Can Rabbits Eat Onions?


If you’re someone who deals with the onion biting your eyes and tongue very poorly, this question probably hasn’t occurred to you. 

If the question of can rabbits eat onions did cross your mind once or twice before this search – then you’re in the right spot to find out everything that might interest you.

Depending on your liking of the onion the short answer might disappoint. Rabbits shouldn’t eat onions at all. Even if you enjoy onions yourself, you need to remember that rabbit stomachs are much more sensitive than the human digestive tract.

These are not such bad news taking into consideration that onions can have some serious effects on your rabbit’s digestive system. If you’re keen on finding out what these consequences might be, I suggest keeping your eyes open while reading the text below.

Onions – Should Your Rabbit Avoid Them?

In order to make it very clear why this vegetable is not suitable not only for daily intake but not ever for your pet, I have to dig down a little deeper into some nutritional characteristics of the onion.

You all know that this vegetable is a close “relative” to garlic, chive, and leek. Chive and leek look like a grassy delight, so some people might consider them safe for your rabbit’s consumption.

If you also want to find out if these people are wrong, I have a special segment down below that’s dedicated to veggies that are closely related to onions. If you’re interested in this kind of information, keep scrolling and find out.

But, I digress. Let’s get back to the main topic – rabbits and onions. Onions can be delicious while in burgers, kebabs, or any kind of food really (if you like that sweet and spicy flavor). But sadly, this food is off the limits for your rabbit.

This is due to your rabbit’s sensitive stomach that can’t produce much acid to decompose and digest the onion fully. Another thing that stops your pet from completely devouring onions is that this veggie can make even humans feel like they’ve “eaten rocks”.

This refers to a heavy feeling in your tummy right after you ate something that is not easily digestible so it sticks around longer and causes the feeling of rocks in the digestive tract.

If humans can have that kind of reaction, imagine how your little pet might feel if it gets its paws on some onions. This is not only an unpleasant feeling but can also lead to some more serious problems in your rabbit’s digestive tract if you let it eat onions repeatedly.

Another thing that your pet might experience as a consequence of eating onions is immunosuppression. This means that your rabbit’s immune system does not function properly not being able to defend your pet from any potential diseases (no immune response).

This is not only dangerous on its own, but for any and every disease that might pose a threat to your little furball. This means that if your rabbit catches an infection, its immune response might not be strong enough, or might not be present at all – which means it’s a life-threatening situation.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is an anaphylactic reaction in your bunny. This is quite rare of an occasion but can be quite stressful. If this ever happens, bring your pet to the nearest vet as soon as possible.

For this reason alone, you should avoid feeding onions to your rabbits. If this is not enough of a reason not to do this, you should also know that depending on your rabbits’ reaction, they can experience diarrhea or constipation.

If you’ve ever dealt with either of these, you probably know that none of these situations are pleasant to be in. Diarrhea is meant to be treated with fiber-rich rabbit pellets and other food, but constipation is a bit harder to cure.

Lots of water and a vet visit should help, but that means more expenses and more time invested in the whole process.

For me, as a rabbit owner, this was enough of a queue not to feed my pets with onions at any time.

Can Rabbits Eat Chive Or Leek?

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, there are some people that might think these two are perfectly safe for their pets. By the look of both of these veggies, the only logical thing is to think that, so don’t feel alone on this if this thought crossed your mind.

Sadly, rabbits can eat neither chives nor leek.

This grassy delight that some might like in their salad is also quite dangerous for your rabbit. It shouldn’t be met with bad case immunosuppression, but diarrhea, bloating or constipation will probably be some of the difficulties your pet might encounter.

Even if your rabbit ate one of these at one point and didn’t experience any difficulties regarding its digestive tract, you do need to keep in mind that tummy aches or bloating are hard to notice in these animals.

I’m mentioning this because I’ve had a few friends who are also rabbit owners who fed their rabbits chives quite regularly, or their rabbits just got their paws on one of these and ate them.

They claim they haven’t noticed any side effects in their pets after this, but I assured them then, as I assure you now that it wasn’t a fun or pleasant experience for your rabbit.

Garden Problems

A closely related topic to the one above is mentioned by people who keep their rabbits in their backyard.

These people like to try gardening from time to time or are regular in the gardening community.

If you are one of those people and plan on having onions, chives, garlic, or any type of closely related food to these in your garden, there are a few things you need to know before you plant the seeds near your rabbit’s pen.

I highly advise you to invest in a strong and sturdy fence that will be impossible for your rabbits to pass through, jump over, or dig under. This will ensure your crops will stay intact, and your rabbit’s tummies will be in check.

I like to use wooden poles and wires to secure my onion batch in my backyard, so even when I let my rabbits (that mainly live inside) out to play, I’m not worried that they’ll start nibbling on some things they shouldn’t nibble on.

Visiting a store that sells these kinds of raw materials and with a helping hand or two, this could be a family project to be remembered!

There are cases where people don’t have time to invest in such a project, so it’s understandable if you let someone else do this instead of you. When I felt like I was too busy, I let my boys build a new fence and I just came to see what a good job they’ve done!

What To Do If Your Rabbit Eats Onions?

I can’t stress this enough, but you shouldn’t panic. A cool head is a crucial aspect when dealing with a stressful situation.

You should immediately confiscate the onion and see how much your rabbit has eaten before you noticed.

The next thing you should do is call your vet (or if your vet is not working at the moment, give a call to your nearest one). Trained professionals are always calmer than you are and know what to better than someone who is just a pet owner.

This is extremely important because I know a few people who think just because they’ve had rabbits for decades they know what they’re doing. The experience that they have over new rabbit owners is not to be overlooked, but they seem to forget they are not veterinarians.

Last, but certainly not least important thing – follow EVERY STEP your vet tells you to. This is crucial because your rabbit’s life can be in danger. If the vet says to bring your pet over, do that immediately, if it tells you to pick up some meds from the pharmacy, do that right away as well.

This ensures your pet will spend the least time possible in an uncomfortable situation and maybe survive a situation they might not survive otherwise.

Can Rabbits Eat Onions? – In Summary

If you still have a dilemma if can rabbits eat onions, I should repeat quite clearly:

Rabbits shouldn’t and can’t eat onions in any circumstances! This food is not only bad for their stomach and digestive tract but can be a source of many other problems.

If your rabbit experiences problems with its immune system, a ton of new problems can occur. Keep this in mind next time you think about feeding your rabbit onions, chives, or leek.

So I suggest you keep your rabbit on its regular diet, keep it healthy and fresh, and remember to check before trying to implement any new food in your rabbit’s diet!

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