What Kind of Treats Are Safe and Healthy for Rabbits?

Treat time is one of the best parts of the day for both rabbit owners and their bunnies. But with so many potential snack options out there, how do you know what’s truly safe and healthy for your floofy friend? From fruits and veggies to store-bought nibbles and DIY creations, not all treats are created equal. Join us as we hop down the rabbit trail of nutritious, delicious snacks your rabbit will love. We’ll explore the healthiest produce picks, homemade hay treats that are fun to bake, and creative ways to serve dried herbs and flowers. We’ll also outline harmful foods to avoid, because while bunnies may beg for a taste, some snacks spells trouble. Get ready to discover the very best and worst treats for a happy, healthy rabbit!

How many treats can a rabbit have?

Rabbits love treats, but too many treats can lead to obesity and other health issues. As a general guideline, rabbits should get no more than 1 tablespoon of treats per 2 lbs of body weight per day. A few pieces of fruit or veggie or a small handful of pellets is plenty for most rabbits.

It's best to give treats in moderation and reserve them for training purposes. Treats should make up no more than 10% of a rabbit's daily calorie intake. The other 90% should come from unlimited hay and limited pellets.

Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems, so introducing new treats slowly and monitoring for any signs of GI upset is important. Diarrhea or other symptoms mean it's best to eliminate that treat.

When giving multiple types of treats, divide up the allotted daily quantity. For example, if your 5 lb bunny can have 2.5 tablespoons of treats per day, you could give 1 tbsp of banana chips, 1 tbsp of carrots pieces, and 0.5 tbsp of dried papaya over the course of the day.

It's also best to give treats separately from main meals. Treats are best used as periodic reinforcements during playtime or training sessions. Offering treats right after the main feeding time can lead to your rabbit filling up on the treats and not eating enough hay or pellets.

The following tips can help keep treat time fun and healthy:

  • Stick to the 1 tbsp per 2 lbs of body weight guide for daily treat quantity.

  • Introduce new treats gradually to check for tolerability.

  • Separate treat time from main meals.

  • Use most treats for periodic reinforcement and training.

  • Avoid excessive calories by substituting lower calorie veggies for starchy fruits orCommercial treats.

  • Provide plenty of exercise to balance occasional treat calories.

  • Monitor your rabbit's weight and health and adjust treats if needed.

Following these guidelines will help ensure your bunny enjoys treats safely as part of a balanced diet. Check with your rabbit savvy vet if you have any concerns about appropriate treats and quantities for your pet.

Fruits and vegetables that are safe for rabbits

Many fruits and vegetables are safe and healthy options for rabbit treats. Here are some of the best fruits and veggies to offer:

  • Banana – Small slices are safe for most rabbits. High in natural sugar so give sparingly.

  • Blueberries – Loaded with antioxidants and bunnies love them. Rinse well.

  • Raspberries/blackberries – Full of fiber and low calorie. Rinse off before feeding.

  • Apple – A classic favorite, cut into slices or small chunks. Avoid seeds.

  • Mango – High in vitamins A and C. Chop flesh into chunks.

  • Melon – Cantaloupe and honeydew contain lots of water. Feed small cubes.

  • Pear – A sweet treat that's low in calories. Cut off the stem and seeds.

  • Peach – Juicy and sweet flesh. Make sure it's ripe and pitted.

  • Plums – Fleshy and full of vitamins. Remove the pit first.

  • Papaya – A tropical treat packed with nutrients like vitamin C. Chop into pieces before serving.

  • Pineapple -Contains vitamin C and antioxidants. Avoid the prickly outer skin.

  • Apricots – Sweet and juicy stone fruit. Be sure to remove the pit first.

  • Cherries – Full of antioxidants but limit due to sugar content. Pit first.

  • Strawberries – Packed with vitamin C and fiber. Rinse and hull before feeding.

  • Raspberries – Low in calories and high in antioxidants. Rinse before serving.

