Is Lavender Good For Rabbits?

Lavender is generally considered safe for rabbits to eat in moderation. The fragrant herb has a variety of potential health benefits for bunnies when consumed in small amounts. Lavender contains antioxidants, has calming properties, and can support digestive health.

When giving lavender to rabbits, it's best to offer fresh sprigs or dried flowers. The leaves of the lavender plant have higher concentrations of essential oils that can cause issues if overconsumed. But the flowers and thinner stems are nutritious and tasty for bunnies.

Some of the potential benefits of lavender for rabbits include:

  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory due to the phytochemicals like tannins and flavonoids it contains
  • Has antispasmodic, carminative and digestive properties which support healthy digestion
  • Contains antioxidants which strengthen the immune system
  • Has a calming effect which reduces stress

Lavender also provides rabbits with nutrients like calcium, zinc and vitamin A. The nectar from lavender flowers offers natural sugars as well.

For pet rabbits, adding a few fresh lavender sprigs or dried flowers to their hay can encourage foraging behaviors. You can also harvested and dry your own organic lavender to ensure there are no pesticides present.

Just be sure not to offer lavender essential oil to rabbits, as the concentration is too potent. And restrict the amount given to 1-2 teaspoons of dried lavender or a few fresh sprigs a day.

When fed in moderation, lavender makes a fragrant, safe and healthy supplemental feed for rabbits. The antioxidant rich herb supports immune health, aids digestion and helps provide a calmer demeanor.

How Much Lavender Can My Rabbit Have?

When giving lavender to pet rabbits, moderation is key. Limit treats like lavender to no more than 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb or flowers per day. For fresh lavender, a few small sprigs is sufficient.

Consuming too much lavender can potentially cause liver issues for rabbits over time. And the higher concentration of oils in the leaves compared to the flowers means you don't want rabbits eating large amounts of the leaves.

Here are some general guidelines for how much lavender rabbits can eat safely:

  • For dried lavender flowers, limit to 1-2 teaspoons per 5 lbs body weight daily. Start with even smaller amounts then gradually increase to this dosage if well tolerated.

  • For fresh lavender sprigs, limit to 3-4 sprigs around 6 inches in length per 5 lbs body weight daily. Remove any thick stems or leaves.

  • If introducing lavender for the first time or to young rabbits, start with just 1⁄2 teaspoon dried or 1 small sprig and monitor closely for any diarrhea or reactions.

  • Only feed the lavender flowers and softer stems/leaves. The leaf oil concentration is too high for safe consumption. Avoid giving the woody lower stems as well.

  • Change lavender feeding locations daily to prevent boredom and overgrazing. Use it as encouragement in foraging toys or activities.

  • Always introduce new foods slowly and watch for any decrease in appetite, gas or diarrhea as possible signs of an upset stomach.

  • Remove any uneaten lavender daily instead of leaving it in the cage overnight.

Keep in mind that each rabbit is different based on size, age and sensitivity. But following these lavender feeding guidelines will allow you to provide the benefits of lavender safely while avoiding any potential for toxicity or overdose.

What Parts Of The Lavender Plant Are Safe For Rabbits?

Not all parts of the lavender plant are suitable for rabbits to eat. Certain portions are safer or more nutritious as feed. Here is an overview of which lavender plant components are rabbit-safe versus those to avoid:

Safe Lavender Plant Parts for Rabbits:

  • Flowers – The lavender flowers contain the lowest concentration of essential oils. They can be fed dried or fresh in small amounts.

  • Upper stems – The smaller, more tender stems in the lavender plant that connect to the flowers are fine for rabbits to eat.

  • Leaves – Young, green lavender leaves are okay for rabbits in moderation. But older leaves or any decaying ones should not be consumed.

Unsafe Lavender Plant Parts for Rabbits:

  • Lower woody stems – The harder, woodier lower stems of lavender plants can be difficult for rabbits to digest. Avoid feeding these sections.

  • Oil extract – Pure lavender essential oil is much too concentrated for rabbit consumption and should never be given to them.

  • Damaged/rotten plant parts – Any browned or dying lavender flowers, stems or leaves can harbor mold and toxins. Do not feed them.

  • Excess leaves – Since lavender leaves have higher oil content, avoid allowing rabbits to eat large amounts of the leaves.

To safely offer lavender to pet rabbits, harvest or purchase just the flowers and uppermost stems. Pick healthy lavender flowers in bloom and cut away any thicker woody stems or large amounts of leaves before providing them. Monitor how much is consumed daily and remove any uneaten portions.

With proper portions of the right lavender plant parts, your bunny can safely enjoy the benefits of this medicinal herb. But be cautious of any decaying or woody sections, and do not offer concentrated lavender oil which could overdose a rabbit with the potent oils.

What Should I Do If My Rabbit Won’t Eat Lavender?

