Arugula is safe and nutritious for rabbits to eat as part of a balanced diet. However, it’s not safe to assume that your bunny can eat anything that is leafy and green (even if their cute wiggly noses demand it!)
Although pet rabbits can eat arugula it’s always important to plan your rabbit’s diet to keep them healthy.
What is arugula?
Arugula is a dark green leaf that is popular in salads and has a zesty, peppery tang. It’s a great leafy green for your rabbit.
An annual plant that is grown around the world, arugula is also known as:
- Rocket in Britain and Australia
- Roquette in France
- Rucola in Italy
Is arugula good for rabbits?
Full of nutrients, arugula is one of the best leafy greens for rabbits: 100g of arugula provides 160mg of calcium and 15 mg of vitamin C.
It’s also full of dietary fiber, rich in vitamins A and K, folate and includes magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.
Arugula is a safe food for rabbits, when given correctly,and they can pretty much eat the whole plant including the stems, the leaves and even the sweet white flowers.
It’s also low in oxalic acid which is good because too much oxalic acid can affect the rabbit’s kidneys over time.
Can my rabbit eat too much arugula?
Your rabbit can eat too much arugula so it’s very important not to over feed them. Arugula is very high in calcium and contains vitamin C, both of which are essential to their health. But rabbits cannot eat arugula every day as high blood calcium levels can be toxic
Calcium can build up and lead to painful kidney stones and bladder sludge. Too much vitamin C also can be bad for their kidneys.
Limiting your bunny’s arugula intake, rotating it and mixing with other leafy greens and vegetables will ensure that their calcium and vitamin C levels stay in check.
How much rocket should I give my rabbit?
Leafy greens and fresh raw vegetables (fresh food) make up only 10% of your rabbit’s diet every day. Arugula makes up just part of this fresh food component.
Remember that the foundation of your rabbit’s diet must be good quality hay (about 80%) and can be unlimited. Rabbits won’t get fat eating as much hay as they like as it is a good source of fiber.
The remaining 10% of their diet is good quality rabbit pellets (choose low sugar and low starch options).
Greens and vegetables should be served as a treat and should make up no more than ½ cup PER DAY for an adult rabbit.
It’s often mistakenly thought that this is the healthy part of their diet, but actually hay is. Limiting greens and vegetables will mean that your bunny will focus on the hay.
Once you have introduced your rabbit to arugula successfully without adverse reactions:
You can feed arugula to adult rabbits (recommended single serving):
- 2 to 3 large arugula leaves every 2 or 3 days
Include at least 3 different kinds of greens and vegetables every day to ensure a healthy balance of nutrients. Make sure you rotate the greens and vegetables so your rabbit doesn’t eat too much of one food. And provide a good supply of fresh water.
Can young rabbits eat arugula?
Baby rabbits under 12 weeks old (3 months) should not eat arugula at all. After 12 weeks, it’s safe to slowly introduce your bunny to delicious arugula.
Take care of your bunny’s digestive system by only introducing just one kind of leafy green at a time so their tummies can adjust.
Start with just half a leaf, 2 to 3 times a week watching for any reactions.
If all is well, after a week, add half a leaf a week until you’ve reached the adult dose.
How to feed your rabbit arugula
Arugula should be fresh (not wilting or cooked) so it contains the most nutrients.
Once you’ve worked how much arugula to feed your rabbit:
1. BUY fresh arugula from the supermarket or the grocery store. (Buy organic arugula if you can afford to, your bunny will thank you.)
2. WASH the arugula really well to remove any pesticides and herbicides to keep your bunny safe
3. CHOP the arugula leaves in halves or thirds
3. FEED arugula 2 to 3 times per week ONLY. For younger rabbits see our guidelines
4. MIX IT UP with other leafy greens and fresh vegetables (all up only 10% of their diet)
5. ROTATE the leafy greens and vegetables to ensure your rabbit is getting all the vitamins and minerals to keep them in great condition.
