If you’re a first-time rabbit owner, you must be curious to know what rabbits eat and what they don’t. While you can feed anything to a rabbit, and she would be willing to try it, there are a few things you must never feed a rabbit.
Many people ask if rabbits can eat graham crackers. While crackers are apparently harmless, they are not recommended for rabbits. First, they have high sugar content, and second, certain ingredients in graham crackers may hurt a rabbit’s digestive system.
Let’s find out why graham crackers might not prove to be a good snack for your furry friend. We will also discuss what happens if your rabbit mistakenly eats a graham cracker, the symptoms to watch out for, and what to do next.
So, let’s get started!
Can Rabbits Eat Graham Crackers?
Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system. Their stomach is designed to digest a diet that consists mostly of hay, pellets, and a minimal amount of fresh fruits and leafy greens daily. You might have noticed that all these items are high in fiber content.
So, basically, a rabbit should never be fed something that has a high carbohydrate or high starch content. Moreover, if something has zero nutritional value, the bunny doesn’t need it.
Graham crackers are made of whole wheat. While they are advertised as healthy snacks, they are not very healthy because of the high carb and sugar content for the serving size. Rabbits can eat graham crackers but just a tiny amount of them at a time.
However, it’s not recommended to give graham crackers, or any other crackers for that matter, to your bunny. Not only the high sugar content can upset her stomach but she can also develop an allergy to some of its ingredients.
PETA tells us about the entire list of foods you should never feed your rabbit. Among these foods, crackers and cookies are listed as number 2.
PETA recommends avoiding foods rich in artificial flavors because these ingredients can cause enterotoxemia in bunnies. Enterotoxemia is a GI disorder caused by a strain of bacteria in which the animal starts experiencing abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, and sometimes watery diarrhea.
What Happens If My Rabbit Eats Graham Crackers?
If a bunny eats a small number of graham crackers, it won’t harm her. However, if she happens to have a lot of crackers, the outcome can be bloating or gas, diarrhea, and GI stasis. Any type of stomach discomfort should not develop into a complicated condition, such as GI stasis.
It has been observed that most bunnies do not like crackers. As a natural instinct, they find them to be useless and therefore refuse to munch on them.
Additionally, crackers pose a choking hazard for these small animals. So, even if they do find a graham cracker tasty, you should observe them closely for any signs of choking.
You can give graham crackers as a sugary treat to your bunny but it is not recommended to replace a well-balanced diet. There is no nutritional value in graham crackers for bunnies, in fact, a high percentage of carbohydrates may lead to enterotoxemia in rabbits, which is not desirable at all.
If your rabbit develops gastrointestinal issues after having graham crackers, you should keep an eye on the symptoms of this condition and devise a treatment immediately.
Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Discomfort
If your bunny has eaten graham crackers and you just found out she was not supposed to, don’t panic. There’s nothing to worry about if she ate just a tiny amount. However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on a few symptoms of GI discomfort so you can act accordingly.
Loss of Appetite
If your bunny eats anything that disturbs her normal digestive function, the first thing that will happen to her is loss of appetite. However, it may get cured in a few hours without any intervention. Treatment usually involves rehydrating the rabbit and feeding her fiber-rich food.
If the condition does not improve within 48 hours, you may take her to a vet and get her treated with drops that contain Simethicone.
Rabbits use their body language to convey their pain and distress. If they have GI discomfort, they will start grinding their teeth (known as bruxism) and sit hunched while pressing their stomach to the ground.
Rabbits will try their best to hide signs of discomfort and illness. As prey animals, they are not supposed to show weakness or vulnerability. So, it is your duty as a rabbit owner to identify these signs and devise a treatment right away.
If your bunny has mild gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea, you can stop giving her anything but fresh water. Rehydration is the only way to treat this condition in bunnies. However, if your bunny refuses to drink water or any other fluid, it’s time to take her to a veterinarian.
Are Bunnies Allergic to Wheat in Graham Crackers?
Cereal grains, such as oat, wheat, and barley are often used as rations by rabbit owners for their pets. This ensures a balanced diet for them consisting of a good proportion of protein, fat, and fiber. However, it’s not recommended to give cooked wheat (known as “roti” or “chapati” in some cultures) to rabbits.
While wheat is a great energy source for all animals, some animals including rabbits may also develop an allergy to it commonly known as a gluten allergy. Any rabbit can be gluten intolerant regardless of its breed, age, and size. This type of allergy may become a cause of chronic diarrhea in rabbits.
In addition to gluten, scientists have discovered more than twenty other allergens in wheat. Since wheat is a major constituent of graham crackers, it is a good idea to keep your bunny away from them and anything that may contain wheat in any form.
As a rule of thumb, also remember to exclude anything from a bunny’s diet that has zero nutritional value for her. It may or may not be dangerous, but it’s better to avoid processed foods particularly because they can be toxic to a bunny’s delicate stomach.
Since graham crackers contain high sugar and carb content, it is not recommended to give them to your bunny. The result of feeding your bunny graham crackers can be unpredictable depending on her age, overall health, and the amount or quantity of crackers she eats.
Anything that is not good for a rabbit’s stomach will result in gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, or constipation. In rare cases, the condition may worsen to a case of GI stasis, a life-threatening situation in small animals like rabbits. As soon as you notice any symptom of GI discomfort in your bunny, you should start rehydrating her with more water and fluids. If you think the condition is not improving with home remedies, you should seek veterinary care immediately.
Some bunnies may also develop a wheat allergy – wheat being the main ingredient in graham crackers. Wheat is known to have a large number of allergens, each having its own implications. The allergy symptoms may also vary. Some rabbits start having respiratory problems like a runny nose and difficulty breathing. You need to keep an eye on allergy symptoms and stop feeding your rabbit anything that triggers an allergic reaction.
To avoid these complications, do not feed your bunny anything that may contain starch, a high percentage of carbohydrates, sugar, and artificial ingredients, including graham crackers.