April 23, 2020

Can Rabbits Eat Celery?

Risks and Benefits

Veterinarian Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

If you're asking can rabbits eat celery, then the answer is definitely yes. It is a great, healthy food to serve for your little bunny.

You find yourself staring in awe at your cute little bunny friend and how he happily chews his piece of a celery stalk. You want to offer him more, but exactly how much celery should our bunny rabbits be allowed to eat?

Let's find out.

Can Rabbits Eat Celery?

Yes, rabbits can eat celery. Celery is a healthy treat as it contains Vitamins C, A, and B6, and it is also fibrous to promote dental health. Follow our feeding guidelines, as the high water, sugar, and oxalate content may cause diarrhea, obesity, and bladder stones, and celery strings may pose a choking hazard.

Many plants are poisonous to rabbits. You will be relieved to know that celery is not one of them. Actually, celery is one of the healthiest foods for rabbits, and rabbits are fond of eating celery. So, let's understand whether there are any risks involved in feeding our pet rabbits too much of the green stalk. We will also uncover what makes celery beneficial for them.

Health Benefits: Is Celery Good for Rabbits?

Some find celery a bit pungent in taste, while others find it mild. Needless to say, they are really crunchy and enjoyed by most humans!

Celery is not toxic to your little pet rabbit and actually healthy if eaten in moderation. 

Should our pet rabbits be consuming celery regularly, though? Many rabbits love celery, but if yours does not, that's ok too, just make sure that he is getting a variety of other vegetables.

1. Contains Essential Nutrients

Rabbits don't only benefit from the taste of celery; they are also nutritional powerhouses. Celery is made up of many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients including, calcium, choline, fiber, folate, folic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, vitamin A, a host of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K, which can all significantly contribute to the health and wellbeing of your pet bunny.

2. Helps with Weight Loss in Overweight Bunnies

Celery is very high in nutrients but very low in calories and, therefore, safe for overweight rabbits. Celery will not cause your rabbit to pack on more unwanted pounds, though it's relatively high sugar so it should only be given as a treat.

The green leaves of celery

3. Good for Dental Health

Celery is very crunchy and tough to chew. But it keeps a rabbit's teeth strong and is also capable of wearing them down. Rabbit's teeth continue to grow for as long as they live and thus need to go for regular dental check-ups to ensure that their teeth are not hampering their ability to chew or causing them any discomfort, including extreme pain.

Celery makes for a brilliant alternative to a rabbit chew toy, although it will not last as long since many rabbits love munching on celery and eat it up quickly!

4. Helps with Overall Body Function

Celery helps to push food through a rabbit's digestive system due to its fiber content — the nutrient and vitamin content in celery assists with proper body function. Rabbits, with their herbivorous digestive systems, are also able to digest celery easily.

5. Can Help with Hydration

Celery has high water content and will help to get more water in your pet rabbit's diet if he isn't too keen on sipping water regularly. You can also keep your rabbit cool by providing him with refrigerated celery sticks.

As you can see, there are numerous benefits for your rabbit when he munches on celery sticks.

Related reading: What is the best food for rabbits?

Health Risks: Is Celery Bad for Rabbits?

Although celery is a very healthy vegetable to offer your rabbit, there may be some potential risks that you need to be aware of to protect your pet.

Stop offering celery if you notice diarrhea, constipation, or any unusual behavior.

Celery Strings 

Celery strings run vertically down the stalk, are strong and straggly, and are dangerous as they can get caught in a rabbit's teeth, which may result in an infection. There is also a risk of causing obstructions in a rabbit's digestive tract, which could end in unpleasant circumstances for your little buddy and could even potentially be deadly.

Celery must be chopped into small pieces for your pet rabbit to avoid issues caused by celery strings. Try and aim for half an inch in length so they won't lead to any problems.

High Sugar Content 

Celery actually contains a high sugar content in comparison to other vegetables, although it may not seem sweet for us humans.

To circumvent the effects of high sugar, water, and oxalate content in celery, it should only be fed occasionally.

Still, for our rabbit counterparts, the sugar content in celery surpasses their requirements, and it could negatively impact their health if they ate an abundance of celery. Celery should, therefore, be offered as a treat to our pet rabbits.

High Water Content 

Celery also has high water content, and this can cause gastrointestinal issues for rabbits, such as diarrhea. For rabbits, diets high in water are not ideal.

Oxalates

Celery also contains oxalates, also referred to as oxalic acid, which can accumulate within your pet rabbit's body if foods high in oxalates are consumed excessively. This accumulation causes kidney damage in rabbits.

