Pop culture has made us believe that rabbits love carrots and that it is what they mostly eat. Think of Bugs Bunny. There was almost always a carrot with him in every scene. But can rabbits eat carrots, and should they?
Rabbits can eat carrots, but these high-sugar root vegetables should be given as an occasional treat and not be a regular part of a rabbit’s diet. Too many carrots cause an upset tummy, poor digestion, obesity, and tooth decay. Only give a 5-pound bun 2 tablespoons of carrots 1-2 times a week.
Curious to know more about carrots and rabbits? Let’s get into it.
Can Rabbits Eat Raw Carrots?
Rabbits can eat raw carrots, and most bunnies love the taste of these root veggies. But since every rabbit is unique, not every bun will like these bright oranges (and other colored) veggies.
Carrots are high in starch and sugar, so you’ll want to limit how many carrots your bun eats. However, if you buy carrots with the tops still on, your pet rabbit can eat all the carrot tops (the green stalks and leafy bits) they want.
Buy organic carrots, or thoroughly wash the carrots before feeding them to your bun. Any chemicals and pesticides on a carrot can make your rabbit sick.
You don’t need to worry about peeling the carrot as long as there’s no soil or residue on the veggies.
Benefits of Feeding Carrots to Rabbits
Even though you can’t give your bunny an unlimited amount of carrots, these veggies are still beneficial – in moderation.
High in Fiber
Carrots are high in dietary fiber, and rabbits need a lot of fiber in their diet.
Fiber keeps a rabbit’s digestive system healthy and running smoothly, and the macronutrient also helps a rabbit file down its teeth, which continues to grow.
While a rabbit shouldn’t just eat carrots, the extra bit of fiber in this vegetable is good for your bun.
High in Nutrients
Carrots have a high nutrient content. These root veggies are high in:
- Vitamin A (which can be a bad thing when you overfeed carrots to your rabbit)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin K
Vitamin A is ideal for eye health, immunity, and various other bodily organs.
Vitamin B6 stabilizes mood, reduces symptoms of depression, promotes brain health, and helps prevent anemia. And vitamin K is essential for the development of bones and blood clotting.
A Tasty Treat
Rabbits have a sweet tooth, and most rabbits will love snacking on some carrots. This means that carrots are a tasty treat or reward.
However, you don’t want your rabbit to stop eating their hay and leafy greens, so give your rabbit a piece of carrot every now and again.
Risks of Feeding Too Many Carrots to Rabbits
Rabbits shouldn’t eat carrots all day, every day.
Should a rabbit eat too many carrots, there are various risks involved. Plus, you are a responsible rabbit owner, so you don’t want to do anything that can make your bun sick or upset its sensitive digestive system.
Dealing with diarrhea isn’t pleasant – for you or your bun.
Here are the various risks of feeding too many carrots to your bunny:
Carrots contain a lot of sugar, and your rabbit’s digestive system isn’t made to process large amounts of sugar or carbohydrates.
When a rabbit binges on carrots or any other sugar-rich treat, the undigested sugar builds up, causing gas.
Plus, the pH level of your pet’s gut changes – and not for the better. Your bunny’s digestive tract becomes a breeding ground for bacteria – the bad kind – which leads to diarrhea and other issues.
When you eat lots of sugar, you’ll start gaining weight. It’s the same for a rabbit.
An obese rabbit is unhealthy because they can’t eat their cecotropes, groom themselves or their bonded bunny partner, or move around to get exercise.
Yip, sugar isn’t good for your teeth, and neither is it good for your rabbit’s teeth.
Too much sugar results in tooth decay, which means your rabbit may suffer from malnourishment as it won’t be able to eat. Rotting teeth and other dental issues are painful and best avoided.
Vitamin A Toxicity
Carrots have a very high vitamin A content. Not that your rabbit will eat 100 grams of carrots, but if they do, this amount has 16,706 IU of the vitamin.
On a daily basis, a rabbit should only get 5,000 to 12,000 IU of vitamin A. Thus, too much vitamin A – which your rabbit can easily get too much of by eating too many carrots – is bad.
Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include:
- Paresis (aka nerve damage, which can result in partial or full paralysis)
- Reproductive abnormalities
- Muscular dystrophy
- Kits not surviving once kindled
How Many Carrots Can I Give My Rabbit?
Carrots are a versatile veggie but should only be fed to your rabbit on occasion.
When introducing new treats, it’s best to start slow and small. Wash the carrot and peel a few strips. Let your rabbit taste and eat.
Carefully monitor your rabbit for signs of an upset tummy. If your rabbit is fine, you can give them slices of carrot as a treat. If your rabbit has diarrhea or a tummy ache, it’s best to leave carrots out.
How many carrots you give your rabbit as a treatment depends on how big your rabbit is. In general, give your rabbit a serving of carrots that’s 1 inch to 3 inches long twice a week.
Or, work on 2 tablespoons of carrot for every 5 pounds of body weight.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Carrots?
Baby rabbits shouldn’t eat carrots at all.
You can only introduce carrots in small quantities and while vigilantly monitoring your bun when they are 6 months old.
At this age, their digestive systems are fully developed and they can digest small amounts of sugar and starch from sugar and starch-rich fruits and vegetables.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Rabbit owners need to do thorough research to know what their pet rabbit can safely eat in large quantities and what rabbit food is best given in small quantities and on occasion.
Rabbits love carrots and any other sweet treats, but these have high sugar content. That’s why it’s best to limit how much sweet treats your bun eats.
Rather stick to feeding your pet rabbit their regular diet of hay, leafy greens, freshwater, and pellets, and leave the treats for training.
However, it is cute to watch a rabbit chewing on a piece of carrot!