Sub navigation 1

Plants - safe or dangerous for rabbits?

The bulk of a rabbit's diet should be made up of fibre - grass and hay, with vegetables and other plants making up a smaller proportion of the overall intake. However, whilst some plants are safe to feed, others should be avoided and knowing which category each falls into can be confusing.

Your questions answered

What if my rabbit eats a potentially poisonous plant?

Rabbits are unable to vomit so if they eat anything that is poisonous, they may not show an initial reaction but may suffer from subsequent problems. Poisonous plants can affect rabbits in different ways and with varying severity, ranging from increased salivation, skin allergies, heart and breathing problems, stomach problems and even death. If you suspect your rabbit may have eaten something poisonous, keep it warm, quiet and ensure it has access to plenty of fresh water and hay. You should also call your vet if you believe your rabbit has eaten something potentially poisonous. If your vet suggests you bring your rabbit to the surgery try to take a sample of the suspect plant along to help your vet come to a diagnosis.

The lists of plants below is not comprehensive - they include the most common plants, vegetables and fruits so if a plant is not listed, don't assume that it is safe for your rabbit, and if you are unsure if something is safe to feed or not, then it is best avoided to be on the safe side.

Introduce any new plants gradually as rabbits can develop gastrointestinal problems in response to abrupt changes in their diet. Conditions such as diarrhoea or bloat may occur. Also after a couple of hours remove any uneaten plants from the cage as they may become mouldy and begin to ferment which can cause bloating.

All plants should be rinsed with water to remove any residues. Also remember that the fruits and vegetables given to rabbits should be free from pesticides and avoid plants collected from parks, roadsides or fields - they may be contaminated by exhaust fumes leaving lead deposits, pesticides, herbicides and faeces and urine from dogs, cats or wild animals.

Grass clippings must not be fed - they start to ferment very quickly and can cause digestive disturbances. Many houseplants are also poisonous so if you have a houserabbit, keep all plants out of their reach.

Table of plants that are safe and those to avoid

 

Plants safe to feed to your rabbit

Avoid

Alfafa
Apple
Apricot
Asparagus
Banana
Basil
Beet tops
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Cabbage
Carrot (tops and root)
Cauliflower
Celery
Chives
Coriander
Cucumber
Dandelion
Fresh grass
Green, red and yellow peppers
Kale
Kiwi
Marjoram
Melon
Mint
Nectarine
Parsley
Peach
Pear
Peas
Pineapple
Raspberry
Spinach
Strawberry
Swede
Tomato

Plants that are safe in the garden

Asters
Carnations
Daisy
Marigolds
Nasturtiums
Roses
Sunflowers
Clover (but not red clover)
Dandelions (small amounts as is diurectic/laxative!)
Nettles
Thistles

All plants grown from bulbs, including Daffodil, Snowdrop, Tulip, Anemone, Arum, Bluebell
Antirrhinums
Azalea
Bittersweet
Bryony
Buttercup
Caladium
Chrysanthemums
Clematis
Cyclamen
Columbine
Dahlias
Dog Mercury
Dock
Deadly nightshade
Delphinium
Evergreens, eg yew
Fig
Figwort
Foxglove
Fools parsley
Frozen or wet greens/vegetables
Ground ivy
Gysophilia
Hellebore
Hemlock
Holly
Honeysuckle
Hyacinth
Iris
Ivy
Jasmine
Jerusalem Cherry
Juniper
Kingcup
Laburnum
Lettuce
Leyland Cypress
Lobelia
Lily of the Valley
Lords and Ladies
Love in a mist
Lupins
Marsh marigold
Mistletoe
Monk's hood
Morning Glory
Oak
Philodendron
Plum branches
Poppies
Potato tops
Privet
Ragwort
Red clover
Rhododendron
Spurges
St John's wort
Tomato leaves
Wisteria
Woody nighshade

Treats

Treats should only be given to your rabbit in small amounts. Overfeeding of treats and/or food low in fibre can lead to obesity, dental problems, heart and gastrointestinal problems. Treats can however be a useful training aid as a reward for good or required behaviour. Avoid giving foods that are high in sugar, fat or starch.
 
Treats to be given in small amounts

Foods to avoid

Artichoke
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Cabbage; savoy and kale
Corn on the cob
Carrot tops
Radish
Raspberry canes
Swede
Sweet potato
Strawberry leaves
Bread (must be dried or very well toasted)

Raisins (very high in sugar)
Beans
Seeds
Chocolate
Peas
Cereals
Oats
Refined sugar
Corn
Nuts
Wheat

In the wild rabbits eat mainly grass and the bulk of your rabbit's diet should aslo comprise mainly grass or hay.  Don't forget to provide fresh water - although if you rabbit eats mainly grass then less water is likely to be drunk than if it eats mainly pelleted food.

Related topics