Rabbits are herbivores, and their diet should consist mostly of hay and fresh water. Hay should represent about 75 to 80 percent of their diet, and you should supplement it with a variety of greens. You can also give them other fresh vegetables and fruits, but in moderation.
Have you ever wondered what does a rabbit eat? These small animals can have sensitive stomachs, so you need to give them the right nutrition. The right mix of greens and vegetables will keep your bunny happy and thriving.
Well walk you through all you need to know about your rabbit’s diet—the dos, the don’ts, and the ones to eat in moderation.
What Do Rabbits Eat
Many new pet owners wondering what rabbits eat are surprised to find out the main food in a rabbit’s diet should actually be hay! It’s their most natural food and where most of their fiber and calories should come from.
Rabbits need hay for their digestion. Their teeth will also have to work to chew on hay, which prevents overgrowth and other dental issues.
They’re also grazers, which means that they need all the time. Make sure your rabbit always has access to grass hay and plenty of fresh water.
Still, your rabbit may not be able to consume as much hay as they would in nature. You should supplement with leafy greens and timothy hay pellets, other vegetables and, occasionally, fruits.
Many of the bunny favorites are also high in pesticides, so wash your vegetables well and opt for organic whenever you can.
Always introduce new vegetables to your rabbit gradually to avoid upsetting their stomach.
Foods Rabbits Can Have Every Day
These are the best options of food you can give rabbits on a daily basis to supplement hay.
- Bok choy: Bok choy and other dark, leafy greens are actually the highest in nutrition.
- Carrot tops: Most people throw out carrot tops, but they’re tasty and nutritious, for humans and your fluffy friend.
- Romaine lettuce: A leafy green you can find in most grocery stores, this lettuce is also great for your bunny.
- Mustard greens: This vegetable is full of fiber and micronutrients, including calcium and iron. Mustard greens are also full of vitamins, from A to K.
- Endives: This lettuce relative is great for rabbits and full of vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate.
- Brussels sprouts: You can also feed your rabbit brussels sprouts. Just make sure they don’t have too much, as this vegetable may cause some painful gas.
- Herbs: Cilantro, parsley, mint and basil are nutritious and tasty options for a bunny.
Rabbits need variety in the nutrients they eat. Try to give them three different types of greens every day and vary from week to week.
Foods to Feed Your Rabbit in Moderation
You can give your rabbit other vegetables and fruit as a treat, but it’s key to remember that their primary food should be hay and other greens. You can feed your rabbit small amounts of other vegetables every day, but keep it limited and varied.
You should only give fruit to your rabbit in small quantities a couple of times a week. Lots of sugar will not only make them chubby and be bad for their overall health, it can also give them dental issues.
- Bell peppers.
Take out any seeds and stems from the fruits and vegetables you give your pet. Some seeds can be toxic, and others may cause digestive discomfort. Either way, it’s best not to give them to a small bunny.
Foods to Give Your Rabbit as Treats
Some foods are best as occasional treats, not as a part of their daily or weekly diet. These include freeze-dried fruits or other sugary treats. You can also buy them rabbit treats at a pet store, but processed treats are never ideal. It’s best to keep your rabbit’s nutrition as natural as possible.
Foods Rabbits Can’t Eat
Never give your rabbit these foods, as they might be bad for their sensitive tummies.
- Chocolate: Never give chocolate to a household animal, either a rabbit or a cat or dog. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic for many pets, especially in large amounts.
- Walnuts: Nuts are much too high in fat for a rabbit, and low in fiber, which makes them far from an ideal treat for your pet.
- Avocados: This fruit is very high in fat and can even be toxic for your rabbit.
- Bread and grains: High-carb foods, from bread to cereal and grains, are not ideal.
- Meat: Rabbits are herbivores, which means that they should never feed them meat of any kind.
- Dairy: Milk, yogurt drops or other dairy products aren’t good for your bunny. Adult rabbits don’t have the intestinal bacteria to digest them, so you’ll give them serious discomfort.
