Broccoli has earned a reputation as a superfood due to the wealth of nutrients and antioxidants it provides. What’s more, it’s a tasty veggie that you can make into all sorts of yummy dishes. To be clear, though, we’re talking about the benefits broccoli offers to humans here. However, because of the veggie’s eminence as a superfood, bun owners may ask, can rabbits eat broccoli and enjoy its health-boosting properties, too?
Let’s see what’s in broccoli and how it affects rabbits to find the answer to that important question.
What’s in Broccoli?
We mentioned that broccoli belongs to the list of superfoods, which means it’s nutrient-rich. Aside from the protein, carbs, and fat the veggie provides, it’s also chock full of vitamins, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and minerals. All these combine to protect the cells, promote optimum bone structure, take care of the heart, and aid in the proper functioning of the muscles.
Here’s a rundown of the health-giving nutrients a cup of broccoli contains:
- Vitamin A (120 mg)
- Vitamin C (101 mg)
- Vitamin K (100 mcg)
- Vitamin B6 (0.4 mg)
- Potassium (457 mg)
- Magnesium (33 mg)
- Calcium (62 mg)
- Folate (168 mcg)
- Phosphorus (105 mg)
- Manganese (0.4 mg)
Do Rabbits like It?
Rabbits love to eat. Serve them hay, fresh fruits, pellets, veggies, or anything edible, and the chances are high that they’ll tuck it in. Moreover, because they’re herbivores and broccoli is a tasty veggie, you can expect buns to like it. Also, like humans, rabbits enjoy variety in their meals. So if you offer them this crunchy veggie, they’ll probably take a bite, and another, and another.
However, don’t force the issue if your bun refuses to eat broccoli. Each rabbit is unique, and it may be that yours doesn’t enjoy the veggie’s taste.
Can They Eat It?
That’s a trickier question to answer. Yes, rabbits can eat broccoli but they can’t indulge to their heart’s content. It also depends on each rabbit’s ability to digest the veggie. Some buns have more trouble processing the fiber in broccoli than others. Also, like with most fruits and vegetables, you’ll need to exercise caution when you give this veggie. Limiting the portion size is one of the keys to safely feeding broccoli to rabbits.
The Benefits of Feeding Broccoli to Rabbits
What makes broccoli an excellent addition to your pet’s diet? Here are some reasons.
Rabbits need fiber in their diet to help the food pass easily through their digestive tract. Fiber also aids in wearing down their ever-growing teeth. Because broccoli contains plenty of fiber, feeding it to your bun may prevent some digestive and dental issues.
It’s Packed with Vitamins, and Minerals Rabbits Need
Sulforaphane, one of the significant components of broccoli, can help treat high blood pressure and atherosclerosis in rabbits. Meanwhile, Vitamin A is good for the eyes, and vitamin C helps boost the immune system. Other micronutrients, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and phosphorus, work together to keep your bun healthy.
The Risks to Rabbits
For all the nutrients it contains, feeding broccoli to your pet also comes with some risks.
The Veggie Can Cause Gas and Runny Stools
Although gas pains aren’t life-threatening, they aren’t any fun either. Having gas in the tummy is uncomfortable. As a result, your bun may stop eating, which can lead to other health issues. Rabbits who are particularly sensitive to fibrous foods can also develop loose stools.
Broccoli Has Plenty of Sugar
It may come as a surprise, but broccoli is high in sugar. We recommend limiting your pet’s intake of sugar-dense fruits and veggies, such as bananas and carrots because a diet rich in sugar can cause digestive issues. Obesity is another negative outcome of a sugar-rich diet.
How Much Can They Eat?
Given at the right amount, broccoli isn’t likely to cause your bun any harm. You’ll just have to take note of the serving size. In general, offer 1 tablespoon of the veggie for every 2 pounds of your rabbit’s weight, two to three times a week.
Controlling how often you serve broccoli is as essential as limiting the portions you give your pet. By spacing out the times you serve the veggie, you give your rabbit’s body ample opportunity to digest the fiber properly.
How Much to Feed
Knowing the proper way to serve broccoli to your fur baby can reduce the chances of the veggie causing him some health issues.
- As much as possible, serve only fresh broccoli. Wash it thoroughly to remove chemicals or wax residues before offering bite-size portions to your pet.
- Give only the small stems, leaves, and smaller florets. Thicker stems and larger flower portions are harder to digest and have a higher potential of causing gas pains.
- You can give your rabbit both cooked and raw broccoli. However, cooked food often lacks some of the nutrients that raw food has. Raw broccoli is also crunchier, making it more appetizing to your rabbit.
- As with most foods, give only a tiny portion when you feed broccoli for the first time. Monitor your pet for about 24 hours. Watch for signs of illness, such as loose stools, difficulty pooping, lethargy, or loss of appetite. Observe your pet, too, for signs of gas pains.
Signs of Gas Pain in Rabbits
Broccoli can cause gas build-up in your pet’s tummy. This can be a painful experience and can lead to other health problems. Watch out for these signs after feeding broccoli to your fur baby.
- Gurgling sounds from your pet’s stomach
- Swollen or hard stomach
- Unusual or unnatural position
- No appetite
Consult a rabbit-savvy pet to seek advice on how to help your bun. Gas pains that last longer than a day can be a medical issue.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Broccoli?
It’s a well-known fact that rabbits have sensitive digestions, especially when they’re babies. So even if your adult buns enjoy broccoli, resist the temptation to offer it to younger bunnies. Baby rabbits or kits have different dietary needs than older rabbits. Moreover, rabbits shouldn’t get fresh vegetables before they’re 6 months old.
Can rabbits eat broccoli? Yes, but not daily, and they should get only a small amount. For optimum health, feed your bun plenty of hay and treat veggies and fruits as supplements or snacks.
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