Potatoes are one of the most common household vegetables which you can find anywhere around the world. It is a staple food that is full of carbohydrates which provide lots of energy. Most of us like potatoes, whether we eat them mashed, baked, or fried but can rabbits eat potato? This is a question I bet most rabbit owners have wondered.
Unfortunately, rabbits should not eat potato. It contains high amount of starch and sugar which is difficult for rabbits to digest. Too much carbohydrate in a rabbit’s diet can cause many digestive problems like gas, bloating, stomach ache and in worse cases G.I Stasis which can even be life threatening to rabbits.
That being said there are a lot of misconceptions about giving potato to pet rabbits, cooked or raw. There are also certain parts of the potato like the peel, plant, leaves that most rabbit owners don’t know enough about. Read on to learn more!
Why Are Potatoes Bad For Rabbits?
Potatoes are mostly water and carbohydrates, made out of mostly starch. Technically potatoes are not toxic for rabbits but they have the potential to make a rabbit seriously sick.
A rabbit’s digestive system has not evolved to consume foods with a high amount of starch. Fiber-rich foods with low starch are generally better for their stomach.
Even though a rabbit may happily eat a potato, the starch from that potato ends up in their small intestines where it leads to the growth of harmful bacteria and kills the good bacteria that helps rabbits digest their food.
Prolonged consumption of starch-rich foods can lead to indigestion, gas build-up, bloating, and even GI Stasis where a rabbit may completely stop eating and pooping.
Conditions like these are not only serious but can even be life-threatening for pet rabbits. Read more on GI Stais here.
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Potato?
No rabbits should not eat cooked potato. Cooked potato, just like raw potato also contains a large amount of starch which is really unhealthy for rabbits.
Cooking potatoes by boiling, frying, or baking further breaks down the dietary fiber, which rabbits need to keep the food moving through their digestive system.
Cooked food, especially store-bought foods like chips or french fries can be even worse as they contain a large amount of salt, spices, and preservatives which can negatively affect a rabbit’s health.
Here is a list of all the cooked potato products that you should keep away from your rabbit.
- Potato Chips
- French Fries
- Potato Wedges
- Mashed Potato
- Hash Brown
Can Rabbits Eat Potato Peel or Skin?
Pet rabbits should not eat potato peel or potato skin. Even though potato peel does contain some amount of fiber and generally much less starch than the flesh of the potato, it still contains enough starch to disrupt a rabbit’s stomach.
Potato skin can be quite dirty unless it is given a thorough wash. Plus, the skin may contain potato eyes which can be poisonous for rabbits.Potatoes belong to the Nightshade family of plant which are known for being toxic to some animals.
That being said, if your rabbit eat some potato peel by accident it most likely will not have any negative effects.
Any toxins present should not harm your bunny if they have only eaten a small amount. In case you suspect your rabbit has eaten a lot of potato peel you should call a vet immidiately.
Can Rabbits Eat Potato Leaves Or Plants?
Potatoes are members of the deadly nightshade family of plants. They have a deadly toxin called Solanine which can be quite dangerous in high concentrations.
Even though potatoes do not have much of the toxin Solanine, all the green parts of the potato plants including the leaves, vines, stalks, and sometimes green potatoes can have quite a bit of this poison.
If a rabbit eats potato plants or leaves it can not only be dangerous, it can kill them. If you believe that your rabbit has consumed any green part of the potato plant then you should contact your vet for immediate treatment. Quick medical response from a trained vet may save your rabbit’s.
Can Wild Rabbits Eat Potato?
Potatoes are not part of a wild rabbit’s natural diet. A wild rabbit’s diet consists of mainly grass, twigs, leaves, flowers and bark. Potatoes aren’t that common in their habitat.
But wild rabbits sometimes do eat potatoes that they find in human settlements like in backyard gardens or farms. Potatoes are calorie dense foods so wild do eat some if they get the chance.
They are often careful of eating potato plants and leaves but they also sometimes consume them by accident which can result in them getting poisoned and dying.
If you have some wild rabbits in in your year then you should be careful and keep any potatoes or potato plants out of their reach.
Can Rabbits Eat Sweet Potato?
Sweet potato, often called red potato is a type of root vegetable that is often used with or in place of potatoes in cooking. Even they look and taste quite similar, they are actually completely different vegetables that are not related at all.
Regular potatoes come from the nightshade family of plants which are similar to tomatoes and eggplants whereas sweet potatoes come from the Convolvulaceae which are plants related to Morning Glory plants and Water Spinach.
Even though sweet potato plants, vines, and leaves are absolutely safe for rabbits to eat, the sweet potato contains too much starch and sugar, which makes it bad for rabbits to eat.
Just like potatoes, the starch and sugar in the sweet potato can cause a multitude of stomach problems in rabbits. So it is best to avoid giving your rabbit any sweet potato.
Healthy Potato Alternatives For Rabbits
If you are looking for some healthy alternative to potatoes that are safe for rabbits then look no further. A balanced diet for rabbits consists of vegetables with low sugar and high fiber. They get this from green leafy vegetables and hay which makes up the bulk of their diet.
Here are some common vegetables that are considered the best and safest for pet rabbits
Kale is one of the best vegetables for rabbits, it has lots of vitamins and iron as well as providing a good amount of dietary fiber and water. A great choice as it is easily available in most places throughout the year.
Romaine lettuce is made up of mostly water, 96% of its mass comes from it. That being said, Romaine lettuce has a good bit of nutrients and fiber which makes it a good choice for rabbits.
Basil can be a great herb for rabbits as it contains vitamin K and lots of Iron and Magnesium which are good for a rabbit’s brain and nerves.
Carrot tops or the leafy parts of a carrot plant can also be a great vegetable for pet rabbits. It contains vitamin C which is great for rabbits. Most people throw away the tops but they are great for rabbits to eat.
A rabbit can eat a wide variety of vegetables but if you are looking to add root vegetables to your rabbit’s diet that are good for them then follow this helpful list.
Perhaps one of the most common root vegetables similar to potatoes that you can find in a rabbit’s diet. Carrots also suffer from some of the same problems as most other root vegetables in this list, they have too much sugar and starch in them which is not the best for rabbits. But they are not as bad as potatoes and contain much more dietary fiber which helps balance them in a rabbit’s diet if fed occasionally.
Rich in potassium and vitamin b, radishes are another popular choice when it comes to vegetables for rabbits. Radishes are low in calories but they are a bit acidic and some rabbits may not prefer their taste.
Parsnips are low in calories and easily available. You can give parsnips to a rabbit in small quantities once in a while but too much parsnip can upset a rabbit’s stomach.
Beetroot also has a lot of starch and sugar but it offsets it by being rich in a variety of micro nutrients. It can be given to rabbits as an occasional treat in small quantities.
Potatoes are great for us but not so good for rabbits. Pet rabbits need a specific mix of food to grow and stay healthy. If you have any more questions about can rabbits eat potato then definitely reach out to us on our social media.
You can learn a bit more about what rabbits can eat as well as some common rabbit foods in the links below.
- Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon? All That You Need To Know!
- Can Pet Rabbits Eat Grapes? Everything You Need To Know!
- Can Pet Rabbits Eat Apples – Fruit, Skin & Seeds?
- How Much Pellets Should A Pet Rabbit Eat At Every Age?
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