Your pet rabbit seems to be perfectly content eating grass or pelleted foods, but it's hard not to want to give them a taste of fresh produce! Rabbits love to eat carrots, right? And most rabbits will love to eat celery. The question is - should they? Can rabbits eat celery stalks? Do wild rabbits eat celery? How about other parts of the celery plant? What are the health benefits of celery for rabbits? Is celery good for rabbits?
Below, we'll let you know if rabbits can safely eat celery and what potential hazards you should keep in mind.
Can Rabbits Eat Celery?
Yes, rabbits can eat celery with little to no concerns! They can eat all parts of the celery plant, from the roots up to the leaves, and offer many health benefits to rabbits and humans alike. To add them to your pet rabbit's diet, you need only keep a few considerations in mind.
If you grow your own celery in your garden, don't be surprised to find a wild rabbit tasting your homegrown celery.
Health Benefits Of Eating Celery
Although most artistic depictions of rabbits show them nibbling on carrots, rabbits very rarely seek out root vegetables at all! A rabbit's diet consists almost entirely of roughage, such as grass, hay, and straw. They also enjoy the leafy greens, such as lettuces - and the tops of celery plants! However, the entirety of the celery plant is perfectly edible for rabbits, and a raw celery stalk can be a welcome treat for pet rabbits. Here are some benefits when you feed rabbits celery:
Celery stalks are composed of almost 95% water! This makes them a deeply hydrating food.
Celery contains vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, and a whole host of various B vitamins! Vitamin C boosts the immune system, and the B vitamins within celery are important for red blood cell formation and a healthy nervous system.
Celery contains potassium, manganese, and phosphorus. Phosphorus is a particularly important mineral for rabbits! Phosphorous deficiencies will quickly lead to rickets in rabbits. Rickets cause brittle bones - particularly the backbone.
A rabbit's digestive system requires a large amount of fiber in order to operate. Lacking appropriate fiber, a rabbit's intestines will simply cease functioning! Celery, particularly the fibrous stalk, is a fantastic source of this crucial component.
While this health benefit is not one that humans would consider, a rabbit's teeth are continually growing. It's important that they focus on a crunchy vegetable regularly to keep their teeth pared down to the correct size and sharpness.
The Downside Of Feeding Your Rabbit Celery
With all the health benefits of celery, it's hard to imagine that there would be anything against feeding celery to your pet rabbit! However, there are a few hazards and problems with rabbits eating celery:
The biggest concern when feeding rabbits celery stalks is the potential choking hazard caused by the strings. Celery contains ribs made from thick collenchyma tissue in order to help them grow straight upright. Although edible, these tough ribs often pull away from the rest of the stalk, resulting in "strings." The celery's strings can get caught in the throat or be swallowed whole without being chewed up. Choking is a particular concern for rabbits because they can't vomit! If you notice your rabbit choking on celery strings, rush them to an animal hospital immediately.
Celery has a particularly high water content. If your rabbit is already getting ample water daily, the addition of celery to their diet might result in a bit of diarrhea as their bodies try to process this extra water. It typically resolves within a day, and their bodies will adjust if celery is added to their diets regularly. This is why introducing celery (and other foods) to your rabbits' diet should happen slowly - to give their digestive systems time to adjust!
We don't typically think of celery as a sweet treat, but it contains sugar. Not much, but considering that most wild rabbits eat grass and pet rabbits eat pellets, a celery stick tastes very sweet! This can make your rabbit want to eat too much celery. And it doesn't take much for there to be too much sugar in their system. Remember that celery should be a tasty treat, not an all-day option.
What Is The Best Way To Feed Your Rabbit Celery?
Since rabbits can eat all parts of the celery plant, the simplest way to feed celery to your pet rabbit is to offer the celery leaves. Full of nutrients, celery leaves lack the stringy ribs found in the stalks. However, if you'd prefer to offer a celery stick, keep in mind that choking is a potentially fatal concern for rabbits. Always cut each stalk down the middle lengthwise and then into one-quarter to one-half-inch chunks. Feed your rabbit these small pieces rather than giving them an entire celery stalk. Once your rabbit has adjusted to eating celery and shows no digestive problems, you can feed them one stalk of celery daily - just be sure it's properly prepared!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Rabbits Eat Celery Leaves?
Yes, it is safe for rabbits to eat celery leaves. Celery leaves are actually safer for rabbits to eat than celery stalks! This is because the leaves don't have any of the stringy ribs found in the stalks that cause a choking concern. They also are more nutritious (to a rabbit) than the stalks, containing less sugar and lower water content. You might have trouble sourcing celery leaves, however, as most grocery stores only sell celery with the leaves cut off. Thankfully, it isn't difficult to grow celery yourself! Or, check out your local farmer's market.
Can Rabbits Have Celery Flowers?
Celery flowers are tiny and grow in clusters. Flowers aren't particularly good for rabbits, so you should remove any flowers before feeding them to your rabbit. Celery with flowers can also be tough and woody; in most cases, it's best to avoid these and feed tender stalks.
Can Rabbits Eat Celery Root?
Yes, it is safe for rabbits to eat celery roots. All parts of the celery plant are safe for rabbits to eat. However, the roots are typically less appetizing to a rabbit than the leaves and stalks, so don't be surprised if your pet turns up its nose! Be sure to cut the root into small, manageable pieces.
Can Rabbits Eat Celery Hearts?
Yes, it is safe for rabbits to eat celery hearts. Celery hearts are the innermost stalks of the celery plant, and they are typically lighter in color and may even have young leaves grow on them. The ribs in these stalks are not completely formed yet, making them less likely to pose a choking concern.
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Celery?
There is really no need for a rabbit ever to eat cooked celery. Celery loses many of its nutrients in the cooking process, and it also loses the crunchiness that is important for rabbits' teeth. If you're considering cooking your celery in order to soften the strings and reduce choking, simply cut up the celery sticks instead.
Can Bunnies Eat Celery?
No, baby rabbits should not eat celery, fruits, or leafy vegetables until 12 weeks of age. Prior to that point, they should only drink their mother's milk.
How Much Celery To Feed Your Rabbit?
To keep your rabbit healthy, 80% of your adult rabbit's diet should be hay or grass, with 10-15% made up of fresh vegetables. Vegetables can be a mixture of leafy greens or celery leaves, and the remainder should be nutrient-rich, healthy rabbit food such as pallets.