- Rhubarb: The delicious plant is safe for humans, but toxic to rabbits.
- Iceberg lettuce: Never feed this lettuce to a rabbit. It contains a chemical called lactucarium that can be toxic for them.
- Potato: Potatoes have too much starch and are not suitable for a rabbit’s diet. Limit starchy vegetables in general to keep your pet healthy.
Can Rabbits Eat Grapes?
Yes, rabbits can have grapes, but in small quantities. Grapes are not toxic for a rabbit, but they are loaded with sugar, so only keep them as treats.
Can Rabbits Eat Celery?
Yes, rabbits can have celery, and they enjoy it. Celery is a great high-fiber addition to a rabbit diet. It does tend to be high in pesticides, so wash your produce carefully and opt for organic whenever you can.
Can Rabbits Eat Apples?
Yes, rabbits can have apples in moderation, and without seeds and stems. You can also slice your apples and dry them in the oven for a delicious treat for humans and bunnies.
Can Rabbits Eat Tomatoes?
Yes, tomatoes are safe for rabbits, but remove all the stems and seeds. As a fruit, the tomato is also high in sugar, so you shouldn’t make it a staple in a diet for rabbits.
Can Rabbits Eat Cucumbers?
Yes, cucumbers are fine for rabbits, but in moderation. Cucumbers aren’t high in nutritional value, but they are high in water and might cause your rabbit to have loose stool. It’s best to give your bunny cucumber in the summer months, when they need the extra hydration.
Can Rabbits Eat Strawberries?
Yes, but no more than one medium-sized strawberry in a day and only occasionally. Strawberries are high in sugar, so they’re best as treats and in small amounts.
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon?
Yes, watermelon is a popular rabbit treat that’s also incredibly hydrating. Watermelon is 91% water, but it’s also high in sugar, so it’s best to serve it in moderation.
Can Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
Yes and no. Broccoli is not directly toxic to a rabbit, but it can cause indigestion and bloating. If your bunny eats lots of broccoli, this bloating can even get serious.
Can Rabbits Eat Cabbage?
Yes, rabbits can have all types of cabbages. Cabbage is also full of fiber and micronutrients, but it can give your bunny some gas. To be on the safe side, start introducing cabbage slowly into their diet.
Can Rabbits Eat Asparagus?
Rabbits can have asparagus, and it’s high in fiber and vitamins. Asparagus is also high in fiber and water. Just keep it in moderation and switch up the veggies.
Can Rabbits Eat Kale?
You can feed a rabbit kale and spinach, but in moderation. These leafy vegetables are amazing nutritional powerhouses, but they can give your bunny some gas. They also contain high amounts of oxalate, which may be toxic over time.
Can Rabbits Eat Carrots?
Yes, carrots are fine, but in moderation. We associate bunnies with carrots thanks to cartoons and conventional wisdom, but these root vegetables are too high in sugar to be their primary food source. You can keep carrots as a healthy addition to a rabbit diet, just don’t overdo it.
Can Rabbits Eat Radishes?
Yes, rabbits can have radishes and radish leaves, but in moderation and preferably not every day. Radishes also have a strong flavor, so not every bunny will love these vegetables.
Can Rabbits Eat Zucchini?
Yes, they can, but as with all fresh vegetables, it shouldn’t be their main source of calories. Zucchini is also high in water, so to avoid digestive issues and loose stool keep it moderate.
Can Rabbits Eat Cauliflower?
Cauliflower can be tough for your rabbit to digest and can give them lots of uncomfortable gas. Some advise against cauliflower, others consider it fine in moderation. If you want to err on the safe side, keep cauliflower to a minimum.
The most important thing to remember when looking for foods for rabbits is that grass hay should be their primary food. It should represent around 75 to 80 percent of their diet, and be supplemented with fresh, leafy greens and pellets.
Other vegetables and fruits are great in moderation, but keep everything sugary as an occasional treat to give your rabbit the best possible nutrition. Also, remember to mix it up as much as you can!