My home garden has loads of aloe vera plants. In the last few years of raising rabbits, I have often seen rabbits running to each plant to explore better. One thing that I have always been cautious about is what they eat, what they smell, and how long they stay in a specific place. These are sufficient to find out potential consequences. Based on my experiences with rabbits eating plants, here is a common question – can rabbits eat aloe vera?
Rabbits should not eat aloe vera as the gel in it can cause loose stool, leaves can develop allergic reactions, and the juice in it causes gastrointestinal upsets.
Does that mean aloe vera is basically a toxic plant for rabbits? This article provides various insights from research papers to understand safe and unsafe forms.
Rabbits and aloe vera
Aloe vera is a moderately safe plant for rabbits but is not encouraged for intentional feeding. The gel inside the leaves contains a substance called anthraquinone which can act as a laxative when ingested in large quantities and this can cause diarrhea and dehydration. The leaves also contain saponins which can cause an allergic reaction or gastrointestinal upset if consumed in large quantities. If your rabbit does eat aloe vera, make sure to monitor them for any signs of gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Tip: If you are looking for a safe plant to feed your rabbit, consider offering them hay, vegetables, or herbs instead.
What should I do if my rabbit eats aloe vera?
If you have witnessed your rabbit eating aloe vera, take him to the vet to check for gastrointestinal upsets. If you are unsure, you can look at the signs for 3-6 hours before you make any decision.
Remember that a small quantity does not cause huge harm to the little one. However, when they have consumed large quantities that you are unaware of it can turn fatal.
Aloe vera contains saponins and anthrone glucosides that can hamper the stomach and disrupt the digestive system. If your rabbit has eaten a small quantity but behaves normally for 6 hours, there is nothing much to worry about.
If your rabbit is having diarrhea or other symptoms, take him to the vet. If the plants were fresh, it is best to take a sample of the plant for the vet to identify.
Aloe vera is unsafe for rabbits and should always be avoided in their reach.
Signs that a rabbit ate aloe vera
Your rabbit has eaten aloe vera if he has one or more signs of the following:
- Gastrointestinal pain/upset
- Skin rash
- Stomach ulcer
- Corneal ulcer
- Mouth sores
- Pica (eating stuff that is not food)
- Dental problems
If you think your rabbit has eaten aloe vera, it is best to take him to the vet as soon as possible.
Out of the list of signs, you should stay extremely careful with stools. Rabbits are more likely to have soft uneaten cecotropes. Well, this is not the same with diarrhea.
Can aloe vera kill rabbits?
Eating more than a few tablespoons of aloe vera has the potential to cause severe allergic reactions and gastrointestinal stasis. This can kill rabbits with extremely sensitive stomachs or comorbidities.
If your rabbit has eaten a small quantity of aloe vera, it is absolutely treatable and you can stop worrying. In fact, aloe vera contains antioxidants that can treat chronic diseases among rabbits but all of these are under the vet’s suggestion.
When aloe vera is ingested by rabbits, it can cause severe anorexia, dehydration, and weight loss. Prolonged anorexia can lead to gastrointestinal stasis and death.
Keep an eye on what your rabbits are munching!
Can rabbits eat aloe vera gel?
Aloe vera gel is sticky and consuming it is toxic to rabbits. While it has medicinal benefits for humans, the substance in it is unhealthy for rabbits.
Aloe vera gel can be fetched by scalping the plant. The white, fleshy part in the center of the leaves is full of aloin and other compounds that can act as a laxative when ingested.
Laxatives are not good for rabbits as these will cause them to have diarrhea which can lead to dehydration.
At home, you can give your rabbit a few drops of water or syringe feed him to prevent dehydration. Make sure to observe his stools and report any changes to the vet.
Can I put aloe vera gel on my rabbit?
Though aloe vera gel has medicinal properties, it is not ideal for rabbits due to the toxic substance in it. Never apply the gel for bruises on any part of the rabbit’s body.
Rabbits tend to lick their bodies when they feel irritated. As mentioned, aloe vera gel can act as a laxative when ingested. Applying the gel to the rabbit’s skin will not cause any harm but it is better to avoid contact.
If your rabbit has any cuts or wounds, you can seek professional help from the vet instead of self-medicating.
Go with your vet’s recommendation. This will avoid the vulnerability to aloe vera toxicity.
Some vets suggest home remedies to treat wounds. In that case, ensure that the rabbit does not lick the gel. Cover the area and supervise constantly.
In research, it was identified that aloe vera enabled tissue survival among white rabbits that had frostbite injuries.
Can rabbits eat aloe vera plants?
Aloe vera plant comprises a thorny outer layer with gel inside that can hamper the digestive system of rabbits. The plant is not poisonous but the gel contains anthraquinones which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
If you have an aloe vera plant at home, make sure it is not within your rabbit’s reach. If you think your rabbit has eaten the plant, bring him to the vet as soon as possible.
It is common to see gardens with aloe vera plants these days. However, pet parents should be aware that the plant is poisonous to rabbits and should always be avoided.
Can rabbits eat fresh aloe vera?
Aloe vera is dangerous to rabbits irrespective of its state. Keep aloe vera plants and related items away from rabbits.
Rabbits should definitely avoid aloe vera due to its toxic content. There are several health consequences because of consuming it. Better to avoid than worry about ingestion later.
Can rabbits eat aloe vera seeds?
Aloe vera seeds are neither harmful nor healthy to rabbits. Due to its potential exposure to toxicity, it is better to avoid them in the rabbit’s diet.
Healthy alternatives to aloe vera
Alfalfa, basil, spinach, celery, carrot, and mint are some of the healthy alternatives to aloe vera that you can feed to your rabbits.
Here is a complete list:
- Romaine lettuce
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
- Beet greens
- Dandelion greens
- Bok choy
- Peppermint leaves
Rabbit-proofing your home from toxic plants and succulents is important to avoid unnecessary consequences. Perhaps, you can raise aloe vera and rabbits in the same home but not within the reach of each other.
I have followed this approach always! It worked!