March 19-25, 2023 is National Pet Poison Prevention Week. While this most likely brings to mind dogs eating human medication off a countertop or consuming a dangerous amount of chocolate, there are several things rabbit guardians should be aware of that are toxic to rabbits!
Rodenticides are pesticides that kill rodents, and should be kept away from rabbits, whether in bait or trap form. Depending on the type, mouse and rat baits can cause bleeding, kidney failure, seizures, or even death in pets, including rabbits. For 17 states, including California, the most common pet toxin that people contact the Pet Poison Hotline about is rat bait, according to the ASPCA. Keep rodenticides far away from rabbits, including areas they might exercise in, and consider more humane methods of rodent control.
If your rabbit has mites or flea, never use Frontline on them. Frontline (fipronil) has been linked to neurological damage and death in rabbits, although this product is apparently safe for dogs and cats. The manufacturer (Merial) has placed a warning on the Frontline label stating that Frontline should never be used on rabbits. Safe treatments to prevent and kill fleas on rabbits include Advantage (imidocloprid), Program (lufenuron), and Revolution (selamectin). Learn more at rabbit.org/faq-grooming.
Toxic plants most often cause nausea, but may result in death. Don’t assume that if a bird, squirrel, or pig ate a plant without any problems, others (rabbit or human) can do the same. Common toxic plants and plant parts include agave leaves, apple seeds, buttercup leaves, daffodils, holly (berries), hyacinths, irises, mistletoe (berries), sweet potato, and tomato (leaves). Learn more at rabbit.org/poisonous-plants. Research any plant before bringing it home. Be mindful of where in your home it’s placed, and whether your rabbit can access it or its branches or leaves should they fall onto the ground.
As rabbit guardians know very well, rabbits are determined to find trouble and more often than not will chew and eat things they shouldn’t! Be aware of what items you leave lying around your home, in places where a bunny might reach or hop up onto. Keep cabinets with household cleaning chemicals shut and secured away from your rabbit. Home improvement projects can expose your rabbit to potential toxins like paint or spackle. While accidents can always happen, the less accessible potentially dangerous items are, the less likely your rabbit is to get into them!