This is a very common question. Can rabbits eat onions? Since onions are probably present in almost every home - at least those where someone is regularly cooking - many people wonder if rabbits can eat onions. But are they as healthy for our bunnies as they are for us, humans?
Let's find out more about onions before feeding them our rabbit pets. It's important for our bunnies to have a varied diet, but it's of equal importance not to feed them the wrong things.
The Onion Family and Their Benefits
The common onion or simple onion is part of the Allium family of vegetables and its close relatives also include herbs such as garlic, leek, and chive. These herbs have many health benefits for us, humans, helping our immune system fight off disease. Onions and the other related herbs improve digestion and the functioning of the heart, act as anti-inflammatory and can fight cancer. They also contain a lot of useful minerals and vitamins, such as antioxidants, iron, calcium, phosphorus, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and many other.
But can rabbits eat onions if they are so healthy for us humans or are they toxic and will give them health or stomach troubles if they do?
Can Rabbits Eat Onions
With so many benefits, it's hard to believe that onions could harm our furry little friends, the bunnies, but the truth is that they do. So no, rabbits shouldn't eat them. Onions are considered poisonous to rabbits and shouldn't in any way be fed to them.
Even into the wild, rabbits will usually avoid them, as their smell acts as a natural repellent, but they may also try to eat them if there's nothing else left around. So make sure you don't leave any onions or parts of them laying around your kitchen in places where your bunny might have access. Onions and any related plant from the onion family should be kept away from them.
Why Are Onions Bad for Rabbits
Onions, garlic and all herbs from the Allium family are toxic and can cause serious health problems to rabbits, and even to most other animals. They are normally avoided and hard to digest.
If ingested, onion can cause hemolytic anemia in a rabbit's system. This is a blood abnormality leading to the loss or red cells, which can further lead to your rabbit becoming anemic and dizzy. In serious cases, severe anemia and even death can occur as well.
It's known that onions can also have an immunosuppressive effect, which means the weakening of the immune system of the rabbit. They can also cause an anaphylactic reaction in bunnies.
These are the reasons why it's never good to feed onions or any other herbs from the onion family, like garlic, to our bunnies. They will only cause harm and can lead to serious health problems in rabbits.
What About Green Onions?
Some fruits and vegetables or parts of them can be eaten by rabbits in specific conditions, so what about green onions? Are green onions good for our furry hopping friends or are they dangerous as well and should not be fed?
Green onions are nothing else but onions that aren't yet grown. The bulb is pulled out of the ground before its time, so before it has a chance to fully develop, but that doesn't mean it doesn't contain the same substances that mature onions have. It may contain a lesser concentration of those substances, but it does contain them, so it's a no-no on green onions as well.
Are Red Onions any Better?
Unfortunately, red onions are similar to white onions, so it doesn't make any difference. Red onions will contain different concentrations of both the good and the bad substances, nutrients and minerals, but they are still toxic to rabbits and should not be fed to them under any circumstance.
If you suspect that your rabbit has had his share of onion, garlic or any other related vegetable, look for symptoms such as weakness, dizziness or similar in your rabbit's behavior. If you have a clear sign or if you're sure that your bunny has ingested vegetables like this or parts of them, it's better to go with him to the vet, as they will know how to treat him.
It's important to feed your rabbit a great variety of foods and treats, but make sure you never serve him onions or any other onion part, no matter how small, as that will only harm your pet friend and even cause him blood related diseases and other serious health problems and even death in extreme cases.