Yes, pet rabbits absolutely can eat celery in small quantities, if properly prepared. The main issue with rabbits eating celery is the strings found inside of them. These could be a choking hazard. But let’s start at the beginning.
Celery is very healthy for your rabbit. It is a good source of various vitamins and minerals including vitamins B, C, and potassium. The indigestible fiber in celery will help keep your rabbit’s digestion healthy and regular. Eating celery can also keep your rabbit hydrated.
Its high water content will help keep your rabbit’s fluid levels up. This is especially beneficial if your rabbit doesn’t drink enough water. Chewing on crunchy celery also helps to wear down your rabbit’s ever-growing teeth.
Is Celery Good for Rabbits?
There are a couple of benefits (other than taste) when you feed rabbits celery.
Firstly, celery contains many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as calcium, choline, fiber, folate, folic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, vitamin A, several B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K to name a few (all of which are beneficial for rabbits’ overall health).
Celery is a vegetable in the family Apiaceae (which includes carrots and parsley). Both its fibrous stalk and its leaves can be eaten either raw or cooked (by both rabbits and humans).
Celery has a savory taste and is full of water. Many rabbits develop a fondness for celery due to its high sugar content (by rabbit standards) and love eating it.
Secondly, celery also helps to keep rabbits’ teeth in check due to how crunchy and difficult it is to chew.
Did you know that rabbits’ teeth never stop growing?
While that is very cool, it also means that their teeth can grow straight into their gums and mouths if left unchecked. This is very painful for them and dangerous as well.
According to the Vet Times, “Rabbits’ dentition and gastrointestinal anatomy are adapted to digest coarse, high-fiber foods, such as grass and hay (Meredith and Lord, 2014), so this must make up the bulk of their diet.”
High-fiber foods, including celery, help provide the nutrients Bunnies need for the stomach and teeth.
Why Do Rabbits Like Celery?
Rabbits like the taste of almost every vegetable and fruit you could name. Wild rabbits forage for any plants, which is why they’re the sworn enemy of vegetable farmers. Most fruits and vegetables that appeal to us are also tasty to rabbits.
For celery, in particular, it’s the fiber and nutrient content that rabbits find appealing. Celery also contains a small amount of sugar. It’s not enough for us to notice, but rabbits certainly do.
Not all rabbits like celery, however. All rabbits are individuals, and some turn their noses up at it. If your rabbit doesn’t like celery, it doesn’t matter, as long as they’re eating a variety of other vegetables.
Can Rabbits Eat Celery Leaves?
Rabbits can eat both the stalks and the leaves! So you can put celery on the leafy greens list too.
While celery is a great snack, as always, don’t overdo it. We know that most of your rabbit’s day needs to be spent at the hay pile. Don’t give your rabbit more than half a stalk per day.
And feel free to add celery leaves to any other leafy greens you’re giving your rabbit that day. Rabbits shouldn’t be given more than 2 cups of leafy greens a day.
Problems With Rabbits Eating Celery
While celery is a great vegetable to feed your rabbit, it can also cause some issues. Some potential issues with rabbits eating celery are:
Sometimes this veggie can cause diarrhea due to the high percentage of water it contains. Most of the time, extra water intake is great to help keep your rabbit’s digestive system working well, but sometimes too much water can lead to diarrhea.
When first introducing celery, give them just a small piece and slowly increase the amount that they are eating.
The stalk of the celery has long fibrous strings that can potentially get a cough in your rabbit’s teeth or stuck in their throat, causing them to choke. If your rabbit is choking on a piece of celery, you can help them by gently but firmly patting their back.
This will help to dislodge the piece of celery. Also, take your rabbit to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
The best way to prevent any of these problems for your rabbit is to cut the celery into small chunks less than 1 inch in length. Shorter lengths should not cause any problems for your rabbit.
These long fibrous strings can also get caught in the stomach and intestines catching food and other particles. This could eventually lead to your rabbit’s intestines getting blocked a condition known as GI stasis.
This is a very painful condition for your bunny. Making sure that your rabbit’s celery is cut into small chunks will help decrease the chance of any GI problems.
Even though celery is made up of mostly water, celery contains just under 2% sugar. This may be the main reason that most rabbits like to eat celery.
Rabbits thrive on a low-sugar diet and it is best to limit this vegetable to a few times a week and not feed alongside other veggies that are moderately high in sugar, such as carrots. Sugar intake can lead to teeth problems and obesity over time.
How healthy is celery for your bunny?
Celery is a pretty healthy vegetable. It is long and light green, and it is also low in calories and carbohydrate content. It comes naturally full of vitamins and minerals that are good for your rabbit.
Celery has vitamin C, Manganese, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Folate, and Phosphorous. It has a very high water content.
So your bunny gets some extra hydration from celery. It is fat-free, so if your bunny consumes it, you don’t have to worry about any extra weight gain. The real MVP in celery is phosphorus.
Phosphorus is essential for strong bones in rabbits. If rabbits do not get phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin D they develop a bone disease called rickets.
Rickets is a disease caused by a weakening of the bones. Calcification does not happen properly in the bones resulting in the increased likelihood of bone-related injury. So celery is a good dietary choice for your rabbit.
How Much Celery Should Rabbits Eat?
Now that we have discussed the benefits of celery, let’s now talk about how much celery to feed a rabbit.
Different varieties of vegetables are crucial for rabbits. However, this doesn’t mean you should feed only vegetables to them.
A rabbit’s diet should consist of around 15% of vegetables. The main focus should be on a variety of hay including timothy, meadow, orchard, etc. Each rabbit should be given a bundle of hay that is of the same size as his body every day.
For the vegetable portion of your bunny’s diet, about 85% should be herbs and leafy greens (including celery greens). And the rest can be other non-leafy vegetables including the following:
- Bell pepper
- Green beans
Once your rabbit becomes familiar with celery, you can include it in his diet. An adult rabbit can eat up to 2 inches of celery every day.
But as we discussed, you should feed it on alternate days instead of giving it daily. A good idea is to mix celery with other vegetables and give it to your rabbit in the form of a healthy salad.