If you keep bunnies as pets, you may find yourself considering feeding them on rice. But just before doing so, you will want to know whether bunnies are actually capable of eating rice, whether rice is safe for them, whether rice is beneficial to them and so on.
Can bunnies eat rice? The simple answer is ‘no’. Rice comes from a grass species known as Oryza sativa. Rice and most other grain foods are not ideal for bunnies. It may not exactly be poisonous. But it can cause lots of harm in other ways.
For instance, rice can cause severe tummy ache and bloating in a bunny. Therefore you should never feed your bunny on rice.
In this article, you will find answers to all those questions related to can bunnies eat rice and bunny eating rice nutritional benefit.
Is Rice Good For Bunnies?
One way of tackling the can bunnies eat rice question is by finding out whether rice is good for them. As it turns out, rice is simply not good for bunnies. For starters, the bunnies’ digestive systems are not designed to handle foods like rice. This therefore means that if you feed rice to a bunny, the bunny won’t be in a position to digest it properly. Consequently, the bunny won’t be able to benefit (nutritionally) from the rice.
It is important to remember that by nature, bunnies mainly feed on hay and grass. Now such a diet is very different from a grain diet (of which rice is an example). Therefore when you give rice to your bunny, you are giving it something that is fundamentally different from what it is meant to be eating.
Besides not being good for bunnies, rice is potentially very harmful to them. It can cause tummy ache, bloating, constipation, vomiting and a wide range of other symptoms in bunnies.
So it is clear that rice is not nutritionally beneficial to bunnies. On the contrary, it can be quite harmful to them. For these reasons, we can assert that rice is simply not good for bunnies.
Is Rice Safe For Bunnies?
Another way of tackling the can bunnies eat rice question is by finding out whether rice is safe for them. But as it turns out, rice is not safe at all for bunnies. There are several specific ways in which rice is harmful to bunnies.
Firstly, rice is the sort of food that easily overwhelms the bunnies’ digestive systems. The bunnies’ digestive systems are meant for high fiber foods, like hay and grass. Therefore something like rice is likely to easily overwhelm them.
This is how you end up with symptoms like bloating, constipation, tummy ache and so on. Moreover, when a bunny eats rice, it ends up producing too much stomach acid. This can often lead to stomach ulcers, among other complications.
Secondly, rice has more starch than a bunny can safely handle. Therefore when a bunny eats rice, it ends up with a sudden insulin spike. This can in turn lead to multiple organ damage. It is a very scary situation. Even if it doesn’t happen overnight, it is bound to eventually come to pass if a bunny continues feeding on a rice diet.
Thirdly, the amount of arsenic in rice is too much for a bunny. Thus whereas we, as humans, can cope with the level of arsenic in rice, small animals like bunnies may be unable to handle it. The end result can be slow poisoning. But where the bunny feeds on a lot of rice at once, the effects of the arsenic in the rice can show up pretty fast.
So, can bunnies eat rice, considering its poor safety profile for them? The answer is obviously no.
Can Bunnies Eat Rice?
There are two dimensions in which we can explore this question. First is where we seek to know: can bunnies eat rice (in terms of ingesting it)? And second is where we seek to know whether rice is good for the bunnies.
With regard to whether bunnies have the ability to ingest rice, unfortunately, the answer is ‘yes’. When bunnies are presented with a dish of rice, they will proceed to devour it. They don’t seem to have the innate ability to sense that it is a harmful food for them. So, in terms of rice ingestion, bunnies have the ability to do it.
But with regards to whether the rice is good for the bunnies, the answer is a resounding NO. Firstly, rice offers no nutritional benefit to bunnies. Their bodies are unable to properly metabolize it.
And in any event, the nutritional makeup of rice (28% carbohydrate, 68% water and 4% vitamins, proteins and fats) is not beneficial to a bunny. Secondly, rice can be very harmful to the bunnies’ bodies. It can cause all manner of complications, from bloating to constipation, vomiting and even seizures.
Worth of special mention is the fact that rice can cause gastro-intestinal stasis (GI stasis in bunnies). And the GI stasis bunny symptoms can be very severe. Remember, GI stasis basically refers to a situation where the bunny’s digestive tract gets blocked.
