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Your Rabbit Questions Answered by a Veterinarian. Honest and Practical Advice

Can Rabbits Eat Iceberg Lettuce? – Health Risk and Myths

Whether you’re a first-time rabbit owner or just curious about what your bunny can and can’t eat, you may be wondering if rabbits eat iceberg lettuce?

If you Are also wondering if iceberg lettuce is good for rabbits? You’re not alone. A lot of people are curious about what types of vegetables and fruits their rabbit can eat.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the nutritional value of iceberg lettuce and whether or not rabbits can eat it. We’ll also provide some tips on how to introduce new foods to your bunny’s diet. Let’s get started!

Can rabbits eat iceberg lettuce?

No! you should not feed iceberg lettuce to your rabbit because they contain nitrates that are harmful to rabbits. Iceberg lettuce occurs in two forms: crisphead (which is what the vast majority of the supermarket produce aisle displays are) and romaine (the long crunchy dark green leafed form).

The former has really very little nutrition, whereas the latter isn’t too bad for them at all. Neither, however, should be fed regularly or in large amounts due to relatively high water content with minimal nutritional value.

There’s also another reason why it shouldn’t be fed; iceberg lettuces can actually cause bloat . Rabbits digest their food through fermentation in their cecum. This creates gas which is got rid of by burping – rabbits literally belch! It is believed that one of the reasons why rabbits bloat is that iceberg lettuce doesn’t contain the fibre necessary to promote good gut bacteria and instead promotes harmful strains which can build up too much methane. This results in a serious condition called ileus where the stomach gets blocked by this excess gas resulting in extremely painful bloating which can lead to death.

Do rabbits like to eat iceberg lettuce?

Yes, rabbits will eat iceberg lettuce. It has a very mild taste and they’re usually very keen on crunchy foods, so it’s no surprise that they enjoy the occasional mouthful of iceberg if given the opportunity – but it won’t do them any good in the long term!

Do be aware that rabbits should always have access to grass hay (timothy or meadow are best) which is what they would eat naturally in the wild; this not only provides all their nutritional needs but also bulk which helps with dental wear and tear. If you use straw you can throw some of that into their cage for them to munch on too for extra fibre.

Can rabbits eat iceburg lettuce leaves?

Iceberg lettuce has two kinds of leaves, green and red. The red leaves are what you see in the shops; these have a slightly bitter flavour and should be fed sparingly as they contain higher levels of nitrates which can exacerbate digestive problems.

The green leave, however, actually make up 95%+ of iceberg lettuce and these are much better for rabbits – though still not ideal! The main reason dietary fibre is important for rabbits is because it helps with their digestion to ensure that everything happens smoothly and without any problems. Iceburg lettuce contains very little dietary fibre so doesn’t help to achieve this and instead may even cause harm to the gut flora balance.

Are iceberg lettuces poisonous for rabbits?

Some people will tell you that iceberg lettuces are poisonous for rabbits , however this is not true at all! The reason some people think it’s poisonous is because of the nitrates but this is really only a problem if they eat vast quantities of them or if they have existing health problems which cause them to be sensitive to the nitrates. So long as your rabbit isn’t being fed large amounts on a daily basis then they’re perfectly fine to eat – just don’t overdo it!

My rabbit accidently ate iceberg , what should i do?

Assuming it hasn’t caused any health problems (such as bloat, which is potentially fatal) then you should be okay. If your rabbit has just had a few mouthfuls then there isn’t really any need to do anything. Just keep an eye on them for the next 12 hours or so just to make sure they’re not showing signs of bloat and if all goes well then carry on as normal!

If your bunny eats large quantities of iceberg lettuce every day or if they have existing digestive problems such as ileus or other illnesses which cause them to be unable to digest their food properly then you may want to consider whether iceberg lettuce is really suitable for their diet.

Be aware that iceberg lettuce can have a mild diuretic effect which will cause your rabbit to produce more urine, potentially resulting in urinary infections. There are other vegetables out there which rabbits enjoy eating and are healthy for them, so make sure you try to give them those instead!

How much iceberg lettuce can a rabbit eat safely in a salad?

One or two leaves of iceberg lettuce can be given to a rabbit as part of a salad – just try to ensure that the other foods in the salad are all very healthy and nutritious because you don’t want your bunny to get a diet which consists entirely of iceberg lettuce! They’re fine with it occasionally but it’s not ideal for them on a regular basis (and even less so if they’re unable to digest their food properly).

How much iceberg lettuce is toxic for rabbits?

