green leaves in white ceramic bowl

Can Rabbits Eat Spinach? A Guide to Feeding Your Rabbit

Posted by Rita on 18 August 2023

As a rabbit owner, it's essential to know what foods are safe and healthy for your furry friend. One question that often comes up is whether rabbits can eat spinach. The short answer is yes, but there are some things to keep in mind.

Rabbits can eat spinach, but only in moderation. Spinach is a healthy leafy green snack rich in vitamins and minerals but also contains high levels of calcium and oxalates that can bind to form bladder stones. To prevent problems, feed spinach with other greens, vegetables, hay, or pellets.

In this blog, I'll discuss what happens if rabbits eat spinach, how to feed it safely, and a few alternatives you can consider adding to your bunny's diet. Keep reading if you want to keep your bunny healthy and happy.

uncooked spinach in a cup

Can Rabbits Eat Spinach?

Knowing what your furry friend can safely eat is very important as a rabbit owner. This brings me back to your question: Can rabbits eat spinach? The answer is yes but with some caveats.

Spinach contains high levels of oxalates that bind to iron or calcium and cause health problems such as bladder stones and iron deficiency in bunnies. Therefore, limiting the amount of spinach (and other high oxalate greens) your rabbit eats is important.

Types Of Spinach

There are three main types of spinach: flat-leaved spinach (this includes baby spinach), semi-savoy spinach, and savoy spinach. Each spinach type has its own unique flavor, texture, and nutritional profile. Here are some of the most common types of spinach that you can consider feeding to your rabbit:

Flat-Leafed Spinach

Flat-leaved spinach, also called smooth-leafed spinach, is most commonly used for creating canned spinach and also frozen spinach.

Baby Spinach

Baby spinach is an immature version of flat-leafed spinach with soft, small flat leaves and a mild, sweet flavor. It's also known as baby flat-leaf spinach and is an excellent choice for rabbits.

Baby spinach contains vitamins A, K, and C, calcium, and iron. It's easy to digest and is supposed to be lower in oxalic acid, which can interfere with calcium and iron absorption.

Semi-Savoy Spinach

This spinach has slightly crinkled leaves and a slightly stronger flavor than flat-leafed spinach. It is a hybrid between savoy and flat-leaved spinach.

Savoy Spinach

Savoy, also known as curly-leafed spinach, is the most common type sold in supermarkets. It's most often eaten raw and used in salads. This will be the one you'll most likely have on hand most of the time.

Unfortunately, this type of spinach also contains the highest amount of oxalates. This means that you should take more care when feeding it to your rabbits.

rabbits spinach leaves

Can Rabbits Eat Water Spinach

This "type" of spinach is not actually spinach at all, despite the name. Water spinach, also known as Chinese spinach, river spinach, and Chinese watercress, is often used in Asian cuisine and is related to a plant botanically called Ipomoea aquatica.

Water spinach is an excellent fresh forage to offer your rabbit instead of regular spinach, botanically referred to as Spinacia oleracea. Take note that you need to ensure that they eat the whole thing, stems and all, and don't just pick at the leaf tips.

If they only eat the leafy tips, they will not benefit from the full nutritional value of Chinese spinach and may end up consuming too much protein and too little fiber.

Can Rabbits Eat Tree Spinach

This is another plant commonly referred to as spinach that is only distantly related to regular spinach plants. Tree spinach, also known as chaya or Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, is actually an excellent spinach alternative.

This plant is an excellent source of fiber since it contains less water than regular spinach. This makes it an excellent, non-toxic snack for bunnies.

Can Rabbits Eat Spinach Leaves, Roots, Stalks and Stems?

Spinach leaves, stalks, stems, and flowers are all safe for rabbits to eat. Let's take a more in-depth look.

Spinach Leaves And Flowers

Spinach leaves, and flowers are great sources of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and K, magnesium, and iron. They also contain fiber, essential for a rabbit's digestive system.

Keep in mind that these leaves also contain oxalic acid, that can bind to calcium in the body and cause bladder stones if fed excessively over time. Therefore, it's best to feed the leaves in small portions, two times per week, along with other leafy greens.

Bunnies eat spinach flowers just as eagerly as any other part of the plant. These flowers are fortunately safe for them to eat, but they must also be fed in moderation.

Spinach Stems And Stalks

Spinach stems and stalks are safe for rabbits. They are high in fiber but are less nutritious than the leaves and low in vitamins and minerals. It is, however, better to feed your rabbit stems and stalks instead of leaves and flowers due to the difference in fiber content. Bunnies need a lot of fiber to stay healthy.

