Caring for your pet isn’t just about cuddling them and stroking them when they want attention. You also need to make sure you feed your pet a good, well-balanced diet to ensure it receives all the nutrients to grow and remain healthy.
For rabbit owners, this is especially important, as rabbits can have very sensitive stomachs. To make sure they’re consuming enough nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water, provide an unlimited amount of high-quality hay and a small patch of vegetation.
With this in mind, can rabbits eat basil safely? Basil is one of the most delicious herbs for humans to eat but does it provide any kind of nutritional value for our cute companions?
If you’re looking for a short answer, then yes, rabbits can eat basil.
However, there are some important things you should know before giving it to your fluffy friend to munch on. This guide will provide you everything you need to know about basil for rabbits, including some of the frequently asked questions.
Basil Nutrition & Benefits
Basil contains a range of essential nutrients including antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins A and K. These can all be crucial in keeping your rabbit as healthy as possible.
In a typical ¼ cup serving of basil leaves, you’re provided with:
- 317 iu vitamin A
- 9 mcg vitamin K
- 1 mg vitamin C
- 1 mcg folate
- 6 mg calcium
- 8 mg magnesium
- 7 mg potassium
Basil is a great source of anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help to fight different forms of inflammation. These anti-inflammatory molecules are also known as antioxidants and can help your rabbit overcome different forms of potentially problematic inflammation.
Basil leaves are vitamin-rich, with good levels of vitamin A, C, and K. Rabbits require these vitamins in their diet to stay strong and healthy. Vitamin A is vital for good eyesight and healthy good systems. And vitamin K helps rabbits stay safe and adequately clot blood when required.
Furthermore, basil can also help to lower blood sugar levels. This is just as important for rabbits as it is for humans.
Is Basil Safe For Rabbits?
While there are numerous benefits associated with your rabbit eating basil, it’s important to question whether there’s anything potentially toxic in the herb that may harm your pet.
Keep in mind that there are several “healthy” foods that we humans eat on a daily basis that are actually toxic to rabbits and should be avoided altogether.
Basil, however, isn’t one of them.
There’s nothing in basil that’s of any danger to rabbits. Just be careful to give them the correct amount (we’ll take a look at this a little later) and try to rotate it with other fresh foods.
It’s also worth noting that if your rabbit is prone to kidney stones or bladder problems, it’s best not to give it a full serving. You see, basil is fairly high in calcium so feed your rabbit small amounts.
Do Rabbits Like Basil?
Some rabbits may be a little sensitive to the distinct scent of the herb but the vast majority of bunnies love to eat basil. The most effective way to tell if your pet likes basil is to gently offer them a leaf or two and see how they respond.
As mentioned above, try not to feed them basil too often. Rabbits prefer to snack on fresh herbs like basil as a treat, alongside a more general diet of grass, fresh mixed green, commercial feed pellets, hay, and a continuous supply of freshwater.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Basil?
Baby rabbits and juvenile rabbits have much more sensitive gastrointestinal systems than their adult counterparts. Therefore, you should avoid feeding them any kinds of fruits or vegetables until they’re at least 12 weeks old. This allows their stomachs to mature properly.
When you’re ready to introduce them to vegetables, do it slowly. Make sure you wait at least 24 hours after feeding a new food to your rabbit. Looks for any potential negative side effects before moving on and trying them with more. If everything’s fine, you should be safe to move to the next treat.
How Much Basil Can Rabbits Eat?
As with every new food you introduce into an animal’s diet, you’ll want to closely monitor your rabbit after they try basil for the first time. Some of the common signs to watch out for include diarrhea and bloating.
If everything goes smoothly, you can gradually increase their basil serving size until they reach the full amount. Listed below are the recommended amounts of basil to feed your bunny.
- Baby rabbits – none
- Juvenile rabbits – none
- Adults rabbits – two stems of basil with leaves
When preparing basil to feed your rabbit, there are a few things you need to do to avoid your pet consuming something that may be harmful to their health. Listed below are a few of the most important.
- Parasites – you should check basil for parasites as these can lead to potential parasite problems with your rabbit.
- Pesticides – always make sure you wash your basil so it’s free of any chemicals and pesticides that could harm your rabbit. If you can, buy organic basil for your pet bunny.
- Overly ripened – avoid rotten fruits and vegetables as these can often cause your bunny to suffer from diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Can A Rabbit Eat Basil?
Once your rabbit has become accustomed to basil and hasn’t suffered any adverse effects from eating it, you can feed it to them twice a week or so. Just be mindful that if you’re feeding them other foods that are similarly high in calcium. You may want to slightly cut back their basil intake.
Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Basil?
It’s probably best that you don’t risk your rabbit with cooked basil. Since your bunny is a herbivore, they rely on raw food to get their nutrients, not cooked or processed foods. Ultimately, your rabbit’s stomach isn’t designed to handle cooked food, including basil.
Is Sweet Basil OK For Rabbits?
Yes, rabbits can eat sweet basil without any issues at all. Just offer them the right amount and don’t give it to them too often (no more than twice a week).
Can Rabbits Eat Lemon Basil?
Yes, rabbits are safe to eat lemon basil. Like with other varieties, that you only give them the correct amount and provide them with a gentle introduction to the herb.
Are There Any Alternatives To Basil In A Rabbit’s Diet?
Rabbits enjoy the majority of herbs, fruits, and vegetables. So next time you’re looking for a tasty alternative to basil, to mix things up a little, consider some of the following options:
- Carrot tops
- Bell peppers