Bunnies love nothing more than munching on crunchy things. Bugs Bunny specifically loves to munch on carrots, and real bunnies are no different. Bug's favorite snack should probably be given in moderation due to the high sugar content, but can rabbits eat celery? Like most bonus food for pets, celery should be fed in moderation.
Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinary expert with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, tells WideOpenPets.com that 60% of your rabbit's diet should consist of various vegetables. The rest of their diet should be made up of a small amount of fruit, plenty of fresh, clean water, and an unlimited supply of grass hay on top of their daily serving of rabbit food. Variety in a pet rabbit's diet mimics that of a wild rabbit, even though there are some foods that bunnies cannot eat. A pet rabbit's digestive system can be very sensitive to new foods and some leafy vegetables. With that in mind, you should slowly introduce veggies to your bunny and serve all fresh foods in moderation to minimize digestive problems.
Here's what to know about feeding your rabbit celery.
Yes, rabbits can eat celery—with a few conditions. Feeding celery to your adult rabbit has many positive health benefits. Interestingly enough, this fresh vegetable actually belongs to the same family as carrots and parsley. Some benefits of celery are their high nutrient and fiber content. Celery is full of calcium, choline, folate, folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, multiple B vitamins (including Vitamin B6), magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. That's a whole lot of vitamins and minerals packed into the small package of a celery stick! It also has high water content and a sweet taste that bunnies love.
Dr. Alex Schechter, a veterinarian at Pure Paws Veterinary Care, adds that celery leaves are also a nutritious addition to your bunny's diet.
What Part of the Celery Plant Can Rabbits Eat?
It's safe for rabbits to eat all parts of a celery plant in moderation: the stalks, leaves, and roots. While celery stalks are safe overall, this delicious treat does have a few downsides. Celery strings can cause some issues for your bunnies. They can cause blockages in your rabbit's stomach, and if your rabbit's digestive tract gets stopped up, it can lead to a deadly condition called GI stasis. Celery strings can get stuck in your rabbit's teeth or become a choking hazard.
Because celery strings can cause health problems for your bunny, it's recommended that you cut these fibrous veggies up into one-inch pieces. And never feed rabbits cooked celery!
"Keep a close eye that you are offering your pet only raw food, as providing cooked food to rabbits can cause gastrointestinal trouble by upsetting the gut bacteria," Wooten says. It's also best to buy raw celery that's organic and free from pesticides. One of the best ways to serve your bunny celery is to slice it into small pieces and mix it in with their daily serving of leafy greens. These herbivores love to eat a good mixed green salad.
How Much Celery Can I Give My Rabbit?
While celery is safe for your rabbit, Wooten says it should only make up 30% of your pet's overall diet. The first time you feed your rabbit celery, you should give them a small amount to see how they handle the new food.
If they like it, great! But remember: everything in moderation. Celery has a lot of water and sugar and, while a rabbit needs plenty of water in its diet, too much can lead to tummy issues.
What Vegetables Can Rabbits Not Eat?
There are some vegetables that should not be a part of your rabbit's diet, no matter how healthy they seem. Wooten recommends leaving out potatoes, avocado, iceberg lettuce, rhubarb, and cauliflower, as these veggies are toxic to your bunny. "Veggies that can be enjoyed as an occasional treat (because they are high in calories): carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, sugar beets, sweet potato, radish," Wooten says.
Apart from these foods, also avoid sharing hamsters' and guinea pigs' food. "Rabbits require a high-fiber diet, and hamsters' food has no nutritional value to your pet," Schletcher explains. Pet stores often merchandise hamster and guinea pig food next to the rabbit treats, so it can often become confusing—especially since many look exactly alike and have tiny labeling. Don't feel bad if you accidentally bring home the wrong treats. I've had rabbits for years, and I've even brought home a hamster treat by accident before!
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This article was originally published April 17, 2022.