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Rabbits are notorious for eating everyday household items like cable wire or houseplants. With dracaena plants proving to be prevalent indoor plants, a natural question you may have is, can rabbits eat dracaena?
Rabbits should not eat dracaena as they are toxic to rabbits if consumed. Side effects include dizziness, diarrhea which can contain blood, vomiting, anxiety, muscle weakness, drooling, and loss of appetite. Avoid keeping dracaena near your rabbits at all costs.
So what should you do if your rabbit has eaten a dracaena plant? And just how toxic is dracaena to rabbits? Keep reading to find out more!
Can rabbits eat dracaena?
Recently, one of my nephews visited my house and bought his new pet rabbit.
Now while I have no problems with rabbits running around the house and garden chewing a wide array of household items, one thing I was a little nervous about was the dracena tree I keep in my living room.
Now I moved the dracaena upstairs, but this still got me thinking, are dracena toxic to rabbits, and do rabbits eat dracena?
I contacted a few plant experts, called a vet, and even asked five plant paladin readers who own rabbits if dracena is toxic.
- Almost all species of dracaena are toxic to rabbits.
- While the severity of toxicity will vary from species to species, avoid keeping your rabbits in the same room or location as dracena.
- Rabbits are no issue at chewing plants and so will happily chew dracena without realizing the plant’s toxicity.
- The main symptoms dracena causes in rabbits are bleeding, diarrhea, gastrointestinal discomfort, loss of appetite, weakness, dizziness, and drooling.
- While rabbits are toxic to dracaena, the symptoms will usually show themselves in the first 6 hours or so of your rabbit consuming dracaena.
- If you feel your rabbit has consumed dracena, call a vet or emergency vet as soon as possible.
What to do if your rabbit eats dracena?
If your rabbit has consumed excessive amounts of dracaena, ensure you call your vet or an emergency vet if you have access to one.
They will be able to diagnose the severity of your rabbit’s reaction to the dracena.
Now I can imagine just how scary it can feel if you think your pet rabbit has consumed a potentially toxic plant and so if you are in an emergency, stop reading this post and get in touch with the following:
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control – 1-888-426-4435
- Pet Poison Helpline – 1-855-764-766
Now even if your rabbit shows no sign or symptoms of being infected by dracaena, I would still get in touch with your vet to be on the safe side.
What are the main symptoms rabbits have if they consume dracaena?
The main symptoms rabbits will have should they consume excessive amounts of dracaena include:
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Diarrhea/ bloody stool
- Vomiting and nausea
- Heavy breathing
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Change in temperement
What type of rabbits are most at risk?
While all rabbits will have an adverse reaction to eating dracena, younger rabbits are more at risk. Kits will be the most at risk due to their size, but smaller rabbit species such as Netherland Dwarf Rabbit breeds are also at risk.
What type of dracaena is toxic to rabbits?
Almost all species of dracena are toxic for rabbits to consume. I would, however, avoid species with dense leaves lower down as these will be more appealing for rabbits to consume.
- Dracaena fragrans
- Dracena draco (dragon tree)
- Dracena Deremensis
- Janet Craig Dracena
- Dracena Fragrans
How toxic is dracena to rabbits?
Most species of dracena will cause some reaction in rabbits.
The exact symptoms, however, tend to vary significantly from rabbit to rabbit.
For example, there have been some anecdotal cases where rabbits eat one to two bites of dracena and have zero side effects.
On the other hand, some rabbits have consumed large amounts of dracena and have had to be rushed to emergency vets.
More often than not, it comes down to two key factors:
- The health of your rabbit
- The amount of dracena consumed.
As mentioned, most side effects will show themselves in your rabbit in about 6 hours of consuming the tree.
If your rabbit is in good health and only has a small amount of dracena, most rabbits seem okay with only mild side effects.
(I would still, however, take your rabbit to the vet to be sure as a disclaimer)
On the other hand, rabbits that consume large amounts of dracaena almost always need to go to the vet or need treatment of some kind, so ensure you do not take any consumption of dracena lightly.
Will rabbits eat dracena
So even though dracena are toxic to rabbits, why do these fury pets eat a plant that can cause severe side effects?
The main reason is that rabbits usually eat the leaves of other plants if they are hungry or thirsty.
If this is the case, ensure you feed and water your rabbit regularly to prevent it from damaging itself.
The second primary reason rabbits might eat dracena is that they are bored.
Rabbits need to be entertained a lot, so they will chew on things if they are not getting attention.
As such, ensure you are entertaining your rabbit and caring for them like any other pet.
How to tell if a rabbit has eaten your dracena?
The telltale sign a rabbit has eaten dracaena are bitemarks on the lower leaves of the tree.
Rabbits can hop around 4 feet high, meaning most indoor dracena are not safe from their big teeth, so you want to pay attention to damaged leaves or leaves with bite marks.
Look for signs of poor health in your rabbits, such as dizziness, nausea, or diarrhea.
If your rabbit shows no signs of illness, monitor your rabbit’s food intake over the next few hours, ensuring it eats hay to help clean out its stomach.
How to prevent rabbits from eating dracaena
So now we know that rabbits will indeed eat dracena and that it can be super toxic to them; what are some quick tips you can follow to prevent rabbits from eating this tree?
In a separate post, I wrote about how to prevent rabbits from eating bonsai trees.
However, you can also use some of the tips on there here.
Grow your dracena outdoors
If you live in a large enough space or are lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, consider growing your dracena outdoors.
Most of you will keep your rabbits indoors or in secure hutches to prevent them from predators such as foxes or birds.
Keeping your dracena outdoors will prevent rabbits from being near your tree.
Move your dracena to a different room
If your rabbits tend to favor certain rooms in your house, then ensure you move your dracaena away from those rooms.
Rabbits are creatures of habit and can be trained to stay away from some regions of your house if need be.
Ensure your rabbit has enough water and food
If your rabbit is hungry or thirsty and is not given adequate nutrition, it will hunt for additional food sources, such as tree leaves.
As a rule of thumb, feed your rabbit 25 grams of food pellets per kilogram of its body weight.
Rabbits are naturally nervous animals at the bottom of almost all food chains.
As such, they can be scared quite easily.
You can use this to your advantage to play sounds from predators like owls near your dracena tree.
You only need to do this for a few days to change your rabbit’s behavior before it stops going near the plant.
Use strong odors
Now there is a reason I’ve put this one last.
Not only will strong odors repel rabbits, but they can also be offputting to people too, especially if your dracena is kept indoors (let’s be honest, most people do)
Plant garlic in the topsoil of your dracena can work to repel rabbits, so experiment with different smells until you figure out what works for your rabbit.
Is dracaena a safe plant for animals?
Dracaena trees and dragon plants are toxic to most pets, such as rabbits, cats, and dogs, and should be avoided if you own pets. These trees can cause upset stomachs, vomiting, dizziness, drooling, and diarrhea in pets if large amounts are consumed.
Finally, to get to the bottom of can rabbits eat dracaena I surveyed five plant paladin readers who own rabbits and dracena.
I asked them if dracena was toxic to rabbits.
Here are the results:
This post was written by Fehed Nicass who has been passionate about bonsai for over 3 years. He currently resides in the UK and works in sales.