Spinach Roots

Spinach roots are not recommended for rabbits to eat. They are tough and difficult to digest and do not provide nutritional value for bunnies.

eating spinach in juice form

Alternative Leafy Greens

If you are concerned about feeding your rabbit spinach, you can offer many other vegetables and leafy greens as an alternative. Some good options include:

  • Arugula

  • Basil

  • Beet greens

  • Celery

  • Carrot tops

  • Cilantro

  • Dandelion greens

  • Endive

  • Kale

  • Parsley

  • Romaine lettuce

Remember to always introduce new foods to your rabbit slowly and in small amounts to avoid digestive upset. And always wash any vegetables and greens before feeding them to your pet rabbit to get rid of any pesticides that might harm your bunny.

Feeding Guidelines For Spinach

It's very important to introduce spinach to your rabbit correctly to avoid digestive problems. While spinach is considered a nutritious plant, it's not necessarily good for your bunny in large quantities.

If you want to include a small amount of spinach in your rabbit's diet, follow these feeding guidelines to introduce it safely.

How Much Spinach Is Safe For Rabbits?

The first thing you should consider is getting organic, pesticide-free spinach for your bunnies. Pesticides are extremely harmful to bunnies.

Secondly, don't feed more than a cup of spinach per week for big bunnies and half a cup for small rabbits like Netherland dwarfs. This serving should be divided into two or three portions, fed two to three days apart.

Moderate amounts of spinach can be beneficial for rabbits, as it is high in fiber and low in sugar. Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system and can help control rabbit body weight to prevent obesity.

cooked spinach in a pan

Preparation Of Spinach For Rabbits'

Spinach is a nutritious leafy green vegetable that can be safely consumed by rabbits. However, it is important to prepare it properly to ensure it is safe for your furry friend to eat. Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing fresh spinach for rabbits:

  1. Choose crisp leaves: Raw spinach is a great option for rabbits because it is packed with nutrients and is easy to prepare. Make sure only to choose fresh, crisp leaves. Avoid any leaves that look wilted.

  2. Wash the leaves: Plants of all varieties are often sprayed with pesticides. To make sure you're bunny is safe, wash the leaves thoroughly in lukewarm water. I would recommend doing this even if you bought the organic variety, just in case.

  3. Measure the portion: You don't want to feed too much spinach and harm your bunny. To avoid any health problems, make sure you feed the correct portion size. If you're unsure, just keep to one to two leaves per bunny.

  4. Cut the spinach into bite-size portions (Optional): You can either feed the leaf as a whole or cut it into smaller pieces for easier consumption. Either way, your bunnies won't mind as long as they get to eat.

Can Rabbits Eat Spinach Frozen, Canned, Or Cooked?

Rabbits should never eat frozen, canned, or cooked spinach. Bunnies cannot digest cooked food properly, and canned food usually contains a lot of preservatives and salt, including canned spinach, that can harm your furry friend.

On the other hand, frozen spinach wilts as soon as it defrosts, making it unhealthy for your bunny to consume. If you do include it in your bunny's diet, it's best to stick to raw spinach.

Introducing Spinach To Rabbits

Raw spinach is very easy to introduce to bunnies. Feed one leaf after proper preparation, and then wait 24 hours to see if your bunny reacts negatively. If your bunnies eat spinach and react negatively, even if just dropping slightly loose stool and nothing else, stop feeding spinach immediately to let your bunny recover.

Next time, feed a smaller amount of spinach to give your rabbits gut bacteria time to adapt to the new food. If after a few tries your bunny still doesn't react well, just avoid it all together.

Health Benefits And Risks

freshly washed spinach leaves

Spinach has quite a few health benefits for rabbits. It contains the following:

  • Fiber: Pet rabbits need a lot of fiber to keep them healthy. Spinach contains a lot of insoluble fiber to bulk up the poop and keep them healthy.

  • Water: 91% of spinach is water. This means feeding spinach on a hot day can help with hydration.

  • Vitamin A: This vitamin is good for keeping the skin and eyes of your bunny healthy.

  • Vitamin K1: This is a natural anticoagulant that will help prevent blood clots and promote organ function.

  • Vitamin B9: This vitamin is also known as Folic acid and is great for fertility and preventing heart disease.

  • Iron: THis mineral is responsible for oxygen transport in the body and helps to prevent anemia.

