Can Rabbits Eat Lettuce?

Rabbits May 12, 2022
Written by | Updated Nov 30, 2022
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Can Rabbits Eat Lettuce?

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Can Rabbits Eat Lettuce?

If you’ve ever joked about eating rabbit food, there’s a pretty good likelihood that you had lettuce in mind.

Oddly enough, lettuce isn’t always ideal for rabbits – at least one popular type isn’t really recommended!

So, what’s the deal with lettuce for rabbits? Is it ever OK to give a rabbit lettuce, and if so, how much should you offer?

Our quick guide answers all of these questions and more!

Lettuce Nutrition Stats

Lettuce is nutritious but low in calories, so you can really fill up on it if you like.

One cup of lettuce offers about:

  • 5 calories
  • 1 g carbohydrates
  • .5 g fiber
  • .5 g protein
  • 1 g fat

Lettuce Nutritional Facts

Incredibly, just a single cup of chopped leaf lettuce provides about half of your daily recommended vitamin A intake.

That same cup of lettuce provides approximately:

  • 5 mg vitamin C
  • 2665 iu vitamin A
  • 8 mg potassium
  • 13 mg calcium
  • 7 mg magnesium
  • 3 mg iron
  • 13 mg calcium
  • 5 mcg vitamin K
  • 7 mcg folate
  • 4 mg phosphorus

Can Rabbits Have Lettuce?

Yes, but the type of lettuce matters! Even though rabbits can have lettuce, it’s best to choose darker-colored varieties with lower water content.

Green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, Boston lettuce, bibb lettuce, butter lettuce, and romaine lettuce are some very good options. Iceberg lettuce isn’t recommended as it’s very high in water and low in nutrients, and since it contains high levels of lactucarium, which is a plant compound that’s toxic to rabbits.

Is Lettuce Good For Rabbits?

Dark colored lettuce is very good for rabbits so long as you offer the right amount. Be sure to wash the lettuce well before offering it to your bunny, just as you do before eating lettuce yourself.

Do Rabbits Like Lettuce?

Rabbits typically love lettuce, happily nibbling and enjoying every bite.

How Much Lettuce Can A Rabbit Eat?

So, is there such a thing as “too much” lettuce? That’s a yes.

Here’s how much lettuce a to feed your rabbit:

AgeAmount
Baby rabbitNone
Adult rabbit1 cup dark-colored lettuce leaves

Like other vegetables, lettuce should be introduced to your rabbit gradually. The good news is that once you’ve introduced one variety of lettuce, it’s fine to mix and match.

Start by offering your bunny about a half cup of lettuce. Watch for diarrhea over the course of the next 24 hours. If everything comes out just fine, then you can progress to an entire cup the next time you offer lettuce.

How Often Can A Rabbit Eat Lettuce?

You might think that rabbits and lettuce are the ideal match but in reality, lettuce should only make its way onto your bunny rabbit’s menu two to three times per week.

Since lettuce is relatively high in calcium and too much calcium can lead to bladder sludge and painful urinary tract infections, don’t offer it on the same day as you provide other high-calcium foods including broccoli and spinach.

The Correct Diet Is Important

If you’ve ever grown a garden and had bunnies visit, then you know that wild rabbits go crazy for lettuce. Even so, those lettuce leaves they’ve nibbled make up only a small percentage of a wild rabbit’s natural diet. Wild bunnies eat mostly grass and other low-lying vegetation, along with the occasional berry or other “found” fruit!

Keeping mother nature’s plan in mind, here’s what to feed a rabbit each day:

  • Unlimited fresh hay for nibbling; Timothy, oat, and orchard hay are good options
  • A tablespoon of seeds such as unsalted pepitas, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, unless they’re already included in your rabbit’s food
  • The appropriate amount of rabbit food; every brand is different so check the label to see how much your rabbit should be eating every day
  • Small amounts of natural treats, i.e. no more than about a teaspoon of fruit per two pounds of your rabbit’s body weight and a variety of colorful vegetables
  • A daily “salad” consisting of about 1 cup of leafy greens per 2 pounds of your rabbit’s body weight, plus crunchy veggies
  • 24/7 access to clean, fresh water; be sure to rinse and refill your rabbit’s drinking bottle at least once a day.

Last but not least, be sure that you give your rabbit 24/7 access to chewable treats such as hay cubes, untreated softwood branches, unbleached loofah, or coconut shell. Chewable rabbit toys are fantastic, too.

Your rabbit’s teeth never stop growing, and these items prevent painful overgrown teeth while making  your rabbit’s cage a nicer place to live.

What Are Other Healthy Alternatives To Lettuce In A Rabbit’s Diet?

Like many herbivorous pets, rabbits can eat all sorts of things.

Here are some veggies rabbits like most:

  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • carrot
  • carrot tops
  • romaine
  • beets
  • beet tops
  • arugula
  • swiss chard
  • spinach
  • endive
  • escarole
  • butter lettuce
  • bibb lettuce
  • rocket
  • buttercrunch lettuce
  • green beans
  • cucumber
  • summer squash
  • winter squash
  • pumpkin
  • bell pepper
  • zucchini
  • celery
  • parsnip
  • tomato
  • broccoli
  • broccolini
  • okra
  • bok choy
  • yu choy
  • watercress

There’s a pretty good likelihood that if a certain vegetable is good for you, it’s also good for your rabbit!

At the same time, certain foods are toxic to rabbits so you’ll want to research new items before putting them on your bunny rabbit’s menu. This way, you’ll know what’s safe for your pet, plus you’ll know how much to offer.

For now, giving your rabbit lettuce a few times per week is a nice way to mix things up and give them something yummy to munch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lettuce safe for rabbits?

Yes! Most varieties of lettuce are safe for rabbits to eat, so long as you wash the leaves well and ensure that you aren’t offering too much at one time.

Can lettuce make my rabbit sick?

Yes, but not likely, so long as you stay away from iceberg lettuce and avoid offering your rabbit lettuce at the same time as you provide other high-calcium foods.
Providing the right amount is important, too! Even though lettuce seems like a really harmless food, too much (or the wrong kind, or the wrong combination) can give your bunny digestive trouble or even lead to problems with their kidneys and/or urinary tract.

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Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens.
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