Rabbits are voracious eaters and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet. While a rabbit’s diet should be predominantly fresh hay and water, 10 to 20% of its diet can include fresh foods that humans eat, such as fruits and veggies.
Rabbits enjoy fresh fruits and veggies, such as blueberries, arugula, basil, cilantro, endives, carrots and carrot tops, apples and most dark leafy vegetables. Fresh foods that are safe for rabbits are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins while being relatively low in sugar and acid.
Fresh foods should always be rotated so that your rabbit is fed a wide spectrum of nutrients. All rabbits are different, and some may not be able to tolerate certain fruits and veggies. Always give a tiny amount to your pet and wait 24 hours for any signs of soft poo or diarrhea.
Human Foods That Are Safe for Rabbits
|Food Type||Important Nutrients for Rabbits|
|Carrots (and carrot tops)||Fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, thiamin, potassium, niacin, and manganese|
|Dark Lettuce||Fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate.|
|Celery||Folic acid, potassium, calcium and vitamins B1, B2, and B6.|
|Cilantro||Thiamin, zinc, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, iron, calcium, and potassium.|
|Lemon Balm||Polyphenols and tannins.|
|Broccoli Leaves||Fiber, folate, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, calcium, and selenium.|
|Kale||Vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium, iron, and calcium.|
|Blueberries||Water, fiber, and antioxidants.|
|Bok Choy||Fiber, folate, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, and calcium.|
|Basil||Vitamin A and K, and magnesium|
|Arugula||Calcium, folic acid, and fiber.|
|Bell Peppers||Vitamin A and water.|
|Asparagus||Vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as folate, and chromium.|
|Apples||Water, fiber, B-complex vitamins, and antioxidants.|
|Endives||Beta carotene, vitamin E, riboflavin, folate, and potassium.|
What Human Foods Can Rabbits Eat?
While hay should make up 80 to 90% of a rabbit’s diet, fresh foods are also crucial for your pet’s health. Fresh foods, such as vegetables and fruits, add moisture to a rabbit’s diet. This is beneficial for bladder and kidney health.
About 75% of your rabbit’s fresh food intake should be made up of leafy greens; the remaining should be reserved for treats, such as berries and apples.
Keep in mind how delicate their stomachs are. Even though some foods are safe for humans, they can be toxic to rabbits. Therefore, when in doubt, don’t let your rabbit eat it.
Rabbits have powerful taste buds, and they love to eat. They are often willing to try anything, even if it is poisonous, so it’s your job to protect them from harm.
We all know that rabbits love carrots, but entire carrots aren’t recommended because of their high sugar content. Rabbits often gravitate towards sweeter foods, such as carrots but it’s crucial to offer them only in moderation or as a treat.
Too much carrot can contribute to obesity and digestive issues in rabbits. When given as a treat, carrots can offer a healthy dose of vitamin A. Vitamin A is excellent for eye health and is highly recommended in a rabbit’s diet.
Carrot tops or leaves, on the other hand, can be offered more freely to rabbits. Carrot tops are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, thiamin, potassium, niacin, and manganese. The same goes for radishes. Radishes are too rich in sugar for rabbits, but their leaves can be an excellent source of fiber and other micronutrients.
Avoid giving your rabbits any roots from the carrots as the roots are also high in sugar.
When giving your adult rabbit carrot tops, be sure to include it in the mix of 3-6 different vegetables that it should be fed every day.
Opt for darker, leafier and more fibrous varieties of lettuce, such as romaine lettuce. These are often slightly higher in fiber and rich in nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate. They’re extremely low in calories, so they won’t make your rabbit overweight and offer a decent amount of hydration as well.
This may be surprising for most owners, but you must steer clear of light-colored lettuce, especially iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce contains a chemical called lactucarium, which can be toxic for rabbits if ingested. Iceberg and most light-colored lettuces are also nutritionally deficient and mostly contain water.
With any safe lettuce for rabbits, it is important to introduce it gradually to avoid digestive issues. If your rabbit isn’t used to lettuce, large quantities of it can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.
Celery stalks are a great source of folic acid, potassium, calcium and vitamins B1, B2 and B6. They are safe for rabbits and can be offered as part of their daily fresh food intake.
Celery contains phytochemical compounds that can lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, and even prevent cancer. Celery is also an excellent source of water for rabbits.
Rabbits can also eat celery tops and celery leaves without any issues. Most bunnies love them. As with any vegetable, you want to make sure you don’t overdo celery stalks and celery leaves. Offer celery in moderation and switch fresh foods frequently so that your rabbit receives a broad spectrum of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Make sure you wash your celery and celery tops thoroughly before offering it to your rabbit. Celery can be exposed to large amounts of pesticides and chemicals, so it’s always best to be cautious.
Monitor your rabbit every time you give it a new food to see if there are any digestive issues. Stop giving your rabbits celery or celery leaves if they cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea and stomach upset.
Cilantro (coriander) is a safe herb for rabbits because of its high vitamin and mineral content.
