Rice is a food that many of us think of as healthy, so it might seem that sharing this with your rabbit as the occasional treat should be harmless. Often, rice is cooked alongside other vegetables that your rabbit would enjoy, such as broccoli, and you might be tempted to scoop a bit of both out for your bunny.
You should not give your rabbit rice under any circumstances; it is not a safe food for them and offers little nutritional value. Rabbits do not need to eat grains, and rice could cause tummy ache, although it is not actively poisonous. A rabbit that has eaten rice may be bloated and uncomfortable.
Do Rabbits Like Rice?
Rabbits do not always know what is good for them and what isn’t, so when you are feeding your rabbit, you shouldn’t depend on it to avoid unsafe foods. Your rabbit might know not to eat rice, but the chances are that if it finds this in its food bowl, it will at least sample it.
After all, rice smells like food, and it is not unreasonable for the rabbit to try it, therefore. Rabbits depend on eating a wide range of different foods, and they are not known for being fussy. That means you should never put rice in your rabbit’s bowl. It might not eat it, but if it does, it could get sick.
It’s important to note that rabbits cannot vomit, and because of this, you need to be very careful about what foods you give to them. Once they have eaten something, they have to try and digest it, even if it is toxic. Don’t ever feed your bunny something that you don’t absolutely know is safe for it to eat.
Can I Give My Rabbit Cooked Rice?
No, you can’t give your rabbit cooked rice. Rabbits should not eat any cooked foods, even vegetables, as they evolved to digest raw foods effectively. They will not benefit from eating cooked rice, especially if it has been seasoned or cooked with any kind of sauce.
You also should not give them cooked vegetables that you have made alongside the rice. Stick to raw foods only, and your rabbit will be healthier.
Can I Give My Rabbit Uncooked Rice?
No, uncooked rice is also not safe for a rabbit to eat. Uncooked rice still does not contain valuable nutrients, but it could be dangerous for another reason; it has a great capacity to absorb water. It can swell to three times its normal size when it comes into contact with moisture.
This means that it will be absorbing water from your rabbit’s stomach and that it will massively increase in volume. It could make your rabbit extremely uncomfortable, and you should never give your rabbit raw rice.
Why Is Rice Dangerous?
Rice is dangerous for a number of reasons, but it’s also important to note that it contains almost no nutritional value to a rabbit. Rabbits need plenty of fiber, and most of their diet should come from hay or grass, which gives them this. Fiber keeps the rabbit’s digestive system moving and helps it process other foods, so it’s absolutely crucial.
Rice contains almost no fiber, and white rice is the worst. Because the husks and the bran layer have been removed to create white rice, there is pretty much no fiber left in it, and therefore it can stop the rabbit’s digestion from moving.
Even brown rice, which contains a little more fiber, does not offer a notable amount and should never be fed to a rabbit.
Added to this, rice is high in carbohydrates and calories, and this will cause an insulin spike, particularly because the rabbit is not taking fiber in at the same time. This may not kill your rabbit, but it puts its organs under a lot of strain as they try to deal with the issue and recover.
Furthermore, rice can cause stomach cramps and bloating. If it is eaten in large quantities or on a regular basis, it could contribute to an issue called GI stasis. This occurs when the rabbit’s digestive system is not getting enough fiber to keep moving the food through the system.
GI stasis is extremely serious because it results in food fermenting in the rabbit’s guts, which can be uncomfortable and dangerous and is sometimes lethal.
Even if you are giving your rabbit plenty of hay to help it process the rice, this is not a risk that is worth taking. Stick to fresh vegetables, and do not add grains to your rabbit’s diet, or it may end up very poorly.
Help, My Rabbit Ate Some Rice!
Rabbits do sometimes get hold of food that they shouldn’t consume, especially those that are kept in the kitchen or allowed to roam through the house. Since they won’t necessarily know that rice is dangerous for them, they might eat some spilled grains before you notice what’s going on.
Alternatively, you may have forgotten to check whether rice is safe and offered some to your rabbit already.
You shouldn’t panic if either of these things has happened. Rice is not toxic and will not kill your rabbit if it eats a small amount – it simply isn’t a safe treat to be offering. If your rabbit has eaten some rice, the best thing to do is provide it with hay and clean water and put it in its cage for a while.
Keep an eye on it for the next few days, and call a vet if you see any worrying symptoms, such as loss of appetite or lethargy. In the future, always check foods and clean up any spills before letting your rabbit roam free.