The Great Kale Debate

When you think of rabbits, you probably picture them munching on something leafy and green, right? Well that’s entirely not true. The majority of a rabbit’s diet should actually be fresh hay. And while they should also get a healthy serving of veggies, not all are created equal. And there’s a hot debate in the bunny community over one in particular: kale.

Kale is the green you’ve seen popping up in all the trendy salads and smoothies on your Insta feed. But bunnies started munching on that stuff way before it was cool (#HipsterHares). Recently, however, some research has shown that all that kale might not be that great for our hoppy little friends.

Credit: My House Rabbit

The main issue is something called oxalates. Oxalate is a compound that binds to calcium and prevents it from being absorbed into the body. Rabbits tend to have problems with calcium intake, which can lead to bladder stones and something called bladder sludge (which obviously does not sound good).

There are foods that are definitely high in oxalates (like parsley and spinach). You can give these to your rabbit, just not too often. Kale was previously not on that list, but now some bunny experts are not so sure.

The House Rabbit Society posted this on their website: Please note that there is currently dispute within the scientific community regarding the levels of oxalates and goitrogens in kale.  Many of our rescuers have fed kale daily, combined with other veggies, with no ill effects.  Others have found that kale fed in large amounts on a daily basis may contribute to bladder sludge and other health issues.  HRS encourages you to make your own decisions on how you feed kale to your rabbit based on this information, and when solid, undisputed research is found we will update this and other articles relating to feeding kale.“

So what’s the final verdict? Seems like the jury is still out. But when it comes to feeding your rabbit this trendy green, maybe remember that some things are better in moderation.

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Sarah Cookson

Writer/Dog Enthusiast living in New York City. Only goes to parties in hopes there will be a dog there to hang out with. Her resolutions for 2017 were to eat healthier and pet more pups. Bet you can guess which one she stuck with.

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