If your rabbit loves its herbs, you may be wondering what is and is not safe to give to it. Rabbits have somewhat delicate digestive systems, so it is important to do thorough research into what they can eat.
Cilantro is among the herbs that are safe for rabbits. It is commonly available in stores, and reasonably easy to grow in your own garden, so it’s a good choice for bunny owners that want to give their rabbits a wide selection of foods.
Is Cilantro Good For Your Rabbit?
Cilantro offers a few valuable properties, including:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
It also contains some vitamin K and vitamin E.
Some studies show that cilantro may be able to reduce inflammation, because it binds to molecules that can promote inflammation (known as free radicals). It can therefore help your rabbit to feel better after an injury.
Talk to your vet about this, and find out whether they think it could help.
It is also thought to lower blood sugar levels, which could make your pet healthier. Further studies are needed, specifically on the effects of cilantro on rabbits (rather than people), but on the whole, this is a good herb to offer on occasion, as part of a balanced diet.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that feeding a rabbit cilantro can help to reduce bloating, but if your bunny already has an upset stomach, be careful about quantities and do not feed it large amounts of any food without talking to your vet first.
How Much Cilantro Should I Give To My Rabbit?
Moderation is key when it comes to feeding rabbits any “treat” food, and they need to get most of their nutrition from hay or grass. Around ninety percent of a rabbit’s diet should come from one of these two sources, with other foods being given in small quantities and as treats only.
How much cilantro you can feed your rabbit will depend on how many other treats you offer to it. A portion of cilantro would usually be about half a handful of freshly washed leaves. If you have a larger rabbit, you can go up to a whole handful, but not more.
If you are feeding your rabbit a lot of other vegetables at the same time, don’t give it as much cilantro. While rabbits do enjoy greenery, they must eat mostly grass, or their digestive systems will start to suffer.
As an approximate guide, the amount of treats you feed to your rabbit in one day should be less than the size of its head. A small rabbit needs fewer treats than a large rabbit.
How Should I Prepare Cilantro?
All leafy greens should be washed before they are offered to the rabbit. This helps to remove dirt and pesticides. If possible, feed your rabbit organic cilantro, or grow your own at home so that you know it is free from chemicals.
Remove any leaves that have wilted or turned brown; these could make your rabbit sick. Only give it fresh cilantro.
You do not need to remove the stalks of the cilantro, but do not give your rabbit the roots. These may be fine, but it is better to stick to the stems and leaves only, as these are known to be safe.
Should I Give My Rabbit Cilantro Every Day?
No, do not give your rabbit any kind of food (besides grass, hay, and pellets) on a daily basis. It is important to keep rotating fruits, vegetables, and greens, and cilantro is no exception to this.
Rabbits benefit from eating a very varied diet. They get nutrients from all sorts of different foods, and they should not be eating the same things over and over again. This is not good for their physical health, but there is also a high risk that they will get bored and go off cilantro entirely.
Try to keep changing the greens that you offer to your rabbit. There are so many healthy options out there, you don’t need to limit yourself to just cilantro. The more varied your rabbit’s diet is, the healthier and happier your rabbit will be.
What If My Rabbit Does Not Eat Cilantro?
Most rabbits love cilantro, because it has a strong taste and it is very good for them. However, a few bunnies do not seem to enjoy this herb – all rabbits have different preferences. If your rabbit rejects and ignores cilantro leaves, don’t worry about it.
Simply remove them from the dish and try again in a week or two. Your rabbit may change its mind, but if it doesn’t, look for foods it does enjoy.
You don’t have to feed your rabbit cilantro to keep it healthy. However, you should remove any leaves that are no longer fresh from the cage; your rabbit will not and should not eat them later.
What Happens If I Feed My Rabbit Too Much Cilantro?
If you have accidentally overfed your rabbit on cilantro, the best thing to do is to keep an eye on it for signs of distress. In general, a rabbit’s digestive system will cope well with this herb, but if you notice changes to its poop or if it seems lethargic, you may want to contact your vet.
You should also do this if your rabbit seems reluctant to eat and disinterested in its food, including grass. This could indicate that it has an upset stomach and it is feeling uncomfortable.
If your rabbit is struggling to poop or its droppings are very runny or very hard, you should talk to the vet. These issues may resolve themselves as the rabbit’s digestion processes the cilantro and returns to normal, but it’s still a good idea to check with an expert just in case.
Cilantro is a great way to give your rabbit variety in its diet. It offers numerous health benefits, and most rabbits really enjoy it. Make sure that you thoroughly wash cilantro and remove any slimy or brown leaves before offering the bunch to your rabbit, as these could make it sick.