Rabbits can bring a lot of joy into our lives. These fluffy, big-eared rascals are great companions! As a responsible rabbit owner, you probably know that rabbits should mainly eat hay and that a small part of their diet consists of fruits.
However, it’s hard to tell what fruits are a good option with their sensitive digestive systems. Let’s say, just for fun, you’re making a fruity cheesecake topping. You got some leftover berries in your hand, and your fluffy pal is giving you a heartbreaking look. A question pops into your mind – can rabbits eat berries?
Well let’s lay the worries to rest right away; berries are safe for your rabbit friends. However, just like most treats, they come with a few restrictions and even drawbacks in some cases. In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about berry consumption in rabbits!
Buckle up and get ready for an informative ride!
Can Rabbits Eat Berries?
Berries are an excellent treat for your furry pet. These sweet or sour-tasting fruits come in various types and colors. Berries are usually used in fruity toppings, cakes, and jams. Depending on the type, berries are mostly filled with vitamins and minerals.
The most popular berries are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and goji berries. But there’s a lot more! In fact, there are more than 400 species of berries all around the world. You’d be surprised how many fruits (and even veggies!) are considered berries.
For example, gourds, cucumbers, and even watermelons are a type of berry! These berries are usually called pepos. But, in this article, we’re sticking with the small, rounded, fleshy fruits that we all refer to as berries.
Bunnies love nature’s candy. To be fair, bunnies love to chew on almost anything. Well, when it’s a berry in question, it’s usually a good choice. Typically, all berries are high in Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants!
However, the sweet taste of berries is quite alluring to these fuzzy animals. That’s why they love them so much! As you probably know, sugar is not suitable for rabbits, and it can cause some health issues.
Too much sugar can lead to obesity and a bacterial imbalance in the gut. Any treat that’s too high in sugar can encourage potentially toxic bacteria to grow. That can slow down your rabbit’s intestinal movement and lead to diarrhea or constipation, which can both be very dangerous.
This is why you shouldn’t be generous with fruits in your rabbit’s diet. A healthy bunny has a balanced diet! So keep in mind that rabbits need around 85% of hay or grass, 10% of leafy greens and vegetables, and approximately 5% of good quality pellets.
What Berries Are a Good Option?
So, by now, you’ve learned that berries are primarily safe for rabbits. Of course, only when consumed in moderation. But, it’s safe to ask, are some berries better than others? Let’s find out.
For starters, let’s get to know one of the most popular types of berries – blueberries! It’s actually one of the first fruits to be titled “superfoods.” Although they’re small in size, their nutrients are enormous!
Here’s the nutritional profile of around 150 grams of blueberries.
|Manganese||22 % of the RDI|
|Vitamin K||24 % of the RDI|
As it’s noted in the table, blueberries are rich in Vitamin K and Manganese. Besides that, they also contain antioxidants named anthocyanins. That antioxidant has the power to reduce oxidative stress and lower bad cholesterol.
Blueberries are okay for rabbits. Actually, blueberries are one of the rare fruits that rabbits also enjoy in nature! Although blueberries are on the natural side, you should still be very moderate in the quantities. The high sugar content can lead to a tummy ache or other issues.
Blackberries contain less sugar than blueberries but more than raspberries. It’s safe to say that they’re good for your rabbit! They have all the nutritional benefits of blueberries. However, you should feed blackberries to your rabbit only if it’s fully ripened.
Blackberries that have a pink color or wilted ones can cause stomach issues to your rabbit. The pink ones can cause a stomach ache! If you wouldn’t eat an unripened blackberry, you shouldn’t give your rabbit any too.
If you’re a fan of raspberries, we’ve got some great news! This berry is one of the lowest sugar choices among fruits, which means they’re perfectly suitable for your rabbit! If your bunny needs a guilt-free treat, raspberry is a great option.
Besides being low in sugar, this berry is high in fibers, and it offers loads of vitamins and minerals. The antioxidants in raspberries help your rabbits fight free radicals that damage their cells.
Just like blueberries, it also has a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is vital for your furry friend because it prevents bladder sludge from forming. Even though raspberries seem like the best choice, your rabbit still needs a balanced diet!
However, it’s safe to say that a little more isn’t going to hurt with raspberries. Just keep in mind that the central part of your rabbit’s diet should most certainly be hay or grass. Also, even though raspberries are great, they come with some limitations.
Adult rabbits can eat a few raspberries a day. However, baby rabbits and juvenile rabbits shouldn’t eat them at all! When giving your adult rabbit this red delight for the first time, go slow. A gradual introduction to new foods is essential.
|Age||Amount of raspberries|
|Juvenile rabbit (Up to 12 months)||None|
|Adult rabbit||3 to 4 small raspberries a few times a week|
Whether you’re giving your rabbit a raspberry, blueberry, or any berry whatsoever – it’s imperative to thoroughly wash them. A lot of berries are sprayed with pesticides, and that can harm your rabbit.
Also, if you’re wondering if your rabbit can eat frozen berries, the answer is yes! Although frozen berries provide a little less nutrition, they are perfectly safe for your rabbit. Frozen berries are great for rabbits during the summer because they tend to overheat.
However, the fresh option is always a better choice. Besides that, you should avoid giving your rabbits frozen berries in the winter or at night. The safest way for them to consume frozen fruits is when the sun is up and high!
Other Fruits Rabbits Can Safely Consume
Berries are great for rabbits! And even though there are a lot of types, all of them are safe for rabbit consumption. By now, you’re probably wondering, what other fruits are suitable for rabbits?
As we mentioned before, a balanced diet is crucial to your rabbit’s well-being. Fruits are, unfortunately, only treats for bunnies. That’s why they shouldn’t be given more than once or twice per week. The only exception is low-sugar fruits, which can be fed up to 3 times a week.
The standard rule of thumb is around one to two tablespoons of fruit per around 2,5 kilograms of your rabbit’s weight. You can pick one fruit to give them or make a fruit salad consisting of more rabbit-friendly fruits.
List of some fruits you can safely give your rabbit pal:
- Banana. (Can Rabbits Eat Banana Chips?)
- Apples (No seeds)
- Cherries (No seeds)
Always check the sugar count on any fruit you want to give to your rabbit. One sugary fruit from time to time isn’t going to harm your rabbit. However, overfeeding your bunny with sugary fruits can be very dangerous in the long run.
Foods That Are Toxic To Rabbits
It’s imperative to know what foods you should give your rabbits as a treat. However, even more, important is what you can never give your rabbit. Here’s a list of some toxic foods for your rabbit:
- Iceberg lettuce
If your bunny even accidentally consumes any of these plants, you should call your veterinarian. They are not only harmful but toxic to your rabbit. Some sources even note that avocado or rhubarb consumption can, in some cases, even lead to death in rabbits. So, be careful!
Well, you’ve come to an end with this article! We hope that we provided you with everything you wanted to know about berry consumption in rabbits. To sum everything up: berries are an excellent fruit for your rabbit friend.
Not only are berries safe, but they provide your furry pal with some fantastic health benefits. However, you should never forget that moderation is vital. Whatever type of berry you’re giving your bunny, it’s still only a treat for them.
No fruits can and shouldn’t replace hay in your rabbit’s regular meals. With all that in mind, remember to wash your berries thoroughly and watch your rabbit enjoy some nature’s candy!