Can Rabbits Drink Milk? Baby rabbits depend on milk for survival but the amount they drink is much less compared to other mammals. But like every other mammal, baby rabbits also feed on their mothers’ milk for surviving.
The only difference is that the babies are not constantly fed by the mothers. A mother rabbit would feed her babies once a day.
As it so happens the mother is not always available to feed the young ones and in such conditions, a nutritious supplement would be needed. Moreover, rabbits move to solid food pretty quickly.
Rabbit milk has a uniqueness in the animal world and this goes for both domesticated as well as wild animals. But as mentioned earlier, all baby rabbits do not have access to their mother’s milk as they may be separated from their mother.
Because of this, it is a common misconception that rabbits can drink other types of milk, but the truth is they cannot. Unfortunately, they are not able to digest lactose and the sugars in milk will cause them to get an upset stomach.
Can Rabbits Drink Cow’s Milk?
Rabbits are not biologically designed to be able to consume cow’s milk. If you have a pet rabbit and they just happen to drink the milk from your cereal bowl or any other container around the house, it is important that you keep an eye on them.
Rabbits can get very sick if they drink human-consumed dairy products like milk because their stomachs cannot process it. Some elements of cow milk can even be poisonous for rabbits which may even kill them.
Rabbits are not able to cope up with any additional ingredients seen in the table below which are commonly found in cow’s milk and feeding rabbits this type of milk can make them feel very unwell.
Thus, it’s best not to feed cow milk to your rabbit in order to be on the safer side.
|Cow’s Milk||Per 240 ml|
Can Rabbits Drink Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a popular drink that is made from the nuts themselves and is often used in place of cow milk. Almond milk neither contains unwanted cholesterol nor lactose which is why it is suitable for vegans and lactose-intolerant people.
But unfortunately, it is not the right choice for your rabbit. In fact, rabbits cannot digest almond milk at all, and almond milk consumption is sure to make them sick when they take more than a drop of it. The reason being their high stomach sensitivity which can lead to GI stasis.
Gastrointestinal stasis, commonly referred to as GI stasis in rabbits is a deadly health disorder found in rabbits in which the functioning of their digestive system can slow down or stop altogether.
As a result, the presence of dangerous bacteria in their stomach can increase to a great extent and releases harmful gases to be released into their intestines. This leads to very painful bloating and complete loss of appetite in these small animals.
|Almond Milk||Per 240 ml|
Can Rabbits Drink Non-Dairy Milk?
Kitten milk replacer or KMR, is a suitable formula for rabbits that is high in protein content and made from milk, eggs, minerals, whey protein, and minerals. Rabbit milk is very rich and high in calorie content and the KMR is designed keeping in mind these nutritional requirements.
Another suitable choice for rabbits is the Meyenberg goat milk which is generally given you wild rabbits that have been orphaned.
The choice of non-dairy milk is as important as the quantity that you need to feed them along with the method of administering. The suggested serving of KMR is dependent on the particular species of rabbit along with its size.
But the general guideline suggests feeding around 2.5 ml each twice a day for the newborns. When they are 5 to 7 weeks old, this amount can be increased to 7 ml per feeding two times a day.
You can use a sterile oral syringe or a dropper for feeding the liquid to the rabbits. Baby rabbits, that is when it’s born till 2 months old, you can give it milk once or two times a day. It’s very important to avoid overfeeding the rabbits since it can lead to GI issues or even death.
You should rather allow the rabbit to take its food at its own pace. You should never squirt the liquid into its mouth as it can choke and die.
Why Can’t Rabbits Drink Milk?
As it is pointed out that cow milk is rich in substances that can be harmful to their stomach, it’s important to make sure that they are not fed cow milk under any circumstances. The ingredients of milk that pose a health risk for rabbits are:
- Protein and fat: Cow milk is rich in both fat and protein which is too high for all rabbits who need these elements in very small quantities. Excessive protein and fat can cause diarrhea in rabbits which can be fatal for them.
- Too Many Calories: Rabbits are strict herbivores, meaning that they eat plants. They cannot tolerate milk as it is too high in calories and can cause digestive upset, which can lead to gas or diarrhea. As a result, rabbits should not drink the milk of any kind.
- Harmful To Their Stomach: Milk is not only bad for rabbits but it can cause some serious stomach issues. Their tiny stomach can’t tolerate milk as it is too high in calories and can cause digestive upset, which can lead to gas or diarrhea.
As before, If rabbits do drink milk they cannot vomit it out after consuming it which means there is no way that the body can get rid of the unwanted food. Diarrhea is the most common consequence of feeding cow milk to the rabbits but in the worst cases, the rabbit could even die depending on the amount being fed.
