By far one of my favorite summer sweets, strawberries are just what I love to dig into to satisfy my sweet tooth while still being healthy. But what about our furry friends?
Rabbits have something in common with me: an insatiable sweet tooth. Generally, your rabbits will love their veggies, but once they get a taste of something sweet, you can be sure they’ll want more.
Your bunny will likely love strawberries.
We know that bunnies will eat almost anything. You could certainly catch some wild rabbits stealing some ripe strawberries off the vine before they’ve been picked. But, does that make it a good dietary choice for your rabbit?
So, the question remains, can rabbits eat strawberries? Or better yet, should your rabbit be eating strawberries?
Can (or should) rabbits eat strawberries?
There’s no need to cut these ripe, red, delicious berries from your rabbit’s diet. Rabbits can certainly eat strawberries. They’ll probably absolutely love eating strawberries.
The key to adding strawberries to your rabbit’s diet is to make sure that you are giving them the proper amount.
When consumed in safe amounts, strawberries are thought to have certain health benefits that could enrich your rabbit’s life. So, how can strawberries help your bunny’s health?
Health Benefits of strawberries
Strawberries are a good occasional treat for your rabbit. They have high water content and relatively low sugar content (as compared to other fruits).
Strawberries also provide other nutrients for your rabbit. They are high in Vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, and more. While your rabbit will be getting the majority of its nutrients from leafy plants and hay, it doesn’t hurt that your treats can also provide your bunny with extra vitamins to help strengthen its immune system.
This doesn’t mean you should feed your rabbit strawberries every day! But, when looking for a healthy treat, strawberries are a great option.
How often can rabbits eat strawberries?
Now that we’ve established that your rabbit can eat strawberries, let’s look at the frequency with which you can dole out these sweet, natural treats to your bunny.
Rabbits need a diet that is rich in fiber and lower in sugar and fat. That’s why, as a rabbit owner, hay and veggies will be your best friends. The majority of a rabbit’s diet should be filled with hay and green leafy vegetables.
However, if you want to give your rabbits the occasional treat, then, by all means, go ahead. Strawberries are a great option as they’re high in antioxidants and fiber.
What exactly do I mean by the “occasional treat” (in this case, strawberries)? Treats should only make up between 5-10% of your rabbit’s diet. If you’re giving your rabbit a treat, it should be after they’ve consumed their green veggies for the day.
That’s right, your rabbit needs to clear its plate before getting its dessert.
Too many strawberries, or too much of any other sugary treat, can cause digestive problems for your rabbit. If you give your rabbit too many treats, they may also start refusing to eat other things, becoming addicted to the sugary goodness.
When planning your rabbit’s diet, make sure they get enough hay and vegetables. If you’re looking for a new treat, then strawberries, given to your rabbit in small doses, are a good choice.
How many strawberries?
OK, strawberries should not be a staple in your rabbit’s diet. They are purely an occasional treat. The majority of your bunny’s diet should be made up of hay and leafy greens.
However, how many strawberries can you feed to your furry little friend when you decide to indulge it with some treats?
As humans, our strawberry serving size is one cup, or about eight whole strawberries. Your pet rabbit’s serving side is going to be much, much smaller.
How many strawberries you serve your rabbit will depend on the size of the rabbit that you have. For smaller rabbits, slice up a strawberry, and just give a few slices – not even the whole strawberry. For bigger rabbits, one strawberry is good enough.
It’s always a good idea to wash the strawberries before feeding them to your rabbits to clean away any toxins from pesticides that may be present.
It is best to err on the side of caution when giving your rabbit treats, especially if you are introducing new food to its diet. See how your rabbit does, digestively, with strawberries, and then decide if it will remain one of your top treat choices.
What other fruits can rabbits eat?
As previously stated, fruits and treats should not make up more than 10% of your rabbit’s diet. It may also be worth noting that your rabbit’s favorite foods will likely be leafy greens, as their bodies will crave them.
Remember, leafy greens and hay will make up the majority of your rabbit’s diet.
But, I digress from the question at hand for all you rabbit-loving pet owners who want to reward your loving companion with a special treat.
Apart from strawberries, which we’ve established are fine as treats, what other fruits are safe for your rabbit to eat?
10 fruits your rabbit can eat:
- Berries (any type)
- Apples (seedless)
- Banana (peeled)
- Pineapple (without skin)
For a full list of foods that should be included in your rabbit’s diet, check out what a professional veterinarian has to say on the topic.
Remember that the veggies and fruits that you feed your rabbits should ideally be organic. If not an option, make sure to clean them thoroughly before serving them to your rabbit so that you ensure they are pesticide-free.
What fruits are toxic to rabbits?
You now know that strawberries, in frugal quantities, are perfectly safe for your rabbit to ingest. But, are there other fruits that could be toxic to your rabbit?
The general answer is that most fruit “flesh” is perfectly safe for your rabbit to eat—and I should reemphasize… when consumed sparingly. The parts of the fruit that could cause your furry friend some harm are the pits and seeds of certain fruits.
The seeds and pits found in certain fruits can contain cyanide. Even though it’s not a large quantity of cyanide, it’s still best to not serve it to your pets.
Pits and seeds to be avoided:
Remember that the fruit part of the items in that list is fine. The parts that you don’t want to serve to your rabbit are the pits and seeds of those particular fruits.
Remember that rabbits are herbivores. They will be happiest and healthiest with a diet rich in leafy greens. But to make sure you don’t feed your rabbit any questionable items, double-check this full list of foods to avoid feeding your rabbit.
Vary your rabbit’s treats
Just because we now know that strawberries are a perfectly safe option for your rabbit doesn’t mean that you should only give your rabbit strawberry treats. In fact, you should vary the kinds of treats that you give your rabbit.
Your rabbit’s diet staples will remain the same: hay and green leafy vegetables. As crafty or varied as you decide to get with the greens you give your rabbit is up to you, but as long as that’s making up the majority of your rabbit’s diet, you’re in good shape.
However, the treats you give your rabbits should change. This will keep things exciting for your rabbit. The saying “variety is the spice of life” exists for a reason, I suppose.
You also don’t want your rabbit to start getting picky or favoring one type of food over the other. Your rabbit will love sugar, which is why you need to limit its sugar intake.
Your rabbit should always prefer greens over sweets. If your bunny starts denying its veggies because it prefers its treats, then something has gone awry in the balance of your bunny’s diet.
Varying the types of treats you give your rabbit is key. And remember, fruits should be given to your rabbit in small quantities and only occasionally (a couple of times a week).
A safe treat
Strawberries are a perfectly safe and healthy option as a treat for your rabbit. Quantity and frequency are key when it comes to giving treats to your rabbit: less is more.
The vitamins and antioxidants found in strawberries make them a top choice as an occasional treat for your rabbit.
Feel free to indulge in the summer strawberry season and give your furry friend a strawberry to enjoy alongside you. Just make sure that the portions are appropriate!