Has it always been known that you shouldn't give rabbits dairy?

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Space Monkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2021
Reaction score
21 years ago my brother and I stumbled upon some baby cottontails on the walk home from school. In the innocence and stupidity of our youth, we gathered them up and took them home. Mom was naturally upset. For one, we brought wild animals into the house, and for two, she was upset that they would die if we took them back because they now had human scent on them and the mother would reject them. Of course now we know that this is largely a myth, but not everyone knows this, especially back then.

So she decided that we would keep them. She did some research online (couldn't have been much back in the year 2000) and called the local vet. Her research and the vet lead her to believe that we should feed them fruity yogurt, and so we did. They all died, one by one, within what couldn't have been more than a week. We never attributed it to diet, but to stress. If could have been one or the other or both, but eventually this diet would have without a doubt killed them.

When we first got our rabbit about a month ago I remembered this yogurt advice. Thankfully the day we bought her wasn't the day we took her home. We put our money down on her but she wasn't allowed to leave in our possession until Best of Show was over the following day. So I researched all night long about diet, and of course discovered that dairy is an absolute no-go and fruit should be minimal.

Every so often since we've had her I remember those baby cottontails and the yogurt we fed them and their eventual death.

Has it always been know that they shouldn't have dairy, or is this more modern knowledge? I wouldn't say the vet was a bad vet, but they were your typical local cat and dog type of vet and probably were trying to give the best advice and just didn't know for sure.


Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Sep 10, 2012
Reaction score
Utah, , USA
The yogurt belief still exists in some circles today, so it's not just in times past. You'll even find yogurt drops marketed towards rabbits at stores. Problem is that rabbits lack the microflora and enzymes to digest dairy, as well as the excess sugars being an issue. Baby rabbits are even more vulnerable to the problems these foods can create.

I think as rabbits have become more of a common household pet and not just considered farm animals, more has been learned about them and what the best diet is to keep them at optimal health. Also as household pets, they are often living longer now, and they're more often taken to a vet when problems arise. So more knowledge is gained from when these health problems occur, and that is then passed through the veterinary community.


Potato Artist
Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2021
Reaction score
Chibi's World, Eastern USA
Baby wild cottons are also different from other rabbits. Yes, the dairy thing was definitely a bad thing. But it would have been better to contact a wildlife expert at the time. Being kids, I can understand not knowing this at the time.


Active Member
Aug 16, 2021
Reaction score
I would never give dairy to my bun, because they can not process it, it can also cause illness and diarrhea.

Latest posts