Discover what types of vegetables and other foods are safe to feed your rabbits and other small pets.
Our small pets can enjoy a small portion of fresh food and vegetables alongside their regular daily diet. Herbivores such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and degus will benefit from a small quantity of fresh fibrous leafy green vegetables every day.
However, there are certain fresh foods and vegetables that you should avoid feeding your small pets. Here is our guide on what foods can be included within their diet and what to avoid.
General housekeeping to keep you small pets happy and healthy
It is vitally important to ensure your rabbit and other small pets have access to fresh clean water at all times. In summer, you should check that their water is algae-free and in winter, ensure that their water hasn’t been frozen. If you are using a bottle as a water source, it is good practice to check that nothing is blocking the water pipe.
At feeding time, you should also take stock of the condition of the food. A simple check to make sure that the food is free from dust, mould and dirt, as this should never be fed to your small animals.
Moreover, as a pet owner you should always avoid feeding your rabbits and other small pets any formulated diets that are designed for a different species of pet. It is highly recommended that you feed your small pets food that has been scientifically formulated for that particular species.
We aim to provide you with a list of foods that can be given as a ‘treat’ to your rabbit and small pets that shouldn’t be an everyday food. This could be due to the high sugar content or high levels of oxalates which are found within spinach.
Fibre-rich diets are important for small herbivores, both to stop teeth from becoming overgrown and to promote digestive health. Read our blog on the importance of fibre in rabbit and small herbivore diets.
Below is a list of foods that are safe and unsafe to feed to your rabbits and small pets. This list is not exhaustive and is intended as a guide, however if you have any further questions, you can reach us on our facebook page, or get in touch via our contact us page.
What can Rabbits eat? (herbivores)
- ALWAYS – A source of fresh clean water, Hay, a portion of rabbit food, most leafy greens, fresh and dried herb mixes, dandelion leaves, carrot tops, wild plants as long as correctly identified.
- SOMETIMES – broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, celery, carrots, green beans.
- TREATS – apple (without seeds), raspberries, strawberries, cucumber.
- NEVER – dairy, apple seeds, meat, chocolate, citrus fruits, avocados, any houseplant, any plant that grows from a bulb, leeks/onions, iceberg lettuce and rhubarb. Discover more on what to feed your rabbit.
What can Guinea Pigs eat? (herbivores)
- ALWAYS – A source of fresh clean water, hay, a portion of guinea pig food, most leafy greens, fresh and dried herb mixes, dandelion leaves, wild plants as long as they are correctly identified.
- SOMETIMES – broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, celery, carrots, green beans, tomatoes.
- TREATS – apple (without seeds) raspberries, strawberries, cucumber, citrus fruits i.e Oranges.
- NEVER – dairy, apple seeds, dried fruits, meat, chocolate, avocados, any houseplant, and plant grown from a bulb, leeks/onions, iceberg lettuce and rhubarb. Discover more on what to feed your guinea pig.
What can Hamsters eat? (omnivores)
- ALWAYS – A source of fresh clean water, a portion of hamster food, a variety of green vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, chard, sweet corn, kale, cress, courgette) Berries (black berries and raspberries) and stone fruits (plums, peaches – remove stones from stone fruits).
- SOMETIMES – Squash, pumpkin, strawberries, banana, melon, cooked unsalted low-fat meats (e.g. chicken mince), low fat cottage cheese, cooked eggs, bread, grains, live crickets/mealworms.
- TREATS – Low sugar or sugar free breakfast cereals, seeds and nuts (unsalted)
- NEVER – Sweet almonds, apple seeds, chocolate, raw kidney beans, avocado, rhubarb, onions and leeks. Discover more on what to feed your Hamster.
What can Rats eat? (omnivores)
- ALWAYS – A source of fresh clean water, a portion of rat food, leafy green vegetables, cooked grains, cooked legumes (never raw), fruits (no apple seeds or avocado) small amounts of cooked meats, low fat cottage cheese and cooked eggs.
- SOMETIMES – Raw or cooked corn, beetroot, celery, aubergine, lettuce, cucumber, spinach, radishes, live insects.
- TREATS – Small amounts of no sugar added dried fruits, small amounts of toast, small amounts of yogurt (soya rather than dairy), low sugar baby food
- NEVER – Citrus skin, uncooked dry beans and peanuts, mango, chocolate, poppy seeds, apple seeds, avocado, raw sweet potato, artichokes, dried corn, onions/leeks and rhubarb. Discover more on what to feed your rat.
What can Ferrets eat? (obligate carnivores)
- ALWAYS – A source of fresh clean water, a portion of ferret food, cooked or raw eggs, raw chicken wings/thighs with bones (must be human grade produce, and fed fresh – remove if not eaten rapidly).
- SOMETIMES – small amounts of liver or fish.
- TREATS – kitten/cat of ferret treats, ferret oil (can be fish oil or similar).
- NEVER – anything with added sugar or carbohydrate e.g. dog foods, other types of biscuit, fruits, vegetables, chocolate, avocado, apple seeds. Discover more on what to feed your ferret.
What can Chinchillas eat? (herbivores)
- ALWAYS – A source of fresh clean water, hay, a portion of chinchilla food, dried herb mixes, dandelion leaves.
- SOMETIMES – fresh herb mixes, fibrous leafy greens (kale, radicchio), carrots and celery.
- TREATS – raisins (1 raisin once a week), dried cranberries (1 cranberry once a week), apple (without seeds), dried rosehips, blueberries and grapes.
- NEVER – legumes, seeds, beans, whole peas, sugary fruits, banana, chocolate, meat/dairy products, avocado, chocolate. Discover more on what to feed your chinchillas.
What can Degus eat? (herbivores)
- ALWAYS –A source of fresh clean water, hay (not alfalfa), portion of degu food, dried herbs, squash, pumpkin, bell peppers.
- SOMETIMES – Peas, carrots, sweet potato, cucumber, corn, cherry tomato, green beans, dandelion leaves, culinary herbs, carrot tops, cauliflower, celery, Brussels sprouts.
- TREATS – dry toast, Ryvita or similar dry sugar free crackers, frozen vegetables, rolled oats.
- NEVER – raisins, sugary fruits, yogurt treats, apple seeds, avocado, chocolate. Discover more on what to feed your degu.
What can Gerbils eat? (omnivores)
- ALWAYS – A source of fresh clean water, a portion of gerbil food, hay/dried leaf mixes, some fresh leafy greens.
- SOMETIMES – Pear, melon, apples (without seeds) orange, cucumber, carrot, pumpkin, fennel.
- TREATS – Sunflower or pumpkin seeds, live insects.
- NEVER – Grapes, rhubarb, appleseeds, dairy, meat, avocado, chocolate. Discover more on what to feed your gerbil.
What can Mice eat? (omnivores)
- ALWAYS – a portion of mouse food, green leafy vegetables (broccoli, kale) crunchy fruits (apples without seeds, pears), peas, cooked grains.
- SOMETIMES – Live insect food, cooked pasta, cooked meats, yogurt (soya rather than dairy).
- TREATS – Low sugar cereal, store-bought treats, boiled egg, millet sprays and untreated applewood.
- NEVER – chocolate, peanuts, citrus fruits, onions, raw meats, apple seeds, avocado. Discover more on what to feed your mice.