Some rabbits may not take to lavender right away. If your bunny refuses to eat dried or fresh lavender flowers after introducing them, here are some tips:

  • Mix lavender with other herbs or hays they enjoy. Try sprinkling some lavender into alfalfa or timothy hay so the new scent and taste mixes in. Slowly increase the lavender ratio over time.

  • Dice up the lavender very small so it's not as visually noticeable mixed into greens or feed. Use just a pinch at first for subtle flavor.

  • Offer lavender first thing in the morning when appetite is strongest. Rabbits tend to be more experimental with new foods when less full.

  • Place lavender sprigs in a hanging toy or stuffed into a toilet paper roll so the rabbit has to interact with it to get to other treats.

  • Choose young lavender sprouts which are milder in flavor. The buds and flowers tend to be more fragrant from essential oil concentration.

  • Patience is key. Keep offering lavender 2-3 times a week. Repeated exposure over time may eventually encourage the rabbit to try it.

  • If you have multiple rabbits, let the more adventurous one set an example by eating it first. The others will likely try lavender too if they see their companion enjoying it.

  • Ensure proper diet with plenty of hay and water. A rabbit with a poor appetite overall needs to have any health issues addressed first.

While lavender has many benefits, it's not an essential part of a rabbit's diet. Go slowly and do not force the issue. If after 4-6 weeks your rabbit still refuses lavender, stop offering it and try another herb instead. Each bunny has unique tastes and preferences.

Do Wild Rabbits Feed On Lavender?

Lavender grows wild in many areas, especially Mediterranean countries. But do wild rabbits make a meal out of this fragrant herb if given the chance?

While domestic rabbits enjoy the taste and benefits of limited lavender consumption, it does not appear to be a preferred food source for wild rabbits. There are a few reasons why lavender is consumed less by wild bunnies:

  • Availability – Lavender is not as widespread as other wild plants and flowers rabbits are adapted to eat. It may only grow in certain regions.

  • Seasonal blooming – Unlike always-available grasses and weeds, lavender only flowers at certain times of year, limiting when it can be browsed.

  • Low calorie – The oils and fiber in lavender mean it does not pack the caloric punch or nutrition that rabbits need from wild foraging.

  • Strong odor – In the wild, the potent smell of lavender could deter rabbit feeding as it announces the rabbit's presence to potential predators.

While wild rabbits may occasionally nibble on lavender if they happen to come across it, they are not seeking it out as a dietary staple. Their wild palates prefer plants naturally abundant in their habitats that provide more energy and familiar nourishment.

However, domestic rabbits enjoy the novelty and variety lavender offers. And lavender is specifically cultivated in gardens for their consumption. The limited amount wild rabbits would ingest from incidental grazing is very different from the proportions fed to pet bunnies as well. So lavender remains a healthy treat option for domestic rabbits even if their wild cousins are less inclined to partake.

Should I Let My Rabbit Forage Freely In My Herb Bed?

Letting your rabbit loose in an herb garden may seem like the perfect chance for them to nibble on fresh greens. However, unlimited access to an herb patch carries some risks for your rabbit’s health and safety. Here are some precautions to take if allowing your rabbit access to herb beds:

  • Fence off any herbs toxic to rabbits like rue, foxglove and wormwood. Also keep them away from any chemically treated plants.

  • Avoid allowing access to delicate plants or seedlings which may get damaged by digging or trampling.

  • Do not let rabbits graze unsupervised. Monitor their intake to prevent overeating.

  • Rotate the rabbits to new sections of the garden periodically to prevent depleting nutrients in one area.

  • Treat any plants with natural organic pest deterrents instead of chemicals which could be ingested.

  • Remove droppings frequently to avoid parasite spread.

  • House rabbits when they cannot be supervised outdoors due to weather, predators, etc.

  • Clean herbs of any dirt before feeding them to your rabbit if allowing them to forage.

  • Introduce new herbs slowly to watch for any adverse reactions.

Rather than giving rabbits free roam of the herb garden, it may be better to harvest herbs yourself and offer them to the rabbits in moderation. This allows you to control the amount given and ensure it is safe for consumption. With some protective precautions taken, rabbits can enjoy supervised nibbling time in an herb garden on occasion. But unlimited access around the clock can pose problems.


Lavender is a healthy herb to offer rabbits in moderation. Its fragrant flowers and leaves provide antioxidants, digestion support and calming effects when consumed in limited quantities. Feeding 1-2 teaspoons of dried lavender or a few fresh sprigs daily is a good guideline, along with removing any uneaten portions. Avoid giving rabbits access to concentrated lavender oil or woody plant parts. While rabbits may not seek out lavender in the wild, they can benefit from its unique nutrients and flavoring as a supplement to a balanced diet. With some simple safety precautions in place, herb gardens can be an engaging place to allow rabbits occasional supervised foraging.


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