Is Food Coloring Safe for Your Rabbits?

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Food coloring is one of many substances that can make beauty out of dullness. It is designed to bring color to a monotonous food, in particular. It comes in any sort. There may be liquid, pastes, gels, and even powders that are used in either home cooking or business food composition.

One of the purposes of food coloring is to stimulate the color of the food, which may also affect the taste depending on the color. This gives appealing facet of any food or drinks that can change the way it is being perceived by humans and animals.

Being a rabbit lover, one of the things I wanted to do is to make cute little stuff for my pet. As they love greeny foods and colorful stuff, I was wondering if it is a good idea to add food coloring on their food or drinks or maybe thinking of coloring their stuff using food coloring, considering that chemical or sprays contain toxins that may be harmful to them.

In this article, we will be discussing if food coloring will be good and safe for rabbits. Considering the fact that various processed foods available for the bunnies nowadays have food coloring. In order to determine that, let’s see what are the elements comprising food coloring.

What is the composition of food coloring?

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As other additives, food coloring can be made via artificial or natural elements. Artificially made food coloring usually contains propylene glycol, propylparaben, and other color additives certified by the Food and Drug Administration; (FDA).

Artificial food coloring

  • Propylene Glycol is a substance that is usually used as a constituent in various cosmetics, regimen goods, and even as a food additive. It is an odor-free, colorless, and even characterized to be a somewhat syrupy fluid that is a little denser than water. It has substantially no flavor. Propylene Glycol is generally utilized as an additive in order to aid the processing of foods, which can enhance 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 the preservation of 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 preservative, preservatives that are combined together in order to produce food coloring.

Natural food coloring

Natural food coloring components, on the other hand, are generated with the use of our natural resources, per se.

Suppose if the color is green, it is made of the extracted green leaf or vegetables considered to be chlorophyll or even chlorella alga, which is known to be a microalga that exists in the water ecosystems. It is known to be loaded in vitamin A which can reinforce the immune system. It can even filter, detoxify, as well as eliminate complex the development of metal.

Suppose if 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 has been produced from the carotenoid of the red bell pepper. It is composed of good cholesterol ingredient that serves to be beneficial for minimizing the risk of heart disease.
  • Tomatoes is a plant that can generate red fruits. Its lycopene substances are normally extracted to produce vibrant red food coloring.
  • Lastly, betanin is a food coloring agent that has been gotten from beets, which is rich in antioxidants that can be very helpful in balancing and making your rabbits’ cells even healthier.

Just the same as goes with other colors, the leaves, seeds, or flowers can be extracted in order to produce such color being targeted. As its name suggests, natural ingredients are made from natural foods, fruits, vegetables of parts of them, and they are naturally derived and not created with the use of chemicals or other artificial substances.

How do these ingredients affect or react in the rabbit’s body?

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The identification of the effects of food coloring is somehow crucial. However, with the help of various experimentation of these elements to rabbits, it has made it easier for us to understand if food coloring will be safe for the bunnies.

The question now is if artificial and natural food coloring can significantly affect the health of the rabbits.

Artificial food coloring

In the investigation cited under Vaille et al., 1971, the groups of 7 male rabbits were presented to consuming water that contains up to 5 percent or 50,000 ppm of propylene glycol (the artificial ingredient of food coloring) for the span of 8 weeks.

In the conclusion of the experiment, the 5 percent propylene glycol exposure level resembled a regular application of 4.75 grams per kg. This means that the results mainly affect the rabbit’s whole weight and entirely their blood sugar level. There have been no known negative effects that have been observed in their entire investigation.

With that being said, a normal and not a moderate presentation to artificial food coloring will be safe for the bunnies. However, when it comes to giving them loads of foods that contain food coloring may be very dangerous for them as the food coloring itself can affect the blood sugar of the bunnies.

Natural food coloring

Natural food coloring, on the other hand, is safe for them. Per se tomatoes being a red food coloring includes a great amount of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

These vitamins and substances can be very helpful in generating good bones, cells, teeth, and overall health state of the rabbit. However, still, not all food coloring involves only tomatoes; some contain other fruits that may be rich in sugar, which you should have to be careful about.

As we all know, rabbits don’t necessarily need sugar. Sugar can quickly agitate a rabbit’s GI bacterial flora that can eventually produce or result in the slowing down, or worst is it can stop the functioning of their digestive system. When this occurs, it can cause an unlikely condition such as death.


In every food that is being offered to the bunnies, it is essential that as a rabbit lover, you are knowledgeable enough before presenting food to them though I understand that there are some fancy and eye-catching treats and foods out there that can beautifully suit for them, knowing what the ingredient first will make you save money from further veterinarian cost or most especially the life cost of your lovely rabbit.

There we can call excessive and enough. Excessive, in all cases, are really dangerous. With the details that are being discussed above, I hope that I have enlightened your mind on how to present food that contains food coloring to your charming rabbits. Feeding them treats that is more than usual, which contains food coloring, including loads of sugar, can harm them. However, giving them enough treats that contain food coloring is not that bad at all.

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