Fresh fruit is an important component of your rabbit’s diet. Apples are a common, affordable fruit that you’re likely to find in your own kitchen. An apple a day will keep the doctor away, but will it keep the veterinarian at bay too?
Yes! Apples are Safe for Rabbits.
Veterinarians agree that apples of all varieties and colors are a good addition to your rabbit’s diet. Red Delicious, Gala, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith are the varieties that you’re most likely to find in your local produce section, and all of them are safe for rabbits.
Feeding Apples to Your Rabbit
When feeding apples to your rabbit, you need to make sure they’re prepared properly. Rabbits cannot digest the seeds or the stems safely. Apple seeds and stems are toxic to most animals, but especially to small pets. Both the stems and seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause several health issues in your bunny, ranging from vomiting and stomach discomfort to death. For safety’s sake, keep your rabbit far away from apple stems and seeds.
Moderation is key when feeding your rabbit fruit. Rabbits should eat fruit no more than every other day. The sugar in fruit, especially apples, is simply too high for your rabbit to consume regularly. Feed your rabbit only a chunk or two of apple at a time. Just a few teaspoons with a meal is enough to satisfy their need for fruit.
Can Apple be Bad for Rabbits?
Despite their sugar content, apples are a relatively low-calorie snack, stacked with important nutrients. Apples also contain fiber, which is integral to rabbit diets. Bunnies require a wide variety of vitamins and minerals for the sake of their health, but too much is never a good thing. For instance, too much vitamin C may lead to kidney trouble, and vitamin A can be harmful to the skin and brain. This is why it’s important to only feed small portions of fruits to your bunny.
How Much Apple Should I Feed My Rabbit?
You should change up the kind of fruit you give your bunny so you can make sure they get a balanced diet. Other fruit options you can try are grapes, bananas, peaches, and strawberries. Most people feed their rabbit fruit no more than three times a week, but if you use a small enough portion, every other day will work well for your bunny. An every-other-day schedule is also easier to keep track of to make sure you aren’t overdoing it on the fruit.
Rabbits are herbivores, so they’re predisposed to eat plants, veggies, and fruits of all kinds. A healthy diet for your rabbit is mostly hay. While most people think of meat when they think protein, straw and hay is where your bunny will get the bulk of their protein and fiber.
Finding the Right Mix
In addition to hay, rabbits should also be given fresh greens and vegetables every day. Eating a mix of hay, pellets, vegetables, and fruit maintains the right ratio of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. All of these components are necessary to make sure your rabbit remains healthy and happy.
Treats, like apples or other fruit, should only make up about 5% of your rabbit’s diet. While most rabbits will gladly chow down on an entire fruit salad if you let them, it’s imperative that you balance their nutrition for them. Fruit contains water, which makes the fiber in it less digestible for your bunny and therefore, less important.
Final Thoughts on Feeding Apple to Your Rabbit
All rabbits will find apples to be nutritious, but what about delicious? Some rabbits love apples, while others are simply not interested in them. Once you’ve identified the kinds of fruits and vegetables that are safe for your bunny, try offering different ones as a snack. You may find that your fluffy friend goes wild for papaya but turns their nose up at pineapple. The best treat for your rabbit is one that they love.
Featured Image: Alfred Hermida, Flickr