Although rabbits can safely consume lavender, many rabbits are repelled by the strong scent. Gardeners can use lavender to deter rabbits from eating their plants. Despite this, some rabbits still eat lavender, which is not a problem since lavender contains a great deal of health benefits.
Like most people, you probably think rabbits are gentle creatures that only eat carrots and lettuce. But the truth is, rabbits are quite versatile eaters and can enjoy a wide variety of foods, including lavender.
Yes, that’s right, lavender! This fragrant herb is not only safe for rabbits to eat, but it can also provide them with a host of health benefits. Lavender is known to help relieve stress and anxiety, improve digestion, and boost the immune system.
The problem is that most rabbits will avoid lavender. Despite the health benefits, lavender has a very strong taste and odor that repels most rabbits, so there’s a chance your rabbit may refuse this treat.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Plant Vs. Oil
- 2 The Benefits of Lavender For Rabbits
- 3 The Risks of Lavender For Rabbits
- 4 Is Fresh or Dried Lavender Better?
- 5 How to Know if Your Rabbit Enjoys Lavender
- 6 Introducing Your Rabbit To Lavender
- 7 The Best Alternatives to Lavender
- 8 Using Lavender as a Repellent In Your Garden
- 9 Lavender is Safe, But Not Essential
Plant Vs. Oil
Before we dive into the details of this article. It’s crucial to bring up the point that this article will be about the plant, NOT the oil. You should never give your rabbit lavender oil. It is highly concentrated and can be toxic to rabbits. Only give your rabbit the fresh plant or dried lavender.
The Benefits of Lavender For Rabbits
If your rabbit is one of the few that will eat lavender, they can enjoy several health benefits, including:
Relief from Stress and Anxiety
Lavender is well-known for its ability to help relieve stress and anxiety. The fragrant herb has a calming effect on the body and can help to reduce tension and promote relaxation. This makes lavender an ideal treat for rabbits who are anxious or stressed.
Keeps Fleas Away
Lavender is a natural flea repellent. If your rabbit doesn’t mind a little lavender in or around its cage, it can help to keep fleas away.
Aids in Digestion
Lavender can also help to improve digestion. The herb has carminative properties that help to relieve gas and bloating. It can also help to soothe an upset stomach.
Boosts the Immune System
Lavender is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help to boost the immune system and protect the body against disease.
Calcium, Vitamin A, and Iron
Lavender is also a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and iron. These nutrients are essential for rabbits and can help keep them healthy.
- Calcium will help to keep your rabbit’s bones and teeth healthy.
- Vitamin A is important for vision, reproduction, and cell growth.
- Iron is necessary for the production of red blood cells.
The Risks of Lavender For Rabbits
Although the benefits sound great, there are also some risks to consider before giving your rabbit lavender.
Very Strong Odor Your Rabbit May Not Enjoy
The most important thing to remember is that lavender is a potent herb. It has a strong taste and odor that can be overwhelming for rabbits. If your rabbit is not used to eating lavender, it may be repelled by the taste and smell.
Too Much Calcium Can Cause Bladder Stones
Lavender is a good source of calcium. However, too much calcium can be a bad thing for rabbits. A diet that is high in calcium can lead to the formation of bladder stones.
If your rabbit eats a lot of lavender, it may be at risk for developing bladder stones. This is why it’s important to only give your rabbit a small amount of lavender.
Dried Lavender May Contain Mold
Dried lavender may also contain mold. This can be dangerous for rabbits because they are susceptible to lung infections.
If you give your rabbit dried lavender, ensure it is fresh and free of mold.
Lavender Can Cause Allergic Reactions
Like any other food, some rabbits may be allergic to lavender. If your rabbit shows signs of an allergic reaction (such as swelling, hives, or difficulty breathing), stop giving them lavender and seek medical attention.
Lavender can also cause GI upset in some rabbits. Signs of GI upset include diarrhea and loss of appetite. If your rabbit starts to show these signs, stop giving them lavender and see your veterinarian.
Lavender that is grown in gardens may be treated with chemicals. These chemicals can be dangerous for rabbits, so it’s important to only give your rabbit lavender that is organic and free of chemicals.
Is Fresh or Dried Lavender Better?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It really depends on what your rabbit prefers. Some rabbits may prefer fresh lavender, while others may prefer dried lavender.
If you give your rabbit fresh lavender, ensure it is washed and free of chemicals.
If you give your rabbit dried lavender, make sure it is fresh and free of mold.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Dried is Less Likely to Contain Chemicals: Dried lavender is less likely to contain chemicals than fresh lavender. This is because the drying process helps to remove chemicals from the plant.
- Dried is More Concentrated: Dried lavender is more concentrated than fresh lavender. This means that a little goes a long way. If you give your rabbit too much dried lavender, they may be at risk for GI upset.
- Fresh is More Nutritious: Fresh lavender is more nutritious than dried lavender. This is because the drying process removes some of the nutrients from the plant.
- Dried Lavender Has a Less Potent Scent: The drying process also helps to remove some of the scent from the lavender. This makes dried lavender less potent than fresh lavender.
How to Know if Your Rabbit Enjoys Lavender
The best way to know if your rabbit enjoys lavender is to offer them a small piece and see if they eat it. If your rabbit sniffs the lavender and then walks away, they probably don’t like the taste or smell.
If your rabbit nibbles on the lavender and then seems to enjoy it, consider using lavender as an occasional treat.
Introducing Your Rabbit To Lavender
If you’ve never given your rabbit lavender before, it’s important to introduce it slowly. Start by giving your rabbit a small piece of lavender and see how they react. You can give them a little more if they seem to enjoy it.
If your rabbit doesn’t seem to like lavender, don’t force them to eat it. There are plenty of other healthy foods that your rabbit can enjoy.
The Best Alternatives to Lavender
If it turns out your rabbit doesn’t enjoy lavender, but you want to offer them a treat that has a calming effect, there are two great alternatives that most rabbits will enjoy.
Both chamomile and catnip have a calming effect on the body and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. They are also safe for rabbits to eat and have various health benefits.
Using Lavender as a Repellent In Your Garden
If you grow lavender in your garden, you may wonder if rabbits will eat it. The answer is that some rabbits will, but most will avoid it.
The strong taste and smell of lavender are off-putting to most rabbits, so they will usually steer clear of it. This makes lavender a great natural repellent that can help to keep rabbits away from your plants.
If there are certain plants you want to protect, consider planting lavender around those plants. You can also sprinkle some dried lavender on the plants.
Just remember, this isn’t a 100% fail-proof method. Most rabbits will be deterred, but some won’t.
Lavender is Safe, But Not Essential
Lavender is safe for rabbits to eat, but many rabbits are repelled by the strong scent. Gardeners can use lavender to deter rabbits from eating their plants. Despite this, some rabbits still eat lavender, which is not a problem since lavender contains a great deal of health benefits.