Can rabbits eat potatoes?
We humans, do like our fair share of potatoes. Fried potatoes, roasted or mashed, one thing is clear: we like our potatoes. But what about your pet rabbit?
In our globalized culture potatoes are the number one vegetable crop in the world. We mainly have these types of potatoes: white or red, but also sweet potatoes or yam. However, neither one of them is good for your rabbit.
Understanding your rabbit’s digestive system will help you choose the best diet for your pet.
Rabbits’ teeth and digestive system consume a herbaceous diet that is high in fiber, low in fat, and low in starchy carbohydrates. Rabbits consume large amounts of plants rich in fibers even though their gastrointestinal tract is small.
Here is why you shouldn’t feed your pet rabbit with starch-rich meals
Large particles pass quickly through the colon, but fluids and small particles go backward to the cecum for fermentation. The cecum is a sac (10 times bigger than the stomach) that comes off the junction between the small and large intestines. That’s why smaller fibers and high-starch feeds are slower in getting through. Because of them, the process takes extra time and can harm your pet rabbit’s digestive system.
While potatoes aren’t necessarily harmful to rabbits, the truth is potatoes really don’t have a positive impact in your pet rabbits diet. Rabbits do not need high amounts of sugar and starch.
When you’re cooking potatoes for yourself don’t throw the peels in for your bunny. This isn’t a really good idea. The peels of potatoes are rich in starch too and there is a risk of your rabbit having an upset stomach or diarrhea.
If a rabbit eats potatoes and experiences problems such as diarrhea or appetite loss see a vet.
What about cooked potatoes? Should rabbits eat that?
Some people say that cooked potatoes are not a problem. Some older rabbit books recommend potatoes but always cooked, never green. This recommendation is for rabbits who aren’t being fed pellets. Otherwise, that would be even harder for your rabbit’s digestion.
You could give him some cooked potatoes, now and then, but you have to cut the pellets and/or grains a bit. Be also careful at quantities! In this case, reducing fruits and other treats might be also of benefit to your pet rabbit.
In general, rabbits dislike a mash and prefer dry food. If fed a diet with too little fiber or plant material, the rabbit’s teeth will continue to grow without being worn and may become overgrown or produce malocclusion. So, always be generous with grass hay.
Our advice is to do not take risks with potatoes because rabbits have fragile digestive systems and these meals can cause digestive upset.