Rabbits always look forward to a good meal. Try rustling their hay or pellet bag and see how fast they run over to their food bowl. That makes them such a joy to feed. But not just any food will do.
Hay usually makes up the bulk of a bun’s diet supplemented by smaller servings of veggies and fruits. However, not all fruits suit your fur baby. So what fruits can a rabbit eat, you may wonder. Let’s find out so you can give your bun the luscious meal additions that will help make him one healthy bunny.
What Should Rabbits Eat?
Rabbits have sensitive digestions, and they can fall ill if they eat the wrong food or if you introduce too much new food into their diet. So before delving into what fruits are best for your bun, how about we take a look at what should be in their daily feeding?
As we mentioned, hay comes first in the list of food your bun needs. Experts recommend a diet comprised primarily of good quality hay and fresh grass. The high fiber content of hay and grass helps boost the digestive and dental health of your pet.
Fiber facilitates the smooth movement of food through your rabbit’s gut, promoting good digestion. Meanwhile, munching on the fibrous plant material wears down his perpetually-growing teeth. Left unchecked, those pearly whites can grow painfully long and lead to appetite loss.
Rabbits who stop eating may develop complications like GI stasis and dehydration.
Aside from hay and fresh grass, fruits and veggies round up your bun’s nutrition. These provide additional nutrients that benefit rabbits.
Why Do Rabbits Need Fruits?
Most buns have a sweet tooth, which makes fruits such welcome treats for your furry buddy. Fruits also contain vitamins and minerals that add to what your pet gets from hay and fresh veggies.
Most fruits also have high water content. Watermelon and cantaloupe, for example, are almost 90% water. Some, like peaches, plums, and pineapples, have more than 80% water content. So nibbling on those delicious fruits will help keep your bun well-hydrated, especially during hot weather.
How Much Fruit Can Rabbits Eat?
Fruits make excellent treats, but they should be given sparingly. Because of their high sugar content, they can lead to weight gain if your pet eats too much. Like humans, carrying that excess weight around is not good for rabbits as it may cause health issues, such as arthritis, heart and liver diseases, and pododermatitis (also called sore hocks).
As a rough guide, fruits should comprise only around 10% of your pet’s diet.
Can I Give My Rabbit Fruit Every Day?
As much as rabbits love fruits, we don’t recommend a daily serving. Doing so may do more harm than good because fruits are high in natural sugar. In general, your pet can enjoy his fruits once or twice a week. You can give him only one kind or a mixture, and the serving size depends on his body weight. One to two tablespoons per five pounds is the ideal amount.
Best Fruits to Give Your Rabbit
We can give you some suggestions, but ultimately, what fruits rabbits can eat will depend on your pet. Each rabbit is unique, after all, and while some may tolerate or enjoy a particular fruit, others may find it difficult to digest.
As with any new food, introduce fruits slowly so as not to upset your buns’ delicate digestive system.
Some fruits that are good for buns are:
A type of melon, cantaloupes make great additions to your bun’s diet. They’re packed with antioxidants, minerals, such as potassium and phosphorous, and beneficial vitamins (A and B).
Because they’re low in calories, you can give just a bit more of this delightful treat to your pet than other calorie-dense fruits. Cantaloupes have a high water content, so your bun gets extra hydration with this sweet snack. That’s a great way to keep your buns cool during hot summer days.
You can give the rind along with the flesh but discard the seeds.
Also called pawpaw, this fruit will help satisfy your bun’s sweet tooth because of its taste. But aside from the nutrients papayas contain, they also have enzymes that can break down the furballs your pet ingests while grooming himself. This helps the hair pass more quickly through the digestive tract and aids in preventing GI stasis.
The fruit’s skin is okay to eat but remove the seeds before giving the treat to your pet.
On top of the carbs, protein, and fats a medium-sized pear contains, it’s also rich in beneficial vitamins (A and K) plus a host of minerals, such as copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, and folate. So if you love pears and always have this fruit on hand, giving your bun a few tidbits now and then will benefit your fur baby.
Remember to remove the stem and seeds, though, as they contain traces of cyanide which can harm rabbits. Moreover, pear seeds are sharp, so swallowing them might injure your bun’s throat or mouth.
Most berries are safe for rabbits. But since some may be toxic, you can ask your rabbit-savvy vet for guidance regarding the best type for buns.
Blackberries: The seeds of this berry are so small, so eating them won’t harm your bun. Give only the ripe fruit. Ripe blackberries are purple-colored, while unripe ones have reddish-pink skin. Set your bun’s intake limit to a teaspoon per pound of bodyweight.
Blueberries: These have vitamin K, which is good for the blood, and antioxidants that boost cellular health. While most buns love the taste of this berry and will eat as much as you’ll feed them, introduce this treat slowly as it can lead to loose stools if given in large quantities. Three to six berries will suffice for larger bun breeds, but for dwarf rabbits, a single berry may be all they can handle.
Strawberries: Humans and rabbits alike have trouble resisting this sweet and luscious berry. Even wild rabbits were seen partaking of strawberries that grew unattended in vines. Their instinct seems on point as this berry is good for rabbits due to its low calcium content. Too much calcium is bad for your bun because it can lead to some health issues. Like with most berries, there’s no need to remove the seeds before serving a slice to your pet. Depending on the breed size, don’t give more than two tablespoons of sliced strawberries.
They’re not called the king of fruits for nothing. A taste of this sweet, juicy, and delectable fruit leaves most people – and rabbits – craving for more. But because of the sugar content and acidic nature of mangoes, your bun can only enjoy a small serving. That’s around a teaspoon for a medium-sized rabbit and much less for a dwarf breed.
Some rabbits won’t eat the fruit’s skin, but if yours does, no worries. It won’t harm him as long as you washed it well. The same doesn’t hold with the seed. Eating mango seeds can give your bun a tummy ache so keep them out of your pet’s reach.
Helpful Tips When Giving Fruit to Your Rabbit
- Don’t give the whole fruit. Instead, chop it up and remove the pit or seed.
- Try to purchase organic and pesticide-free fruits.
- You can substitute dried fruits for fresh ones for variety. Your pet will love them, and dried fruits don’t spoil quickly.
- Wash the fruit thoroughly. If you’re not sure about pesticides, remove the skin.
- Don’t give fruits to baby rabbits.
Fruits are like candies to humans. A little bit now and then is okay, but too much can lead to health issues in the long run.
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