you should be aware of the dangers of peanut butter.
Instead of depending upon this treat, try to find other things that your rabbit loves that also offer it nutritional benefits. Carrots, cucumber, celery, broccoli, apples, and bananas are all great options when fed in moderation, and may serve as alternative treats for your bunny to enjoy.
If you are going to continue feeding your rabbit peanut butter, make sure that you do so in very small quantities, and that you don’t ever offer this treat on a regular basis. Put down plenty of fresh water so that your rabbit doesn’t get dehydrated.
If your bunny is starting to suffer from weight issues, you should take peanut butter out of its diet, as this is a sure way to make your rabbit gain weight, not lose it.
Can Rabbits Eat Peanuts?
It’s logical to wonder this if you’re holding a jar of peanut butter, but the answer is again that peanuts aren’t good for rabbits. Indeed, some peanut butter is made with 100 percent peanut, and this still isn’t suitable for them, so it’s best not to give them unprocessed peanuts either.
Peanuts are still very high in fats and could cause both digestive issues and fatty liver disease, so don’t offer them to your rabbit, either in their whole form or as peanut butter. Rabbits have not evolved to eat nuts and wild rabbits would be very unlikely to have access to them, so they cannot digest them effectively.
Peanut butter may not contain any direct toxins, but it is not a safe food to be giving to your bunny, and you should be aware that it can contribute to many health problems, including fatty liver disease, GI stasis, urinary tract issues, obesity, dehydration, and diarrhea.
Don’t give your rabbit peanut butter, or make sure that you are only offering a tiny scrape if you really want to share this treat with your pet.