Honey dripping onto apple

Can rabbits eat honey?

Find out why honey is not safe to give to rabbits. A full breakdown of all the issues in giving honey to your bunny.

Like many people, I love honey. It is both sweet, and a natural food; what’s not to like? My favourite is the thicker type, but we also use runny honey in cooking. But is it safe to give to rabbits? Would honey make a nice treat for bunnies?

Is honey safe for rabbits?

You should not feed rabbits with honey. Although honey is not poisonous to rabbits, as a food it is entirely unsuited to rabbits’ complex and delicate digestive system. Because all honey, whether raw or processed, is a combination of pure sugars, giving a rabbit too much honey may result in diarrhoea and other intestinal problems, and in the longer term contributing to obesity, which also results in health problems for rabbits.

Why honey is bad for rabbits

Honey is a bad choice to give bunnies because it is mainly a combination of sugars:

IngredientAmount per 100g
Energy304 kcal
Information from USDA

As you can see, honey is mainly glucose and fructose. It contains practically no fibre or protein. But the intestines of rabbits are designed to process food heavy in fibre (for example, hay typically is about 17-18% fibre). The fibre is vital, as it helps the food move through the intestines.

Without enough fibre, rabbits may quickly develop GI stasis (an extremely dangerous form of constipation). They stop pooing, and stop eating. If you suspect your bunny may have this, contact a vet straight away.

But even if your bunny is getting some fibre, having a high quantity of honey is still likely to cause problems with their gut.

In particular, rabbits’ digestive systems have developed to be able to cope with fructose (which is the main sugar found in fruit) but not other types of sugar, in particular glucose [source here]. As the table shows, honey has a large amount of glucose as an ingredient.

Bacteria in the rabbit’s gut (in particular their coecum) will feed off the glucose, and the wrong bacteria are likely to grow and multiply. The growth of the toxic bacteria then makes the rabbit sick. This can lead to diarrhoea. Again, if diarrhoea develops, contact a vet straight away.

You can find out more about rabbits’ delicate digestive systems here.

Honey is also unhealthy because (just like it is for us) it adds calories to a diet. If you give 20g of a banana to a rabbit, you are giving them about 18 kcal. If you give 20g of honey to a rabbit, you are giving them 61 kcal – over three times as many calories.

Can you add honey to other foods for rabbits?

You should not add honey to other foods for rabbits. Whilst honey is not toxic, all you are doing is adding unhealthy sugar to a food. You might also be conditioning your bunny to be getting used to food that is too sweet.

Some commercial snacks for rabbits occasionally have honey in them. If you only very occasionally give your rabbit one of these as a treat, you are not unlikely to be doing any harm to your bunny. Just be aware that they are an unhealthy snack, and so should only be given rarely if you choose to use them.

What are alternatives to honey as a treat for rabbits?

Rather than give honey, small pieces of fruit make a great treat for rabbits. Fruit still has some sweetness (most fruit contain some of the sugar fructose).

You need to be careful, though – although most fruit are fine to give rabbits, there are a couple that can be dangerous. Find out which fruits you can give your bunny here.

What is the best diet for rabbits?

The best diet for rabbits is to feed them mainly hay (preferably timothy hay) and fresh water. Hay should make up most of a rabbit’s diet.

Alongside the hay, you can also give them each day about an eggcup-full of rabbit nuggets, a handful of fresh greens (here’s information on which herbs are safe to give bunnies) and a small treat.


Honey is great as a treat for humans, but don’t feed it to rabbits. It can mess with their guts, and lead to them being sick.

If you’re interested in what’s good for rabbits, check out our post on what vitamins and minerals rabbits need.

Posted by Jonathan