  • Magnesium: this is needed for a healthy heart and keeps muscles from spasming. Magnesium also helps maintain healthy bones.

  • Calcium: We all know the famous calcium. It keeps teeth and bones healthy.

Risks of Spinach

While spinach has many health benefits, there are a few risks. Spinach contains a lot of oxalic acid, which can cause digestive problems and bladder stones in rabbits. It's important to consult a veterinarian if you notice abnormal behaviors or changes in your rabbit's health.

fresh harvest of spinach for rabbits

Other Foods for Rabbits

The best thing you can do as a pet owner is to provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. In addition to hay and pellets, vegetables, fruits, and other greens can be great additions to your bunny’s diet. Here are some of the best foods you can feed your rabbit:

  • Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals for your rabbit. Some of the best vegetables to feed include:

When feeding your rabbit fresh vegetables, wash them thoroughly and remove any seeds or pits. Introducing new vegetables slowly is also important to avoid upsetting your rabbit’s digestive system.

  • Frozen Veggies

Frozen vegetables can be a convenient and nutritious addition to your bunny’s diet. Some of the best frozen veggies to feed your rabbit include:

  • Peas

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

Only feed frozen foods as a treat on a hot day, and avoid anything too sugary.

  • Leafy Greens

Greens are an important part of your rabbit’s diet and should be fed daily. Some of the best leafy greens to feed your rabbit include:

  • Kale

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Mustard greens

  • Arugula

  • Dandelion greens

  • Green grass

rabbit, cute, animalrabbit eating flowers
  • Fruits

Fruits can be a tasty and nutritious treat for your rabbit. Some of the best fruits are:

  • Apples

  • Bananas

  • Blueberries

  • Strawberries

When feeding your rabbit fruit, be sure to remove any seeds or pips and limit the amount you give them to avoid upsetting their digestive system.

  • Hay

Grass hay should make up the bulk of your bunny's diet. The best types of grass hay to feed are:

  • Timothy hay

  • Orchard grass hay

  • Meadow hay

  • Oat hay

  • Teff hay

  • Erogrostis Hay

This is the most rabbit-safe food you can find. Provide fresh hay daily and remove any soiled or stale hay. You can feed hay unlimited.

  • Rabbit Pellets

Rabbit pellets are a great source of nutrition for your bunny and should be fed daily. When choosing rabbit pellets, look for high-quality pellets free from additives, corn, and preservatives.

rabbit eating pellets

Can Baby Rabbits Eat Spinach?

When it comes to feeding baby rabbit-safe foods, spinach should be avoided. Baby rabbits have a delicate digestive system; spinach can cause digestive issues and kidney damage. It is important to note that baby rabbits should not be weaned until they are 4-6 weeks old. Before that time, they should only be fed their mother's milk, hay, and pellets.

Wild Rabbits

Wild rabbits can be a problem if they enter your veggie garden. They will definitely go for your spinach if they can reach it, even though it's not a part of their natural diet. If you grow vegetables in an area with wild bunnies, I recommend fencing your garden to keep them out.

Key Takeaways

  • Spinach can be a healthy addition to a rabbit's diet, but it should be fed in moderation due to its high oxalate content.

  • Only feed your rabbit fresh, washed spinach leaves, and avoid feeding the roots.

  • Always introduce new foods gradually and monitor your rabbit for any signs of digestive upset or health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What greens can rabbits eat?

Rabbits can eat a variety of greens, including kale, cilantro, parsley, dandelion greens, and collard greens. They should also always have access to high-quality hay and fresh water.

What fruits can rabbits eat?

Some safe options include apples, bananas, blueberries, guava, and strawberries. However, fruits are high in sugar and should only be given as an occasional treat.

Can rabbits eat cabbage?

Rabbits can eat cabbage, but it should be fed in moderation. Too much cabbage can cause gas and bloating in rabbits.

Can rabbits eat arugula?

Yes, rabbits can eat arugula. It is a safe and healthy green that can be given in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

How is spinach safe for rabbits?

It is only safe when fed in moderation, as it contains high levels of oxalates that can lead to calcium oxalate formation and bladder sludge in rabbits. One cup of spinach once or twice a week is sufficient.

Can rabbits eat lettuce and spinach?

Yes, rabbits can eat lettuce and spinach, but they should be given in moderation. Lettuce contains little nutritional value and can cause diarrhea in large amounts, while spinach contains high levels of oxalates. It is important to offer a variety of greens to ensure a balanced diet for your rabbit.


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