If you already have a bunny at home or you’re planning to get one, what she can and cannot eat is going to be an important consideration.
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems and about 80% of their diet should only be composed of fresh hay, such as Timothy, meadow, and orchard grass. Leafy greens and occasional servings of some fresh fruits are also fine as long as the bunny doesn’t end up eating a lot of them at once.
In fact, it’s a good idea to introduce other foods occasionally that a bunny can easily digest to offer more nutrition and to change the taste. However, we generally don’t feed our pets foods that are high in carbohydrate content and these include crackers, bread, and other similar foods made from white flour.
Can bunnies eat saltine crackers? If that’s what you’re thinking right now, you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to find out if saltine crackers are good for bunnies and if they happen to eat a cracker occasionally, is it something to worry about.
So, let’s get started.
Can Bunnies Eat Saltine Crackers?
Although not recommended, bunnies may occasionally munch on crackers of any kind including saltine crackers. While some foods are considered toxic for rabbits and should be avoided at all costs, crackers are not as bad as some people may think.
Anything that a rabbit’s digestive system is unable to process is toxic for her. But since crackers do not contain any harmful ingredients, they are generally considered safe for rabbits.
Saltine crackers are also known as soda crackers and they are made from white flour as the main ingredient. Like other baked goodies, they contain baking soda or baking powder, oil or butter, and sometimes yeast. They have a crisp texture like other crackers and are very light and dry.
The only difference between sweetened and saltine crackers is that the latter are sprinkled with salt on the surface before they are baked. Salt is not bad for rabbits, in fact, they need it for proper muscle growth and fluid retention. However, that doesn’t mean they should start licking on raw or unrefined salt.
Because of the same reason, rabbits do not need mineral blocks or saltine crackers. Their diet must be composed of a healthy pellet mix and green leafy vegetables in addition to hay and grass. This type of balanced diet will provide the right amount of minerals they need for proper growth and development.
What Happens If My Rabbit Eats Saltine Crackers?
If your rabbit has eaten a small amount of saltine cracker, it’s not going to harm her. However, make sure she doesn’t end up eating too much of it at once because it can lead to digestive problems like diarrhea.
Excess of anything is bad for rabbits even if it’s otherwise healthy. Saltine crackers hold no nutritional value for these animals other than the fact that they are sprinkled with salt. Even sodium is not recommended in large amounts because it may alter the normal functionality of their digestive tracts and cause complications.
If you think your rabbit has eaten too many saltine crackers, the first thing to notice is any change in her stool. If it happens to be different in size and consistency, your bunny might be experiencing gastrointestinal distress.
Other than diarrhea, gastrointestinal stasis is also a possibility if a rabbit is fed large amounts of saltine crackers. It often occurs when the animal’s diet is high in carbs and low in fiber content. Since crackers are mostly made of flour, which is high in carbohydrates, this type of GI distress may occur.
As a result of this distress, the rabbit may feel stomach pain due to gas. If the condition doesn’t subside, it may develop into a serious complication and even cause death. So, you need to observe your bunny closely if she is in pain and discomfort due to eating the wrong diet.
Signs of Gastrointestinal Distress in Bunnies
If your rabbit has eaten a lot of saltine crackers, you should look out for these signs and symptoms in her to treat it accordingly;
A rabbit in pain often loses interest in all types of playful activities and becomes depressed. If you think your otherwise healthy and happy rabbit has suddenly gone into depression, it’s a sign of GI stasis or extreme stomach pain.
Lethargy or inactiveness is something healthy bunnies usually don’t exhibit. Your bunny may be extremely uncomfortable if she is sitting in a hunched-up posture. Any kind of odd position or posture may indicate weakness, injury, or pain in rabbits.
Along with the posture, you can also observe your bunny’s eyelids when she is showing odd behavior after eating something she shouldn’t have. Half-closed eyelids are an indication of something wrong with the bunny’s health.
A hunched-up bunny is trying to avoid pressing her stomach to the ground by putting her weight on the front paws. A hunched-up rabbit usually refuses to move or eat because she is in a lot of pain.
Lack of Appetite
This is again a clear sign of something wrong with your rabbit’s digestive system. Rabbits love to eat when they are happy and healthy. Their digestive systems are designed in a way that requires almost constant munching throughout the day.
If you observe your bunny has not eaten anything for more than eight hours, it’s something to worry about. It can even be life-threatening if the behavior continues indefinitely.
Clenching of Teeth
Loud grinding and clenching of teeth combined with other symptoms like refusal to eat clearly show that your bunny is in pain.
Rabbits also grind their teeth quietly when they are happy and relaxed. But painful tooth grinding is very different because the rabbit may also be showing other signs of discomfort like shaking and protruding along with clenching of teeth.
If you notice the above-mentioned signs and symptoms in your bunny after she has allegedly eaten a lot of saltine crackers, it’s time to take her to a vet. With a little extra care and attention, the signs usually subside after a few hours.
Make sure your bunny’s diet is always high in fiber and is supplemented with occasional treats composed of healthy snacks only. Saltine and all other types of crackers are high in carbohydrates and are not recommended for bunnies.
Mineral salts are good for animals as they provide nutrition for their muscles and help keep a balance of fluids inside the body. A rabbit may occasionally be fed a saltine cracker or allowed to use a salt lick. However, it’s good to know that rabbits do not need these additional items if they are already being fed a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Saltine crackers are not harmful to bunnies as they don’t contain any toxic ingredients. But they are not meant to supplement a healthy diet and may only be given as an occasional treat to a bunny.
So, yes bunnies can eat saltine crackers but only a tiny amount per serving. They are sprinkled with coarse salt and contain baking soda that may upset a rabbit’s stomach if fed in large amounts.
In this article, we have looked at a few signs and symptoms that may occur if your bunny has happened to eat large quantities of saltine crackers. Since rabbits don’t show illness or weakness, you have to observe their body language to find out if they are in pain or feeling discomfort.