No. Rabbits shouldn’t eat avocado plant (leaves, branches, or barks) or avocado fruit (flesh, skin or seed). It is toxic to not only bunnies but also other animals like your cats, dogs, horses, goats, sheep, fish, guinea pigs, rats, and so on.
Avocado refers to tree and fruit (alligator pear or avocado pear) of Persea americana, an evergreen tropical or subtropical flowering plant that grows up to 20 meters. It is and belongs to the family Lauraceae, and people cultivate it for its fleshy, nutritious large spherical, egg, or pear-shaped berry that has a single seed as well as for its ornamental value.
It joins rank with other plants such as lilies, broad beans, buttercup, mushrooms, rhubarb, daffodil, potatoes, broad beans, kidney beans, nightshade, hemlock, privet, snowdrop, jasmine, foxglove or iceberg lettuces which are poisonous to bunnies.
Why is avocado bad for rabbits?
All parts of avocado are toxic to rabbits because it has persin, a fatty acid-like compound with a fungicidal ability (can kill fungus together with its spores) and considered to have the potential to kill breast cancer cells in human (1).
Persin is highly concentrated in the avocado bark, leaves, and pits (seeds), with its concentration lower its ripe pulp, making it safe to human beings. Only only a small amount of persin leaches from seed to the fruit pulp.
While severe toxicity is linked to the Guatemalan variety and the ripe fruit has the least concentration of persin, don’t let your rabbits eat avocado fruit.
Besides being toxic, it is unhealthy because:
- It is very high in fats. Typical rabbit diets are low in fats 1-3%. High-fat foods are linked to obesity (high in calories), hepatic lipidosis, aorta atherosclerosis, and may cause GI upsets.
- It’s higher in carbohydrates but low in fiber, unlike ideal foods like timothy hay posing a risk of hindgut overload that may cause enteritis, diarrhea, stomach upset, GI stasis, and so on.
Therefore, whichever way you look at it, bunnies shouldn’t eat any part of the avocado plant or fruit. There isn’t any other way about this plant or its fruit.
Symptoms of avocado toxicity
If your bunny has ingested avocado leaves, bark, seeds, or even flesh, some of the symptoms of toxicosis signs you should expect are:
- Lactating rabbits will suffer from mammary gland epithelial cell hemorrhage and necrosis, as well as mammary gland inflammation and reduced milk production.
- Breathing difficulties or respiratory distress
- Fluids may accumulate around their vital organs, and your bunny may suffer from submandibular edema
- Myocardial necrosis
- Irregular heartbeat rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia)
What to do if your rabbit ate avocado?
If your rabbits ingest only a small amount of avocado leaves, bark, seed, or even fruit and it doesn’t show any of the signs of toxicity, you don’t have to worry.
However, if they consumed a lot, talk to your vet for further treatment or contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
We wouldn’t recommend any decontamination attempts unless you know how to go about it. Bunnies don’t vomit.
Ripe avocado pear is a part of many cuisines and dishes. People eat it as fruit, side dish, or they add it to juices and dessert drinks, milkshakes (like guacamole in Mexico), spread on corn tortillas, combine it with eggs, add it hamburgers and so on.
Nutritionally, it is a good source of monounsaturated fats (oleic acid), especially for people who don’t eat or have access to fatty meats, dairy products, or fish. Also, it moderate in B vitamins, and K and a fair amount of vitamins B, C, E, copper and potassium. These berries also have phytosterols and carotenoids.
In terms of production, Mexico is the leading producer account 34% of the world’s output with the Dominican Republic, Peru, Indonesia, and Colombia are the other notable producers.
Finally, avocado has the A cultivars such as Choquette, Hass, Maluma, Lula, Reed, Pinkerton, and Gwen, B cultivars like Cleopatra, Fuerte, Zutano, Sharwil, Brogden, Bacon, Ettinger, and Monroe. There are also others like Spinks, Challenge, Dickinson, Kist, Queen, Challenge, Rey, Sharpless Taft, and Royal and stoneless or cocktail avocado pits.
All parts of the avocado plant are not safe for rabbits. If you love this fruit, always store it safely and properly dispose of its seed, skin, or any remains from your table. Just because it’s harmful to your bunnies doesn’t mean they will not eat it given a chance.
Additionally, if you have an avocado plant, ensure your bunnies cannot access it, including its leaves that may fall.