To circumvent the effects of high sugar, water, and oxalate content in celery, it should only be fed occasionally. A general recommendation is 3in of celery stick daily at most.

Rabbits have fragile stomachs, which can surely be upset by either too much sugar, water, or overfeeding on vegetables. Your pet rabbit should be monitored for soft, watery stool as an indication that allows you to cut back and adjust your rabbit's diet accordingly.

Rabbits can consume celery safely as part of a healthy diet if fed in moderation.

Feeding Guidelines: Celery for Rabbits

How much and how often

Hay and leafy greens are the most crucial part of your rabbit's diet, as well as vegetables. Celery contains many of the nutrients that your rabbit requires and makes for a good choice, but not in excess, though, as previously mentioned in this article.

One small piece of celery per day is more than sufficient, as it should not be eaten in excess.

A general recommendation is 3in celery stick daily. 

How to prepare celery for your rabbit

1. Choose organic celery if you have the option. If possible, you should purchase organic celery to avoid harmful pesticides, which, according to the Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies, can be dangerous to rabbits. Pesticides can result in acute neurological damage if excessively ingested.

Rather spend extra in sourcing organic celery to make sure that your pet rabbit is not being exposed and potentially suffering from any damage, which can be avoided.

2. Start by washing. Celery should be washed thoroughly and rinsed with clean water before preparing for chopping.

3. Chop into small pieces. Long celery strings may cause digestive problems and should, therefore, be sliced into small pieces for your rabbit. Once your celery is properly cleaned, 3in stick of celery can be chopped up into half-inch pieces to ensure that celery strings don't cause your rabbit any health issues.

4. Introduce slowly. If this is your rabbit's first time eating celery, you should introduce it slowly by offering only a small piece of celery. If your rabbit experiences no digestive issues, you may provide a bit more after a few days.

If you notice any issues, consult your vet.

celery leaves

Nutrition Facts

Let's take a look at some of the nutrients present in celery:

The nutrients in a bunny-sized stalk of celery (17 grams) are as follows:

  • Calories: 2.7
  • Protein: 0.1 grams
  • Fiber: 0.3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6 grams

Now, let's have a look at some of the major vitamins and minerals as well as how your rabbit can benefit from them:

Celery contains nutrients such as vitamin C, A, B6, iron, and fiber, which are essential for rabbits.

Vitamins are imperative for rabbits as they cannot make their own; they need to obtain their vitamins from their diet and fecal bacteria found in cecotropes (special bunny poop). Vitamins are required for proper body function, but too much of these important nutrients can be a risk as well.

Vitamins are known to improve rabbit vision, possibly low the effects of aging, lowering the cancer risk, great for teeth and bone health as well as supporting the immune system. 

Vitamin C

However, vitamin C is not required for rabbits; in fact, an excessive amount of it can cause kidney damage. Since celery contains vitamin C, it should only be offered occasionally.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is necessary for antibody production in rabbits, which protects them against ill health and supports their immune function.

Iron

Iron is required to regulate energy metabolism and is involved in oxygen transportation in the body. Iron deficiencies result in anemia due to impaired hemoglobin formation. Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body and hence essential for rabbits.

Fiber

Fiber is extremely important in a rabbit's diet as it prevents digestive issues. If a rabbit does not obtain sufficient fiber in their diet, it could lead to severe problems and even result in death.

Bottom line: Can Rabbits Have Celery?

Celery is not toxic to your little pet rabbit and actually healthy if eaten in moderation. Always be aware of what you are serving your rabbit and monitor your rabbit closely for any adverse reactions in order to respond quickly.

Stop offering celery if you notice diarrhea, constipation, or any unusual behavior. These symptoms usually indicate an underlying issue that can be identified by seeking professional help from your veterinarian.

Protect your little bunny and happy celery chomping!

FAQ

What part of celery can rabbits eat?

Rabbits can eat all the parts of celery, including the stem, leaves, and roots. The whole plant is safe for your bunny to consume. Just remember to cut the celery into small pieces because the stringy texture can be difficult to digest and may cause blockages. All celery parts should only be fed to rabbits in moderation because of the high sugar, water, and oxalate content, which may cause health issues.

Vet's Comment

Bunnies have what's known as 'open-rooted' teeth, which constantly grow throughout their lives. As their teeth continue to grow through life, they need coarse, fibrous foods to help wear these teeth down.

Without fiber, their teeth will grow so long that a bunny can't chew or even close their mouth in severe cases. Teeth can also be sharp and cause painful ulcers to a bunnies mouth. Fiber is also essential for keeping the bunny's gut moving.

- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Dr. Edele Grey Veterinary Surgeon

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Edele Grey
DVM

Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your rabbit’s specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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