Spinach is a leafy green that few rabbits would say ‘no’ to. It may seem to be a fine and natural thing to feed to your bunny. But can rabbits eat spinach without any consequences?
Can rabbits eat spinach? In fact, rabbits can indeed eat spinach. There is a catch, though, spinach contains high amounts of oxalates. These are toxins that occur in spinach naturally. Rabbits digestive systems cannot cope with large amounts of oxalates so feed your rabbit spinach sparingly.
While humans and larger animals will not take harm from such small doses of oxalates, rabbits are much smaller and their digestive systems are far more sensitive. Oxalates can hinder the function of their urinary tract, cause itching of the skin, and become more toxic gradually.
This is why, with spinach especially, you must moderate. You may provide your rabbit with spinach 1-2 times a week. As when introducing any food, observe your bunny for changes healthwise. Start out with tiny pieces to test their tolerance. If all goes well, you may increase to the recommended serving from there.
RABBIT DIET RULES: Every food in the diet of a rabbit must be chosen and administered with a little care.
The general rule is 2 cups of rabbit-approved vegetables and greens, per 6 pounds of bunny, a day. The one food that may be offered without limits, for adult rabbits, is hay. Everything else must be measured accordingly. Luckily, once you know the basics, the ideal diet can be created pretty simply.
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The Digestive System Of A Rabbit Is Very Sensitive
Rabbits look delicate and soft, and they really are. The digestive system of a rabbit operates on a fine balance. They have a unique organ, called the ‘cecum,’ which functions to digest fiber specifically. Fiber should make up most of what rabbits consume daily.
When a rabbit does not get enough fiber in their diet, or if there is an excess of sugar or fat, they will quickly become sick. There is even a risk of a condition called gastrointestinal stasis, which can prove deadly.
Basically, gastrointestinal stasis begins with general digestive upset and ends, if left untreated, with the complete shutdown of the digestive system. This information is not to scare, but to instill some knowledge. A tragedy like this can easily be prevented entirely with a little know-how.
Create A Diet That Includes Greens To Keep Your Rabbit Healthy
Plan the diet of your rabbit so that they get enough fiber, and so that there is not an excess of carbs/sugar, fats or the like. Greens can – and should – absolutely be included in this. Like spinach, there are many greens that rabbits can safely enjoy when they eat them the right way.
Have a look below to learn which greens are rabbit-safe. Find out how often to feed them these, and why.
Like Spinach, Romaine Lettuce is okay for rabbits in small portions
Romaine lettuce is one of the top-recommended greens for rabbits out there. Typically, a rabbit should have a salad a day. Romaine lettuce can make up a decent portion of this. The leaves are rich in fiber and dark with nutrients – great for a bunny.
Read which foods are not so great for your bunny – in fact, they are toxic!
Of course, no greens or food should be fed to your rabbit excessively. Romaine lettuce should make up only a part of the salad for your bunny. There are other greens aplenty.
Diet Fact: While romaine lettuce makes a fine option, iceberg lettuce can harm your bunny.
First off, iceberg lettuce is made up mostly of water, containing little fiber or nutritional value. It should come as no shock that this composition can give rabbits the runs, and generally make them sick.
Worse, iceberg lettuce contains something called ‘lactucarium’, and this is what can hurt your rabbit primarily. In certain amounts, lactucarium can prove toxic to a bunny. It is a sedative that gets them ‘high’, in a sense, in a manner that is really unhealthy. A sedating, malnourishing green like iceberg lettuce is not ideal, clearly.
Iceberg lettuce is not the only green this applies to. A general rule-of-thumb is to avoid light-colored greens entirely. Dark-colored greens, like spinach, have much more fiber and are far more beneficial nutritionally.
Rabbits Like Broccoli Leaves
Broccoli leaves are a wonderful green, and even better than spinach for your bunny. While the stalks and heads of broccoli can give rabbits digestive troubles, the leaves are okay. More than okay, because broccoli leaves are chock-full of fiber and nutrients for your bunny.
Next time you are chopping up some broccoli for a stir fry or snack, consider giving your rabbit some of the leaves. Offering them produce like this is an eco-friendly way to recycle food and make your rabbit happy.
Rabbits Find Dandelion Leaves Tasty
It is no surprise that rabbits find dandelion leaves tasty. After all, in the wild, dandelions grow everywhere. Rabbits no doubt find lots of them to munch on.
When it comes to feeding your rabbit dandelions, make certain that the plant really is a dandelion. Sometimes weeds can be hard to distinguish. Luckily most recognize dandelions fairly easily since they are common even on suburban lawns. The yellow flowers and white seeds are both shaped like pom poms, which is very distinctive.
Always check for pesticides before feeding weeds – or any greens or produce, like spinach – to your bunny. Picking them from your own yard is most wise. This is a lovely way to make use of plants that most might consider useless – one that your rabbit is sure to appreciate.
As a matter of fact, rabbits can consume the flowers of dandelions as well. They seem to really enjoy these. Allow them to have 1-2 flowers, up to 3 times a week.
