Can you share your dinner salad or fruit smoothie with your rabbit? Are carrots and apples really safe treats? What human foods can bunnies eat besides just lettuce and hay? With their sensitive digestions, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t safe for our floppy-eared friends when it comes to people food. You’ll be hopping for joy at the surprisingly long list of nutritious fruits, veggies, herbs and plants you can add to your rabbit’s diet. From tropical fruits like pineapple to superfoods like kale, learn which 17 human foods are not only safe but packed with essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep your rabbit healthy and happy. Let’s dive in!
Human Foods That Are Safe for Rabbits
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems and require a diet high in fiber to stay healthy. While commercial rabbit pellets provide the necessary nutrients, rabbits enjoy and benefit from fresh produce as well. Many human foods are perfectly safe for rabbits to eat. Offering a varied diet with lots of leafy greens and vegetables will keep your rabbit happy and healthy.
When introducing new foods, go slowly to allow your rabbit's digestive system time to adjust. Limit high-calorie foods like fruits, start with small quantities, and watch for any signs of diarrhea or other digestive upset. With so many healthy and delicious options, there's no need to take risks by offering unsafe human foods. Stick to the rabbit-safe foods on this list, and avoid anything high in fat, salt, or sugar.
With a little care and common sense, you can share a wide variety of your own meals with your furry friend. The following 17 human foods are healthy staples that are safe for rabbits.
What Human Foods Can Rabbits Eat?
Carrots make a nutritious and popular treat for rabbits. Rabbits gnaw and chew vigorously, wearing down their constantly growing teeth, and crunchy whole carrots provide a healthy opportunity for this necessary chewing activity. Carrots are packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and calcium. They also contain antioxidants which may protect against illnesses like cancer. The natural sugars in carrots give them a sweet flavor rabbits love.
Carrots are healthy for rabbits when fed in moderation. While rabbits require a carbohydrate component to their diet, too many sugary foods like carrots can lead to obesity. Introduce carrots slowly and limit the portion to 2-3 baby carrots or a 1-2 inch piece per 4 lbs of body weight, once or twice a week. Larger carrots can be shaved or grated to control the portion size. For variety, try different colors like purple, red, yellow and white. Offer carrots as an occasional treat, and make leafy greens the biggest portion of your rabbit's diet.
Lettuce provides hydration and crunchy fiber for rabbits. The moisture content in lettuce is over 95% making it a refreshing treat on a hot day. Rabbits love munching these crisp, leafy greens. Different lettuces provide a range of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, folate, iron and manganese.
Romaine, red leaf, and green leaf lettuce are all excellent choices, but avoid iceberg lettuce which is low in nutrients. Introduce new lettuce types gradually and watch for soft stools. Limit lettuce portions to a few leaves at a time, 2-3 times per week. The high water content means too much lettuce can cause diarrhea. Rotate various greens to keep your rabbit's nutrient intake diverse.
This versatile vegetable is loaded with health benefits for humans and rabbits alike. Celery contains antioxidants like vitamin C, kaempferol and luteolin which can boost immunity and fight disease. It provides lots of water to help your rabbit stay hydrated. The stringy fiber cleans teeth and satisfies chewing urges.
The nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water in celery can vary slightly depending on whether you feed the stalks, leaves or both. The leaves contain more calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and K. Celery stalks offer more water and fiber. For the best nutritional profile, include a few stalks and leaves in each portion. Introduce celery slowly and feed 1-2 times per week. Chop or cut in pieces for easier eating.
Both the leaves and stems of cilantro provide a strong flavor rabbits enjoy. The essential oils that give cilantro its distinct taste also deliver antimicrobial and antibacterial effects. Cilantro is high in antioxidants like vitamin C, quercetin, essential oils, and flavonoids. It contains compounds that can protect liver function, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and regulate blood sugar.
The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and hydration in cilantro support digestive and urinary tract health. Feed a sprig or two 1-2 times per week. Introduce cilantro slowly as excess portions may cause soft stools until your rabbit adjusts. The potent flavor means a little goes a long way. Combine cilantro with other greens or use it to garnish rabbit-safe foods.
5) Lemon Balm
In the mint family, lemon balm has a light citrus flavor rabbits enjoy. Both the leaves and stems are edible. Lemon balm supports digestive health and contains antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It's high in antioxidants and rich in essential oils, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. Research shows it can help relieve anxiety and improve cognition.
Start with a small sprig or two of lemon balm at a time. Gradually work up to 1-2 times per week to monitor stool quality. Combine with other rabbit greens or use it fresh or dried as an aromatic flavor enhancer. Avoid allowing rabbits access to large quantities of any mint species which can impact digestion, cause diarrhea, or be toxic.
6) Broccoli Leaves
While rabbits can't eat the florets, broccoli leaves make a nutritious occasional treat. The leaves provide higher calcium content than the stalks or florets. Broccoli leaves also contain vitamin C, vitamin K, antioxidants, and fiber.
Introduce broccoli leaves slowly and feed just a few small leaves 1-2 times per week. Monitor stool consistency as too much can cause digestive upset. Broccoli is safe for rabbits but higher in oxalates so variety is key. The florets are not recommended due to choking risk from shape and size.
With its sweet flavor and lush tropical origins, pineapple is an exciting treat for rabbits. Pineapples are packed with vitamin C, manganese, folate, copper, and other key nutrients. They contain beneficial enzymes like bromelain that support digestion. The high water content also helps hydration.
Pineapple should be an occasional treat due to the natural sugar. Introduce slowly and limit to a tablespoon or two once or twice a week. Chop fresh pineapple into pieces or shave off small slices with the peel. Canned pineapple in juice is also safe but rinse to remove excess sugar. Avoid canned pineapple in syrup due to the added sugar content.
