While it’s safe for a rabbit to chew on a plastic toy occasionally, eating or swallowing large pieces of plastic is not going to be too good for her.
There isn’t going to be any medical emergency though but still, it’s a good idea to keep these harmful items away from your bunny if you want her to be completely healthy.
Tiny bits of plastic is not going to harm a bunny if she happens to swallow them by mistake. However, if a piece gets stuck somewhere in the bunny’s digestive tract, then the situation could get worse.
If your rabbit ate plastic and you want to know what to do now, you are in the right place. Here we are going to look at useful information to make sure your rabbit doesn’t get sick after eating plastic and the steps you can take to help ease her pain.
So, let’s get started.
How to Tell If My Rabbit Ate Plastic?
In order to treat a rabbit that has allegedly eaten plastic, you first have to make sure if she actually ate it. When rabbits chew on plastic, they will probably chew and spit the bits out. If you have found a chewed-up plastic item but there are no tiny bits of plastic on the floor, it’s a sign that your rabbit must have eaten it.
Well, there is no need to panic. Small bits of plastic will get through your rabbit’s digestive tract easily and won’t cause any trouble.
However, keep in mind that your bunny won’t be able to throw the plastic back up because rabbits’ digestive systems are designed as a one-way route. These animals are not even capable of belching or burping, so once they have eaten something up, it’s gone forever.
What Happens If Your Rabbit Eats Plastic?
Chewing on things is something rabbits do as a habit. It’s a natural behavior and nobody can stop it. However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on things your rabbit is chewing on. Not just because the object he chews on might be damaged but also because it might harm her in the long run.
If your rabbit happened to swallow a tiny bit of plastic while chewing on it, it’s probably not going to hurt her.
However, if the piece is large enough to get stuck somewhere in her digestive tract, it might cause pain, discomfort, constipation, and tissue damage. Severe constipation in bunnies can be deadly, so this is not something you should take no notice of.
While you won’t be able to make the rabbit puke the plastic back up, there are a few things you can do to make sure it doesn’t become a complication.
Things You Can Do If Your Rabbit Ate Plastic
To make sure your bunny is perfectly fine after having eaten a piece of plastic, here are a few steps to help her out.
1. Keep an eye on signs of discomfort and pain
If you have discovered that your rabbit has swallowed a piece of plastic, you should monitor her closely for signs of discomfort and some other symptoms that may indicate illness or pain.
A bunny is probably having digestive tract discomfort if she loses her appetite, has wheezing in her breathing, has stopped pooping, or is having odd-shaped poop. If she is in pain, she may be seen pressing her stomach to the ground or making noises when pooping.
If you see all or some of these signs and symptoms in your bunny who has just eaten plastic, it’s a good idea to take her to a veterinarian immediately.
The vet may recommend surgery after confirming the obstruction through an x-ray. If the problem is minor and it’s treatable with medication, there won’t be any need for surgery. Either way, you need to be aware that it could be a possible outcome if your bunny happens to have swallowed a piece of plastic.
2. Give your rabbit plenty of fluids
If a rabbit is well-hydrated after eating anything that she shouldn’t have eaten, it will probably be passed without causing much trouble.
It’s also a good idea to put a little fruit juice in your bunny’s water to make her drink it. Some people even add a couple of ice cubes to make water tempting for their bunny. Having unlimited access to clean water is going to keep a bunny healthy regardless of what she might have eaten accidentally.
3. Make sure your rabbit keeps eating high-fiber foods
To get rid of the piece of plastic soon enough, add more fiber-rich foods to her diet. This way she would be able to poop and pass the plastic. Other than hay and fresh grass, you can also try giving her some fresh fruit juice like orange or apple juice.
Sugary treats shouldn’t be given in abundance because they can make a rabbit obese. Some people use canned food like pumpkin puree to lubricate their bunny’s digestive tract but it should only be tried as a last resort as your rabbit may get spoiled.
Why Do Rabbits Chew On Plastic?
Rabbits chew on a number of things due to many reasons. One of the most important reasons is to prevent their teeth from becoming overgrown. If they don’t chew on things, they won’t be able to impede the growth of their teeth. As a result, they will start experiencing more health problems.
Another reason for chewing on different types of materials is to find some entertainment in this activity. Mostly rabbits that are kept without any company become bored and start chewing on toys or other things to enjoy themselves.
Some rabbits start chewing on plastic parts of their cage out of boredom. Female rabbits have a stronger urge to chew than males. Similarly, rabbits that have not been neutered would be more likely to chew than neutered and mature rabbits.
Chewing itself is not an unhealthy activity. It keeps these little critters busy and entertained. However, what they chew on must be closely watched. Plastic, if not passed in feces, will make them starve if it causes obstruction of the digestive tract. Moreover, some plastics contain toxic materials that can make a rabbit sick.
In rare cases, if a rabbit ingests sharp plastic pieces, it can cause the sensitive internal organs and tissues to tear up. This can cause internal bleeding and may lead to death if not treated on time.
How to Stop Your Rabbit from Eating Plastic?
You must have noticed that high-quality plastic toys do not break easily and therefore rabbits may chew on them for as long as they wish. However, if you have cheap plastic objects lying around unattended in your home, it’s time you got rid of them.
Rabbits are active by nature and they always need some activity to keep themselves busy. In addition to a constant supply of hay and fresh grass, make sure your rabbit has a large enclosure to enjoy playtime even when there is no company.
To help her keep her teeth worn down, give her something else to chew on. Toys made from cardboard, hardwood, and paper are safe for rabbits. They can chew on them for as long as they want without getting hurt or causing any damage to their health.
If you are buying plastic toys for your bunny, make sure they are made of non-toxic plastic. It is not recommended to get chemically-treated wood toys for these furry friends. You can also make homemade rabbit toys to stop them from chewing on unsafe plastic items.
Many people use cardboard boxes, paper bags, empty egg cartons, and paper towel rolls to make homemade toys for their bunnies. Any of these items can be used for making chewable toys for bunnies as they are all safe and non-toxic.
Just make sure that your rabbit doesn’t eat anything intentionally or by mistake that may upset her gastrointestinal health. Once this type of complication occurs, it is hard to treat and can even be fatal.
It’s normal for rabbits to chew on plastic and other materials to keep their teeth from growing too long. Although plastic isn’t their first preference when they need something to chew on, it’s still a choice. If you have found out that your rabbit has swallowed a piece of plastic, look out for some signs to see if she is in pain.
If the plastic is tiny and easily passable through the digestive tract, it won’t cause any harm to the rabbit. However, if it causes an obstruction, your bunny may experience discomfort, pain, and in rare cases severe constipation that can even lead to death.
It’s important to keep an eye on how your bunny behaves after eating plastic. Take her to a veterinarian immediately if you see anything unusual. And finally, it’s a good idea to keep her away from all types of plastic toys and objects to make sure you never have to see the consequences.