Toxic Plants

Photo by Carlos Lindner on Unsplash.

Rabbits and Toxic Plants

Important: If you are not 100% sure whether a plant is safe - regardless of finding it in a grocery store, garden or on a hike - do not let your bunny eat it.

Toxic plants can mean several things. It does not always mean a fatal outcome. Effects can range from mild irritation on the skin or mucous membranes to convulsions and death. It’s important to realize that the same plants that are toxic to other species may not affect rabbits in the same way. There are many factors to consider, such as what part of the plant was eaten, how much was eaten and the maturity of the plant. The level of toxicity may or may not change when certain parts of the plant are dried. 

Keep in mind that any list of plants you read, will not include every poisonous plant on Earth. Do not assume just because you do not see a certain plant listed, that it must be safe. Also, be aware that many plants have multiple common names and more than one plant species may share the same name. Most lists will try and focus on what is most common, but that may be regional, as well. For instance, a toxicity list done by a vet in Britain may not be as relevant to a bunny owner in Arizona.

Be sure what you have is safe before letting your bunny investigate your houseplants or the garden. Personally, I have very few plants in my house. The three I have are in small four inch pots on my kitchen counter, well away from curious mouths. 

Also, be mindful how messy your houseplant is and how it grows. Is it the type that drops finished blooms on the floor, like a fuchsia? Maybe it drops dead leaves or it's a hanging ivy that is within bunny's reach. It might be worth your time to find another spot in the house for your plant or to deny your bunny access to the room (if feasible). 

Resources to Check Out

Frances Harcourt-Brown, Plant toxicity- the problem with lists (https://www.harcourt-brown.co.uk/articles/free-food-for-rabbits/plant-toxicity-the-problem-with-lists)

WabbitWiki, Toxic Plants (http://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Toxic_plants)

Medirabbit, Camilla Bergstrøm, Toxic Plants (http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/Food/Tox/Tox_en.htm)

Sacramento House Rabbit Society, Plants Poisonous to Rabbits (http://www.allearssac.org/badplants.html)

Royal Horticultural Society, Rabbit-Resistant Plants (https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/Profile?PID=209)

Important!

If you suspect your bunny has eaten something toxic, contact your vet immediately or the ASPCA 24-hour hotline Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 (a small consultation fee may be required).

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