You may know that cucumbers are safe for rabbits, and that might prompt you to offer it a piece of pickle one day. Pickles look healthy enough with their dark green skins, so is it okay to offer a bit of pickle to your rabbit?
No, rabbits cannot eat pickles. Pickles may be made using cucumbers, but they have been left in either brine or vinegar for a long time to preserve them and infuse them with flavor – and this makes them unsafe for rabbits to eat, unfortunately. Never give your rabbit pickles or even a small piece of one.
Why Can’t Rabbits Have Pickles?
Pickles are often made with two ingredients that are safe for rabbits – cucumbers and dill – so it might seem that they should be safe for your furry friend to consume. This is especially true if your rabbit loves fresh cucumbers.
Unfortunately, however, pickles are unsafe because they are made using either brine or vinegar, and the quantity involved is far too high for a rabbit. While rabbits do eat some salt and benefit from having apple cider vinegar added to their water, the doses are dangerously high in pickles.
A pickled cucumber has soaked up an enormous amount of either brine or vinegar (depending on what kind of pickle it is) and even eating a small slice of pickle could be dangerous because of the sheer concentration.
This kind of food is intended to provide a kick of salt or sourness to people, which is why the concentration is so high, but for a rabbit – which is many times smaller than a human – it is dangerous. Do not let your rabbit eat pickles of any kind, no matter what the ingredients are.
Rabbits have delicate digestive systems and do not need either salt or vinegar in large quantities.
Why Are Brine And Salt Dangerous?
You likely already know that your rabbit needs salt to survive but that too much salt is dangerous. The same is true of vinegar; it can be healthy in small quantities, but overdosing is dangerous.
Too much acid or too much salt will put stress on your rabbit’s organs and may upset its digestive system. Having a lot of acid in its tummy could cause distress, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
In both cases, it is only the quantity that causes a problem, but even a small chunk of dill pickle is too concentrated. Do not try to wash the salt/vinegar off dill pickles because they will be infused throughout the cucumber’s flesh and will not wash away with water.
What If My Rabbit Has Eaten Some Pickle By Mistake?
It is unlikely that your rabbit will eat dill pickle by mistake because most rabbits will be put off by the strong smell. However, rabbits can sometimes do peculiar and unexpected things. If your rabbit has eaten pickle, try not to panic.
The first thing to do is assess how much pickle your rabbit ate. One or two small bites should not be harmful. Give your rabbit plenty of clean, fresh water so that it can wash its system out, and dilute either the salt or the vinegar. Provide it with hay to keep its system moving and help it process the hay.
Once you have done this, keep an eye on your rabbit. If it seems uncomfortable and is having trouble pooping, or if it ate large amounts of dill pickle initially, call your vet for advice.
Rabbits are in danger of a condition known as GI stasis, where food begins to ferment in the guts because the rabbit is not processing it properly. This condition can be fatal, so make sure that you see a vet promptly if you are concerned.
Avoid leaving pickles within reach of your rabbit, even if you don’t expect it to eat one. If you regularly eat in your rabbit’s room, make sure you keep plates on a table or another surface that is out of reach, not on the floor.
If possible, avoid letting your rabbit run around when you are preparing food, and promptly pick up anything that you drop before your bunny can grab it. This should reduce the risk of your rabbit eating something unsuitable, like pickles.
Are Pickles Toxic To Rabbits?
Pickles are not directly toxic in that most don’t contain any ingredients a rabbit cannot have in moderation. Pickles usually contain cucumbers, vinegar, sugar, water, salt, dill, and sometimes other herbs. However, some pickles will have been infused with garlic too, and this is dangerous for rabbits.
Regardless of their toxicity, pickles are not a suitable food for rabbits, but if your pickles contain garlic, be extra vigilant. Garlic can cause a condition known as hemolytic anemia, which will destroy the red blood cells. This can lead to blood in the urine and death.
If your rabbit has eaten pickles that contain garlic, call a vet directly for advice. Even if your rabbit seems fine, get expert help because this condition can show up over a couple of days and is often fatal.
Other ingredients, such as onions, should also ring alarm bells. If your rabbit does eat some pickle, be vigilant about checking the ingredients and contacting a vet if any ingredient is toxic to rabbits.
Do Rabbits Like Pickles?
Most rabbits will dislike the smell of pickles and will not attempt to eat a pickle, even if you put it in their food bowl. However, you shouldn’t depend upon this to keep your rabbit safe because some rabbits will think that pickles smell like food.
Do not test whether your rabbit likes pickles. Keep this kind of food well away from your bunny, and do not leave pickles anywhere within reach. Eating them could do serious damage or even kill your rabbit in extreme circumstances.
Rabbits cannot eat pickles, no. Although the basic ingredients of dill and cucumber are both rabbit-friendly, pickles contain too much salt or vinegar to be safe. They may also contain other harmful ingredients and should be avoided at all times. Don’t give your rabbit pickles or pickle juice; these are not suitable foods!