No, there is no need to give a perfectly healthy rabbit yogurt. Yogurt is not one of the foods that can easily be part of its diet.
There is obviously a good chance that your bunny will appreciate the taste of yogurt, but this will no doubt be due to its innate curiosity. The stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine, and the cecum are the various parts that make up the gastrointestinal system of the rabbit. In the stomach, as well as in the small intestine and large intestine, there are aerobic conditions and a certain acidity.
Lactobacilli, the bacteria found within dairy products, will pass smoothly through this tract of the gastrointestinal tract. However, the main problem is found at the level of the cecum where only anaerobic conditions are present. The lactobacilli are therefore not able to pass over this gastrointestinal tract.
3 important things about dairy products
The three most important things to always keep in mind in case you want to give dairy products to your bunny now or in the future are:
- Rabbits cannot vomit;
- Dairy products can cause indigestion, which could lead to bloating and the formation of intestinal gas;
- Your rabbit may have gastrointestinal stasis or liquid stools These problems could make the rabbit feel very ill and therefore find itself having to face a rather difficult and unpleasant situation.
Rabbits are actually not lactose intolerant (they drink breast milk or otherwise an adequate substitute for breast milk when they are bunnies and can drink carefully diluted yogurt for purely medical purposes – you can read later, in this article, in which special situations you can give yogurt to your rabbit).
However, as with humans, some rabbits lose the ability to digest milk enzymes well as they grow because the bacteria present in the stomach and used for this function are progressively destroyed.
While we don’t recommend it (unless prescribed directly by your vet), yogurt diluted with water can help rabbits with intestinal bacterial infections or liquid stools. Yogurt preserves the endemic bacterial flora and promotes their growth. Never give yogurt of your own accord to your rabbit though. We invite you first of all to go to the vet if your rabbit has the problems described above.
Can bunnies eat yogurt when they are small?
No, baby bunnies only drink milk. They will not be able to digest yogurt and other dairy products except plain milk. Learn more about giving rabbits cheese and dairy products (it’s a real taboo). Even though rabbits, when very young, tolerate lactose quite well why should you take any risks by giving your bunny these products ?!
Instead of cow’s milk, use KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer, or the replacement milk that is given to kittens ) or goat’s milk that can be easily found in pet shops, or sometimes even in veterinary clinics in your area.
In the first 3 weeks of life, your bunny will only need the right kind of milk and nothing else. From 3 weeks to 7 months of age, you can try giving it a mix of milk and alfalfa (i.e. a mix of hay and pellets).
When you give your bunny goat’s milk, make sure it’s warm. If it’s at room temperature even better. Since rabbit milk is the highest calorie milk of mammals, you can also add a teaspoon of 100% pure (sugar-free) heavy cream to each can of KMR.
It doesn’t hurt to add a pinch of enzymes (i.e. prebiotics) to the mix to promote intestinal flora. Remember that KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) milk is the ideal milk for rabbits, the others are not good. Other types of milk such as Esbilac or various milk products designed for puppies are not good for bunnies.
Caring for a bunny when it’s still very young is more difficult than you can imagine. Mother rabbit always works very actively to make sure her babies are safe. For example, lick bunnies to stimulate them to eliminate waste substances in their urine or feces.
That’s why you have to use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to gently stroke the bunny’s anal area until it begins to eliminate waste substances with feces and urine. Keep scrubbing these areas until the bunny has finished fulfilling its needs.
Since rabbits cannot eat dairy and dairy products, they should follow a diet based on:
High-quality hay is the main food in a rabbit’s diet, so it should always be made available to the bunny. The same also applies to water, which is always fresh and clean. In the large intestine, the indigestible fibers for the rabbit are deposited.
These kinds of fibers are very important as they promote gastrointestinal movements. If the rabbit does not consume sufficient amounts of hay it could suffer from gastrointestinal blockages or stasis.
You can also give your bunny green leafy vegetables (one cup for every pound of body weight) , while when you don’t give them vegetables you can replace the fiber intake given by this food with high quality pellets ideal for rabbits, these Pellets generally have a high fiber content.
Instead of giving your bunny yogurt, try giving it a slice of its favorite fruit from time to time . Your bunny will surely be happier. This of course if you want to make it happy.
This article is purely informative, at Shelterapet we do not have the right to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet in case of any kind of discomfort.