Rabbit Safe and Unsafe Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are two closely related terms often used interchangeably. However, these culinary flavoring or seasonings are not the same things. The part of the plant you get them from, their flavor, and processing differentiate herbs from spices.
Herbs vs. Spices
|Source||They are obtained from aromatic leaves mainly from non-herbaceous plants without a woody stem. However, some like parsley, rosemary, basil or bay leaves are from plants with woody stems||They are from aromatic roots, seeds (fruits), flowers, or barks of plants that have both woody and non-woody stems.|
|Processing||Available as fresh or dried in whole or chopped form||Mostly dried and crushed or ground to powder form. However, some can be fresh.|
|Flavor||Have a subtle flavor; hence, people tend to use a slightly large amount.||Their flavor is more robust since they come from parts with high levels of essential oil. You need a small amount when flavoring your food.|
Herbs and spices benefits to rabbits
Rabbit safe spices and herbs have various benefits to your bunnies which include the following:
- They are nutrient-rich, making them a great way to provide additional nutrients in your usual bunny diet.
- They will add a new flavor, texture, and taste, making diets more appealing.
- Some have anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation), antiparasitic, and antiseptic (especially antibacterial and antifungal) properties.
- They are antioxidant-rich. Therefore, herbs and spices may boost your bunny’s immunity by neutralizing free radicals, fight some cancer forms, and so on.
- Some have medicinal or therapeutic benefits that include aiding in digestion, reducing diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, or stimulating appetite. Others have calming effects, manage stress, relieve pain, manage some urinary tract infections, and promote fresh breath, and so on.
Unless given the go-ahead by your vet, don’t use any herb for therapeutic purposes. Instead, let your vet conduct a diagnosis and recommend the best treatment or managing any condition.
How to feed herbs and spices to your rabbits
Rabbits should have only a small amount of herbs or spices. Sprinkle or add a small amount of fresh or dried herbs or spices to their usual foods, especially vegetables or leafy greens occasionally like once or twice in a week. Like humans, rabbits don’t need a lot of herbs or spices.
Secondly, ensure they are free of pesticides or insecticides (an organic source would be ideal), and only start with a tiny amount and wait for a day to see if your rabbits will develop any stomach upsets, diarrhea, gas or bloating. Also, monitor for any signs of allergies like nasal discharge, rubbing or pawing their face or nose, red eyes, and so on.
Finally, while they may be safe, most bunnies won’t like their pungent scent and taste, a reason why some are used as natural rabbit repellents. Don’t be surprised if your rabbit avoids most spices and herbs.
Safe and unsafe herbs
Rabbits can eat mint leaves, stems, and flowers as a healthy snack or occasional treat. All Mentha species, including spearmint, apple, chocolate mint, are safe, except for the pennyroyals or Mentha pulegium, which is toxic or poisonous to rabbits.
Mint has some nutrients and antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it will help ensure fresh breath, aid in digestion, provide a calming effect, among many other benefits. Read more.
No. Rabbits shouldn’t eat sorrel greens (Rumex acetosa in the family Polygonaceae), also known as common sorrel, sorrel, narrow-leaved dock, spinach dock. This culinary herb or vegetable is high in oxalic acid, making it potentially toxic or poisonous, mostly if consumed in large amounts.
However, in small amounts, sorrel is safe, and wild rabbits may browse it and others like the Rumex acetosella (red or sheep’s sorrel, also goes by the name sour weed. Read more.
No. Rabbits shouldn’t eat dock leaves (Rumex obtusifolius in family Polygonaceae), also known as bitter dock, bluntleaf dock, broad-leaved dock, as it is potentially toxic to your rabbit in large quantities (high in oxalic).
Also, it harbors lots of invertebrate pests and plant pathogens as its sap (milk) may irritate the skin). An excessive amount may cause various toxicity symptoms. However, in small amounts, it is safe. Read more.
No. Rabbits shouldn’t eat garlic leaves, bulbs, or flowers. Garlic (Allium sativum) may cause trigger an anaphylactic reaction and has an immunosuppressive effect. Also, it may result in blood disorders if ingested in large amounts since it has disulfides and thiosulphates.
However, if given therapeutically, in small or controlled amounts, garlic is very nutritious has several benefits, including antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Also, it may work as an anti-hyperglycemic in diabetic rabbits, improve fertility in bucks… Read more.
Yes. Borage, starflower, or Borago officinalis is ok for rabbits but only as one of the occasional leafy greens healthy and safe for these pets. Just include it in the vegetable mix, where you should give them a packed cup of about six different vegetables per two pounds of body weight.
Borage is rich in vitamins A and C, may increase milk flow in nursing bunnies, among others. However, it does have potentially toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids… Read more.
Yes. Your bunny can have catmint Nepeta cataria (catnip, catwort, or catswort), a perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae, popularly known for its sedative and relaxant properties and commonly used in herbal teas. Feed them in small amounts as a treat once in a while.
While it attracts about two in every three cats, it is not one of the rabbit’s favorite plants, making it a herb that these pets will avoid. Read more.
Yes. Bunnies can eat marjoram, sweet or knotted marjoram (Origanum majorana in the family Lamiaceae), a culinary herb closely related to oregano, as an occasional treat. While some bunnies will enjoy nibbling marjoram, others may not like its aromatic scent.
Besides nutrients, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidants and may boost digestion and calm your bunny. However, it does represent some ricks. Read more.
Yes. Mustard greens, a popular herb or vegetable (leaves, stems, and flowers) in moderation are ok for bunnies. The white mustard (Sinapis alba), Oriental mustard (Brassica juncea) also known as brown, Chinese, leaf, or vegetable mustard, Black mustard (Brassica nigra) are safe for your bunnies. However, the mustard condiment is unsafe for bunnies.