  • Blueberries – Rich in antioxidants. Rinse thoroughly as they can contain trace pesticides.

  • Cucumber – A hydrating, low-calorie choice. Cut or shave into thin pieces. Remove the skin and seeds first.

  • Bell peppers – Rich in vitamin C. Core and seed first, then chop into small pieces.

  • Carrots – Crunchy, sweet, and packed with vitamin A. Shred or cut into small chunks.

  • Broccoli – A healthy green veggie. Chop the florets into bunny-sized pieces.

  • Kale – Packed with vitamins and minerals. Chop finely or massage leaves to soften them before feeding.

  • Arugula – Leafy green with a peppery zing. Rinse and chop first.

  • Bok choy – A member of the cabbage family. Rinse and chop the crunchy stems and leaves.

  • Brussels sprouts – High in fiber and nutrients. Shred the leaves or cut sprouts into quarters.

  • Green beans – A crunchy choice rabbits enjoy. Remove ends and chop into small pieces.

  • Asparagus – Contains vitamin K, folate, and antioxidants. Chop into short pieces.

When introducing any new fruit or vegetable, start with just a taste and monitor your rabbit's droppings and appetite to make sure it agrees with their digestive system before offering more. Rotate through a variety of produce for diversity.

Healthy leafy greens

Leafy greens make excellent low calorie, high fiber treats for rabbits. They provide key nutrients and help round out your bunny's diet. Here are some of the best options:

  • Romaine lettuce – Very popular with rabbits. Rinse and dry thoroughly before feeding leaves whole or chopped.

  • Green/red leaf lettuce – Also liked by most buns. Rinse, dry, and tear or chop leaves.

  • Chicory greens – Tasty leaves related to endive and escarole.

  • Cilantro– The leaves and stems of this fresh herb are packed with flavor and nutrients. Rinse well before feeding.

  • Basil– Another herb bunnies enjoy. Rinse and pat dry before offering leaves.

  • Arugula– Has a pleasant peppery taste rabbits like. Feed young leaves in moderation.

  • Mustard greens – Spicy green with lots of vitamin K. Chop leaves before feeding.

  • Spinach– Packed with nutrients but also oxalic acid, so feed just occasionally in small amounts.

  • Kale– Very healthy but contains compounds that can cause gas. Introduce gradually.

  • Carrot tops– The leafy green tops are tasty, nutritious, and pesticide-free. Rinse well and pat dry before feeding.

  • Radish tops – Another pesticide-free top that provides crunch and flavor. Rinse and chop before serving.

  • Dill– Both the wispy leaves and flowers of this herb are safe for rabbits. Rinse and pat dry before feeding.

  • Fennel fronds – The soft, fern-like leaves have a mild anise flavor. Chop up before serving.

Rotate through a variety of greens to keep your bunny interested. Introduce new greens slowly and one at a time. For rabbits who are reluctant to try greens, mix a few chopped leaves in with their usual hay or pellets.

Store bought treats

While homemade treats are often healthier, there are some store-bought treats and chews that are safe for rabbits in moderation. When choosing commercial treats, look for all-natural products free of sugars, salt, and artificial ingredients. Some good options include:

  • Compressed hay treats – Made from just hay, these make a safe, low-calorie chew. Popular brands include Oxbow and Standlee.

  • Dried flowers – Bunnies enjoy nibbling on dried roses, hibiscus, chamomile, and calendula flowers. Select organically grown flowers to avoid pesticides.

  • Willow sticks/balls – Natural willow wood provides a safe chewing outlet. Make sure there are no pesticides present.

  • Bamboo chews – These satisfy chewing urges. Opt for completely edible bamboo varieties.

  • Timothy mats – Woven timothy hay provides entertainment. Edible and digestible.

  • Paper rolls– Unbleached paper rolled into tubes makes an enjoyable chew toy. Choose paper specifically made for small pets.

  • Palm leaf mats – Mats woven from dried palm leaves encourage natural foraging behaviors. Make sure they are pesticide-free.

  • Herbal blends – Some companies sell ready-to-eat mixes of dried flowers and herbs. Pick all-natural, no added sugar products.

Always read the package carefully and check the ingredients list when selecting commercial treats. Avoid products with added grains, seeds, nuts, sugars, salt, and preservatives. Moderation is key, and be sure to account for store-bought treats in your bunny's daily treat allotment.

Baked hay treats

A healthy homemade treat for rabbits is baked compressed hay. You can bake plain hay pellets into fun shapes and textures your bunny will love. The baking brings out new aromas and flavors while softening the hay for easier chewing.

Some baked hay treat ideas include:

  • Hay cubes – Formed into small cubes then baked to lightly toast the hay.

  • Hay biscuits – Molded into round flat biscuits before baking.

  • Hay cakes – Pressed into a cake pan to create mini "cakes."

  • Braided hay – Braid together 3 pieces of hay before gently baking.

  • Hay balls – Rolled into balls then baked. The outer hay becomes crunchy while the inside remains soft.

  • Hay stars – Shaped into star designs using cookie cutters.

  • Seedless granola bars – The hay is mixed with banana or pumpkin puree then baked into snack bar shapes.

To bake: Preheat your oven to between 225 and 250 F. Place the formed hay treats on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly toasted. Allow to fully cool before feeding.

Get creative with molds and shapes! Just be sure not to add any other ingredients besides plain hay pellets and a small amount of fruit puree if you want softness. Happy baking!

Dried herb blends

Dried herbs make flavorful, aromatic treats you can easily make at home for your bunny. Herb blends provide variety and promote healthy digestion. Try these winning combinations:

  • Mint medley – Dried mint, lemon balm, catnip

  • Cilantro mix – Cilantro, dill weed, fennel

  • Flower power – Rose petals, hibiscus, lavender

  • Bunny salads – Dried parsley, cilantro, basil

  • Green garden – Dried mint, rosemary, oregano

  • Peppermint blend – Peppermint leaves, catnip

To make: simply measure out equal parts of each dried herb you want to include. Use around 1-2 teaspoons total volume per batch. Mix the herbs together and store in an airtight container away from light.

To serve, sprinkle a pinch over your rabbit's usual diet. The aroma and taste will entice them to eat.

Be sure to use only edible, non-toxic herbs. Introduce new mixes slowly. Good options include mint, basil, cilantro, dill, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and chamomile. Avoid any herbs sprayed with chemicals. An occasional nibble of these blends makes a refreshing treat!

Dried fruits and vegetables

Dehydrated fruits and veggies make wholesome, nutrient-rich treats for bunnies. The drying process condenses the flavors and sugars. Dried produce retains many of the original vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Some healthy options include:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pineapples
  • Mangos
  • Papaya
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans

Shop for unsweetened, unsulfured dried produce with no added preservatives. You can also easily DIY at home with a food dehydrator.

To serve, rehydrate in water if the pieces are dried crunchy or give as is if chewy. Only provide dried fruit in limited amounts a few times per week due to the high sugar content. Overall, both homemade and store-bought dried produce make a tasty treat!

DIY treats

Whipping up homemade snacks and nibbles for your bunny is rewarding and ensures quality ingredients. Here are some fun DIY treats to make:

Hay cubes

  • Ingredients: timothy hay, banana (optional)
  • Process: Either form plain hay pellets into cubes or mash banana with pellets.
  • Bake at 225 F for 20 minutes until dried.

Hay biscuits

  • Ingredients: timothy hay, water
  • Process: Mix water and hay pellets into a dough. Roll out and cut into shapes.
  • Bake at 225 F, flipping once, until dried.

Fruit skewers

  • Ingredients: Banana, apple, strawberries, blueberries
  • Process: Skewer chopped fruit onto a wood satay stick.

