Bun parents will surely agree that getting a pet rabbit is almost like having a child to love and care for. That’s why they usually have never-ending questions about what’s good and what’s not for their fur baby. One popular topic is food and which edibles are safe for their precious bunny. Let’s tackle one of those and find out if rabbits can eat bananas.
First of All, What’s in a Banana?
A lot, actually.
It’s an excellent fruit packed with many of the good nutrients that benefits your animal companion’s health. Its vitamin content (B1, B6, A, and C) helps boost your bun’s immune system, improve eyesight, and support body growth. Meanwhile, minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium aid in strengthening the bones, joints, and tissues.
Because bananas are loaded with antioxidants, they can protect the cells against damaging free radicals and prevent certain cancers.
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Do Rabbits like Bananas?
Long-time bun parents know that rabbits, like humans, have a sweet tooth. So although fruits aren’t part of their diet in the wild, they won’t turn down a sweet treat. Now, bananas are one of the sweetest, tastiest fruits around. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise if your rabbit wolfs down the delectable pieces you serve him and looks around for more.
Can Rabbits Eat Bananas?
They sure can. The vitamins and minerals that bananas contain will help fill in the gaps in your pet’s nutrition. On top of that, the tasty fruit is a treat he’ll surely love. Try feeding him a few bites and watch his reaction. His enthusiastic nibbling may encourage you to make bananas part of his daily fare.
This brings us to the next question.
Can They Eat Them Every Day?
Although bananas make an great addition to your bun’s diet, you need to exercise some restraint in the portions you give.
One of the reasons rabbits love bananas is the fruit’s sweet taste due to its high sugar content. Eating foods that contain too much sugar can lead to weight problems, which can impact your bun’s health. It can also cause oral and gut issues, such as cecal dysbiosis. This digestive ailment is caused by the changes in the bacterial population in your rabbit’s intestinal tract.
How Much Can They Eat?
Bananas are considered treats, and as such, you can give them to your bun every two to three days. Portion size also matters. As a general rule, treats shouldn’t account for more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake. You can also use your bun’s size or weight as a guide to how much he gets. Here’s a rough estimate.
- 2 pounds = around 1 teaspoon
- 3 pounds = ½ tablespoon
- 5 pounds = 1 tablespoon
- 6 pounds = 1 and ½ tablespoons
- 7 pounds = 1 and ¾ tablespoons
Alternately, you can ask your vet about the right proportions.
Can Rabbits Eat The Peels?
Most buns enjoy eating the fruit, peel and all. The good news is, like cucumbers, the peel is not toxic to rabbits, so feeding them a small amount isn’t likely to cause harm. However, letting them finish the entire skin is another matter. Also, make sure that the banana comes from an organic source. Fruit skins tend to absorb the pesticides farmers use, so if you’re unsure where your grocers get their supply, just ditch the peel altogether.
The Dangers of Feeding Your Bun Too Much Bananas
Seeing your pet’s delight as he gobbles up his servings may make it difficult for you to resist giving him more. But here are some reasons why you need to exercise some caution in giving bananas to your rabbit.
- Increased risk of obesity: Sugar is high in calories, and taking in too much can lead to weight gain in your pet. Like in humans, carrying excess weight is not healthy for rabbits.
- Addiction: Purdue University cautions bun owners against feeding bananas to their pets, stating that the fruit can be addictive. Yes, rabbits can get addicted, too. Feeding bananas to your bun too often can make him crave the sweet taste the fruit offers.
- Can lead to picky eating: Hay and grass make the best meal for your pet, but there’s a risk he’ll reject those nutritious foods in favor of bananas. This means that if you make bananas part of his regular meals, he might feed exclusively on the tasty fruit pieces.
- Can cause stomach upset: Too much sugar can lead to an imbalance in the bacterial population in your pet’s gut. It may cause diarrhea, which is potentially dangerous to rabbits.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Bananas?
To be on the safe side, don’t give bananas to rabbits younger than 12 weeks old. Here are some reasons why:
- Immature digestive system: At that age, the GI tracts of bunnies are still developing. As such, they don’t yet have the right number of good bacteria needed to process different foods. Giving them bananas or other fruits may lead to diarrhea or GI stasis, a potentially fatal disease for rabbits of all ages.
- Risk of developing poor eating habits: Feeding your bun food with high sugar concentrations at an early age may lead to a preference for sweet foods, which are unhealthy for him. Timothy hay should form the bulk of a baby rabbit’s diet, so bunnies are better off getting that while they’re very young.
How to Give Them to Your Rabbit
Like with any new food, introduce bananas to your fur baby slowly and in small amounts. A quarter to half a teaspoon may be enough for a start. If he develops diarrhea or shows any signs of digestive discomfort, don’t give him any more bananas and consult your vet regarding the issue.
Rabbits enjoy getting treats now and then. If your bun loves bananas and the fruit doesn’t cause any digestive issues, then nibbling on a tiny tidbit won’t be a problem. Just keep the portions small and don’t offer bananas every day.
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