Can Rabbits Eat Food Coloring or Is It Toxic?


There are many toys and treats out in the pet industry that may be appealing and come in an array of colors, but you may wonder if it is all safe for a rabbit to eat or play with?

Most food coloring dyes are not harmful to rabbits because they don’t contain any chemicals that are harmful to rabbits’ intestines. However, dyes found in toys can be toxic to rabbits because they contain chemicals to help make the materials dry more quickly and look more vibrant.

Feeding your rabbit food coloring is not bad for them, as it is chemically safe and is designed to be eaten. There are some things to look out for when giving your rabbit treats and new toys though.

Food Coloring, Is it Safe?

Natural food coloring that you can put in a cake is not bad for your rabbit to eat and enjoy. It isn’t good to feed rabbits an excessive amount of food coloring, as that can be harmful to their diet and digestive tract, but an occasional treat with some coloring isn’t bad for them.

Many alternatives to food coloring are taking natural pigments from other plants, which is a much healthier option for rabbits. Other things such as strawberries, carrots, beets, tomatoes, blueberries, and sweet potatoes are much healthier options for rabbits to consume than food colorings. Rabbits don’t really enjoy brightly colored things, and that includes treats. Natural dyes are healthier and prevent the paranoia of toxins in artificial dyes.

There are also lots of different brands of food for rabbits on the market, and it can be difficult to pick the best one for your rabbit. The cheapest ones are not always the best and can be harmful to your rabbit’s overall health in the long term. Some of the better options always include more natural ingredients.

Sherwood Pet Rabbit Food is one of the better brands for adults and babies when it comes to the amount of high-quality timothy hay, high amounts of protein, as well as a wide range of vitamins. Science Selective also holds a wide variety of healthy options for both adults and babies.

Best Treats For Rabbits

When it comes to rabbits, everything is best when it’s fresh. Rabbits are creatures of habit and prefer to be fed the same foods that they know they enjoy and can trust. It isn’t necessarily important to constantly feed your rabbit new treats found in a pet store to make them happy.

Some common fruits and vegetables that rabbits enjoy are lettuce, apples without the stems and seeds, oranges without the peel, carrots of course, as well as many others.

It is not necessary to purchase expensive treats from a pet store to intrigue your rabbit. Excessive treats aren’t healthy for a rabbit anyway, so it is better to stick to their diet and feed them healthier alternatives as stated earlier.

Is diarrhea a problem? If your rabbit is experiencing loose stool, you’ll first want to figure out the cause. Check out my article The 10 Best Foods for Rabbits with Diarrhea for the best advice on how to treat it and to get your rabbit feeling happy again.

Household Items To Avoid

Bunnies enjoy chewing on the edges of their cages and being able to burrow into their bedding. Cleaning a rabbit’s cage is vital to their health as well as making sure their bedding doesn’t absorb any chemicals that are harmful to their fur or health.

Vinegar is a great option when it comes to breaking down bacteria in a rabbit’s cage. You can use it in a spray bottle to use when just lightly cleaning the bars of the cage, or to soak a litter pan in overnight to remove excess bacteria, stains, and smells.

DO NOT use bleach when cleaning a rabbit’s cage. Bleach is an extremely harmful and toxic chemical and can eat the fur off of a rabbit or poison it if used to clean the bars of its cage. Don’t use bleach on anything the rabbit is going to chew or sleep on around the house if it is allowed to roam. Rabbits have sensitive skin, so it isn’t necessary to overclean or use strong chemicals to maintain their cage.

Nesting Materials

As is known, rabbits are burrowers and chewers. They want bedding that is warm and fluffy, and something that won’t be harmful if they do decide to chew on it for comfort.

Some materials to avoid are glossy newspapers, anything that is plastic, aluminum foil, tinsel, or cellophane. These materials either contain harmful chemicals or are bad for a rabbit’s teeth or digestive system.

The best options for bedding are wood or paper pellets, pine shavings, sawdust, straw, and especially hay. Rabbits are chewers, and natural woods are more beneficial for them to chew on as well as softer for them to burrow into and find warmth. Are Paper Towels Safe for Rabbits? Is Newspaper Safe for a Rabbit Cage? Are Puppy Pads Safe for Rabbits? These are all great questions you might be asking yourself – click on any of those three links for my thorough answer and explanation to those questions.

Some bedding that pet stores have include dyes that are toxic to a rabbit’s fur. Rabbits don’t need brightly colored places to rest, as they don’t want to be claustrophobic in colored, soft beds.

Toys To Stray Away From

Dyes don’t only come in food, but also toys. Rabbits don’t need to have brightly colored toys to enjoy themselves. Most colored toys are marketing ploys for consumers to purchase bright toys because they think it will be more attractive for a small animal to enjoy. That isn’t the case for rabbits.

It is better to give rabbits more natural toys to chew on than anything synthetic. What about popsicle sticks? Are Popsicle Sticks Safe for Rabbits? Another great question! Check out that link to my article for the answer!

Some great options for rabbits to have as toys are wooden bridges, willow balls, wooden toys, or anything else that isn’t necessarily bright, plastic, or soft enough for them to swallow and choke on. Lots of toys in pet stores are harmful and can cause severe digestive issues for a rabbit.

Consider avoiding cheap products that can be found by online manufacturers who do not have to follow safety guidelines. Some of these manufacturers are foreign and don’t consider the health of your rabbit. Many safe toys can be purchased in pet stores or even made from natural materials found in your backyard.

Rabbits are not extremely complex and don’t need an array of toys to satisfy them in their day to day playtime. Keep the health and safety of your rabbit in mind when you choose toys for them.

Laura Pierce

I'm the owner of RabbitInformer.com and I've loved rabbits since I got my first one as a pet at 8 years old. Today I spend much of my time researching rabbit habits, exotic varieties, and ideal living environments.

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