On a hot day, popping a slice of watermelon into your mouth is bliss. Juicy, sweet, and thirst-quenching, that’s what this fruit is. So you may be wondering if you can share this refreshing treat with your bun? Well, watermelons are actually classified as berries, and in the wild, rabbits go gaga over berries of all kinds. Still, you want to be sure if rabbits can eat watermelon, right? Then, let’s dig into the facts and see if giving your pet a bite won’t cause him any harm.
What’s in a Watermelon Anyway?
Not only will watermelons help cool down your rabbit, but they will also provide him with the nutrients he needs to stay healthy. Here’s what a juicy and refreshing cup of watermelon contains.
- Vit. A (865 IU)
- Potassium (170 mg)
- Vit. C (3 mg)
- Copper (0.1 mg)
- Vit. B6 (0.1 mg)
- Thiamine (0.1 mg)
- Manganese (0.1 mg)
- Pantothenic Acid (0.3 mg)
- Magnesium (0.2 mg)
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon?
Yes, they can. The good news is watermelons are safe for your furry bundle of joy as there’s nothing in this tasty fruit that’s harmful to rabbits. But watermelons shouldn’t be a mainstay in your pet’s every meal. It makes a healthy treat, yes. Treat being the operative word. That means you give it only on certain occasions and not whenever you feel like it.
Health Benefits for Rabbits
Aside from being a refreshing treat, watermelons also give your bun’s health a boost. Here’s why.
Watermelons Contain Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Your rabbit will enjoy the benefits of those health-giving vitamins the fruit provides. Vitamins A and C can strengthen his immune system, while vitamin B6 supports the nervous system and enhances metabolism. Meanwhile, potassium helps prevent the development of kidney stones.
Take note, however, that too much vitamin C can lead to kidney issues in rabbits.
Anti-oxidants Help Prevent Tissue Damage
Watermelons are rich in carotenoids. These are the pigments that give the fruit its color. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lycopene make up the carotenoids in watermelons. Their combination creates a powerful anti-oxidizing effect that helps maintain normal cell function and promote healthy tissues.
Feeding your bun those tasty watermelon tidbits is an excellent way to keep him hydrated. Watermelon is 90% water, that’s why. The high water content aids in keeping your pet’s digestive system in good working order, which boosts his physical wellbeing.
The Risks of Giving Watermelon to Rabbits
Watermelons may be healthy and tasty, but that doesn’t mean you can feed them to your bun indiscriminately. Moderation is the key because giving your pet too much of the juicy treat can have negative consequences.
Health Risks Due to High Sugar Content
Like most fruits, watermelons contain a lot of sugar, and rabbits’ digestive systems can’t handle too much of the sweet stuff. A sugar overload can lead to diarrhea, gas pains, and obesity. Gastrointestinal stasis (GI stasis) is one of the most dangerous possible outcomes of a diet that’s high in sugar. So keep your pet’s sugar intake in check.
Can Lead to Fussy Eating
Given that watermelons taste great, you can understand why your pet will choose them over his daily supply of hay. Now, rabbits need hay in their diet. In fact, it should form the bulk of his meals, along with some portions of green, leafy veggies. Feeding your fur baby too many fruits, like watermelons, can turn him away from healthier foods and create a craving for sweets.
How Much Can They Eat?
Although fruits make a nutritious snack for rabbits, they should be given in moderation, comprising only around 10% of a rabbit’s diet. Fortunately, because watermelons are mostly water, you can give slightly larger portions than other sugar-rich treats. Use your rabbit’s weight as a guide on how much he can have. One to two tablespoons of watermelon for every five pounds should be the limit.
How Often Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon?
Feed watermelons and other fruits to your pet only as a treat and not as his meal. He should also only consume fruits occasionally. Once or twice a week should be fine. Just make sure that you don’t give watermelons on the same days that you feed your bun other sugar-packed or water-dense treats.
How to Feed Watermelons to Rabbits
Take some precautions when you feed watermelons to your pet. Here are some tips.
- Offer only a minuscule portion at first. Allow your pet’s digestive system to get used to the fruit over a few weeks. Gradually increase the serving size until you reach the maximum portion allowed.
- Remove the seeds first before serving watermelons to your bun as they can cause obstructions in his digestive tract. The rind and skin are fine to eat but chop them up in bite-size pieces to prevent choking.
- We recommend that you buy the organic variety. This ensures that no wax or pesticides are present on the rind.
- Don’t give your pet wilted watermelon. A just about to ripen fruit is better than one that has already dried up.
Rabbits may love watermelons, but it’s best to have alternatives to give as treats. You can rotate watermelons with other fruits on the list.
- Apple (without the seeds)
- Cherries (without the seeds)
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon Rind or Skin?
Watermelon rinds contain more fiber and less sugar than the flesh. As such, it’s better to feed the skin to your pet. However, even with the rind’s lower sugar content, rabbits should get it only as a treat.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Watermelon?
A baby rabbit’s digestive system is more sensitive than an adult bun. That’s why we don’t recommend giving a baby rabbit watermelon. Instead, feed the little one hay, water, and age-appropriate treats.
Are The Seeds Safe to Eat?
The seeds are slippery, which makes them difficult to chew. Your rabbit can accidentally swallow a whole seed and choke on it. To be safe, remove the seeds before offering watermelon to your pet.
Can They Eat the Leaves?
The leaves don’t contain any substances that can be toxic to rabbits, so yes, you can give watermelon leaves to your fur baby. Make sure you wash the leaves thoroughly first and mix one or two with other leafy greens.
Your bun will surely enjoy a bit of watermelon now and then. More so when the weather is hot, and he needs cooling down. But don’t make the fruit a regular part of his daily meals. Yes, rabbits can eat watermelon as a treat and on certain occasions. However, if your bun develops diarrhea or other health issues, stop feeding the fruit and have a rabbit-savvy vet check him out.
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