Cilantro is a low-calorie fresh food for rabbits, that’s also rich in thiamin, zinc, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, iron, calcium, and potassium.
Cilantro is also an excellent source of heart-healthy magnesium for rabbits. According to Nutrition Research, a deficiency in magnesium can lead to the build-up of plaque around the heart. This is a condition called atherosclerosis.
Cilantro has a strong flavor. T, therefore you should feed it to your rabbit in small portions. See if your pet gets used to it and wait 24 hours before introducing cilantro to its diet again. If you notice anything wrong with your rabbit after feeding it cilantro, stop giving your pet this herb immediately.
5) Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is not only safe for rabbits, but it’s also recommended to keep their health in check.
Lemon balm has powerful viral and antibacterial properties. It’s rich in polyphenols and tannins and also helps relieve gas, bloating, diarrhea, stress, and anxiety in bunnies.
Once you’ve fed your rabbit a little bit of lemon balm, see if your pet likes it. Next, look out for any problems for the next 48 hours. If your rabbit doesn’t show any unusual signs, you can offer lemon balm to your pet every day.
6) Broccoli Leaves
Broccoli leaves are an excellent fresh food choice for your rabbit because it is low in calories and packed with fiber. Broccoli leaves can Hbe included in the 75% allocated for leafy greens for rabbits.
Broccoli leaves are considered as a modern superfood for humans and rabbits alike. They’re rich in folate, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, calcium, and selenium.
Just be sure to combine broccoli leaves with other leafy greens so that your rabbit can get a wide range of nutrients.
People often throw the center part of the pineapple away, but that’s the region most abundant in an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain can relieve diarrhea in rabbits and reduce the release of intestinal fluid.
Bromelain is also known for improving hairballs and is especially beneficial when given to rabbits during molting.
Always offer fresh pineapple centers instead of frozen pineapple because the former has more active forms of the enzyme. As with any fruit, offer pineapple in small quantities as a treat.
Pineapple has a high sugar content, and too much of it can cause obesity, diarrhea, and digestive issues in pets. Pineapple is also an acidic fruit so it can harm your rabbit’s teeth if taken in excess.
It is rich in vitamin A, which helps protect vision and improve skin and fur health. Kale is also rich in vitamin C and K, however, rabbits produce their own vitamin C, so they don’t need much of it from their diet. Vitamin C supports a rabbit’s immune system and ensures your pet is always hydrated.
Kale is also packed in other vital nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Although kale is a nutrient powerhouse for humans, it should only be offered as a treat to rabbits. Too much kale or any other cruciferous vegetable can cause uncomfortable bloating, gas, and diarrhea in rabbits.
You must never give rabbits any fruit that contains seeds. However, the seeds in blueberries are so tiny that they are likely to not cause any harm to your pet rabbit’s digestive health. If you want to be on the safe side, you can remove the seeds from fresh blueberries and only feed the pulp.
Blueberries make excellent treats for rabbits. They can be fed by hand to improve your relationship and bonding with your pet.
Blueberries are rich in minerals and antioxidants that support cell repair and brain health. Unlike most fruits, blueberries have a low glycemic index. In other words, they are low in sugar and will provide a steady release of energy.
Of course, blueberries are still considered as treats for rabbits so you must never overdo them despite the health benefits. You don’t need to feed your rabbit an entire bowl of blueberries. 1-2 blueberries can make an excellent snack for a pet rabbit.
Always choose fresh blueberries over frozen ones. Be sure to wash the berries thoroughly before giving them to your rabbit. If your rabbit starts having diarrhea, stop offering it blueberries and talk to your vet as soon as possible.
10) Bok Choy
Bok choy has low levels of oxalic acid and is, therefore, more suitable for adult rabbits after they reach six months of age. Before 6 months, rabbits should never be given fresh foods.
Bok choy can have harmful pesticides and chemicals. According to the Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, permethrins are a type of pesticide that can be lethal to rabbits and can cause neurological issues when ingested.
Therefore, always wash the leaves carefully, preferably soaking them in water for 1-2 hours before offering them to your pet.
Oatmeal is cheap, easily available, quick to digest and helps control rising insulin levels. It also reduces the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. It’s ideal for underweight rabbits.
Rescues and animal shelters commonly feed oatmeal to underweight rabbits to bring them back to normal health and weight quickly.
However, if you have a normal weight rabbit, chances are it doesn’t need any oatmeal. Oatmeal is rich in calories and an adult rabbit should be fed a low calorie, high fiber diet. Feeding too much oatmeal to rabbits can cause them to become overweight. This can lead to heart and lung issues, diabetes, and fatty liver disease in severer cases.
It’s also important to remember that you must never feed rabbit cooked oatmeal or any cooked food. Cooked oatmeal is rich in starch and can cause digestive issues in rabbits. It’s healthier to feed your adult rabbit just a few grains of raw rolled oats, just as a treat.
