Natural hays and grasses should make up 90% or more of your rabbit’s daily diet. Some flowers can make a delicious addition to this menu.
Table of contents
- Are Nasturtiums Safe for Rabbits?
- What Are Nasturtiums?
- Where Are Nasturtiums Found?
- What Flowers Are Safe For a Rabbit?
- What Flowers Are Dangerous for Rabbits?
- What Are Signs My Rabbit Has Been Poisoned?
- What Is a Healthy Rabbit Diet?
- Wrap Up
Are Nasturtiums Safe for Rabbits?
Nasturtiums, among the most common flowers, are perfectly safe for rabbits to eat. Although some plants and flowers are highly toxic to rabbits, nasturtiums are a great addition to their diet. These flowers are commonly grown worldwide and are perfectly safe for both wild rabbits and pet rabbits.
What Are Nasturtiums?
Easily a fan favorite, the nasturtium is a beautiful flower that is easy to grow. Not only does this flower have exceptional blooms in various colors, but the leaves, seedpods, and flowers are edible. Nasturtiums are easy to grow in a wide range of climates and can grow in a container or the ground. These flowers make a popular ground cover for vegetable gardens and grow well with broccoli, cucumber (see also ‘Can Rabbits Eat Cucumbers?‘), cabbage, melon, pumpkin, and radish.
Where Are Nasturtiums Found?
These flowers are found throughout the world and are frequently kept in gardens. The flower is usually considered an annual in colder climates but can live throughout the year in frost-free areas. These plants are only found in the wild in Central and South America but are commonplace in many gardens worldwide.
What Flowers Are Safe For a Rabbit?
While nasturtiums are perfectly safe for your rabbit, offering a varied option for vital minerals as well as a tasty treat, several other flowers are also safe and healthy for rabbits. Some rabbit-safe flowers are commonly found in the garden, including:
Sometimes called a viola, the pansy is a safe flower for your rabbit to nibble. These flowers come in various colors and do well in planters or small containers. Consider growing a small winter garden indoors with pansy flowers to give your rabbit some variety, even in colder weather.
Although the marigold is commonly used to fend off invasive insects from the garden, this flower is preferred by rabbits. You’ll want to specifically look for Pot Marigolds to ensure your flowers are rabbit safe. These flowers are easy to grow, producing large blooms that rabbits love. Plus, the seeds are easily saved to plant the following year again.
Many people think of vegetables when it comes to peas but fail to understand that peas have beautiful flowers. The flowers are usually white and grow on a vine. The best part about these flowers is that pea flowers are completely rabbit-safe and make a great snack. Be sure to avoid sweet peas, though, which can be toxic for rabbits.
The sunflower is a valuable and multi-faceted flower that is entirely safe for rabbits. Not only are the flower and stalk edible for rabbits, but the seeds that come off the flower are edible too. Just be careful with monitoring the number of sunflower seeds your rabbit eats because they are incredibly fatty.
What Flowers Are Dangerous for Rabbits?
Giving your rabbit a tasty flower treat is a great way to encourage particular behavior and ensure your rabbit gets a balanced diet with plenty of minerals and vitamins. However, it is essential to remember that not every flower in the garden is safe for your rabbit. Some common flowers can be quite dangerous and toxic for your pet rabbit. Be sure to stay away from:
Naturally, wild rabbits will want to stay away from hydrangeas because they are toxic. These flowers contain amygdalin which the body breaks down into cyanide. The hydrangea’s leaves, flowers, and buds are extremely toxic for rabbits.
The common fall flower can be highly toxic for rabbits because it contains high amounts of pyrethrins, a common compound found in insecticides. Usually, the flower itself is not toxic, but other parts of the plant, including the leaves and buds, are. If your rabbit accidentally ingests a chrysanthemum, you may notice your rabbit lacks an appetite or has fits of twitching and seizures.
Both a beautiful and common flower, this plant is highly toxic for rabbits. The entire plant has alkaloids, a type of opium. Every part of this plant, including dried poppy, can be life-threatening if your rabbit ingests it.
Although almost every backyard has this beautiful bush, the rhododendron is toxic for rabbits. Every part of the plant, including the roots, stems, leaves, and flowers, can harm your rabbit. Wild rabbits know to stay away from this plant, but pet rabbits are not as intuitive.
While not all iris plants are toxic to rabbits, the yellow iris is extremely dangerous and can cause a severe reaction. All parts of the yellow iris, including the flower, roots, stem, and leaves, are dangerous for your rabbit. Other iris colors may only cause mild irritation.
What Are Signs My Rabbit Has Been Poisoned?
Unfortunately, rabbits are constantly nibbling, which means they can get into trouble, especially in the garden. Further, domestic rabbits don’t seem to be as intuitive when it comes to avoiding potentially harmful plants in the garden. An astute owner should be aware of the signs that a rabbit has possibly ingested potentially toxic plants. Be on the lookout for:
- Lethargy – Your rabbit may appear tired, lay in its cage, and refuse to play or move around much.
- Twitching – Some toxins in plants can cause twitching, muscle spasms, or even seizures.
- Anorexia – If a rabbit is not feeling well due to eating toxic plants, it may refuse to eat. Be sure to monitor how much your rabbit is eating every day.
- Diarrhea – One of the most consistent signs that a toxic plant has poisoned your rabbit is the presence of diarrhea in the cage. Remember that diarrhea can also happen if your rabbit has too many vegetables in its diet.
What Should I Do If My Rabbit Is Sick?
If you notice signs that your rabbit is not feeling well due to ingesting toxic plants, time is of the essence. Rabbits are tiny animals that metabolize toxins quickly, spreading them through their system. The first step is to call your veterinarian for immediate assistance. If you cannot get ahold of your veterinarian, reach out to the ASPCA poison control center. You can call their emergency number at (888) 426-4435 or visit their website for information on how to treat and care for your rabbit.
What Is a Healthy Rabbit Diet?
A healthy rabbit needs a well-balanced diet to receive the necessary vitamins and minerals to support healthy organ and muscle growth. The most important part of a rabbit’s diet is a continuous stream of grasses and hay. The majority of your rabbit’s diet should be made up of hay containing high amounts of fiber. As an adult, rabbits can eat any hay and grass, but as a young rabbit, alfalfa hay is not recommended.
While fresh hay and grasses are always preferred, dry hay can be a good substitute. Pellets made of timothy grass are the next best option. Give your rabbit about ¼ cup of pellet feed for every 5 pounds of body weight.
To keep your rabbit as healthy as possible, be sure to maintain a steady diet of fresh leafy vegetables each day. Vegetables are safe as long as they do not have high amounts of carbohydrates like carrots and potatoes have. Keep your rabbit’s vegetable intake monitored and offer a variety of different foods. Different types of rabbits can have different dietary needs. Learn more about the diets of Angora Rabbits and Flemish Giant Rabbits.
Having a healthy diet of fresh grasses, hay, and vegetables is a great way to give your rabbit the necessary vitamins and minerals. A healthy diet can lead to a long and happy life. While many plants and flowers in the garden may be dangerous for your rabbit, luckily, nasturtiums are harmless for your rabbit. Your rabbit can eat the flower, stem, and seeds on nasturtiums. Keep in mind that while some other flowers, like peas and sunflowers, may be safe for your rabbit, other common garden plants like rhododendrons and yellow iris could be potentially fatal for a small pet rabbit.
Further Reading: Can Rabbits Eat Pomegranate?