Vegetable chips

  • Ingredients: Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, other veggies
  • Process: Slice veggies thinly. Bake at 350 F until crispy.

Fruit/veg icy cups

  • Ingredients: Pureed fruits/veg, juice, or water
  • Process: Mix puree with juice/water and freeze in an ice cube tray.

Banana bacon

  • Ingredients: Banana, coconut oil
  • Process: Toss banana slices with coconut oil and bake at 350 F until crispy.

Have fun coming up with your own recipes! For more ideas, explore DIY rabbit treat recipes online.

What treats to avoid giving your rabbit

While there are many healthy options, there are also many people foods and plants that should be avoided. Here are some key treats to keep away from bunnies:

Human foods

  • Chocolate – Contains theobromine, toxic to rabbits

  • Cookies, cakes, candy, chips – High in sugar and fat

  • Butter or oil – High fat content

  • Dairy – Can cause digestive issues

  • Meat – Difficult to digest properly

  • Fried foods – High fat

  • Avocado – Contains persin, toxic to rabbits

  • Onions/garlic – Contain compounds that can cause anemia

  • Bread – Starch and carbohydrates upset rabbit digestion

  • Seeds or nuts – High fat and may cause choking

Basically, any processed human foods or junk foods should be kept away from rabbits. Stick to treats made from simple, natural ingredients designed for rabbit digestion.

Toxic plants

Many common plants are toxic and can be fatal if ingested, including:

  • Lilies – Extremely toxic, even a small amount can kill a rabbit

  • Chrysanthemums

  • Daffodils

  • Holly

  • Iris

  • Morning glory

  • Nightshade

  • Potatoes

  • Rhubarb leaves

  • Tomatillo

Be very careful about allowing bunnies access to any unknown plants. Research before feeding plants to identify toxicity. Remove any toxic houseplants from their environment.

Yogurt treats

It's best to avoid yogurt treats for rabbits. Here's why:

  • Rabbits are lactose intolerant, so dairy products can cause digestive upset

  • The high sugar content of sweetened yogurts promotes overgrowth of unhealthy gut bacteria

  • Probiotics formulated for humans may not be safe or effective for rabbits

  • Some added ingredients like chocolate or granola are unsafe

While yogurt or kefir can sometimes be used to help deliver medications, these dairy products really should be avoided as daily treats.

Instead of yogurt, focus on providing a grass hay based diet, limited pellets, and plenty of water to support your rabbit's digestive health. Always consult an exotic vet before giving any dairy products to your bunny.

Pellet and treat mixes

Packaged mixes containing pellets, seeds, dried fruits, grains, and other ingredients may seem like a tasty treat but are generally unhealthy for rabbits. Avoid these snack mixes:

  • The added seeds, grains, nuts and sugary fruits may cause digestive upset or even GI blockages.

  • The combination can lead to your rabbit selectively eating only the unhealthy ingredients and skipping the pellets and hay.

  • Pre-mixed snacks don't allow you to control proportions or calories.

  • Ingredients like peanuts or corn can be unsafe.

For better control over nutrition and calories, purchase plain pellets and offer healthier treats like greens and veggies separately in moderation. Make sure pellets follow package guidelines for quantity based on your rabbit's weight and life stage.

Nuts, corn, grains, and legumes

Certain ingredients should be limited in a rabbit's diet:

  • Nuts– High in fat, may cause choking hazard

  • Corn– Starch and carbohydrates can lead to digestive issues. Dried corn kernels are also a choke risk.

  • Grains– Including oats, wheat, rice, quinoa, barley, etc. The starch and carbohydrates are hard for rabbits to digest.

  • Beans/legumes– Can cause serious GI gas.

While an occasional taste of these may not cause harm, they really should be avoided as regular treats. Stick to suggested fruits, vegetables, herbs, and hay-based treats instead for healthy snacking. Monitor if any treats seem to cause stomach upset.

Leave a Comment