Rabbits love to eat. Let one loose in your garden and it will happily munch anything it can get its teeth into. Before you let your bunny chomp on whatever it fancies, it’s worth knowing what is and isn’t safe for its consumption. For example, is it OK for rabbits to eat strawberries?
As a general rule, rabbits like to eat strawberries and a small amount of this sweet fruit will not cause them any harm. The amount of strawberries a rabbit can safely eat without incurring health problems varies depending on its weight. We list the optimum daily strawberry portions for any size of rabbit.
Rabbits can eat strawberries as part of a balanced diet
Though they adore sweet fruit, rabbits should not eat too many strawberries because of their sugar content. On the whole, sugary fruits in their diet should be carefully controlled.
A rabbits staple diet should be high fiber with a sensible balance of other foods. Though strawberries do have some fiber they contain about 4 times as much sugar, unfortunately!
Most rabbits enjoy eating fruit. However, you mustn’t let them eat as many strawberries as they want or they’ll end up with a sugar overload. It’s equivalent to letting a child eat sweets all day long. Carefully measure a correct-sized portion of strawberries before offering it to your rabbit.
Ideally, you should calculate the weight of your rabbit to enable you to feed it the correct amount of strawberries. That way you will avoid allowing it too much sugar.
Rabbits can weigh anything from 2 to 15 lbs. The ideal strawberry portion size to serve is about 1 teaspoon full (5 grams) per 2 lbs of body weight per day.
If you have a small 2 lb rabbit, 1 teaspoon doesn’t look like much of a treat. You might choose to give it 2 teaspoons every other day or 3 teaspoons every three days.
Here’s a table to make it easier to see how many strawberries a rabbit should eat per day, according to its weight. One teaspoon = half a small strawberry.
|Rabbit weight in pounds||Maximum teaspoons of strawberries per day|
How to serve a rabbit strawberries
Rabbits should only ever have freshly picked strawberries. Never serve strawberries that have been defrosted, cooked, or dried and definitely not with cream!
Before a rabbit eats any strawberries, they should be thoroughly washed to remove any pesticide residue and surface bacteria.
Large rabbits can cope with whole strawberries. Smaller bunnies may find it easier if they are sliced or chopped. Don’t make the pieces so small that they can be eaten without chewing as these could be a choking hazard.
What fruits can rabbits eat?
There are many fruits a rabbit can eat in moderation. It’s safe to feed a rabbit any of the following fruits once or twice per week, using the same portion sizes recommended for strawberries:
Rabbits enjoy crunching on apples. You may have heard that apple pips contain cyanide and are dangerous for rabbits. Whilst it’s true that they contain this poison, the amount is so minuscule it will not harm your rabbit.
The cyanide in an apple pip is well protected by the pip’s hard shell. If a rabbit swallowed one it would pass straight through it without releasing any cyanide.
Of course, a rabbit may crunch the odd pip open but the amount of cyanide in 1 pip – in fact in the pips of a whole apple – will not have any ill effect. And as you know better than to give your rabbit a whole apple, this problem will never arise.
If you offer your rabbit fruit such as cherries, it’s best to remove the stones as they could cause your rabbit to choke.
Crunchy pears are hit with most rabbits, as are soft peaches. There isn’t a fruit that can cause your rabbit major problems, as long as you exercise portion control.
When fruits are a danger to rabbits
Fruits can lead to kidney stones
Most fruit has a higher phosphorus content than calcium. This means the two can combine to create stones that are deposited in a rabbit’s kidneys.
Kidney stones alone are a health risk but if they travel to your rabbit’s bladder they can cause a blockage in the urinary tract which leads to infection and usually a risky operation.
This is another very good reason to not feed your rabbit too much fruit (or vegetables) high in phosphorus.
We’ve mentioned the sugar in fruit already but want to reiterate how easily it can lead to your rabbit becoming obese.
An overweight rabbit will suffer with various health problems ranging from sticky bottom to heart disease.
So before you over indulge your rabbit by letting it eat too many strawberries or other fruits, think carefully about its health.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll brush your rabbit’s teeth after it has eaten fruit so imagine the fruit acid eating away at its tooth enamel. Tooth decay can lead to serious dental disease, so bear this in mind if you let your rabbit feast on too many strawberries.
Strawberries are not particularly fibrous, and if you don’t include enough fiber in your rabbit’s diet, its teeth will not be worn down enough and will grow far too long.
Giving fruit a thorough wash before giving it to a rabbit is paramount to remove chemical pesticide residues. Even then, some fruits really retain this in their skin.
Though the peel, rind and skin of fruits generally contain the most fiber, if you’re not sure how safe they are, remove them and only offer your rabbit the flesh within.
Organic is best for bunnies
Organic strawberries and other fruits are the ideal choice as they are certified free from nasty chemicals. The downside is they are expensive, especially when they are out of season.
So look for seasonal fruit which should be cheaper. Still give it a wash before feeding it to your bunny, to remove dirt and bacteria, if nothing else.
Can Rabbits Eat Strawberries? Conclusion
Strawberries can safely be eaten by rabbits. One carefully measured portion on a daily basis won’t cause any harm as long as it’s the only fruit your rabbit eats that day.
It’s important to adhere to the one portion of any fruit a day to keep your rabbit’s sugar intake under control. As long as you follow this rule, you can let your bunny enjoy eating strawberries, raspberries, peach or any other safe-for-rabbit fruit.
Of course, you can avoid strawberries altogether and offer your rabbit treats that are naturally lower in sugar and just as high in vitamins such as carrots.