Rabbit next to loaf of bread

Can rabbits eat bread?

Find out why you shouldn't feed bread to rabbits - a comprehensive look at how bread is not suitable for bunnies.

I love bread. All types of bread.

Farmhouse loaves, french baguettes, ciabatta, focaccia, granary, sourdough – you name it, I eat it.

And it’s good for us! Bread is full of vitamins and fibre that help to keep us healthy.

But if it’s good for us, you may be wondering whether it’s good for your bunny. Perhaps you’ve got some of a loaf left going a bit stale, and are wondering whether it could feed your rabbit.

I’ve researched this thoroughly, to get a comprehensive answer.

Read on to find out the full details, but here’s the summary:

Can rabbits eat bread?

Rabbits should not eat bread. You should not feed bread to bunnies because it has the wrong balance of starch, fibre and other nutrients for their guts. Giving rabbits too much bread could lead to serious, even fatal gut problems like GI stasis. Bread isn’t toxic (poisonous) to rabbits, but it does not suit their digestive needs at all. You should mainly feed rabbits hay and fresh water.

Bread, nutrition and rabbits

(per 100 g)
Rabbit requirements
(per 100 g)
Energy258 kcalHigh in calories for rabbit food
Protein9.68 g12-17 gToo low in protein
Fat6.45 g2.5-5 gToo high in fat
Carbohydrate45.16 gLess than 20 gMuch too high in carbohydrates (like starch)
Fibre6.5 g14-25 gToo low in fibre
Iron2.32 mg3-40 mgA good source of iron
Based on whole wheat bread. Values of bread from USDA

Rabbits have delicate digestive systems. The wrong food in their guts can have awful consequences. And bread, in large amounts, is the wrong food.

You can see why in the chart. Rabbits in the wild eat grass and other vegetation. This is high in fibre and low in starch and other carbohydrates. But bread is high in carbohydrates, and, compared to what rabbits need, low in fibre.

This is why hay is the best food for rabbits, and should make up the bulk of their diet. Hay is high in fibre and low in starches, and is the healthiest food a bunny can eat. You can find out more about Timothy hay here, and about rabbit nutrition in general in our post here.

Why is eating bread bad for rabbits?

Eating bread has two effects on rabbits. Long term, it means that the bunny will be getting too many calories. And, just as if we eat too much we get fatter, so do rabbits. And a fat rabbit is an unhealthy rabbit.

But in the short term, too much carbohydrate and not enough fibre can mess with the digestive system. It can lead to a condition called gastrointestinal stasis (also called GI stasis) – basically food starts moving too slowly or stops altogether in the gut.

Bacteria then start growing, releasing gas, and causing the poor bunny stomach pains. The rabbit may stop moving around, and stop eating or only eat a little. The rabbit may also have some diarrhoea, or runnier than usual or smaller than usual stools.

The technical term for this is enterotoxaemia. Anaerobic bacteria in the rabbit’s caecum grow too much, releasing enterotoxins. These in turn cause the diarrhoea and other problems.

If you suspect your bunny may have GI stasis, contact a vet immediately for advice.

But you thought bread was good because it had fibre?!

Bread is good for humans – and gives us the fibre we need to keep things healthy in our intestines.

But rabbits are designed to eat grass and other plants full of tough cellulose. Bread just doesn’t have enough fibre for bunnies.

Help – my bunny ate some bread – what should I do?

It happens. Some food drops to the floor, and a nippy bunny zooms in and takes off with a chunk. What if it’s a roll, or part of a load? What should you do if your rabbit eats some bread?

If it’s a small piece of bread, then don’t worry too much. Your furry friend has just had an unhealthy snack.

While bread isn’t good for bunnies, it’s not toxic either. A small amount of bread is unlikely to harm an adult rabbit.

But if your rabbit has eaten a substantial amount of bread, then make sure to keep an eye on them for the next day. Make sure they’re moving around normally, eating as usual, and their poos look normal.

As always, if you have any concerns, contact a vet.

What diet should rabbits have?

The best diet for a rabbit is plenty of fresh hay (unlimited amounts) and fresh water.

Alongside this, you can add a handful of fresh greens every day, and up to an eggcup-full of rabbit nuggets.

Every now and again you can add a small treat, like some fruit (bits of apple are one of our rabbits’ favourites).


Bread is great for humans (just as well, given how much I like it), but not so great for rabbits. The high starch, low fibre mix is bad for their digestive systems and too high in calories. While bread won’t poison your bunny, it’s no good for them either. The best advice is don’t feed bread to rabbits.

Other posts you might enjoy…

If you’re interested in the right food to feed your bunny, you might also like these other posts on similar topics.

You can find out more about Timothy hay here.

We also have a comprehensive guide to the vitamins and minerals that rabbits need.

You can check which fruit are safe to give to your rabbit here (along with portion size).

And we also have a post on which herbs are safe for bunnies.

And we have posts on whether rabbits can eat swede, rocket (arugula), iceberg lettuce, radishes, apple cores, and mange-tout.

Posted by Jonathan