A Guide to Rabbit and Guinea Pig-Friendly Garden Plants

Apr 2


Derrick Anderson

Derrick Anderson

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Creating a pet-safe garden is essential for rabbit and guinea pig owners. These small animals enjoy a variety of garden plants and weeds, which can be a nutritious addition to their diet, especially during inclement weather when they are kept indoors. A mix of grass clippings and non-toxic weeds can be a delightful treat for them. It's important to ensure that the plants you provide are not poisonous and to be familiar with safe options. Here's a comprehensive guide to garden plants that are safe and beneficial for your furry friends.

Understanding Safe Forage for Small Pets

Rabbits and guinea pigs have specific dietary needs that can be supplemented with garden plants. They have a preference for tender,A Guide to Rabbit and Guinea Pig-Friendly Garden Plants Articles short lawn grass over the tougher, longer meadow varieties. The availability of wild plants varies with the seasons, peaking in spring and early summer. Always verify the safety of plants before offering them to your pets, as some can be toxic. When in doubt, it's safer to avoid unknown plants altogether.

Safe Garden Plants for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

Here is a list of garden plants that are generally safe for rabbits and guinea pigs to consume:

Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)

  • Rabbits: Favor young leaves; ensure no thorns are present.
  • Guinea Pigs: Can also enjoy this plant, particularly the thornless varieties.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

  • Both: Thrives under good conditions and bears tiny white flowers.

Clover (Trifolium species)

  • Both: Often found in lawns and hay, but not typically gathered in large quantities.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

  • Both: Adaptable to various soil types and readily consumed.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

  • Both: Offer flowers and leaves; be cautious of its laxative properties.

Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)

  • Both: Acts as a laxative; avoid plants with fungal contamination.

Mallow (Malva sylvestris)

  • Both: Common in rough grasslands and suitable for feeding.

Plantain (Plantago species)

  • Both: Known for long seedheads; some varieties have broader leaves.

Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

  • Rabbits: Used to prevent scouring; recognizable by its white flowers and triangular seedpods.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

  • Both: Known for its feathery leaves and composite flowerhead; prominent in late summer.

The Importance of Variety and Moderation

While these plants are safe, it's crucial to feed them in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Overconsumption of certain plants, like dandelion and groundsel, can cause digestive issues due to their laxative effects. Always introduce new foods gradually and observe your pets for any adverse reactions.

Interesting Stats and Facts

  • According to the House Rabbit Society, rabbits require a diet composed of mainly hay, which should constitute about 80% of their daily intake. Fresh vegetables and safe garden plants can make up the remaining part of their diet.
  • Guinea pigs, unlike rabbits, cannot produce vitamin C and must obtain it from their diet. Plants like clover and dandelion are good sources of this essential nutrient (Guinea Pig Manual).
  • A study published in the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine found that environmental enrichment, including foraging for safe plants, can significantly improve the welfare of captive rabbits and guinea pigs.


Providing a variety of safe garden plants can enrich the diet of your rabbits and guinea pigs, contributing to their health and happiness. Always research and confirm the safety of any plants you introduce to their diet, and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns. By following these guidelines, you can create a delightful and nutritious foraging experience for your small pets.

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