We bet you love your bunny to bits and want to be sure you give him everything he needs for a long and healthy life. That includes feeding him the right food and avoiding those that may cause him harm. Leafy greens and veggies should be part of your bun’s daily fare, and because cucumbers are among the more popular vegetables around, you may wonder, can rabbits eat cucumber?
The Nutritional Content of Cucumbers
First of all, we want to clarify something. Although many consider cucumbers as veggies, they are, in fact, fruits. They come in several varieties and are classified into different categories such as pickling cucumbers, seedless and slicing cucumbers,
We usually think of fruits as having plenty of sugar, but that doesn’t apply to cucumbers. Instead, what this fruit has is high water content. Being 95% water, cucumbers will boost hydration and help keep your rabbit cool during hot weather. However, too much of it can also cause harm so don’t go overboard in feeding cucumbers to your pet.
Along with vitamins and minerals like vitamins K and C, potassium, and beta carotene, cucumbers contain fiber and phytochemicals. They also have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce inflammation in rabbits.
Do Rabbits like Cucumbers?
We keep saying that each rabbit is unique. They have individual preferences, so although some buns may eagerly gobble up all the cucumber served to them, others won’t care too much for its taste.
If your bun likes cucumbers, you can offer some to him occasionally to give variety to his treats.
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Can Rabbits Eat Cucumbers?
Yes, cucumbers are safe for rabbits since they don’t contain any toxins or harmful substances. Still, you need to exercise caution if you plan to give them to your fur baby.
As we said, some think cucumbers are veggies, but you shouldn’t treat them as such when you include them in your bun’s diet. Instead, consider them as fruits and feed them the way you would, say, an apple or banana. Follow the general rule that fruits should make up only around 5% of your pet’s food intake and are given only once or twice a week.
You can usually find two varieties of cucumbers in the supermarket’s produce section or your local grocer. These are the North American and English cucumbers. The North American variety is smooth and long, while English cucumbers come with some ridges. Both kinds are suitable for your pet.
Avoid pickles, however. Fresh cucumbers are fine but turning them into pickles increases their sodium content, which is not good for rabbits.
What About Cucumber Peel?
The texture of the cucumber’s peel depends on the variety. North American cucumbers have tough skins, while the English variants are known for their soft peels. Your pet can easily chew through both skin types, but the tougher peels have an added benefit. They help wear down his perpetually growing teeth.
Compared to the flesh, the peels are more nutritious for your bun as they contain more vitamins and minerals. They’re also less water-dense, so they’re less likely to cause the health issues associated with taking in too much water.
Are Cucumber Leaves Ok?
Cucumber leaves are low in oxalic acid, which can cause kidney damage. As such, you can safely give cucumber leaves to your rabbit. What’s great about the leaves is that they’re higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than the fruit. Just make sure you wash the leaves thoroughly before feeding them to your pet.
What About The Seeds?
Yes! And they’ll be better off for it. The seeds are more nutrient-dense than the flesh, so your bun will get more nourishment out of them. As such, there’s no need to remove the seeds before serving the treat to your rabbit.
How Much Cucumbers Can Rabbits Eat?
Compared to other fruits, cucumbers contain less sugar and calories, so you can give your fur baby a bit more than other high sugar treats. In fact, cucumbers make better treats for chubby buns than other sweet fruits.
You’ll still need to limit his intake, however. One serving of cucumber once or twice a week should work out just fine for your bun. A thin slice that’s several millimeters thick equals one serving.
How to Serve Them to Your Rabbit
Although cucumbers are safe for your pet, you should introduce them slowly to his diet. Rabbits have sensitive digestions, so giving them too much can lead to some health issues. Here are some tips on how to feed cucumbers to your fur baby.
- Whenever possible, choose organic cucumbers and other fresh produce for your bun to ensure that the food you serve does not contain any chemical pesticides.
- Wash the cucumbers thoroughly to remove dirt and any traces of fertilizers and pesticides.
- Offer only a small portion. You can include the skin and seeds, which are safe and are even more nutritious for your pet. Wait a few days to see if your rabbit’s digestion can handle the new food. If all goes well, you can include cucumbers in the list of treats you feed him.
What Could Happen If Your Rabbit Eats Too Much Cucumber?
Cucumbers may be safe for rabbits, but excessive amounts can also have some negative consequences. These include:
- Diarrhea: The digestive system of rabbits does well on a diet of fiber-rich food that contains little water. Thus, the high water content of cucumbers can lead to loose and frequent stools. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which is dangerous for rabbits.
- Undernourishment: Although cucumbers contain nutrients beneficial to rabbits, other foods have more of the vitamins and minerals your pet needs (like their hay!). Moreover, the high water content of cucumbers affects the consistency of your pet’s poop, especially the cecotropes (the droppings rabbit eats). Cecotropes are rich in nutrients, but because loose cecotropes are difficult to eat, your bun may eat less, which can lead to malnutrition.
- Weight loss: If your bun gorges himself on cucumbers, he might not eat as much of the foods that can better round up his diet and maintain his weight at a healthy level.
Rabbits can eat cucumbers, not as a mainstay of their meals but only as an occasional treat. This fruit works best for overweight buns because of its low-calorie content. During hot days, cucumbers will also help hydrate your pet.
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