You can make it one of the leafy-greens that your rabbits have. However, since it is high in oxalic acids, linked to kidney oxalate stones, ensure the rest of the veggies you include in their vegetable mix is low in oxalic acids. Read more.
Yes. Rabbits can eat chamomile, both the garden, low, or Roman chamomile, Whig plant, ground apple, mother’s daisy and Whig plant (Chamaemelum nobile), and Water of Youth, German, Hungarian, wild, blue chamomile, scented mayweed (Matricaria chamomilla) as a treat, once in a while. Both these two family Asteraceae species are safe to bunnies.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial or antimicrobial properties, may help relieve pain, calm your bunny, treat weepy eyes, prevent bacterial and protozoa infections but may have some drug interactions… Read more.
Yes. Rabbits can eat dill (Anethum graveolens) stems, leaves or flowers. This culinary herb (greens) and spice (seeds) in the family Apiaceae is loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, B2, B9, C, and minerals like iron, manganese, potassium, and calcium as well as vital antioxidants.
Give your bunny about two dill twigs once or twice a week as a treat. However, don’t let these animals eat dill seeds are they present a choking risk. Also, they are high in fats and carbohydrates, something that isn’t part of their typical diets. Read more.
No. Don’t give your rabbits cinnamon powder or rolls. While a small amount may not be harmful, it is not the kind of foods that bunny eat. Just don’t give it to your bunnies unless your vet allows you to do so.
Cinnamon, which is a name for several treats in the genus Cinnamomum, from whose inner bark we get cinnamon, including Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese, cassia, or common cinnamon tree) and Cinnamomum verum (true cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon tree is very beneficial. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants and may improve production and reproduction…, read more.
Yes. Your bunnies can eat fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) greens (leaves, stems, and flowers) as a rare treat. It is nutritious, has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is a study that shows that fenugreek may have neurobehavioral, neurodevelopmental, and neuropathological side effects.
On the other hand, fenugreek seeds are safe for bunnies in very tiny amounts. They may help stimulate appetite, have an antidiabetic and antifertility effect. However, they may present choking risk and may have side effects. Read more.
Yes. Rabbits can have sage (Salvia officinalis), also known as common sage, golden sage, true sage, dalmatian sage, broadleaf sage, garden sage, culinary sage, or kitchen sage as a treat. Foliage (leaves and stems) of all Salvia officinalis cultivars are safe to bunnies.
This herb has some nutrients as well as antioxidants. It also will boost oral and brain health. However, being an aromatic herb, some bunnies may not like it. How do you safe to your rabbits? Read more.
Yes. Dry or fresh rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) leaves, stems together with flowers are fine for your rabbit in moderation as a healthy treat once or twice a week. They are not poisonous to these animals. However, since it has a strong aroma, some bunnies may not like it at all.
This culinary herb has antioxidants that will help boost immunity, fight some chronic conditions, and create a free radical and antioxidant balance. Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties… Read more.
Yes. You can feed thyme (Thymus vulgaris, common thyme, German thyme, or garden thyme) to your rabbits as a small snack. Both fresh and dry leaves, stems, and flowers are safe to your furry friend.
Thyme has thymol, a natural biocide that destroys harmful microorganisms like bacteria and may help in lower blood pressure. Also, the herb is good for digestion, may help treat diarrhea in your bunnies as well as expel worms… Read more.
Yes. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) greens (leaves and stems) are ok for rabbits and will form part of the delicious treats they eat. Both the French and Russian Tarragon are safe for your bunnies.
Besides adding a new texture, taste, and aroma to your bunny’s ordinary diet, it has calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium. Also, it is good for digestion, stimulating kidney, and deworming… Read more.
Yes. Dry or fresh bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are safe for rabbits but in tiny amounts, as an occasional treat. However, since they have a sharp and bitter taste, some bunnies may not like them at all.
We know that bay leaves are toxic to dogs and toxic to cats. However, studies on rabbits show that at minimal dosages, they may help in lowering blood sugar and controlling hyperlipidemia (high lipids in the blood). Read more.
Yes. Bunnies can eat Lemon balm, balm, common or balm mint (Melissa officinalis). Fresh or dry stem, leaves, or any flowers) are safe to make a good treat served once or twice a week.
Lemon balm has rosmarinic acid (a phenolic) with potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties and may aid in digestion, reduce gas, and bloating. Also, some sources note that this herb may promote milk production. Read more.
Yes. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) tops (stalk, leave, and flowers are safe for bunnies and will be part of their treats, including the Florence fennel swollen bulbs. Besides nutrients like vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, this herb has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Also, it has polyphenol antioxidants like rosmarinic acid, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and apigenin, which will help fight free radicals that cause oxidative damage as well as boost your pet’s immunity. Read more.
Yes. Rabbits can eat lemongrass, also known as Cochin grass, Malabar grass, silky heads, barbed wiregrass, fever grass, or oily heads. Lemongrass is a name given to various grass species in the genus Cymbopogon.
Dry and fresh lemongrass is safe for bunnies and can be part of the leafy greens or veggies you feed to your furry friend. This grass may help boost the level of red blood cells, help relieve pain, and prevent yeast and bacteria growth. Read more.
Yes. Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) leaves and stems (greens) are good for bunnies to eat in moderation as an occasional treat, including the flat-leaf, root, or curly parsley. Also, cow parsley is safe for bunnies, and giving them this culinary herb once or twice a week is ok.
While it does have a high amount of oxalic acid and calcium, they are in a bound forms that are mostly unavailable for absorption. Therefore it presents little risk. Is it nutritious, and do rabbits love it or eat it in the wild? What benefits does it have? Read more.