Can Rabbits Have Almonds?
Almonds are considered superfoods for people, but what about our pets? These and other nuts are often what we turn to when we want healthy, hearty, decadent whole foods that will enable us to nurture both our bodies and our taste buds, but we often hear scary things about what might happen if we feed them to our pets. Some online sources suggest that high-fat foods, even if they are natural, are dangerous for our littlest family members. Others argue that almonds are actually poisonous for rabbits!
So, can you give your rabbit almonds?
The answer is no, rabbits should not eat any quantity of almonds. Your bun could probably survive eating an almond every once in a while, but the risks associated with nuts in general mean that your furry friend would be better off without it. If you have already given your rabbit an almond or two, you most likely do not need to rush them to see the vet, but you should avoid giving this food to them in the future. Almonds are nutritionally dense foods that are great for people, but they are extremely unhealthy for rabbits. If your bun eats almonds with any regularity, they will probably develop nutritional imbalances, potentially severe digestive problems, and other health problems. If you want to give your rabbit an especially decadent treat, opt for a small piece of banana or mango instead.
What about all those nutrients inside almonds? Your doctor may want you to eat almonds every day, but your rabbit’s veterinarian would be horrified to hear that your bun was doing the same! High-calorie, nutritionally-dense foods that are loaded with healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds, have served a very important purpose in human nutrition for a long time, but our rabbits’ ancestors did not eat them at all. Unlike people, rabbits evolved to meet their dietary needs by eating foods that are loaded with fiber while being low in sugar and fat.
Almonds are relatively low in sugar— and they do have some healthy fiber, but not nearly enough to be suitable for rabbits. Your bunny actually gets a lot of their nutrition from fiber! They have a special pouch, called a caecum, which is designed specifically to aid in the absorption of the vitamins and minerals locked within fiber. Inside the caecum (which is the largest part of your bun’s digestive tract), fiber is mixed with bacteria and fermented. The bacteria release vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your bun can later absorb. Without eating large amounts of fiber, your rabbit is unable to meet their nutrient needs.
Though vitamin deficiencies are dangerous long-term side effects of an inappropriate diet, almonds can cause serious and immediate health problems, too. Your rabbit needs fiber for nutrition, but they also need fiber just to keep their gastrointestinal tract running. Nuts, which are full of fat and starch, can interfere with the digestive process. Rabbits who eat too many almonds may suffer from symptoms such as bloating, stomach pain, constipation, gastrointestinal stasis, or bacterial overgrowth inside the gut. This is because, without adequate fiber, the stomach and caecum cannot empty promptly. As a result, matter collects inside the gut and throws gut fauna out of balance.
Things to Consider
In general, giving your rabbit one or two almonds will not kill them, but nuts are considered unhealthy foods. Almonds are high in all the things that are bad for rabbits and low in all the things that are good for rabbits. So, even if one of these nuts will not kill them, it’s better to feed your rabbit healthier treats like fresh vegetables.