Although peanuts are commonly thought of as nuts, they are actually legumes, i.e., plants. It is, therefore, natural to question whether bunnies can eat peanuts since these animals feed mainly on vegetables.
Bunnies cannot eat peanuts, as the digestive system of bunnies is not prepared to digest peanuts.
Although this brings divided opinions from pet owners and experts, the taxonomic classification does not determine whether peanuts are safe for bunnies and could negatively affect their health.
Can Bunnies Eat Peanuts?
Bunnies cannot eat peanuts; although they cannot harm them in small quantities, it is not recommended for their health.
In fact, peanuts are not nuts, although their name suggests it. They are a kind of legume and are more closely related to other legumes such as soybeans, beans, and lentils, but like nuts, they are not so safe for the bunnies.
Peanuts are high in fat and calcium, which can be difficult for a bunny’s digestive system if consumed in large quantities.
The bunnies’ digestive system does not process fat properly, and excess fat causes diarrhea and dehydration. For these reasons, the regular diet of bunnies contains little fat and a lot of fiber and water.
Its high sugar content is also harmful to bunnies. It may be attractive to their sweet taste, but it can cause different digestive problems such as diarrhea and gas. Also, excess fat, protein, and fiber can cause obesity in your rabbit if consumed daily.
Peanuts have a small amount of aflatoxin, which can harm your bunny’s health. If consumed too much can show symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
And some bunnies may be allergic to peanuts, so it is essential to watch for signs of an allergic reaction. These symptoms may include excessive scratching, nibbling of the skin, redness or swelling, and difficulty breathing.
If you suspect your bunny may have an allergic reaction to peanuts, it is important to seek veterinary medical attention immediately.
Finally, it can also be dangerous for bunnies to eat peanuts, as they are small and hard, leading to accidents such as blockage and choking.
Can Rabbits Eat Peanut Shells?
Although they are rich in fiber and do not contain fats and carbohydrates like peanuts, they are composed mainly of cellulose which is difficult to digest, even for humans. They can cause serious digestive problems in a sensitive rabbit.
Besides, the shell is hard and can increase their risk of choking and suffocating. If your bunny ingested peanuts in the shell, you should be alert and pay attention to symptoms of choking, such as:
- Panic behavior
- Unusual heavy breathing
- Abrupt head movements
- Lips and nose turn blue
- Liquid and mucus come out of his mouth and nose
If your rabbit exhibits any of these symptoms, it is necessary to take it immediately to a veterinarian specializing in rabbits.
Can Rabbits Eat Peanut Butter?
Rabbits cannot eat peanut butter, as it is not healthy for them.
Peanut butter has no beneficial nutrients for rabbits, either. On the contrary, it contains extra sugar and extra fat, which their digestive system will not be able to handle, as well as components such as calcium, phosphorus, and acids.
It also contains many calories, even in small amounts, that can cause obesity problems if not controlled.
Commercial peanut butter contains not only additives such as sugar and fats but also ingredients that are not suitable for bunnies, such as processed oils, as well as ingredients such as xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to pets.
What Happens If I Give Peanuts to My Bunny?
It won’t hurt your bunny in small amounts, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe and healthy for them.
If you give too many peanuts to your bunny, you will likely have digestive problems such as gastrointestinal stasis and enteritis, a fatty liver disease caused by excessive fat intake.
If you give your bunny too much peanut butter, he may show symptoms such as loss of appetite, gas, and diarrhea, which are clear signs that something is wrong.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal distress are difficulty defecating and loose stools. You may also notice that your bunny is more lethargic.
Besides, the fat from peanuts in large quantities can contribute to your bunny being overweight. Since pet bunnies are not very active and do not burn fat easily, it is necessary to control their diet to prevent them from gaining excess weight. An overweight bunny tends to be uncomfortable and unhappy.
Peanut Alternatives Your Bunny Can Eat
Most nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, and cashew nuts, are not recommended for bunnies, as they are all high in fat, carbohydrates, and calcium.
So, if you want to offer your furry friend a treat, or an additional snack outside of their usual diet, there are many more suitable options that provide extra nutrients to their regular diet.
Here are several casual food options that, in the right amounts, are very safe for bunnies.
Kale: is a rich source of nutrients and vitamins, including vitamin C, essential for bunny health.
Watermelon: is a low-calorie fruit and a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and potassium, which are important for bunny health.
Oranges: are a source of vitamin C, which is important for bunnies’ health, as bunnies cannot produce this vitamin on their own.
Grapes are rich in vitamin C and have an appealing flavor that rabbits love.
Bunnies cannot eat peanuts, although they are not poisonous, and technically, they could eat them occasionally. Being a food that contains high amounts of proteins, calories, and fats, they are unhealthy for them. They will not provide them with any nutrients beneficial for them.
On the contrary, peanuts and peanut butter can cause health problems in bunnies, such as weight gain and indigestion. In addition, peanut butter is even less healthy for them and is not worth the risk.
It is best to avoid including peanuts in bunnies’ diets, as they need foods high in fiber and low in fat and sugar.