Rabbits are the consummate herbivore. We see them in TV shows and animated cartoons munching on whatever grass stem, berry, leaf, or flower they can get their little paws around.
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Rabbits Can’t Eat Everything That Grows In A Meadow
However, this view can be a bit wrong and in some cases damaging. There are many different kinds of food out there that rabbits cannot eat.
In that way, they are similar to our other pets, like how dogs cannot eat chocolate or onions, but we can.
Yet, the image of rabbits eating lots of things persists and considering how they spend most of their wild lives in meadows, they must be able to eat the flowers that grow there, right? Especially dandelions? They are everywhere that rabbits are! They have to be able to eat them.
In this article, we are going to explore this claim and see whether rabbits are able to eat dandelions or not.
What Are Dandelions?
For those who may not have seen them before or for those who only have a passing interest in wild flowers, let us fill you in on what dandelions actually are.
Dandelions are a large group of flowering plants from the family of Asteraceae, which are known for being a very hardy plant that can grow almost anywhere – even in the pavement.
They have a very strong root system with leaves that stay close to the ground, while a single stem stretches up from which a bright yellow flower floret blooms.
This floret is where they get their name, as they have hundreds of small bright yellow leaves surrounding a bright yellow interior with a lot of seeds, making them resemble a well groomed lion’s mane.
When germinating seeds, the flower is replaced by hundreds of tiny seeds with a stem of a cotton-like substance sticking out, creating a ball of fluff.
Should the wind or a person blow on this stem, the seeds will scatter and travel on the air to a new patch of land.
This family of flowers generally stays in the Northern Hemisphere and can survive in the harshest conditions. Its native range includes Eurasia and North America, but some species have also been introduced to the North American continent from Eurasia as well.
Although known as a weed, spring and summer would just not be the same without seeing the beautiful rosettes of these tough little survivors rising from the ground, even in the harsh conditions of a city.
Can Rabbits Eat Dandelions?
Absolutely, rabbits can eat dandelions all day long, in fact even you can eat dandelions and your ancestors probably did if you are from the Northern Hemisphere.
If you are having a problem with dandelions in your garden, it might even be best for you to encourage your rabbit to eat them.
This will not only be good for your lawn, but for your bunny as well.
Dandelions contain a lot of fiber, which is something you always want to encourage in the diet of your pets.
Fiber is basically the oil that keeps any animal’s digestive tract lubricated and functioning properly. Without fiber, we would all get constipated and have serious health problems.
Different animals have different ways of getting it, but for rabbits that way is consuming vegetation, and dandelions can work really well in this fiber filling role.
Having a healthy digestive tract can stop constant visits to the vets as well, so it is good for you.
Another thing to consider is that eating dandelions is good for a rabbit’s teeth. Rabbits are part of Glires clade of mammals, which includes rodents and tree shrews as well.
This family is known for continuously growing their teeth throughout their life, which necessities them to gnaw on objects to wear them down.
Eating a tough, fibrous food like dandelions will help keep their teeth short and in good shape.
Lastly, dandelions are full of other nutrients, like beta-carotene, iron, potassium, and calcium, all of which your bunny needs to maintain its overall health in the long run.
These are only the most prominent nutrients you get, as dandelions also have a whole host of other useful nutrients in their bodies – like the B vitamins.
As such, giving your rabbit dandelions to eat is perfectly healthy and a great way to keep them healthy.
How Often Should I Give My Rabbit Dandelions?
Now, just because dandelions are great for your rabbit, it doesn’t mean you should load them up and feed them to your bunny exclusively.
To have a healthy diet, everything needs to be in moderation, and that includes foods for your lovely bunny.
First, you need to check whether your rabbit can eat dandelions. Like humans, animals can have allergies and get sick from them too, as such give your rabbit half a washed dandelion leaf and see how it reacts over the next few days.
If there are no effects, then you can proceed to give your rabbit dandelions.
We would say the best amount of dandelions to put into your rabbit’s diet is maybe a dandelion or two several times a week.
Dandelions are one of the natural food sources of a rabbit, so they are one of the best things for them, which means you can give it to them more often than other food.
Yet, it should still be in moderation, as wild rabbits mostly eat grass with some dandelion supplemented into the diet on the side. 80% to 85% of a rabbit’s diet should still be grass or hay, so keep those numbers in mind when feeding your rabbit.
If you are feeding your rabbit dandelions, always remember to wash your dandelions thoroughly before giving them to your bunny.
Dandelions are low dwelling flowers that often have other animals nimble on them, move over them, or even excrete near them. If you don’t wash your dandelions, your rabbit might get ill.
Video: Rabbit Eating Dandelions
If you have any doubt about whether bunnies love to eat dandelions, watch this short video!
Dandelions can be eaten by rabbits, in fact it is one of the most natural food sources of a rabbit. As such, it would be a good idea to incorporate them in their diet, just remember to do it in moderation.