Dandelions are dark, fibrous, nutritious greens that can be savored by humans and rabbits alike.
Carrot Leaves Are Better Than The Roots For Your Bunny
Contrary to cartoons, carrot roots are not as good for rabbits as the leaves are. Carrots tend to be high in sugar, and they have too much calcium to be healthy for a bunny. As a matter of fact, rabbits do not eat root vegetables naturally. Carrots should be given only as a treat 1-2 times a week, and sparingly.
The leaves, on the other hand, are made up mostly of fiber and nutrients, from which your rabbit can benefit greatly. Like spinach, carrots have leaves that are dark with nutrients and the like.
These are another bit of produce you can use in an eco-friendly way. Offer the leftover leaves to your bunny after chopping carrots for a meal or snack.
Rabbits Can Enjoy Wheatgrass As A Snack
To rabbits, bittersweet wheatgrass is quite savory. They tend to consider the tender green to be a bit of a delicacy. Humans have been reaping the benefits of wheatgrass for some time now. Rabbits can get a nice amount of fiber and nutrients from the green, too.
Feel free to sprinkle some wheatgrass into the salad for your bunny. Your rabbit may favor them and pick them out to eat first, which is cute. Rabbits do indeed have foods and greens that are their favorite. Keep this in mind when offering greens high in oxalic acid like spinach. You would not want your rabbit to eat only spinach leaves. A balanced diet is key. We mix them in wild our staple rabbit pellet food from small pets.
It offers a great balance for your rabbit’s diet and won’t break the bank.
In Moderation Kale Is Fine For Your Bunny
Kale is a dark-leafed green, which indicates its high nutritional value. Rabbits can benefit from this rich plant greatly. However, like spinach, the amount of kale you offer should be moderated carefully. This is because kale, too, contains oxalates.
There is a fine balance between the fiber and vitamins that kale can offer, and the harm it might do in excess. It would be a shame to avoid altogether unless it seems to upset your bunny. Let them give kale a try, just a bit to start, and if they find it agreeable you may offer it 1-2 times weekly.
Hay Is A Fantastic Green Full Of Fiber For Your Bunny
In the wild, rabbits eat primarily hay. This is because the plant is chock-full of fiber, making up 80-90% of their diet naturally. Rabbits also seek out hay because they can find it aplenty. Hay grows in most climates, for a good part of the year, making it readily available for a bunny.
Rabbits are natural grazers. This is in part to keep their digestive system running smoothly, and in part to keep their teeth in check. Rabbit teeth constantly grow.
Grazing allows rabbits to grind their teeth down properly. A strange whim of evolution, but effective as long as your bunny has enough to chew each day. The teeth of your rabbit can otherwise grow in excessive and painful ways. Unlimited hay should be available to your rabbit daily.
As a bonus, hay helps prevent hairballs in your bunny. So, really, a few rabbit requirements are met by hay, making it a staple for rabbits dietarily. The highest recommended hays are Timothy and Oat hay.
We have listed some of the best Hay available online. TOP 3 RABBIT HAYS
Sprouts Are Nutritious And Hydrating To Rabbits
As they age, one of the first health issues animals are prone to experience are those of the kidneys. Proper hydration can stave this off effectively. Sprouts are a nice source of this. With their tender, juicy stalks, sprouts are a definite food to include to hydrate your bunny.
Like many animals, humans included, rabbits obtain a portion of their water each day from produce and other foods that hydrate – such as sprouts.
Not only are sprouts hydrating, they are nutritious, too. Toss a few into your rabbit’s salad and they will thank you kindly.
Rabbit Pellets Are Mostly Made Up Of Fiber And Greens
Finally, your rabbit should obtain some fiber and nutrients from pellets as well. These are made up of greens along with proteins and other things that are necessary. Rabbits should have pellets with hay.
Pellets are listed last since they should make up the smallest part of the diet of your bunny. They should still be included supplementally.
When looking for rabbit pellets, as with any pet food, avoid fillers and look for one of quality. Pellets are typically priced reasonably. They are also a sound investment since, as a small addition, they should last a good while.
Top 5 Rabbit Foods
Conclusion: Can Rabbits Eat Spinach?
As you can see, there really are plenty of greens that rabbits can eat safely. The recommended salad a day, at 2 cups of greens and produce per 6 pounds of rabbit weight, should do wonderfully.
Remember to look for dark leaves, and to avoid light ones. Do not give in to the temptation to feed your rabbit iceberg lettuce. They do like the leaves, but it will still all too easily affect them harmfully. Romaine lettuce will do them much, much more good ultimately.
Indeed, access to fresh, ripe greens – along with fruits and veggies – is, for rabbits, one of the biggest pros of captivity. In the wild, rabbits do well enough foraging for sustenance, but sometimes it is scarce. Sometimes rabbits accidentally eat something toxic and make themselves sick.
Consistent, delicious greens and other foods will give your rabbit feelings of security, and allow them to experience luxury. What more could we hope to give our pets? Along with a home and love.