Nuts are a delicious, nutritious and convenient snack for people. But if you’re the type of person who loves sharing food with your beautiful bunny, you’ve probably thought about offering a few nuts to your pet to nibble on.
This raises a couple of very important questions: Are nuts safe for rabbits to eat?
Can Rabbits Eat Nuts?
The answer is no. While nuts generally aren’t toxic to bunnies, you should never give them to your rabbit. Nuts are high in fat and low on nutritional value for rabbits, so feeding them can cause an upset stomach and potentially lead to more serious health problems.
Let’s take a closer look at whether rabbits can eat several popular types of nuts, and find out what forms the basis of a balanced diet for bunnies.
Why Are Nuts Bad for Rabbits?
There are some foods rabbits can’t eat because they’re highly toxic to bunnies, but that’s not the case with nuts. So, why are nuts so bad for rabbits?
1. High in Fat
The main problem is that nuts are very high in fat. Take the peanut as an example — in a 100-gram serve, you can expect to find almost 50 grams of fat.
And while nuts famously contain healthy fats which provide lots of nutritional value for humans, a high-fat diet is simply not suitable for rabbits.
Eating too many fatty foods can cause obesity, which in turn can lead to arthritis, heart problems, fatty liver disease, and a wide range of other health issues. Studies have also shown that a high-fat diet can lead to vascular dysfunction in rabbits, so it’s essential to minimize the amount of fat your bunny consumes.
2. High in Carbohydrates
Nuts are also high in carbohydrates. A 100-gram serve of cashews, for example, contains roughly 30 grams of carbs.
If your bunny eats a diet that’s too high in carbohydrates but that doesn’t contain enough fiber, this can be a contributing factor in GI stasis. GI stasis causes the digestive process to slow down or even stop, and it can potentially be life-threatening for your bunny.
3. Low in Fiber
On the flip side, the most important nutrient your rabbit needs is fiber. Fiber is essential for healthy digestion, and the best source of fiber for bunnies is fresh hay. Nuts are relatively low in fiber, which is why they simply should not be a part of your rabbit’s diet.
For more information on the nutritional value of popular nut types, check out the table below.
|Nutritional content per 100g serve, raw nuts|
|Pistachios||Cashews||Peanuts (all types)||Walnuts||Almonds||Hazelnuts||Chestnuts|
|Water||4.37 g||5.2 g||6.5 g||4.07 g||4.41 g||5.31 g||40.48 g|
|Energy||560 kcal||553 kcal||567 kcal||654 kcal||579 kcal||628 kcal||245 kcal|
|Protein||20.16 g||18.22 g||25.8 g||15.23 g||21.15 g||14.95 g||3.17 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||45.32 g||43.85 g||49.24 g||65.21 g||49.93 g||60.75 g||2.2 g|
|Carbohydrate||27.17 g||30.19 g||16.13 g||13.71 g||21.55 g||16.7 g||52.96 g|
|Dietary fiber||10.6 g||3.3 g||8.5 g||6.7 g||12.5 g||9.7 g||5.1 g|
|Sugars||7.66 g||5.91 g||4.72 g||2.61 g||4.35 g||4.34 g||10.6 g|
Source: FoodData Central
Can Rabbits Eat Peanuts?
Peanuts are the perfect bar snack. They’re convenient, delicious, and the ideal match for a cold beer. They’re also a quality source of protein and healthy fats, so unsalted peanuts are better for you than you might think.
Unfortunately, they’re a no-no for rabbits. The high-fat content of peanuts can wreak havoc on your bunny’s digestive system and lead to tummy troubles. And like many other popular nuts, there’s no need at all to include them in your pet’s diet.
While we’re on the subject of peanuts, you probably also want to know whether rabbits can eat peanut shells. Once again, the answer is no — the safest option is to steer clear of peanuts altogether.
Finally, peanut butter should also not be given to rabbits. It’s high in fat, which is not what your bunny needs and could lead to obesity, while it can also cause an upset stomach when introduced to your pet’s delicate digestive system.
Can Rabbits Eat Pistachios?
No. This tasty member of the cashew family may contain plenty of healthy fats, protein, and fiber for people, but it’s not a safe treat for rabbits.
If your rabbit is eyeing off your handful of pistachios with envy, tell them to look elsewhere for a snack.
Can Rabbits Eat Cashews?
Whether eaten on their own or included in a stir fry, cashews are downright delicious. They’re also a rich source of healthy fats and fiber, and low in sugar.
Unfortunately, cashews should never be fed to your bunny.
Can Rabbits Eat Walnuts?
Packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber, walnuts are another type of nut that we humans like to snack on. They’re also a crucial ingredient in a Waldorf salad, but they aren’t crucial in your bunny’s diet.
Walnuts are high in fat and can cause digestive upset for bunnies, so never give them to your pet.
Can Rabbits Eat Almonds?
If you’ve read this far, you can probably guess what the answer will be: no. Almonds are once again high in fat, while bitter almonds also contain a small amount of cyanide.
As a result, almonds should never make their way into your rabbit’s dinner bowl.
Can Rabbits Eat Hazelnuts?
The hazelnut, which is sometimes also referred to as the filbert, boasts a deliciously sweet flavor, healthy fats, and a number of vitamins and minerals.
But the risks of feeding these high-fat nuts to rabbits outweigh any potential benefits, so rabbits shouldn’t eat hazelnuts.
Can Rabbits Eat Chestnuts?
There’s little evidence available online about whether rabbits can or cannot eat chestnuts. However, given the dangers and lack of nutritional value that other nuts offer, the safest option is to avoid giving any chestnuts to your rabbit. If you avoid all types of nuts altogether, you’ll be doing the right thing by your pet.
What Should I Feed My Rabbit?
OK, so if nuts aren’t a recommended part of your rabbit’s diet, what is?
Rabbits are herbivores, so the most important component in their diet is fresh hay. Timothy hay is a good choice, and it can be supplemented by smaller amounts of commercially-available rabbit pellets and fresh, leafy green vegetables.
Click here for more information on best hay for rabbits.
Like nuts, seeds and grains should never be given to your bunny. Of course, there are several other foods that aren’t recommended for bunnies, including everything from potatoes to iceberg lettuce, so it’s essential that you check if a particular food is safe for rabbits before giving it to your pet.
If you’re thinking about sharing some nuts with your rabbit, think again. Nuts are high in fat and don’t offer any major nutritional benefits for bunnies.
So if you’re searching around for a safe and delicious treat to give to your pet in moderation, you might want to check out a list of fruits that are OK for rabbits to eat. And if you’re ever in doubt about what your rabbit can and can’t eat, ask your veterinarian for advice.