Only give your rabbit oatmeal if it is underweight. If your rabbit has a healthy weight, just a little bit of rolled oats occasionally can make a delicious treat.
Basil has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can be safely given to rabbits. It’s easily digested in a rabbit’s stomach and is rich in calcium, and vitamin K. Basil is also packed with flavonoids that protect the rabbit’s body from damage caused by metabolic waste.
As with any fresh food, you must rotate basil with other fresh herbs and vegetables.
Arugula is a dark green salad vegetable that can be found in almost all grocery stores and supermarkets.
Arugula is a rich source of calcium, which promotes stronger bones and teeth in rabbits. It’s also rich in folic acid, or vitamin B9, which helps prevent heart disease in rabbits.
According to the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, folic acid is an essential nutrient that should be included in a rabbit’s diet via plenty of leafy greens.
Arugula also contains small amounts of protein, fiber, and water. Feed your rabbit small amounts of arugula 2-3 times a week. Avoid feeding too much arugula as this can lead to a dangerous increase in calcium levels in the body.
14) Bell Peppers
Rabbits are quite fond of sweet food. Sweet veggies such as green, yellow, orange, and red peppers can be moderately given to rabbits. Although they’re sweet, they’re pretty low in sugar and excess calories.
Always remove the seeds and core before feeding your rabbit bell pepper. Although the seeds and core are not toxic, they don’t offer any nutritional benefit to your rabbit.
Chances are your rabbit’s digestive tract will not be able to break the core and seeds down, leading to a blockage. This is rare but can be potentially life-threatening in rabbits.
Therefore, your best bet would be to feed your rabbit the flesh of a bell pepper only.
If you are growing bell peppers in your yard, you may be wondering if you can feed your rabbit pepper leaves. You must never feed your rabbit any leaf that belongs to the nightshade family. This includes peppers and tomatoes. It’s best to fence off nightshade vegetables from rabbits.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all peppers are equal. Jalapeno peppers and other hot or spicy peppers are not tolerated by rabbits.
Asparagus is high in water and fiber, and low in calories. Therefore, it makes an excellent snack.
Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as folate, and chromium. Chromium is a trace mineral that improves insulin’s ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.
Always feed your rabbits asparagus in moderation and rotate the veggies you offer. Rabbits like to have something new every day. To keep them interested and to ensure they’re getting all their nutrients in, it is important to mix it up every now and then.
Apples make excellent treats for rabbits because they’re rich in fiber and antioxidants. They’re also rich in calcium, phytonutrients, potassium and B-complex vitamins.
According to the Journal of Nutrition, too little vitamin B-6 in a rabbit’s diet can affect its growth rate and cause mild anemia, scaly skin, and convulsions. In severe cases, vitamin B6 deficiency can even lead to sudden paralytic collapse.
Apples are high in sugar and are pretty acidic. Therefore, it is best to offer them in moderation. Ideally, you should be feeding your rabbit only 1-2 tablespoons of fruit per day, or 1-2 slices of apples per week.
When feeding apples, always leave the skin on as that’s where most of the nutrients are found. Make sure you remove the stem, seeds, and core as they contain cyanide. In larger quantities, cyanide can lead to diarrhea, stomach upset, convulsions, and even death in rabbits.
Endives are an excellent source of beta carotene, vitamin E, riboflavin, folate, and potassium. They also contain decent amounts of iron, calcium, and magnesium, which support growth and bone health in rabbits.
Endives are rich in B vitamins, which make them excellent for liver health for rabbits. Just be sure to mix endives up with the other fresh foods you offer to your pet rabbit.
Rabbit’s Stomach Doesn’t Tolerate Fruits and Vegetables
If your rabbit does not tolerate fresh foods or vegetables, it is not a cause for concern. Hay, which should make up 80 to 90% of your rabbit’s diet is rich in vitamins A and D, along with protein, calcium, and other vital nutrients. You don’t have to worry about your rabbit’s vitamin C intake either. Unlike humans who obtain vitamin C from their diet, rabbits produce their own vitamin C naturally.
Furthermore, you always have the option of introducing pellets to your rabbit’s diet.
When it comes to a baby rabbit’s diet, a good time to include vegetables in their diet is when they’re over 6 to 8 weeks old. Before you introduce any type of fresh food to your rabbit’s diet, you should make sure that it eats some grass hay for at least 2 weeks.
Always introduce new foods to your rabbit’s diet slowly so that its body has enough time to adjust. 12 hours after eating new food is enough to identify whether your rabbit tolerates a type of fresh food. If your rabbit doesn’t tolerate a vegetable or fruit, it will produce loose stools or have diarrhea.
If your rabbit has an adverse reaction to any new food, take it away immediately and try an alternative. Always wait 6 days before trying something new again.
You also don’t want to chop your rabbit’s veggies too much. Rabbits prefer to gnaw at whole pieces as it helps them wear down their teeth. However, with veggies like celery, it’s best to cut them down to smaller pieces to prevent choking from strings. Rabbits are unable to vomit.