Can rabbits eat cheese?
No, definitely not. A bunny cannot eat cheese. Some digestive-strong rabbits will be able to nibble on cheese but that doesn't mean that they are healthy or that this is the good way to go. It will not take long until they will get sick.
Dairy products (cheddar, cottage, or cream cheese, milk, cream, or yogurt) are not good for rabbits. When you think of other pets, like cats, you are inclined to think milk is good for rabbits too. But the truth is it isn't. These products can change the gastrointestinal bacterial balance and can influence you rabbit health in worse. Rather than feeding cheese, because your rabbit is curious, remember what your rabbit really needs to eat:
- High-quality grass hay is the number one thing. Make it always available, as you would do for fresh and clean water. In the large intestine goes the indigestible fiber. These type of fibers are very important as they help with the gastrointestinal movement. If they don't eat hay they will suffer from gastrointestinal blockages or stasis.
- You can also feed one cup per 2 lbs of body weight of leafy vegetables and when you are not feeding veggies try some high-fiber and high-quality rabbit pellets.
- Your rabbit will not be happy if he's trying a bit of that cheese. If you really want to see him happy try from time to time just a slice of a fruit from the recommended list of fruits for rabbits that he really enjoys. It will not harm him. Moderation is key.
Why is that cheese is not good for rabbits?
1. Lactobacillus, the bacteria from dairy products, is not able to pass through the anaerobic conditions of the cecum. The stomach, the small and large intestine, the cecum (a large blind sac) are all parts of the rabbit's gastrointestinal system. In the stomach, there is acidity, as well as in the small and large intestines, therefore it will pass through.
2. The important thing to remember is that rabbits cannot vomit, so they are a bit stuck when they have a stomach upset. We can find rabbit owners feeding cheese puffs but we should not do the same. Rabbits are not able to vomit, therefore, sometimes just from a little cheese puff, we can make him suffer, especially if he's already having a bad day.
3. Dairy products can cause bloating, gas, indigestion, and diarrhea. Some rabbits are less sensitive than others. Some may get only some discomfort like lack of energy, gloomy, or just feeling "not in the mood" for a longer period. Knowing your furry friend may take some time, but he will never stop surprising you.
4. Cheese is high in sugars and fats (cholesterol, calories). Low-fat cheese is high in proteins. Rabbits are herbivorous and vegan animals, therefore, any animal fat of any kind is not recommended.
5. Cheese also contains lactose that adult rabbits cannot digest. Lactase is the enzyme that a body needs to digest the sugar and lactose from the dairy products. Once baby rabbits wean from their mother rabbit, their body stops the lactase production.
6. It has too much calcium that can cause a block in their urinal system. With time it can cause kidney stones. Cheese is low in fibers and has a mushy texture that a rabbit's digestive system cannot handle very well. That's one of the reasons why soybeans cheese doesn't work either.
Additional topics: baby rabbits and soy cheese
Can baby rabbits eat cheese? No, only milk!
Baby rabbits drink only milk from their mothers until 3 weeks old. You can buy milk from the pet store if you are feeding him yourself. You can also try goat milk. It's rich in nutrients almost in the same way a mom's milk would be. In any case, the replacement milk should be the most caloric milk from the pet store.
From 3-4 weeks until 7-8 weeks old you will still be feeding your baby bunny with milk, but you will also add alfalfa (higher in calcium and protein – ideal for growing rabbits but too rich for adults) and pellets (young-rabbit pellets, higher in protein). So, you should try a mix of milk, water, alfalfa, and pellets.
Can rabbits eat soybean milk or cheese?
Soybeans are high in proteins and fats. Carbohydrate and protein are not exactly the substances a rabbit needs. Besides that, the soy plant can cause some sort of hormone disruption. It's better to avoid any soybean cheese and milk. It's too high in sugars and the cheese has a mushy texture, too. Definitely not the right type of food for a rabbit.
Some very bad habits that we must eliminate
Can rabbits eat cheese puffs?
Cheese puffs also called cheese curls, cheese balls, corn curls, corn cheese are a puffed corn snack, covered with a mixture of cheese or cheese-flavoured powders. No, they can't. They contain only bad ingredients for them.
Can rabbits eat cheese nips?
Cheese nips are little crackers flavored in Cheddar, low-fat Cheddar, and other four types of cheese. Rabbits can't eat those either. They contain fat and sodium that bunnies are just not fitted to eat.
There is nothing poisonous in dairy products for rabbits, but they are extremely unhealthy.
Rabbits are curious to see what you're eating so don't be fooled by the fact that your rabbit wants to nibble on your food. Wild rabbits know what they need and what is not good for them. Domesticated rabbits and pet rabbits have lost or mixed their tastes and judgments. They have adapted to their new home. That is a good and natural thing but you should be more responsible in this case.
Learn what is that a rabbit needs and resist the urge of feeding your rabbit foods that he doesn't need but he's curious about.