Rabbits enjoy fresh fruits as part of their balanced diet. Grapes are full of phytonutrients, which are essential for animals that eat plant-based diets. They are among the popular fruits that are available all year round.
We know grapes are highly toxic to dogs and cats because they can cause life-threatening illnesses.
But can rabbits eat grapes? Rabbits are highly sensitive animals with a delicate digestive system. It is, therefore, important to know what your rabbits can and can’t eat because they depend on you to keep them healthy and happy.
In this article, we will answer this question and learn a little more about how grapes can affect your rabbit’s health.
So, can rabbits eat grapes? How many?
Yes, they can and do eat grapes. Rabbits love fruits and anything else that appeals to their tongues. However, grapes should be an occasional food for them due to their high sugar content, which can cause digestive issues if taken in large amounts.
A rabbit’s main diet should be hay. Other types of food, such as vegetables and fruits, should be given occasionally.
Rabbits can have as many as 1000 grapes a day to indulge their sweet tooth if allowed. But they can’t provide enough nutrients. So, you shouldn’t use grapes to replace a rabbit’s main diet.
If taken in moderation, one to two times a week, a few grapes at a time, can promote intestinal health.
Health benefits of grapes for rabbits
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of grapes for your rabbits.
Grapes certainly have all the important vitamins and minerals essential for a rabbit’s good health. They have high water content to keep rabbits hydrated and to help with digestion. Grapes also contain important vitamins such as C, B6, A, and K.
Dark-colored grapes have high levels of antioxidants like polyphenols; the popular one being resveratrol, which protects rabbits against cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. In addition, Grapes contain potassium, copper, manganese, pantothenic acid, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and choline.
One cup of grapes served provides the following nutritional content:
- 62 calories
- 16g carbs
- 1g fiber
- 0.6g protein
- 0.3g fats
- 13g sugars
- 3mg vitamin C
- 0.1 mg vitamin B6
- 288mg potassium
- 0.2 mg copper
- 0.1 mg thiamine
- 22mcg vitamin K
- 0.1 mg manganese
- 0.1 mg riboflavin
- 2mg sodium
All these nutrients make grapes one of the healthiest sugary treats. Rabbits enjoy anything sweet, and grapes are among the sweetest fruits ever.
However, we all know too much of anything is poisonous. Therefore, you should feed rabbits small amounts of grapes a couple of times a week.
Potential risks of grapes
Grapes provide several health benefits. However, there are some downsides to feeding excess grapes too frequently.
Grapes have high sugar levels, which can cause diabetes, obesity, digestive issues, and the dreaded GI stasis (this happens when digestion stops or slows down).
Eventually, these side effects can be life-threatening. For instance, obesity can cause renal failure.
Due to their high sugar content, the bacteria in a rabbit’s stomach quickly digest grapes, causing an accumulation of gas in the stomach. It also disrupts the natural digestive PH, leading to bloating and diarrhea. Frequent diarrhea can be fatal because it might cause dehydration.
Loss of appetite
Rabbits love sweet treats. If they eat grapes often enough, they might become picky eaters, preferring grapes to hay, which should comprise most of their diet.
Hay has high fiber content, which helps the digestive system. If you give them grapes often enough, they might decide to stop feeding on their main diet and only eat grapes.
Some grapes might have been in contact with pesticides and other chemicals. Such grapes can cause stomach upsets. If ingested in large quantities, they might cause diarrhea.
How many grapes can a rabbit have?
Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system. If they are not fed the right food or eat too many fruits, they might experience gas and diarrhea.
Grapes, as with all fruits, should be given in moderation. You can provide your adult rabbit with one to two ounces of grapes for every six pounds of body weight, which is about one to two grapes a maximum of up to two times a week. This period can be considered the safe limit.
Two grapes can’t sort out their cravings for sweet things, and you might be tempted to go a little overboard to make your bunny happy. But giving beyond the limit can make the rabbit unwell.
At what age can rabbits eat grapes?
You shouldn’t feed grapes or other fruits to baby rabbits under three months of age. Also, if their mother didn’t eat grapes during the nursing period, they shouldn’t eat grapes either.
If a rabbit is under three months old, it is advisable to feed them hay and pellets to grow healthy. After three months, introduce grapes gradually while monitoring their reactions after eating.
How do you feed grapes to your rabbit?
Although rabbits can eat grapes, it’s essential to exercise caution when giving the fruit. Here are some tips and recommendations to help you.
- Give fresh grapes
- You should wash the grapes thoroughly to remove dirt, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals.
- As mentioned earlier, give moderately as a treat every once in a while.
- Remove the seeds because too many of them can cause kidney complications.
- Cut the grapes in half to prevent the risk of choking.
- If you have an overweight rabbit, consult your vet before offering grapes, as it might not be allowed due to high sugar levels.
- Avoid raisins because they have almost twice as much sugar as fresh grapes.
- If feeding grapes for the first time, give a small serving and monitor the reaction for 24 hours. If you notice discomfort or any adverse reaction, avoid feeding the grapes altogether. If you don’t notice any change, continue feeding small amounts of grapes.
Can rabbits eat grape leaves?
It is a well-known fact that rabbits are herbivores. Yes, rabbits can eat grape leaves. They are safe for them to consume. One of the benefits of eating the leaves is that they have a low GI (Glycemic Index), which controls glucose levels, especially in diabetic rabbits.
But as with the fruit, you should offer the leaves in moderation, wash thoroughly and introduce them gradually.
Rabbits can certainly eat grapes. Grapes are safe to eat, but rabbits should eat them in small quantities – a limit of one to two grapes at a time is safe.
Some of the benefits of grapes to rabbits are that they contain essential vitamins and minerals good for their health, and due to their high water content, grapes can help with constipation.
On the other hand, there are drawbacks to feeding grapes to rabbits. Grapes have high calories and high sugar, which can be detrimental to rabbits’ health.
A healthy diet for a rabbit consists of hay, pellets, and vegetables. Fruits should be given as treats because they’re sugary. Therefore, limiting portions for your rabbits to enjoy this nutritious fruit without harming them is important. You shouldn’t feed baby bunnies grapes due to their sensitive stomachs.