Statistics show us that GI stasis is the cause of 4.3% of all bunny deaths. And that is what you place your bunny at risk of, when you feed it with rice.
So whereas bunnies have the ability to ingest rice, it is not good for them. It is actually very harmful to them. This is why you shouldn’t even contemplate feeding your bunnies on rice.
Can Bunnies Eat Raw Rice?
In tackling the can bunnies eat rice question, we need to be more specific, and try to establish whether bunnies can eat raw rice. So, is raw rice good for bunnies? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. Raw rice can be very harmful to bunnies. This is because raw rice has the ability to absorb water and expand.
Therefore when a bunny eats raw rice, the rice is likely to absorb the water that is in the bunny’s stomach – and then expand. The end result can be a very nasty case of bloating, and possibly death within days.
On another note, it is important to remember that raw rice has high levels of the compound known as arsenic. This can be very harmful to a bunny. Further still, raw rice is not of any nutritional value to bunnies. The bunnies wouldn’t be able to digest it properly, and draw the nutrients in it. So feeding bunnies with raw rice is pretty much pointless.
Can Bunnies Eat Cooked Rice?
Another key aspect to consider, in dealing with the can bunnies eat rice question is that of whether the bunnies can eat cooked rice. So, is cooked rice good for bunnies? The answer is still no. Cooked rice is not nutritionally beneficial to a bunny.
The process of attempting to digest it can overwhelm the bunny. In an attempt to digest the rice, the bunny is likely to end up with hyperacidity, and consequently ulcers. Scarier is the fact that the excess starch in the rice can even cause the bunny’s lungs to jam.
Further, it is worth remembering that cooked rice often contains salt and other seasoning agents (including spices). On account of these, cooked rice for bunnies can be quite harmful.
Granted, cooked rice may not have as much ability as raw rice to absorb water in the bunny’s stomach and then swell up. So the bloating from cooked rice may not be as bad as that which a bunny can get from raw rice.
This means that if you absolutely had to feed a bunny with rice, cooked rice would be better than raw rice. But as we have seen, even the cooked rice has many other potential harms. Therefore you shouldn’t feed your bunnies on it.
Can Bunnies Eat Rice Hay?
This question (on can bunnies eat rice hay) is fundamentally different from the one on whether bunnies can eat rice grains. To put it differently, this is a question on whether rice straw for bunnies is a suitable food. The hay is the straw of the plant from which rice grain is harvested. So the answer is that bunnies can eat rice hay.
Remember, in the wild, bunny diet is mainly made up of hay and grass. This can include the rice hay in question here. So rice hay for bunnies is quite safe and nutritionally beneficial.
The problem you are likely to encounter, when using rice grass for bunnies is the fact that the bunnies may not like the taste of it. But if they have nothing else to eat, they can feed on the rice grass. It may not be the best hay for bunnies, but it is something they can survive on.
This whole situation is similar to how bunnies can eat wheat hay. Yet if they attempt to eat the wheat grains (or the products that come from the wheat grains such as bread and pasta), they often end up with very nasty symptoms. So rice hay is reasonably good for bunnies. But the actual rice grain (and its byproducts) is completely unsuitable for bunnies’ consumption.
Can Bunnies Eat Rice Krispies?
Rice Krispies are apparently among the treats you can give to bunnies once in a while. You just need to ensure that the bunnies don’t get too much of the rice Krispies. Further, you need to ensure that you don’t add milk to the rice Krispies, before presenting them to the bunnies.
This idea – that bunnies can eat rice Krispies – may look contradictory, given what we said while answering the can bunnies eat rice question. But it is worth remembering that the Krispies have more fiber, which makes them tolerable for bunnies.
But we need to reiterate: can bunnies eat rice grains? The answer is an absolute no. On the other hand, can bunnies eat rice Krispies? The answer in this case is ‘yes’ – but even then, things like rice Krispies should only be given once in a long while, as treats.
Some bunny owners opt to stay away from the rice Krispies altogether, just to be on the safe side.
Why Is Rice Bad For Bunnies?
Upon getting a negative answer to the question on can bunnies eat rice, many people will want to probe further – and find out why rice is bad for bunnies. So, why exactly is rice bad for bunnies? The core reason why rice is bad for bunnies is because it is not the sort of food bunny’s body systems were designed to handle.
