Can Rabbits Have Bok Choy?
Rabbits can be particularly tricky. Unlike our cats and dogs, they are strict herbivores. People who have never raised rabbits often assume that they live on salad, but those of us who share our homes with these cotton-tailed creatures have learned otherwise. Rabbit digestion is finicky, and some of our favorite plant foods may actually be poisonous for our pets. What should we do to keep our rabbits’ roughage new and interesting? We want to mix it up, and one of our favorite ‘unique’ veggie choices is bok choy.
So, can you give your rabbit bok choy?
The answer: yes, rabbits can eat bok choy! Some popular vegetables—especially herbs—can be extremely poisonous to our pets, but fortunately, bok choy is among the safest options out there. This vegetable does not appear to come with any risk of toxicity, so even if your rabbit splurges a bit, they should not suffer from any serious health effects. Your bunny is supposed to eat a certain amount of fresh vegetables every day, and low-oxalate leafy greens such as bok choy should make up around three quarters of all of the leafy greens they consume in a day. Bok choy is generally well-tolerated, which makes it a great option for pet owners looking to add some variety to their rabbit’s diet.
Health Benefits of Feeding Your Rabbit Bok Choy
Most rabbits are suckers for leafy greens, and bok choy is a nutritious, flavorful way to keep their diet new and exciting. Bok choy contains large amounts of many of the nutrients that rabbits need to stay happy and healthy. This crunchy vegetable is loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. It also contains a modest amount of calcium, which is actually an asset rather than a hindrance—rabbits get rid of excess calcium by excreting it in their urine, which means that eating too much calcium can result in the formation of painful crystals in the bladder. Bok choy has enough calcium to provide a little boost without the risk of causing urinary problems.
Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting, is abundant in bok choy. Consuming adequate Vitamin K ensures that your rabbit’s blood will clot quickly when they are injured. If the clotting process is slowed down, rabbits who are injured or recovering from surgery may be at an increased risk of blood loss or slowed healing. Fortunately, Vitamin K deficiencies are relatively rare in bunnies who consume healthy, balanced diets, but if you have reason to believe that their intake is a little low, bok choy can be a healthy, tasty way to increase their intake.
Like all leafy greens, bok choy also contains a high amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from disease by defending cells against highly charged, highly reactive particles called free radicals, which are natural waste products of several metabolic processes. When free radicals come into contact with body cells, they cause damage that can result in potentially dangerous mutations.
Some of these mutations are completely harmless, but others are thought to result in diseases such as cancer and even arthritis. Consuming foods that are high in antioxidants has shown to protect against many of our most-feared diseases in many animals.
Your rabbit will almost certainly love bok choy, but it is important to practice moderation. Though leafy greens are beneficial side dishes, most of your rabbit’s diet should be made up of hay and pellets. These foods provide the balance of fiber, protein, and other nutrients that will keep their digestion in working order. Even bok choy may not provide enough fiber to maintain your rabbit’s gastrointestinal health.
Things to Consider
Overall, bok choy is an excellent way to add variety to your rabbit’s diet. It is high in vitamins, low in calories, and low in potentially harmful oxalates. If your rabbit isn’t already eating leafy greens, start small. Suddenly adding a new food like bok choy into their diet can cause digestive problems that can quickly snowball out of control. Give your rabbit a small amount, then wait to see how they handle it before feeding it to them regularly.