Is Food Coloring Safe For Your Rabbits?

Is Food Coloring Safe For Your Rabbits

Food coloring is one of many substances most humans use to add liveliness to things or foods. It is designed to bring color to monotonous food. Moreover, there are various food colors, such as liquids, pastes, gels, and powders. Depending on what you are using it for, there is an appropriate variance that you can choose either home cooking or painting things. 

As a rabbit lover, one of the things you probably wanted to do was to make do-it-yourself (DIY) cute little stuff for your pet. Or cook and bake delicious treats for them. Either way, putting in some colors will make it appealing to your rabbit’s eyes. According to some reports, visuals greatly impact how pets respond to the things surrounding them. 

Just like your rabbits, they love green foods and colorful stuff. With that being said, you might wonder if it is safe for your pet when you use food colors for their foods and toys. Considering that chemicals or sprays contain toxins that may be harmful to them.

In this article, we will be discussing if food coloring is good and safe for rabbits. Because various processed foods available for the bunnies nowadays have food coloring. 

Artificial Food Coloring Vs. Natural Food Coloring

There are two types of food coloring that you can find in the market. They both have advantages and disadvantages depending on what type of activity you will use the color enhancer. 

Artificial food coloring

Artificial food coloring is specifically made for easier use because it is manufactured. They are brighter than natural colors to enhance food for pets and toys. There are two types of artificial coloring substances: 

  • Propylene Glycol is a substance usually used as a constituent in various cosmetics, regimen goods, and even as a food additive. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists this substance as safe since it is odor-free, colorless, and even characterized to be somewhat denser than water. 
    • One advantage of using this is it has no flavor, so when you mix it with food to add extra, there will be an unnecessary aftertaste. Propylene Glycol is generally utilized as an additive to aid the processing of foods, enhancing the character, quality, taste, presentation, and even the food’s shelf life.
  • Propylparaben is used, may it be in food and cosmetics production. It is usually formed of white powder crystals, which serve as an agent in preserving liquid.  It has the ability to stop the development of fungus and even mold that usually doesn’t contain any flavor or taste.

These elements are considered to be preservatives that are combined together in order to produce food coloring.

Natural Food Coloring

On the other hand, natural food coloring components are generated with our natural resources, such as fruits and veggies that have a bright color and can be extracted. 

Suppose the color being targeted is red; then the natural elements that can be used to create such color can be achiote, capsanthin, tomatoes, and even betanin.

  • Achiote is a food coloring substance that has been extricated from the seeds of the evergreen shrub called Bixa Orellana.
  • Capsanthin, on the other hand, is known to be a food coloring agent that has been produced from the carotenoid of the red bell pepper. It is composed of a good cholesterol ingredient that serves to be beneficial for minimizing the risk of heart disease.
  • Tomatoes are a plant that can generate red fruits. Its lycopene substances are normally extracted to produce vibrant red food coloring.
  • Betanin is a food coloring agent obtained from beets, which are rich in antioxidants that can be very helpful in balancing and making your rabbits’ cells even healthier.

But suppose you are looking for the color green you can use things made of the extracted green leaf or vegetables that contain a high amount of chlorophyll or even chlorella alga, which is known to be a microalga that exists in water ecosystems. Moreover, it can be advantageous for your pet because it is known to be loaded with vitamin A, which helps boost the immune system. 

For the color orange, many available veggies have a bright pigment of oranges, such as carrots, squash, turmeric powder, and oranges. But, since you are using the food color for your pet, you might want to consider the amount you will get from the foods because rabbits have a sensitive digestive system. Even if you are using a natural food color, a great number of nutrients can lead to some health issues for the body. 

However, one disadvantage of using natural colors is that it’s not as bright as the artificial ones. But for the safer and healthier option, it is always recommended to use a natural method like food coloring. 

Other Foods That Are Naturally Bright and Colorful

If you are planning to make treats or snacks that you can add to your rabbit with the use of food coloring, you might want to consider checking out some veggies and fruits that are naturally colorful.

This type of food is rich in beta-carotene, a good nutrient that gives pigments to food. They are even safe for your rabbit to eat in moderation. 

Key Takeaways

  • Food coloring is a great way to enhance the pigment of either food or things for your pet.
  • Rabbits and other pets become more attracted to pigmented things, so using a coloring enhancer is not that bad, especially if you make a homemade treat and DIY toys for your pet. 
  • Studies show that artificial food coloring contains chemicals that can harm rabbits. The food and Drug Administration website will help you know what type of food coloring is safe for rabbits or other pets. 
  • There are two types of food coloring that are available and safe for your rabbit to use; artificial and natural food coloring.
  • Artificial food coloring is divided into two types: Propylene Glycol; this coloring is odorless, which is why it’s recommended to add pigments in food it’s also listed as a safe coloring to intake by FDA. The second one is Propylparaben, commonly used in cosmetics and food. 
  • Unlike artificial food coloring specifically made to brighten the pigment, natural color has a lesser pigment. 
  • Natural food coloring is safer and can be an extra source of nutrition for your pet. Various veggies, leaves, and fruits have a bright pigment that can be used as natural food enhancers, such as carrots, broccoli, turmeric, and leaves. 
  • Beta-carotene food, like broccoli, carrots, and spinach, is safe for your rabbit. Aside from having colorful skin and flesh, you should fodder them in small pieces because it can upset the rabbit’s digestive function. 
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