It’s always important to be careful about adding a new food to your rabbit’s dish, and you might be wondering whether sweet potatoes are a suitable option or not. Although they are a vegetable and rabbits tend to thrive on vegetation, you should be cautious about feeding your rabbit sweet potato.
On the whole, sweet potatoes are not recommended for rabbits, although they are not directly toxic and will not hurt your rabbit in very small quantities. It is generally better to avoid offering them to rabbits because they are high in starch and carbohydrates, and your rabbit doesn’t need either of these things.
Is Sweet Potato Good For Rabbits?
Sweet potatoes are not very good for rabbits, no. Although sweet potatoes do contain some valuable nutrients, they are too high in sugars and starches to be good for a rabbit, and it’s better not to add them to your pet’s diet for this reason.
Eating sweet potato might offer your rabbit some benefits, such as beta carotene, potassium, manganese, and several kinds of vitamins, but on the whole, these benefits don’t outweigh the downsides. Your rabbit can get these from other, healthier foods, so don’t offer it sweet potato.
What Makes Sweet Potato Bad For Rabbits?
Sweet potato, as the name suggests, has too much sugar in it to be a good food for rabbits. Eating a lot of sweet potato could cause a condition known as GI stasis, which is where the rabbit’s digestive tract stops processing food properly.
The food then ferments in the rabbit’s guts, causing painful gas buildup. This condition can actually be fatal if it is not treated, so be wary of giving your rabbit foods that could contribute to it.
Sweet potato also contains more carbohydrates than a rabbit needs, so it can quickly cause weight gain, especially if your bunny spends a lot of time in a pen. Don’t ever give an overweight rabbit sweet potato, as this could make the weight issue worse, and might make the rabbit very uncomfortable.
I Know Someone Who Gives Their Rabbit Sweet Potato
It’s always tempting to do what we see others doing, and if you know someone that feeds their rabbit sweet potato, you might be wondering why you can’t do this for yours, especially if their rabbit seems to thrive on this diet.
The short answer is that you can, but it may not be the best option for the rabbit, even if it enjoys the potato. Instead, stick to foods that are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and starches, as this is what a rabbit needs from its diet.
Rabbits should get the majority of their nutrition from hay, and even the most suitable vegetables should be fed in moderation. Sweet potato should not directly hurt a rabbit, but it isn’t the most balanced option, and it may cause weight issues and other health problems.
What If My Rabbit Has Eaten Some Sweet Potato?
If your rabbit has eaten some sweet potato, don’t panic. It should be fine, especially if it has only eaten a small amount and therefore has consumed small quantities of sugar and carbohydrates.
If the rabbit has eaten a lot of sweet potato, you might notice digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea arising in the following days. Make sure you give your rabbit lots of hay if this occurs, as hay is fibrous and will help to push the sweet potato harmlessly through the rabbit’s digestive system.
This can help to prevent GI stasis from occurring, but it is not a sure solution, so don’t feed your rabbit sweet potato and then depend on the hay it eats to sort its digestive system out. It’s much better to simply avoid feeding the rabbit sweet potato (and other sweet, carbohydrate-rich vegetables).
If you are worried that your rabbit has eaten a lot of sweet potato, you should call a vet, because serious digestive issues can be fatal to rabbits. They cannot vomit, and so can’t expel problematic foods from their systems.
It’s better to err on the side of caution and get your rabbit checked over than to leave it until it is too late and your bunny is really sick from something it has eaten.
Can A Rabbit Have Cooked Sweet Potato?
No, you should not feed a rabbit cooked sweet potato. Cooked foods aren’t good for rabbits, and sweet potato does not become less problematic when it has been cooked. It is still too full of starch and sugar to be good for your rabbit.
Unfortunately, your rabbit probably won’t realize that sweet potato – cooked or raw – is not very good for it. It may try to eat the sweet potato, and could make itself sick if it manages to eat it in large quantities.
Can A Rabbit Eat Sweet Potato Skin?
If you have been peeling sweet potatoes, you might be wondering whether you can feed the skins to your rabbit. Again, these are not a particularly good option because they still contain quite a lot of sugar, but they are better for your rabbit than the flesh of the vegetable.
This is because there is often more fiber and a higher concentration of nutrients in the skin of a sweet potato. The fiber will make it easier for your rabbit to digest it properly.
However, even sweet potato skins aren’t a very good choice of food for your rabbit, and are better avoided. They won’t hurt your pet in small amounts, but you can choose better treats with higher levels of nutrition and lower levels of sugar.
It’s always tempting to share your food with your rabbit, but when you’re eating sweet potatoes, it’s better to keep them to yourself. Your rabbit would probably munch on them if given the chance, but they aren’t great for it, and can cause digestive issues and obesity.
Choose other vegetables that are more rabbit-friendly, such as Romaine lettuce, red pepper, or squash, and leave the sweet potato out of your rabbit’s food bowl.