Got allergies around a rabbit? Look at the rabbit’s food first

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Got allergies around a rabbit? Look at the rabbit’s food first

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

I just read your piece on adopting rabbits. Another issue worth mentioning which my family encountered is allergies to Timothy hay. My husband had to wear arm-length rubber gloves when handling the hay, and the dust kept us sneezing. Rabbits eat a ton of hay, so if you’re sensitive to it, think twice.

— Chris, Manhasset, New York

Dear Chris,

Some people think if they sneeze or have a runny nose, they might be allergic to their rabbit. But in many instances, people with seasonal allergies may be allergic to their rabbit’s food instead.

Timothy hay is an important food source for the digestive health of small pets, like rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas. But, it’s also a trigger for people with seasonal grass allergies. So, rabbits and other small animals, who eat Timothy hay, may not be a good fit for every home. 

Kudos to your husband for finding a way to avoid contact with the hay while still providing your rabbit with proper nutrition.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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