When you have a snack, especially a vegetable or an herb, it feels natural to share it with the rabbit in your life. Rabbits love a veggie snack, but you might be wondering if basil is one of the safe ones. So, you’ll be pleased to find out basil is totally safe for bunnies.
If you’re the kind of pet owner who also has a green thumb, you can’t go wrong giving your rabbit basil. Other safe herbs are parsley, tarragon, rosemary, oregano, and even some mint. So, you know what your rabbit can eat, but what does a typical rabbit need from its diet, and are there any benefits to adding basil to your rabbit’s diet?
A Healthy Rabbit Diet
Just like humans, rabbits need the right combination of minerals, vitamins, and water to keep them healthy and happy. The primary source of a rabbit’s diet should be high-quality hay, which is low in calories and high in fiber and will be gentle on your rabbit’s digestive system.
Commercial pellets and treats can also be part of your rabbit’s diet and healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables. If offered basil, most rabbits will munch on it. If they have a choice, they’ll typically choose vegetables like beans, peas, carrots, and beets.
Should I Feed My Rabbit Basil Regularly?
Basil is suitable for your pet rabbit because it contains some essential nutrients that keep them healthy, like calcium, vitamins A and K, and antioxidants. It’s also been known to help lower blood glucose levels and detoxify the body of harmful toxins.
Pet owners can choose to feed their rabbit basil if they want to because it isn’t toxic. However, remember that you shouldn’t give your rabbit too much just because it isn’t bad for them. Rabbits prefer munching on a fresh mix of greens, hay, and commercial feed pellets. Too much of anything, of course, could make your bunny sick, and that goes for basil too.
The only basil you should feed your bunny is uncooked because they’re herbivores and rely on raw food for their nutrients. Your rabbit’s tummy just isn’t geared up for cooked food.
Can Baby Bunnies Eat Basil?
Baby bunnies have much more sensitive stomachs than adults. Try to avoid feeding baby bunnies fruits or vegetables until they’re 12 weeks old; this gives their tummies time to mature a little.
When the time comes to introduce them to vegetables, take it slowly. Wait 24 hours to see if there are any adverse effects before serving another snack.
What Herbs Are Toxic to Rabbits?
There are, as you probably expect, several herbs that are dangerous to bunnies.
Signs to look out for that may indicate your rabbit has eaten something it shouldn’t are diarrhea, intestinal upset and inflammation, seizures, lethargy, fever or low body temperature, weakness, difficulty breathing, and depression.
If you suspect your rabbit has ingested an unsafe herb, take them to a vet as soon as possible. If you’re ever unsure if an herb or plant is dangerous, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center is your best resource and is available 24 hours a day.
Basil is, thankfully, perfectly safe to give to your rabbit. However, it’s best to serve it in moderation because too much can make them sick. Be careful serving herbs to baby bunnies, but as long as you wait until they’re at least 12 weeks old and take it slow, your bunny should be fine. If you are unsure about introducing new foods, talk to your vet or contact ASPCA for advice.
Featured Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay