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Can Rabbits Eat Asparagus?

Most rabbits LOVE their vegetable snacks and it’s just so easy to give them a piece of whatever human food you are snacking on too. However, there are some foods that are safe for humans, but can be harmful to your pet bunny. One common food, asparagus, is often in question: Can rabbits eat asparagus safely?

Dr. Jess explains the answer below:

long-eared rabbit on the floor

Check out whether rabbits can eat tomatoes here!

What Are Rabbits?

Rabbits and bunnies are small mammals that hop around from place to place.

They are commonly seen as pets with their sweet eyes, floppy ears, furry faces, and cute whiskers.

Rabbits come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, most commonly seen in shades of white, brown, black, and patches or combinations of those colors.

They can be seen with a large ear for their body size and even have long-eared varieties with even larger drooping ears.

Rabbits have long incisors (front teeth) that are constantly growing and needing to be filed either naturally or by the help of some intervention, both discussed further into this article.

What Do Rabbits Need From a Healthy Diet?

A well-balanced rabbit diet will need to deliver a multitude of things to the bunny ingesting it.

Just like humans, rabbits need the right combination of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water to keep their organs working and functioning properly.

However, the daily nutritional requirements for a rabbit differ quite greatly from that of a human, and that is reflected in the common diet that most healthy and happy pet rabbits eat.

What Does a Typical Rabbit Diet Consist of?

An adult rabbit’s main source of food in their diet should come mostly from high-quality hay.

Hay is a forage that is low in calories and high in fiber, easy on the rabbit’s digestive system.

Other pieces of the rabbit’s diet may include commercial pellets and/or treats and snacks such as fruits and vegetables.

However, not all fruits and vegetables are safe for your bunny to have.

two white bunnies outside with sun flare

What is Asparagus?

Asparagus is a herbaceous perennial plant, meaning that it can come back and survive for more than one year.

Garden asparagus is a very popular type of asparagus used for human consumption and cooking.

For the sake of this article on feeding rabbits asparagus, we are going to speak specifically on the green garden asparagus found commonly in grocery stores and in gardens.

Asparagus has a tall hardy stalk, also known as a shoot, that has a fibrous, tough glossy exterior. The thicker this shoot is, the older that this particular plant is.

The top of each stalk is tapered off with a spear-shaped head that is made up of more delicate scale-like plant.

Types of Asparagus:

Garden asparagus is a very popular type of asparagus used for human consumption and cooking.

However, there are other types of asparagus out there.

Not all asparagus is the bright beautiful green color, there are also white, purple, etc. colors of asparagus.

The white varieties of asparagus are seen as delicacies or for special occasions in certains parts of the world.

closeup view of asparagus spear heads in sunshine

Asparagus Nutrition:

According to Wikipedia’s description of the nutritional benefits of asparagus:

“Water makes up 93% of asparagus’s composition. Asparagus is low in food energy and very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fibre, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that regulates the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus, as the asparagus plant is relatively rich in this compound.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus

Asparagus has a particularly large supply of vitamin K that can help support proper blood clotting and the skeletal system’s bones.

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning that rabbits MUST have it in order to be healthy and for their body systems to function properly. Luckily, asparagus contains vitamin C!

Vitamin C helps support a healthy immune system and is in general “essential” because your rabbit has to have vitamin C to survive.

Scurvy is just one example of a disease or health concern seen among rabbits which occurs due to lack of vitamin C in their systems.

Asparagus is also rich in different antioxidants like vitamin E, with research proving that the vegetable contains notable amounts of various flavonoids and polyphenols [source], other antioxidants, as well.

Antioxidants are plant compounds that help protect the body from damage by free radicals, which can cause degenerative diseases.

Flavonoids — such as quercetin and kaempferol — have anti-inflammatory [source], blood pressure-decreasing [source], antiviral and anticancer effects [source], are all found in asparagus.

Asparagus also has a decent amount of fiber to help with digestion and can sometimes help in stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Another thing that asparagus is full of is water. On top of a high water content, asparagus in known to be very low in calories – two things, that when combined together, can help mitigate weight loss or at least help to stave off weight gain, which is important in our little bunny diets!

Is Asparagus Healthy For Rabbits to Eat?

Asparagus contains a low amount of calories and fat so it a better snack if your pet is overweight or has diabetes than other treats with higher caloric content.

Asparagus also has a high water content to help keep your little friend hydrated.

As mentioned in the nutritional content of asparagus section, asparagus has a high amount of vitamin B, C, E, K, etc. in it.

These are vitamins that help with the protection of important body systems that keep the body running and functioning appropriately.

Asparagus has a fiber content that will help your rabbit keep their digestive system running smoothly. It can also help with keep blood sugar level stable if you have a worrisome diabetic rabbit.

Asparagus is packed with a multitude of nutrients which are great for the health of your pet rabbit

Do Rabbits Eat Asparagus?

Rabbits may or may not eat asparagus when offered. Some bunnies love asparagus while other rabbits will always pass on the vegetable offering.

In a veggie garden, most rabbits will chose vegetables like peas, beans, beets, and carrots.

But just because rabbits DO eat asparagus does not necessarily mean that this is the best or safest choice for your pet.

Don’t be too worried if your rabbit does not eat asparagus that is offered- it’s normal. You will find another veggie alternative as a source of fresh food that your bunny can enjoy eating.

Can Rabbits Eat Asparagus Safely?

There are some foods that us humans can eat that are actually toxic to your rabbit and need to be avoided all together.

While there isn’t anything toxic to rabbits in the actual asparagus itself, you shouldn’t give them too much because problems may arise as I will discuss further down in this article.

Pet owners can chose to feed asparagus to their rabbits, but it should not make up their entire diet. Rabbits prefer munching on grass, commercial feed pellets, and hay, along with a bowl of clean, fresh water. 

You see, rabbits are herbivores and need a diet which is high-in fiber and low in sugar and fat.

They get their fiber supplied in the form of plants, such as hay which is a roughage that contains a lot of fiber.

This fiber is beneficial for two reasons:

  1. Dietary fiber keeps the rabbit’s digestive system running smoothly (it’s the same reason why some people take a fiber supplement like Metamucil!).
  2. The physical roughage (hay) helps keep the rabbit’s teeth healthy and worn down as their teeth are continually growing and need to be filed in order to prevent overgrowth.

So, long story short- Yes!

Adult rabbits can have asparagus, if offered to them safely, and I’ll cover that in just a bit.

You do not want to feed the wrong asparagus or the wrong amount or frequency, potentially making your furry friend unintentionally sick.

Can Baby Bunnies Eat Asparagus?

Compared to their adult counterparts, baby rabbits have much more sensitive gastrointestinal systems.

Avoid feeding baby bunnies any kinds of fruits and vegetables until they reach 12 weeks of age to allow their stomachs to mature with them.

Then, when ready to introduce them to juicy vegetables, take it very slowly, waiting at least 24 hours to observe any potential adverse side effects. Then you can move on and try more of the same veggie snack or a different tasty treat.

Remember – baby and young, and juvenile rabbits have more sensitive digestive systems!

Wait 24 hours to see their reaction.

If everything is fine, you can move to the next treat.

chart of watercolor vegetables

Is The Rest Of The Asparagus Plant Safe To Eat?

Stalk: You can give your rabbit asparagus stalk pieces.

Roots: Your rabbit will likely not eat the asparagus root when offered other parts of the plant. Do not feed the root to your pet.

Spear Top: should be offered fresh and cleaned.

Can Rabbits Eat Cooked Asparagus?

Do not give your rabbit any cooked asparagus.

Any cooked or processed asparagus is not recommended since your rabbit is an herbivore and they rely on raw foods to get their nutrients.

Everything a rabbit needs can be provided in fresh and raw form. Your rabbit’s stomach is just not made to handle cooked food, including asparagus.

One big advantage with offering raw vegetables is that it’s not only healthier for your rabbit, but it is much less effort on your part!

backend of bunny with fluffy tail

Medical & Health Concerns of Feeding Asparagus to Rabbits:

Are there any circumstances when asparagus might be bad for your pet?

Yes, some of the common issues seen with feeding asparagus to rabbits include:

  • Pesticides: Asparagus should always be washed to make sure they are free of any pesticides or chemicals that could be harmful to rabbits.
  • Parasites: Asparagus should be checked over for parasites that can lead to potential parasite problems with your rabbit
  • Overly Ripened: Avoid rotten fruits and vegetables that can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset.
  • Baby Bunnies: Baby bunnies have a more sensitive digestive system than their adult counterparts do. Therefore you shouldn’t give your rabbit friend any fruits or vegetables until they reach around 12 weeks of age.