Therefore when you feed bunnies with rice grain, you are essentially feeding them with very unnatural food for them.
The process of attempting to digest rice easily overwhelms the bunnies. It leads to things like tummy ache, bloating, constipation and vomiting. Further, it can lead to hyperacidity and ulceration. The excess starch in rice is also very bad for bunnies. It can even lead to jamming in their lungs. And the sudden spike in insulin, after eating rice, can cause multiple organ damage in the bunnies.
In any event, rice is not nutritionally beneficial to bunnies. Neither is it delicious, from the bunny’s perspective. All in all, it is mainly the fact that rice can cause the bunnies to be ill that is the reason why it is bad for them.
Can Rice Kill Bunnies?
To take the can bunnies eat rice question to its logical conclusion, we need to establish whether rice is capable of killing bunnies. Indeed, many of the people who pose that question (can bunnies eat rice) will show interest in knowing whether rice can be lethal to bunnies.
So, can rice kill bunnies? The answer is yes. In some instances – like where a bunny eats lots of raw rice – it can cause almost immediate death. In some other cases, the rice can cause slow death to the bunnies. Let’s look at each of these scenarios in turn.
Rice may cause almost immediate death of a bunny through (among others) the GI stasis mechanism. For instance, a bunny that eats lots of raw rice (which then absorbs the water in the bunny’s stomach and swells up) can end up with a complete blockage of its digestive system. The end result – unless urgent surgery is carried out – can be death within a matter of days.
Rice may cause long-term death by, among other things, overwhelming the bunny’s systems. For instance, the excess starch in the rice may cause the bunny’s lungs to eventually jam, ultimately leading to breathing problems and an eventual death.
Frequent exposure to rice may lead to long term hyperacidity in bunnies, which in turn leads to ulceration – and that can be fatal in the long run.
Of course, a bunny that mostly feeds on rice is likely to miss out on certain nutrients it needs. This can, in the long run, cause its demise.
So it becomes clear that there are so many ways in which rice can kill a bunny: both in the short-term and in the long run.
What Can Bunnies Eat?
Ideally, bunnies should eat lots of hay. This hay grass for bunnies should be the main staple. On top of it, you can use bunny kibble and bunny pellets. But in the latter case, you need to go through the bunny pellets ingredients carefully, to ensure that there are no harmful things hidden there.
Besides hay, kibble and pellets, bunnies may also eat vegetables and fruits. You just need to ensure that the fruits and vegetables you use are not among those that are poisonous or otherwise harmful to bunnies.
What Should Bunnies Never Eat?
First off the list are grains – including the rice we made reference to while answering the can bunnies eat rice question. Bunnies should also never eat bread or pasta. Walnuts are also out for bunnies, as is avocado.
Milk products, including yoghurts, are also not good for bunnies, as are cookies and crackers. You also need to ensure that your bunny never eats silverbeet or iceberg lettuce.
What If My Bunny Ate Rice?
Much depends on how much rice the bunny ate. It also depends on whether the rice was cooked or raw. As we saw earlier while answering the can bunnies eat rice question, raw rice has the capability to absorb water from the bunny’s stomach.
Then it can swell in there and potentially cause GI stasis and lots of other complications. So if your bunny ate lots of raw rice, it may be ideal to consult your vet immediately.
If your bunny ate just a little amount of cooked rice, you may have less to worry about. But you will still need to be on the lookout for an upset stomach. Should the symptoms get worse, get the bunny to the vet ER immediately. So keep a very close eye on him.
In the meantime, ensure that the bunny gets plenty of water and hay. These can keep the digestion moving, instead of shutting down. This, at least, is the approach I would follow if my bunny ate rice.
Final Verdict – Can Bunnies Eat Rice?
Can Bunnies eat rice? Rice is not nutritionally beneficial to bunnies. And it can be very harmful to them. It can cause a wide range of complications – from bloating to constipation, vomiting, hyperacidity, ulceration and onto the often fatal gastrointestinal stasis. So rice can actually be fatal to bunnies.
For these reasons, bunnies shouldn’t eat rice. If your bunny ate rice, you need to be on the lookout for unusual symptoms. And should severe symptoms manifest, you need to get the bunny to the vet ER as soon as possible.