Most rabbit owners, most especially new ones, ask this as a very common question. Are onions safe for rabbits? Onions are almost a staple in homes. We use them for cooking, and we love it –like humans! With this in mind, you may also be wondering whether rabbits are edible and safe for your pets. Are they as healthy for your pets as they are for humans?
Before getting to the answer to this question, it is best to learn more and understand things about onions. This is something that you also need to do before feeding onions, or anything, to your pets. After all, rabbits need a varied diet. Making sure not to feed them wrong things should be of importance.
All About Onions
Onion is a member of the Allium vegetable family. For humans, onions offer several health benefits. For one, it helps in boosting our immune system, making us stronger and be able to fight off diseases. Onions, along with other related herbs, enhance digestion and the function of our heart.
Onions also contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, antioxidants, folate, Vitamins C, B6, and several others. So, yes, for humans, onions are pretty safe and healthy. But for rabbits, we still need to gather some facts before actually feeding our beloved pets.
Can Rabbits Eat Onions?
Onions actually result in more damage to your friend than just an upset stomach or annoying breath. This staple spice contains toxins, which may cause some complications for your pets. Some of these complications are really serious and dangerous.
Onions contain an ingredient – thiosulphate. This component is toxic to rabbits. If your pet is fed or accidentally eats onion, their body reacts; their red blood cells will highly be effected, resulting in a disease that is called hemolytic anemia.
This disease has the capacity to cause the circulating red blood cells through the rabbit’s body to potentially burst. On top of that, onions also contain a compound substance that is called organosulfur. It is known to initiate a medical condition among rabbits, where poison may be absorbed by the digestive system of rabbits.
Potential risks and other side effects may also occur among rabbits, especially those that consume higher amounts of onions. With this said, you may want to leave out onions from your rabbits’ diet.
Why Are Onions Toxic?
The thing is, there is no specific part of onions that carry the toxin that is specifically harmful to rabbit pets. In fact, they are present in all parts of an onion. This means that it can be found in the juice, flesh, leaves, as well as processed powders.
This means that rabbits can be harmed when they eat onions consumed even after they are fried, cooked, or powdered. This is not just something specific among onions. In fact, the same toxic effects can be expected with all other food items that belong to the allium family. This includes shallots, garlic, chives, and leeks. The same harmful toxin is present among these food items.
Garlic and onion powders are even more potent compared to fresh ones. This can actually mean it could even be more dangerous since they are present in a lot of human foods. For this reason, onions are listed as among the poisonous foods that should never be included in the diet of your rabbits. They are difficult to digest, contributing to red blood cell loss.
How is Onion Toxicity Manifested Among Rabbits?
If you think that your pet rabbit has consumed onions, whether intentionally or accidentally, the only way to tell is by observing them. Among the signs that you need to watch out for includes fainting and collapsing, excessive salivation, pale gums, reddish urine, mouth irritation, loss of appetite, weakness, and lethargy.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, other signs also include increased heart rate, panting, as well as vomiting. If you notice these, you need to bring your pet right away to a local veterinarian to avoid the issue from escalating further to an uncontrollable scenario.
Your vet will assess and diagnose the condition of your rabbit based on its symptoms and blood work. If the vet detects hemolytic anemia or any formation of Heinz bodies, and your rabbit was exposed recently to vegetables, all of the signs and symptoms will no doubt make your vet conclude that it is indeed caused by onion toxicity.
One thing that should be noted is that there are several other conditions which could possibly cause the hemolytic anemia of your rabbits. This is the reason why it is important to get accurate evaluation and diagnoses, giving your beloved pet the right therapy and medicine needed.
Other Toxic Foods Similar to Onions
There are other toxic foods that manifest the same effects on your rabbits. In fact, there are several others out there. One of them is avocado. Rabbits generally have their worst reactions to avocados. When consumed, they are observed to contain severe respiratory problems, and could even up dying.
Grapes and raisins are also known to cause kidney failure. Every part of these fruits needs to be kept away from the reach of your rabbits. This also includes raisin bagels and grape juice. Of course, other members of the allium herb family should also be avoided. Garlic also offers similar effects since onions should never be fed to your pets. Other items in the same family include scallions, leeks, and chives.
Garlic, however, is claimed by some to immunize your rabbits, helping them fight against the disease. After all, for humans, garlic serves as antibiotic, antiseptic, which helps with gas and bloating. It also serves as a respiratory expectorant. Unfortunately, however, this belief has stayed in the category of theory, and observation has it that garlic is poisonous to rabbits.
The good news, however, is that rabbits are naturally unattracted to garlic. This is, in fact, one of the reasons why putting a bit of some garlic-infused solution to your plants in order to keep your rabbits out of their way, keeping your precious plants intact.
The diet of your rabbit needs to be made up of good items such as fresh hay, including oat hay, grass hays, timothy hay, and others. Fresh vegetables and water, as well as good quality pellets, can also be included in the list. As a general rule of thumb, anything that is beyond a treat needs to be provided in limited quantities only, just to be safe.
There is no need to explain further – onions are highly dangerous for rabbits, regardless of the amount. A normal rabbit has a weight of around 2.5 kg. Consuming only 20 grams of onion can already prove to be life-threatening to them. Each part of the onion contains thiosulphates and disulfides toxins, which can initiate damage to your pets’ red blood cells.
Always make sure that your rabbits do not become any member of the allium herbs family. This includes both fresh, and snacks or treats that contain them, even in powdered form. They are harmful and poisonous to your rabbits. Make sure to consult or visit your veterinarian in any case.