What may worry many rabbit owners is this particular thought: If rabbits are herbivores, can they eat just about any plant, even aloe vera?
Despite the fact that most of the diet of our rabbit is made up of plants, this does not necessarily mean that every green in your environment is rabbit-friendly. Today’s question concerns aloe vera. Can rabbits eat aloe vera?
For someone who is not so familiar with the rabbit diet, it would be better to put this plant aside and continue reading. To find out all the helpful information for both rabbits and aloe vera and what this plant means for your rabbit’s diet – keep on reading!
Can Rabbits Eat Aloe Vera? Watch out – Poisonous!
Luckily, you removed this plant in time from your rabbit (at least we hope you did) because this is by no means recommended. Unlike other plants that are allowed both for growing in your yard and for feeding your rabbit, this one should be skipped.
Since this is the main topic today, it would be good to touch first on the negative effects it can have on your rabbit.
Perhaps the first thing a rabbit will pull towards is aloe vera leaves. It would be good to stop them in time before they get their little paws on this. Aloe vera leaves contain latex, a very dangerous substance, which, among other things, causes many stomach problems. In addition, your rabbit may develop an allergic reaction that is reflected in skin irritation.
This may not seem so serious at first, but trust me – it’s no joke!
The next toxic substance is found in the plant itself. Oh yes, it’s the famous aloe vera gel. We have certainly seen this gel in various cosmetic ventures and heard about its healing effects – however – here we are talking about your rabbit’s food.
Your little furry friend shouldn’t even lick this. As you probably already know, this gel is not intended for nutrition, it is sticky and very toxic to health. Consumption is followed by vomiting, stomach cramps, and constipation – to say the least.
Due to the unusual composition of aloe vera, consuming this plant (even in the smallest amounts) can affect the health of your rabbit and reduce blood pressure.
You will notice this if your rabbit becomes significantly tired, lazy, and loses its appetite – so basically the opposite of what it actually is.
The so-called laxative effect of aloe vera can also cause dehydration in your rabbit. This is actually a very common result after a rabbit tries this plant for the first time.
It is very bitter, sour, and has an unpleasant taste. It is not uncommon to ache for water after one bite.
Let’s not forget the strong smell. Ultimately, your rabbit doesn’t even have to try this plant to be sick. It is enough to be near it long enough to feel nauseous.
Watch Out For GI Stasis
Despite the funny and pretty moments, sometimes you will have to deal with the less pretty ones when it comes to rabbit care.
One of them is stomach problems after an inadequate diet. So, today our topic is GI Stasis. The full name is Gastrointestinal Stasis. This is one of the most common stomach problems and can affect rabbits at any age.
The range of reasons for the development of this disease is broad, but the most common are:
- Stress: Rabbits are very sensitive beings, and therefore, any new change, loss of cubs, and even a rabbit that was sick and lived in the same environment can shake them.
- Lack of exercise: We all know that rabbits are active animals, but sometimes they also like to enjoy laziness. This mostly happens when they start to gain weight. Lack of exercise directly affects poor digestion of food.
- Pain from previous health issues: When they suffer pain, rabbits actually project these difficulties onto the rest of the body; this interferes with their overall functioning. The more serious the injury or illness, the more susceptible your rabbit is to GI stasis.
- Inadequate diet: Finally, we have been waiting to mention this! A diet that has not been checked by a specialist or veterinarian and consists of low fiber or high starch content very quickly causes these stomach problems.
The most important thing is to recognize this in time and be ready to take care of your rabbit. Therefore, here are some symptoms that may indicate a GI stasis in your rabbit:
- Small pellets and irregular bowel movements
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy
Since this is a stomach issue, its symptoms will naturally be most often related to your rabbit’s diet. So open 4 eyes when it’s time to give your rabbit a new meal. There are a couple of effective treatments that can work here:
- Motility drugs: These are medications that regulate your rabbit’s bowel movements, and it’s very important not to take them on your own.
- IV fluids: This is also some kind of medicine, maybe even a little stronger than the previous one.
- Syringe feeding: Sometimes you just need to change your rabbit’s current diet. This is acceptable only in cases where the risk is low.
- Antibiotics: Rabbits who have had problems with this before will usually continue treatment with antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian.
Diarrhea – Another Threat
Unfortunately, your rabbit’s stomach is very weak, and any slightly stronger food that can cause inconsistencies in the diet can lead to diarrhea. This is not dangerous if it is noticed immediately in time and the treatment starts. So, after a certain amount of aloe vera, your rabbit will show the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Soft or pellets
In order to completely cure your rabbit and give it the best possible care, you need to follow these steps:
1. Provide Immediate Care (Medication)
Each rabbit is different, so applying the same therapy to every rabbit is not at all effective. Before you decide to give anything to your rabbit, it is important to consult a veterinarian. Possible solutions are anti-diarrhea medication, pain relief medication, a new dietary plan, etc.
2. Correct Your Rabbit’s Old Diet
This is a very important part of the care and consists of several steps. You should first remove all harmful foods from your rabbit’s cage (aloe vera in this case).
Then, you should replace the current food with some grassy hay or seeds (depending on what suits your rabbit better). It would be good to add some fruit from time to time.
Lastly, give up giving treats at least until the diarrhea is cured.
Once your rabbit has received the necessary medications and a modified diet, it is very important that you continue to take care of it by paying more attention to your pet.
We suggest giving your rabbit a wet bath if necessary. This can help your rabbit feel relaxed. Also, occasional cuddling with your pet will come in handy for sure.
Check the rabbit cage regularly. This includes more regular cleaning and wiping with a damp cloth. Also, pay attention to food and water bowls. As soon as you notice that your rabbit has run out of water, fill it up. Constant hydration is more than essential now.
Of course, if you think at some point that you are not doing something well or that your rabbit is not responding to the prescribed therapy, don’t wait!
Contact your local veterinarian immediately for any questions you may have.
Toxic Plants For Rabbits
At the very beginning, we wondered if rabbits could eat anything just because they were herbivores. Of course not!
Many toxic plants can harm your rabbit, and aloe vera was just one on the list. To refine this list, here are a few more poisonous plants you should avoid.
- Nightshade – This plant has been used for medicine and is known for its poisonous effects throughout history. Eating nightshade is more dangerous to carnivores than herbivores.
- Hydrangea – After consuming hydrangea, your rabbit can start to feel nauseous because this plant contains a toxic substance similar to cyanide.
- Lillies – Although Lillies are very widespread in parks in gardens, your rabbits shouldn’t come close to them. This flower can cause GI stasis in rabbits.
- Iris – This flower comes in many colors and looks absolutely beautiful. However, yellow irises are highly poisonous and should be avoided at all costs.
- Daffodils – With plants like daffodils, the leaves are the ones that contain the most toxic substances, so don’t let your rabbit munch on them.
- Rhubarb – Tasting rhubarb is not so serious as eating it in large quantities. Rabbits that eat too much of this plant can experience diarrhea, loss of energy, etc.