One of the goals of fur parents is to give the best care to their pets. So we’re sure bun lovers like you want to know what foods are safe to give your delightful animal companion. Aside from hay, your pet’s diet should include fresh fruits and veggies. Now, apples are some of the most affordable and readily available fruits around, so you may wonder, do rabbits eat apple? Let’s look into what’s in this crunchy and yummy fruit and see if it’s safe to give your pet a few tidbits.
What’s in an Apple?
Apples belong to the Rosaceae family. Included in that classification are cherries, peaches, and pears. Apples were first cultivated in Southeast Asia but are now grown worldwide because of their popularity.
This sweet and juicy fruit contains significant amounts of fiber and antioxidants that help promote good gut health. Here’s a quick rundown of apple’s nutritional profile.
- Dietary fiber: Without this vital component, your pet can develop GI stasis, which is potentially fatal for rabbits.
- Phytonutrients: These compounds fight free radicals, thus protecting the body from diseases, such as certain cancers.
- B-complex vitamins (vitamin B-6, thiamin, and riboflavin): These vitamins boost red blood cell health and enhance the nervous system.
- Potassium: The mineral promotes maximum growth in rabbits.
- Calcium: Rabbits need this mineral to develop strong bones and teeth.
Can Rabbits Eat Apples?
Apples make excellent low-calorie treats for your fur baby. But although the skin and flesh are safe, the leaves, stem, and seeds contain cyanide, a substance that’s toxic to rabbits.
You can give your pet any apple variety. Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Fuji are all okay for your pet. However, we recommend the sweet types, which are less acidic. But if your bun loves green apples and doesn’t develop any tummy issues with them, then, by all means, let him have some.
Benefits of Apples to Rabbits
Apples offer great benefits to your bun. Let’s see what those are.
Rabbits thrive on a high-fiber diet. That’s the reason why they need plenty of hay. Apples are natural sources of fiber, which aids your bun’s digestion. Having good gut health is essential to your fur baby. A rabbit with a sluggish digestive system is prone to tummy issues, some of which can be fatal. GI stasis is one of those ailments.
Provides Extra Hydration
In addition to fiber, water helps keep your bun’s digestion in good working condition. Apples, and things like watermelon, celery, cucumber and even pineapple, have a high water content, so giving a few slices can provide extra hydration to rabbits. Staying hydrated is essential, especially during the hottest days of summer.
Antioxidants in Apples Boost the Immune System
Antioxidants fight free radicals that can damage cells. Apples are rich in compounds that promote good cell growth and reduce lipid oxidation. Eating foods that contain high levels of antioxidants can help prevent certain cancers.
The Risks of Feeding Apples to Rabbits
Although apples contain nutrients that offer health benefits, giving too much of the fruit also carries some risks for your pet.
Apples Can Cause Dental Issues
These luscious fruits contain plenty of sugar. As such, eating too much can lead to tooth decay. Rabbits who develop dental issues may stop eating, which sometimes leads to more serious health problems.
Can Cause Stomach Upsets and Poor Appetite
Buns have sensitive digestive systems that can’t handle too much sugary foods. A medium-sized apple contains about 19 grams of sugar. Because apples taste great, your pet will likely eat as much as you give him. Taking in too many sweets can upset his stomach. Moreover, a rabbit who gets used to eating apples may develop a preference for it and turn away from the foods he needs.
How Much Can They Eat
Treats should make up only a fraction of your pet’s diet, or about 5%. That means you should feed apples and other fruits sparingly. Giving apples to your pet two to three times a week is just about right. But don’t forget to consider the portion size. A teaspoon or a couple of small slices will suffice to satisfy your rabbit’s sweet tooth.
How to Give Apples to Rabbits
Apples may be nutritious, but there are some things to consider before offering them to your fur baby.
- Buy organically-grown produce as much as possible, especially things like spinach and carrots. Doing so lessens the risk that chemical pesticides have come in contact with the apples.
- Even if you bought organically-grown apples, make sure you wash the fruit thoroughly before giving it to your pet. Dirt and other residues can cause severe illness to rabbits.
- Cut the apple into small portions. This lets you control the quantity you serve to your bun.
- Leave the skin on when you serve the fruit to your pet. The skin is high in fiber, which is good for rabbits.
- Give only a small amount if you’re serving the fruit for the first time. Keep an eye out for signs of illness and stomach discomfort for the next 24 hours.
Do Apples Have Toxic Parts?
Unfortunately, they do. The stems and seeds contain compounds called cyanogenic glycosides which can harm your pet. But don’t worry. You can easily cut out those when you slice the apple.
Can Rabbits Eat the Leaves and Branches?
The leaves and branches are safe to eat. Not only that, the fibrous parts are fun for buns to chew. Gnawing on them helps wear down his teeth and satisfy his chewing instinct, otherwise he or she will turn to your walls or carpet for chewing! Remember to wash the leaves and branches before letting your pet chew on them. Chemical pesticides and fertilizers are often sprayed on apple trees.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Apples?
You have to be extra careful with what you feed baby rabbits as their digestive system is even more delicate than adult buns. Their initial diet will consist mainly of milk until they’re about 2-3 weeks old. When your rabbit reaches the age of 3 months, you can try offering your pet a minuscule amount of apple and watch out for any adverse reaction.
Rabbits do eat apples, and they enjoy the fruit as much as their owners. So the next time your bun begs for a taste of that crunchy, delicious fruit you’re munching, you can give him a tiny amount.
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