The same goes for almond milk also. Even though it is conducive for human beings, it’s not suggested for rabbits. Other kinds of milk such as oat milk or coconut milk are also not meant for bunnies.
When it comes to coconut milk, the fat content is 23 percent on average which is excessively high for rabbits. It will lead to gastrointestinal problems along with obesity in these small animals.
|Types Of Milk||Calories||Protein||Sugars||Fat|
|Cow’s milk |
|150||8 g||12 g||8 g|
|Almond milk (unsweetened)||40||2 g||0 g||3 g|
|Soy milk (unsweetened)||80||7 g||1 g||4 g|
|Rice milk (unsweetened)||120||0 g||10 g||2 g|
|Coconut milk (unsweetened)||50||0 g||0 g||5 g|
Even though in the case of lactose-intolerant human beings, soy milk is often suggested since it is easier to digest. But this milk produced from soya beans is high in fat and protein which can lead to obesity. So if you give soy milk to rabbits it will be hard on their stomach and can lead to severe trouble.
Above all, rabbits are herbivores which means that they don’t need any kind of milk or meat for survival. Fruits and vegetables along with substances for grazing are all that they need for healthy growth.
For the initial stages of their lives, they require mother’s milk in small quantities. In case it is not accessible, you can only feed kitten milk replacer after consulting with a vet.
What Happens If A Rabbit Drinks Milk Accidentally?
The consequence of your cottontail drinking milk is dependent on how much milk it has actually ingested. Rabbits shouldn’t drink milk along with any other kinds of dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and others.
Milk is not completely poisonous for them if your rabbit has only taken around 2 percent of the milk. But there is no denying that it is high in calories and fats which can be nearly impossible for them to digest.
If your pet rabbit is being fed even small amounts of milk on a daily basis, you will notice symptoms of diarrhea along with loss of appetite and restlessness.
Other signs could include bloating and indigestion and you will also notice that your pet has become lethargic as well as depressed and not taking interest in any kind of activities.
If your rabbit has consumed milk accidentally and is showing any of the signs mentioned above you should take your rabbit to the vet without further delay!
What Can Rabbits Drink Instead Of Milk?
The best drink for rabbits is of course water! It’s better to avoid all kinds of milk without first consulting a vet. You can feed them purified water while tap water also works just as fine. If the water is safe for your consumption, then it will also be good for your bunny.
What’s important to mention here is that rabbits can drink up to 2 cups of water in a day and it’s absolutely natural for them. But this amount can vary based on several factors. Large rabbits are going to consume more water as well as when they’re pregnant.
They are also prone to drink more water when the weather is hot or when they have been very active.
When rabbits are fed a lot of leafy greens, they can also get a good amount of water from that food. This means if your rabbits are not taking as much water as you are expecting, it could be that your little pets are getting optimum water from other food they are feeding on.
It’s also suggested that you give water bottles to your rabbits rather than giving them water bottles. This is because they are more natural to them and effortless for them to get access to the water.
Moreover, water bowls encourage adequate hydration since they don’t really have to work their way to drink up.
But water bottles are suitable in certain circumstances. If your rabbit is a sloppy drinker who gets the water all over the chin, then it’s better to give them water bottles. This is because it may cause matted fur and even skin irritation to the little ones.
Another reason why you may want to give your rabbits water bottles is that they may flip their food along with the water bowl. This may become an issue when you are not at home since they won’t get water for the whole day.
But in case you have to feed milk to the rabbits, goat milk is still a safer option for them owing to the lesser amounts of lactose and sugar. Thus, it is less likely to cause an adverse reaction in their intestine and make it easier for them to digest it.
Goats are nursed with lesser amounts of hormone compared to cows, which contains less harmful ingredients than cows.
Sometimes, when rabbits suffer from stomach problems, vets often prescribe feeding them yogurt mixed with water. However, before you feed it to your rabbit, it’s imperative that you consult with a vet. Last but not the least, special formula milk specially designed for rabbits can be the best alternative to cow milk.
Milk is necessary for the growth and development of a healthy rabbit, but all forms of milk are not suited for the purpose. Cow milk particularly is rich in substances that the rabbits are not able to digest.
These fluffy animals are highly lactose-intolerant and generally have an extremely sensitive stomach.
Since they cannot vomit out, it’s very crucial for you to be absolutely sure of what you are feeding your rabbit, before it makes its way to their dish. If you really have to feed them milk, you can go for safer options such as specifically designed rabbit mill formula or even goat mill.