Iceberg lettuce is only really problematic if they eat vast quantities or if they have existing problems. If this is the case then it wouldn’t take too large an amount before there were side effects, but unless you know how many sandwiches your rabbit eats every day you cant really know!

Risk of overfeeding iceberg lettuce to rabbits?

If you rabbit ate alot of iceberg, these are the health problems you may expect to see:

  • Diarrhea: Symtoms of diarrhea may include a loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and a distended stomach.
  • Bloat: Bloating is fairly common in rabbits that have been overfed treats or they have had a change in their diet. This can be fatal if it’s not treated quickly.
  • Enteritis: A disease affecting the intestines, causing inflammation in the stomach and small intestine. Symptoms include diarrhea , weight loss, lethargy, dehydration and fever.
  • LPE : An inflammatory disease affecting the ileum of the rabbit’s intestinal tract; symptoms include anorexia, depression, mucoid or bloody stool with or without tenesmus (a painful urgency to defecate).
  • Cabbage poisoning (this is actually caused by the thiaminase enzyme): Symptoms include hyperthermia and seizures.
  • Dehydration: Symptoms of dehydration can include a lack of energy and appetite, sunken eyes and the skin will not bounce back when pinched.
  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels, which may lead to seizures and death if left untreated.
  • Hormonal disorders: Changes in hormone level can cause changes in behavior such as depression, aggression or lethargy. It can also causes enlargement of the mammary glands (in females) and breast tissue (in males). These symptoms are commonly seen after rabbits have been spayed or neutered.
  • Fits due to high levels of nitrates: This is caused by toxins in the lettuce and results in symptoms such as eye or skin problems.

It’s also a risk because iceberg lettuce is very low in nutritional value, so this causes a rabbit to be unable to get all the nutrients they need from their diet.

Healthy alternatives to iceberg lettuce:

You can easily swap out iceberg lettuce with other leafy greens such as:

Endive: endive is a very healthy alternative to iceberg lettuce. It’s high in fiber and low in sugar, so it’s a great choice for rabbits with sensitive stomachs or who are overweight.

Romaine: romaine lettuce is often the healthiest leafy green available at your grocery store because it has very little pesticide residue (which means less risk of your bunny ingesting harmful chemicals). It’s also rich in vitamin K which helps support liver function so it can be an important part of your rabbit’s diet if they need support for this area.

Watercress: not only is watercress tasty but it contains lots of nutrients that will help support your rabbit’s immune system, heart and kidneys.  

Mustard greens: not only do mustard greens contain high levels of calcium and vitamins A & C, but they also wok well with other veggies in a salad.

Kale: kale is rich in Vitamin K which helps support your rabbit’s liver function; it’s also good for rabbits who have issues with obesity because kale has very few carbs!

It can be difficult to get your rabbit to eat something new – but transitioning them slowly will help reduce the stress caused by changing their diet.

Try mixing in only a little bit of the new food each day so they begin to get used to it before you add more. You can then increase the amount once they are eating everything you offer them happily.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. I’ve heard that iceberg lettuce can block a rabbit’s intestines, is this true and if so what should I do?

A. No, this isn’t true – but you should still avoid feeding your rabbits too much of it because it lacks in nutritional value and could cause digestive issues even when the lettuce itself doesn’t physically block their intestines; this is because iceberg lettuce also contains harmful chemicals such as pesticides which can make your rabbit sick when they ingest them.

Q. Does iceberg lettuce make rabbits hallucinate?

A. it has a similar chemical like opium and can make rabbits hallucinate and trip; this isn’t as common as some people think, but it is still a possibility.

Q. Are there any benefits to feeding my rabbits iceberg lettuce?

A. No, there aren’t because iceberg lettuce lacks the nutrients that your rabbit needs (and would get from other types of veggies); this behavior may also cause problems with your rabbit’s digestive system since they don’t eat it on a normal basis.

Q. I’m looking for an alternative to iceberg lettuce because my bunny isn’t eating enough veggies, what do you suggest?

A. You can use changes in behavior such as depression, aggression or lethargy to provide clues about whether or not your rabbit is lacking certain nutrients; you should increase the number of veggies they are offered (at least five at a time) and use other leafy greens like romaine lettuce or kale instead.


Iceberg lettuce isn’t a great choice for rabbits because it’s low in nutritional value and could make them sick if they ingest the harmful chemicals used on the crops. Instead, choose other types of leafy greens like romaine or kale to feed your bunny instead.

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