Rabbits

Can Rabbits Eat Dandelions – Greens and Flowers

can rabbits eat dandelions
Written by Editorial

Can you feed dandelions to your rabbits including their flowers and greens (leaves and stems) or is this weed (culinary or medicinal plant in some settings) harmful?

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)  is a name used to refer to flowering herbaceous plants that belong to the Taraxacum genus and Asteraceae family. There are various varieties including the common (fleshy, horned, rough), the pink, and white, among other varieties.

This perennial plant is used both as a medicinal herb and in food preparation (greens are used as salads, flowers to make dandelion wine and roots to make coffee if baked and ground). However, this plant is considered as a weed by most lawn owners and gardeners.

can rabbits eat dandelions
can rabbits eat dandelions?

Can rabbits eat dandelion leaves and flowers?

Yes, rabbits can eat dandelions – dandelion greens or leaves, flowers [1] or the plant. It is one of the rabbit safe weeds you should consider, and your furry friends will find it very tasty and enjoy eating it.

Sometimes, after eating the dandelion flower, especially the bright orange one, your pet’s urine might turn to this color. This should not worry you much as it is normal.

Nutritionally, your pets are going to benefit from the various minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamins such as A, C, K, E as well B complex, fiber, carbohydrates, among others which bunnies require and have various roles in their bodies.

Giving your bunnies this weed

Before giving your rabbits dandelion greens (leaves and stems) and flowers, you need to ensure its source is free of pesticides. Also, wash it thoroughly under running water to get rid of any pesticide remnants before giving it to your furry friend.

When introducing this weed for the first time, you need to begin with small amounts and you study how their stomachs are going to react. Afterward, increase the amount slowly over a period of about a week.

On the amounts to give them, a chopped cup of 4-5 leafy greens including dandelions is enough for a rabbit weighing two pounds a day. There are many greens you can go for including arugula, carrot tops, kales, lettuce, turnips, mint, basil, dill leaves, raspberry leaves, cilantro, and so on.

Also, keep varying the various leafy greens you give your pet since there is a long list of the various types they can eat. Avoid or occasionally include only one type of leafy greens with high oxalic acid amounts such as parsley, spinach, mustard greens, beet greens, radish tops, and so on. 

Remember leafy greens and treats (fruits and non-leafy vegetables) should account for only 10-15% of your rabbit’s diet the rest being hay (over 80%) and about 5% high-quality pellets. Do not forget an unlimited supply of clean, freshwater.

If you need hay, go for brands like Small Pet Select 2nd Cutting “Perfect Blend” Timothy Hay Pet Food, Kaytee Timothy Hay, Standlee Premium Western Forage Timothy Grass, among others while  Kaytee Supreme Food for Rabbit, Oxbow Animal Health Bunny Basics Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food and Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets are good brands of pellets. 

Finally, excessive amounts of any leafy greens may cause diarrhea, gas, bloating and other stomach upsets. Always stick to the recommended bunny diet to avoid such problems.   

Do rabbits eat dandelions that are growing?

While roaming in your garden or amongst landscaping plants, this pet may nibble this plant. In fact, it is recommended that you allow these pets to “graze grass or eat dandelion and other coarse weeds in summer” [2]

Conclusion

Dandelions are a safe rabbit weed. Most bunnies will enjoy eating their greens and flowers. However, even if they like it, avoid giving them excess amounts.

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