Cucumbers are one of the most popular vegetables available. They’re an adaptable veggie that’s easy to grow in your home garden in most regions of the world. If you’re wondering if your rabbit can have cucumbers as a treat, the answer is yes.
Yes! Cucumbers Are Safe for Rabbits!
While you likely consider cucumbers a vegetable, they’re actually a fruit. From a culinary standpoint, treating them as a vegetable isn’t wrong; biologically and nutritionally, however, the presence of seeds makes cucumbers a fruit.
Even though you may consider them a salad vegetable, you should treat cucumbers as fruit when it comes to planning your rabbit’s meals. Cucumbers should only be included as an occasional snack for your rabbit. The general guideline is that fruit should make up no more than 5% of what your bunny eats every week.
There are two kinds of cucumbers typically found in supermarket produce sections. North American cucumbers are long and smooth, while English cucumbers are short and bumpy. You might see English cucumbers sold as pickling cucumbers. Both varieties are acceptable food for your bunny. The North American type have thicker skin, so your rabbit will have to chew these a little more.
Pickles, the salty cousin of fresh cucumbers, however, are bad for rabbits. While they can eat the two main components of pickles — dill and cucumbers — the combination is a bad choice for bunnies. Jarred and preserved vegetables are different from what a rabbit would naturally eat, so it’s best to avoid them and instead stick with fresh ones.
Nutritional Value of Cucumbers
Since cucumbers are so easily accessible and affordable, they’re a good choice of treat for your rabbit. Whether your bun will like cucumber is another story. Just like anyone else, rabbits have their own preferences. While some will go bonkers for cucumber, other rabbits won’t regard it as anything special. There’s nothing nutritionally unique about cucumber, so you shouldn’t feel obligated to include it in your rabbit’s meals unless they enjoy it.
Cucumbers are rich in fiber, but they have high water content. Rabbits require a large amount of fiber in their diet, but the water content of cucumbers makes the fiber less nutritionally available for them. You should not rely on cucumbers to provide much meaningful nutrition.
Rabbits rely on a varied diet to provide them with the vitamins and minerals they need for good health. Protein, calories, and especially fiber come from hay. Most adult rabbits do best with timothy or meadow hay. These contain more fiber and less calcium than other kinds of hay.
A healthy rabbit should also eat vegetables with every meal. Veterinarians recommend that you offer your rabbit three kinds of veggies each day to make sure you have all your nutritional bases covered.
High-quality pellets can also be an important part of your rabbit’s diet. These pellets can provide protein, fiber, and fat. Most commercial pellets contain more calories than a healthy adult rabbit requires, so they should only be fed in small quantities.
How to Feed Cucumber to Your Rabbit
Once you’ve covered these basics, you can add special treats like fruit. A variety of fruit keeps mealtime fun for your fluffy companion. Who wouldn’t get bored eating the same hay and leaves, day in and day out? Rabbits love variety. Treat foods should only be given a few times a week, however, and in small portions.
Feeding your rabbit too many cucumbers can cause digestive issues. Since their stomachs have evolved to handle a fibrous diet, an overload of water-heavy cucumber can cause them to have loose, mushy waste.
A bunny who eats too much cucumber can become malnourished. If they fill their tiny stomachs with fruit, they won’t have an appetite left for the kinds of foods that provide most of their nutrients. If rabbits eat more fruit than they should, it can potentially cause dental trouble. The thick, tough hay that they subsist on grinds down their teeth. Too much soft food in a rabbit’s diet means their teeth may grow longer than they should. This is a painful experience for your pet, so it’s best to avoid it.
All told, as long as you’re feeding your rabbit an otherwise varied diet of hay, vegetables, and pellets, cucumber makes a great snack. If your bunny likes cucumber, you can feel safe giving them a few thin slices every few days. If your rabbit doesn’t care for cucumber, that just means more for your salad!
Featured Image: congerdesign from Pixabay