A superfood for humans, kale provides fantastic nutrition for rabbits too. It's a rich source of vitamins A, C and K which support immunity, vision, bone health, and blood clotting. The antioxidant content in kale can help prevent cell damage and lower inflammation. Kale provides calcium, potassium, folate, manganese, iron and fiber.
Curly kale, red Russian kale, dinosaur kale and baby kale are all rabbit-safe. Introduce new varieties slowly and feed a few leaves at a time, 2-3 times per week. Kale contains compounds that can inhibit thyroid function when fed in excess, so feed as part of a varied diet.
With antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamin C, fiber and manganese, blueberries deliver significant health benefits. The polyphenols and anthocyanins that give blueberries their blue color act as powerful antioxidants. Blueberries provide anti-inflammatory effects, protect cells from damage, and support the immune system.
Blueberries are safe for rabbits but high in natural sugar so they should be an occasional treat. Introduce them slowly and limit the portion to 1-2 berries at a time, 1-2 times per week. Rinse thoroughly as the small size presents a choking hazard. For variety, try other berries like blackberries, raspberries and strawberries in moderation.
10) Bok Choy
A type of Chinese cabbage, bok choy contains over 70 antioxidants to protect cells from damage. It provides vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and fiber. Bok choy is a versatile vegetable with a mild flavor rabbits enjoy. Both the leafy greens and crunchy stalks are edible.
Start with small portions of a few leaves or shredded stalks 1-2 times per week. Gradually increase the amount as bok choy can cause gas or loose stools if introduced too quickly. Avoid any wilted or discolored leaves. Bok choy offers health benefits but should be part of a varied diet.
Whole grain oats provide carbohydrates, protein and fiber. The beta-glucan fiber supports digestive health by promoting good gut bacteria. Oats contain iron, manganese, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, and antioxidants like avenanthramide. Make sure to only use plain oats, not flavored or instant.
A small amount of cooked oatmeal, or raw oats soaked to soften, make a nutritious occasional treat. Introduce slowly and limit to 1-2 teaspoons for small rabbits or 1-2 tablespoons for large breeds, 1-3 times per week. Make sure oats are smashed or soaked thoroughly to prevent choking.
Both a flavorful herb and a healthy treat, basil has antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties rabbits can benefit from. The essential oil eugenol in basil provides antiseptic effects. The vitamin K content supports bone density and blood clotting. Basil also contains vitamin A, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.
The potent flavor means a little basil goes a long way. Start with just a small leaf or two and gradually work up to a sprig 1-2 times per week. Introduce slowly and watch stool quality. Combine with other greens or use dried basil to sprinkle on rabbit-safe foods. Avoid overfeeding as excess basil can impact digestion.
Also called rocket or rucola, arugula is a leafy green rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The flavor starts mild then becomes spicy and peppery as leaves age. Arugula is packed with vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, calcium, potassium, manganese and fiber. The glucosinolates provide anti-cancer effects.
Arugula is very hydrating so feed just a few leaves at a time, 1-2 times per week. Introduce slowly and watch for diarrhea or other signs of digestive upset. The small leaves and green tops are perfect for rabbit-sized portions. Combine arugula with lettuce or other greens for a nutrient and flavor-packed salad.
14) Bell Peppers
Bell peppers provide hydration, nutrients and satisfying crunch for rabbits. Red, yellow, orange and green peppers all offer different antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6 and carotenoids. Colored bell peppers contain more nutrients than green. Peppers have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
The tough cell walls of peppers take longer to break down so introduce slowly. Feed a slice or two of bell pepper 1-2 times per week. Opt for organic when possible and remove all seeds which can cause gas. Monitor urine and stool color as pigments may temporarily change color.
Both the shoots and leaves of asparagus provide healthy nutrients for rabbits. Asparagus contains vitamin K, folate, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and prebiotics to support a healthy gut. It's also high in fiber for digestion. The ideal vegetable has tight buds vs. fully ferned out foliage.
Feed a few small buds or young shoots 1-2 times per week. Introduce slowly and watch for loose stools or diarrhea. Avoid any woody stems which are too tough to chew or digest. Due to traces of view l, only feed asparagus occasionally as part of a varied diet.
Crunchy, juicy apples are most bunnies' favorite fruit treat. Rabbits love gnawing and chewing on these sweet fruits. Apples provide hydration along with antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and small amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium. They are a healthy option in moderation.
Limit apple treats to 1-2 times per week due to the natural sugar content. Introduce new varieties gradually. Stick to 1-2 bite-sized slices of apple or 1-2 tablespoons of chopped bits without the core, seeds or stem which can choke rabbits. Organic is best when possible.
Endives are crunchy, bitter lettuce with curly, scoop-shaped leaves perfect for holding snacks or treats. The bittersweet flavor balances the sweetness of sugary fruits or vegetables rabbits receive. Endives provide antioxidants like kaempferol, fiber, folate, vitamin K and water.
The lightweight leaves make a mess-free foraging activity. Stuff a few leaves with hay or herbs to occupy your rabbit. Limit to 1-2 small leaves 2-3 times per week. Introduce slowly as excess endive can cause diarrhea until the digestive system adjusts.
With proper precautions, rabbits can safely enjoy small amounts of many common human foods. Stick to the healthy fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants on this list. Introduce new items slowly and watch for any signs of digestive upset. Provide plenty of hay and grass along with a sprinkling of fresh treats for a balanced diet that keeps your rabbit happy and healthy.