How To Feed Asparagus To Your Rabbit:

First off, you should always purchase high-quality asparagus for your bunny from a reputable food source.

All fruits and vegetables will need to have a visual inspection done to make sure that you are giving your pet a ripe, healthy food to eat.

Next, you will need to remove cut, slice, chop, or dice up the asparagus so that your rabbit can safely eat it.

They will need food in bite-sized pieces at first. When first introducing your rabbit to asparagus, you want to see how they do after giving them one small piece!

You may need to consider mixing the cut asparagus with vegetables, up together to help discourage picking through their food bowl and eating only the preferred items in their dish.

Food should be presented in a shallow clean dish that is not easily tipped over.

Fresh water should always be available in a shallow dish that can’t be easily tipped over. This water dish should be washed and cleaned daily.

Any food left in your rabbit’s enclosure that is not eaten up will start to get old and become unsafe for your bunny to eat, if they will even touch it at all.

This could lead to some major health issues, as well as a smelly enclosure and a bug problem – things you definitely do not want to deal with.

So, it is very important to clean out any foods that your rabbit leaves behind in a timely manner.

How to Feed Rabbits Asparagus

How to Feed Rabbits Asparagus

Active Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 3.00

Rabbits are one of the most loved of all pocket pets. As cute as they are, it is easy to want to give them all the delicious human foods we enjoy, like asparagus! Nonetheless, numerous human foods aren’t safe for your bunny to eat. So, can rabbits eat asparagus?

Materials

  • 1 fresh ripe store-bought asparagus spear

Tools

  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knife

Instructions

    1. Begin by washing the vegetables thoroughly as you’ll need to remove any bacteria, pesticides, or other chemicals that may have been placed on the asparagus.
    2. Then, you’ll want to cut off and discard the thick lower white part of the spear.
    3. Cut the asparagus spear into small bite-sized pieces.
    4. Remove any uneaten asparagus from the cage within a few hours of serving so that bacteria does not form and grow on it.

Notes

Contact your veterinarian before changing parts of your pet's diet. Stop the feeding of asparagus immediately and contact your veterinarian if any signs of ill health appear.

Serving Size of Asparagus To Feed A Rabbit:

First step to focus in on is the serving size that you are giving your fur baby.

Depending on your rabbit’s size, the average asparagus portion should be up to 2 inches worth per serving in one day.

If you have a smaller rabbit, go with 1-inch worth of cut up asparagus. Do not start with these amounts, but work up to this amount with just a small bite the first time you offer asparagus to your pet.

They should only be fed asparagus up to 2-3 times per week at most, but not on a daily basis or any two days in a row. Work up to this frequency and amount however!

Remember that asparagus should be limited to a special treat only because of potential digestive and other assorted health problems.

Moderation is key here!

How Much to Feed:

Fresh vegetables should be as a supplement to your pet rabbit’s already well-balanced diet.

These fresh fruits and veggies should make up about 10-15% of your bunnies diet.

Depending on your rabbit’s size, the average asparagus portion should be up to 2 inches worth per serving in one day.

If you have a smaller rabbit, go with 1-inch worth of cut up asparagus.

Do not start with these amounts, but work up to this amount with just a small bite the first time you offer asparagus to your pet.

When first introducing your rabbit to asparagus, offer one small piece of asparagus and wait at least 24 hours to see if any adverse reactions occur before offering your pet more asparagus.

Keep in mind that too many vegetables can cause digestive distress.

Common Signs of Adverse Reaction:

  • lethargy
  • diarrhea/loose stool
  • anorexia
  • excessive or increased itching/scratching/licking of skin or paws

Summary:

Rabbits can have ripe, clean asparagus in moderation.

Too much asparagus can cause a multitude of health problems for your bunny.

Do not feed immature rabbits or rabbits with underlying health conditions asparagus even as a treat until they are of correct age to have it or their condition has improved and asparagus-eating has been approved by your veterinarian.

If you have concerns regarding feeding your rabbit asparagus, contact your local veterinarian beforehand.

Article Resources:

  • Oglesbee B. The 5 Minute Veterinary Consults Ferret and Rabbit, Blackwell 2006
  • Rabbit Care
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The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

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