6. SMILE as your rabbit nibbles away with gusto
You can mix arugula with other leafy greens such as bok choy, green lettuce, red lettuce (not really green!), endive, romaine lettuce, kale and radicchio to ensure your rabbit’s diet contains a good dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
AVOID giving your rabbit arugula at the same time as other high calcium foods.
How to store arugula?
Wash and dry the arugula leaves really well. Then store in glass or plastic containers lined with paper towel and place in the refrigerator. Arugula will keep fresh for 2 to 3 days.
How to Introduce Arugula to your rabbit
Rabbits’ tummies can be sensitive so you must introduce any new food slowly. ONE new food at a time ideally over 2 weeks. This gives their digestion time to adjust.
To get started, feed your rabbit just 1 small arugula leaf or ½ large leaf and mix it in with other leafy greens and fresh vegetables.
Watch your rabbit very closely for 24 to 48 hours. It doesn’t happen often, but signs to be wary of are: diarrhea or bloating from gas.
After this time, if your rabbit is happy (there’s no change in their behavior, their drinking and pooping) add another ½ arugula leaf on the next feed.
Remember to feed arugula only every 2 or 3 days.
If your bunny has soft or runny poop or lots of gas (abdominal bloating) reduce the amount of arugula or go back to the beginning with introducing arugula to your bunny.
Make sure you don’t exceed the recommended daily intake.
If your bunny really looks unwell after eating arugula it’s a good idea to take them to the vet.
Why do rabbits need leafy greens?
Leafy greens are an important part of your rabbit’s daily diet to keep their kidneys and bladder healthy.
Leafy greens provide extra moisture in their diet and powerful antioxidants. The rabbit’s immune systems gets a boost from the phytonutrients.
Mixing up the flavors and textures of the greens and vegetables you feed your bunny is a great way to stimulate them mentally.
What if my rabbit doesn’t like arugula?
Mostly, rabbits like arugula. It is possible that your bunny might not like it as arugula can have a very strong peppery taste. Some rabbits will love it and others won’t.
Here are some foods that you can feed your bunny Instead of arugula. Choose from high calcium foods on the days that your bunny would have arugula (2 to 3 times a week only).
Remember to limit the quantity of high calcium food and mix with other low calcium salad and vegetables!
We’ve provided measurements by weight as it is far more accurate than cups.
100g = 100 grams = (roughly) 3.5 ounces
Foods Higher in calcium content are:
Kale 250mg per 100g
Collard greens 232 mg per 100g
Parsley 200 mg per 100g
Mint 210 mg per 100 g
Spring greens 210 mg per 100g
Turnip greens 190 mg per 100g
Spinach 170 mg per 100 g
Watercress 170 mg per 100 g
Mustard greens 115 mg per 100g (Occasionally, high in oxalates)
Some rabbit greens low in calcium are:
Cucumber 18 mg per 100g
Green cabbage 40 mg per 100g
Celery 41 mg per 100g,
Fennel bulb 49 mg per 100g,
Endive 52 mg per 100g
Broccoli (leaves & stems only) 56 mg per 100
Lemon grass 65 mg per 100g,
Cilantro or Coriander 67 mg per 100g
Bok Choy / Pak Choy 105 mg per 100g
Watercress 120 mg per 100g,
Sources include: USDA
NOTE: Even though swiss chard (silverbeet) is a low calcium food, do not feed it to your bunny every day as it is high in oxalic acid
Final thoughts on feeding rabbits arugula
Of course, rabbits can eat arugula (rocket), 2 to 3 times per week, as part of a balanced healthy diet. Arugula is a great rabbit food.
Mixed in with other leafy greens and vegetables (only 10% of their diet), it will help to keep your bunny healthy and bouncy. (But do keep away from those greens your rabbit can’t eat).
You never know, on top of the health benefits, arugula may just become your rabbit’s favorite food!