Carrots are not only crunchy and tasty but also highly nutritious and a good source of vitamin K, beta-carotene, antioxidants and potassium. They also have biotic, vitamin B6, fiber, lutein, lycopene, among others.
On benefits, they can help reduce cancer risks, lower blood cholesterol, help in weight loss and improve eye health. With all these benefits and nutrients, you do not want your rabbits to miss out on carrots. However, you first deserve to know if they are safe and nontoxic or they are harmful.
Do rabbits eat carrots and how much?
Yes. Rabbits can eat carrots, and they will love them so much. This might sound contrary to what you have already gone through such as an article on The Telegraph entitled ‘Carrots are bad for rabbits, RSPCA says’ because RSPCA had revealed they cause 11% of the tooth decay causes.
Carrots are rabbit-friendly non-leafy vegetables. They are not toxic or harmful to bunnies. However, as in the case of all the other non-leafy vegetables including flowers and root vegetables, they should be given only as occasional treats and in small quantities.
As RSPCA warns, “rabbits don't naturally eat root vegetables and fruit. Carrots and fruit are high in sugar and should only be fed in small amounts as occasional treats.”
Therefore, ensure you do not give your furry friends a lot of carrot or any other non-leafy vegetables including celery, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, summer squash, Chinese pea pods, edible flowers such as roses, pansies or hibiscus) among others.
To give you a hint on how much carrots are enough for your bunny, Rabbit.org advises that total non-leafy vegetables “should be no more than about 15 % of the diet (about one tablespoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day)” of the fresh foods you give them.
Fresh foods include leafy greens (that should form a bulk), some non-leafy vegetables, as well as fruits.
The reason why you should not give your furry friends a lot of carrots is that they have little fiber and high sugar amounts which are associated with dental (tooth decay) and gut problems as well as obesity.
Also, bunnies, being herbivores cannot digest a lot of sugar as well as complex carbohydrates with so little cellulose. This is the same case for all other root vegetables.
Always give your furry friends their usual diet which should be mainly hay, a little high fiber pellets, as well as some leafy greens. Fruits and non-leafy vegetables should be given only as occasional treats. Don does not forget to provide them with unlimited clean water.
Settle for premium hay brands like Oxbow Timothy Hay or Kaytee Timothy Hay. For high fiber pellets, buy Oxbow Animal Health Bunny Basics Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food or Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets.
When giving them carrots, ensure you only give them the recommended amounts. If you give them more, they will still eat the whole of it. Incorporate this treat in logic toys for bunnies or use it while training it such as when litter training it.
Can rabbits eat carrot tops
If you are a salad lover who always this root vegetable, it is recommended you instead give your bunnies carrot leaves or tops instead of the root itself. They will love them.
As noted in quora.com, “carrot tops, on the other hand, they like a lot and are fine for them to eat a lot of (although they don't let it get fat).”
You can combine these leaves with other three leafy greens to ensure your furry friend can get most of the nutrients he or she requires instead of giving them root vegetables unless they are treats.
Finally, the tops should be fresh, and they must be washed to remove any pesticides, herbicides or insecticide traces.
Simply because Bugs Bunny, a television animated cartoon of the 1930s ate carrots alone, it does not mean your bunnies can also do the same. Always stick to recommended and healthy rabbit diets. The rest should be occasional treats.
Also, wild bunnies do not eat any root vegetables. This should make you realized you can not give them too much of foods they do not naturally eat.