Can Rabbits Eat Spinach Is it Safe

For the most part, the diet of a rabbit is concerned with leafy greenery in one form or another, be it grass hay, fresh grass, leafy vegetables or something like that. Yes, they can eat lots of other vegetables also, but these things are their mainstays.

collage of rabbits eating various foods
collage of rabbits eating various foods

However, not all these plants are created equal when it comes to the health and nutrition of a rabbit and you’ve got to know which kinds can potentially cause problems.

Let’s look at spinach, for instance. Is it safe for rabbits to eat spinach?

Yes, spinach is safe for rabbits to eat but only in limited quantities as part of a well-rounded diet. While very healthy impact with nutrients, spinach contains lots of oxalic acid and calcium which can cause urinary tract and kidney problems in rabbits.

Spinach is a food that sometimes gets a bad rap for rabbits, but it really doesn’t have to.

So long as you make it a point to feed them in limited quantities, only a few times a week, and rotate it with other leafy vegetables occasionally, your bunnies will benefit from a huge boost in nutrition and avoid any problems.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and I’ll explain it all down below…

Do Rabbits Like Spinach?

Yes, most rabbits really like spinach! Or at least, pretty much all of the rabbits I have ever known and seen seem to enjoy it.

Spinach is naturally a type of food that rabbits would be attracted to, being a tender, leafy vegetable that they can easily eat and digest. Apparently, they really like the flavor, also.

Is Spinach a Healthy Food for Rabbits?

Yes, it is! Spinach is incredibly nutritious and has a well-deserved reputation as a superfood for that reason.

Spinach contains a solid amount of protein and carbohydrates, with most of those carbs in the form of fiber which rabbits certainly need. But it is the vitamin and mineral content that makes it so spectacular and healthy.

Looking at the vitamin content first, we see that spinach is absolutely packed with vitamin A and beta carotene along with a great assortment of the B complex vitamins, including B1, a great amount of B2, B3, plenty of B6 and tons of folate.

Also, present is a great shot of vitamin C, vitamin E, and a frankly incredible amount of vitamin K. It is hard to do better than spinach when it comes to vitamins!

But the mineral content of spinach is likewise very impressive, with lots of manganese and magnesium, iron and calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

One thing to be aware of is that spinach also contains a fair amount of sodium which is something to be cautious of if your rabbits are getting extra salt elsewhere in their diet.

However, considering the fact that your rabbits shouldn’t be eating spinach routinely means that this salt content is unlikely to be a problem.

And despite this phenomenal nutritional content, spinach is still something that your rabbits should only have in sharply limited quantities. I’ll explain why in a couple of sections…

Are Spinach Stems Okay for Rabbits?

Yes, they sure are. Spinach stems are just fine for rabbits to eat even though they are slightly tougher than the leaves themselves. They contain extra fiber that will help your rabbit’s digestive system.

How Can Spinach Cause Problems for Rabbits?

I know it sounds hard to believe considering how much time I just spent building up spinach as this amazing source of nutrition for bunnies, but it isn’t something you can feed them all the time. Doing so repeatedly can cause devastating health problems!

Why? Well, it’s because spinach contains an extremely high amount of oxalic acid.

While harmless to rabbits, people, and other animals in relatively small amounts, very high levels of oxalic acid and other oxalates can build up in the body and interfere with various nutrients and bodily processes.

Oxalic acid in particular will bind with iron and calcium, two things which rabbits certainly need in their diet, and also two things that are present in abundance in the spinach itself.

When this binding occurs, it can prevent a rabbit from absorbing iron from the foods they are eating, and it can even bind to iron that’s already in their system.

This can damage circulatory health by preventing the formation of healthy red blood cells, and eventually culminate in a type of anemia. Not good!

When oxalic acid binds to calcium, several bad things start to happen in a sort of chain reaction.

For starters, this promotes the formation of urinary tract stones, kidney stones and even the buildup of harmful compounds in the bladder itself which can make the elimination of wastes difficult or impossible, and also subsequently start to poison a rabbit’s blood.

This condition is usually referred to as bladder sludgein rabbits, and it is as bad as it sounds- and also extremely painful.

But the good news is that as problematic as these issues are they are easily avoided by not giving your rabbits too much spinach or too many other leafy or cruciferous vegetables that are high in oxalic acid.

What Other Veggies are High in Oxalic Acid?

Changing gears for just a moment, because it would be terrible for you to hold off on spinach only to replace it with another vegetable that has just as much or even more oxalic acid. That would certainly defeat the purpose!

When you cut spinach from your rabbit’s diet, do not replace it with any of the following leafy greens:

  • ❌ Chard
  • ❌ Kale
  • ❌ Radish greens
  • ❌ Beet greens
  • ❌ Mustard greens
  • ❌ Parsley
  • ❌ Sprouts

Is Cooked Spinach Good for Rabbits?

No, sadly. I sometimes see folks mention cooking spinach as a way to make it safe for rabbits to eat, but this isn’t a good plan. While it will dramatically reduce the amount of oxalates that the spinach contains, it also severely reduces the nutritional content and adds moisture.

Rabbits don’t need very much moist food because it can disrupt the balance of their gut, leading to other problems.

While it is a good idea and the science behind the notion is sound in terms of harm reduction, it reduces the nutritional payoff and introduces other possibilities for things to go wrong and so the practice should be avoided.

You can give your rabbits fresh, raw spinach without worry as long as you limit the quantity.

How Often Should Rabbits Eat Spinach?

Your rabbits should only have spinach once or twice a week in conjunction with other leafy greens that don’t have high levels of oxalates.

The general feeding guidelines for rabbits when it comes to leafy green vegetables is giving them one packed cup of greens per 2 pounds of body weight daily.

However, I strongly recommend that only a portion of that cup be spinach for any given feeding to avoid a potentially harmful dose of oxalates.

Just make sure that the majority of the leafy greens your rabbits get weekly are other types that aren’t too high and oxalates and you shouldn’t expect any issues.

The Best Way to Serve Spinach to Bunnies

You can serve spinach to your rabbits the same way that you would any other leafy vegetable. Set it in a tray, bowl, or other feeder according to their usual preference. Just make sure you wash it and dry it thoroughly first!

Is Spinach Safe for Bunnies, Too?

Yes, but only in extremely limited quantities once they are old enough to start eating various vegetables.

It takes a very long time for the balance of a bunny’s gut to properly develop and stabilize, and so you should not give them any additional vegetables until they are at least 3 months and preferably a bit older considering the hazards associated with spinach.

And then, of course, you must only give them a little bit at a time to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems.

When I say a little bit, I mean a few leaves, no more. Observe it closely for any change in your bunny’s demeanor or any difficulty urinating or defecating.

If anything looks off, stop feeding them spinach at once. Assuming everything is good, you can slowly increase the amount they get with other leafy vegetables as they grow.

Never Give Rabbits Spoiled Spinach

One more thing to keep in mind is that you must only give your rabbits fresh, unspoiled spinach. If it has started to brown, shrivel, turn black or go slimy you need to throw it out.

Your rabbits might still eat it, but trying to bum off spoiled spinach on them is only going to greatly increase the chances that they get sick.

You should know, and I’ve already mentioned several times, that rabbits have very delicate digestive systems that are easy to disrupt, and any such disruption could have potentially fatal consequences for the poor little thing.

If you wouldn’t eat the spinach yourself don’t even dream of giving it to your poor bunnies!

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