Have you ever tried snacking away on a couch, only to notice that your pet rabbit is very enthusiastic about what you’re eating?
As natural foragers, rabbits have a strong sense of smell to guide them to their next tasty meal. But before you go serve your rabbit straight off your plate, you should consider a few precautions.
Rabbits are herbivores, and therefore their digestive systems work significantly distinct from humans. What might pass as excellent nutrition for people can usually be harmful (even fatal) to rabbits.
So, we’ve chosen to comprise the ins and outs of a variety of basic household fruits and veggies that you may be questioning about feeding your rabbit.
We’ve gathered all the information to teach you everything you need to understand about a snack loved by almost every bunny: Blueberries!
While rabbits can certainly eat blueberries, there are few things that you still need to consider before you add these fruits as a regular part of their diet. So, we will be exploring the blueberries’ nutrition facts, their health advantages, and potential risks, then we’ll give you some instructions on how to feed your rabbit.
Do Rabbits Like Blueberries?
Blueberries carry a high amount of fructose, so rabbits will surely eat them. In the wild, rabbits will most likely go for the leaves and stems of a blueberry bush, rather than the fruit itself. However, it is typical for domesticated rabbits to become spoiled for fruit.
As alluring as it can be, you must limit your rabbit from consuming too much fruit. Overconsumption of fruit can surely lead to obesity and dental difficulties in rabbits.
At most, rabbits should only be provided 1-2 tablespoons of fruit per day. It’s essential to mix all the fruit so that your rabbit will reap all the benefits from a mix of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fruit enzymes.
Are Blueberries Good for Rabbits?
Blueberries are OK for rabbits, as long as they’re served very infrequently.
Blueberries possess a myriad of health benefits. They’re a superb source of fiber and water compared to several fruits.
Blueberries don’t carry a high amount of carbohydrates and sugars. Unfortunately, the fiber and sugar contents of blueberries are sub-optimal for a rabbit’s diet.
What makes blueberries special from other fruits is their antioxidant content. Blueberries carry the highest amount of anthocyanins and flavonoids. These may help reduce blood sugar, promote better blood flow, lessen the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Can You Feed Your Rabbit Blueberries?
Blueberries are recognized as one of the most nutritious fruits in the world. These water-rich treats are filled with potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin B6, and an array of antioxidants. But, are blueberries considered healthy for rabbits?
Blueberries are one of the fruits that are safe for rabbits to eat. However, they possess a high amount of fruit sugar (fructose), so they should only be given as a treat. Serving them with blueberries too often can create stomach issues, dental problems, and obesity.
In the wild, a rabbit’s normal diet just rarely consists of fruit. So, restrict your rabbit’s consumption of blueberries to no more than 1-2 pieces per week. Rabbits are feeding animals, so their diets should mostly consist of hay and grass.
Health Benefits of Blueberries for Rabbits
A rabbit’s regular diet should consist of high-fiber, low-calorie, low sugar, and low-fat food. They also require some plant-based protein sources of food for growth and development. Unlike any other fruits (such as mango and grapes), blueberries are:
- Lower in calories
- Higher in protein
- Lower in sugar
- Higher in fiber
Although rabbits are not required to eat fruit regularly, still, blueberries are a healthier treat for your pet’s diet.
Blueberries are a superb source of the following:
- Water. 84% of blueberries consist of water. Water is crucial in a rabbit’s diet because it helps in hydration and proper bowel movements while limiting dehydration and overheating.
- Vitamin A. This is the required nutrition of your pet for healthy skin and vision. Your rabbit’s kidneys, lungs, and heart depend on this vitamin as well to work optimally.
- Vitamin K. Supports good blood flow and reduces the risk of forming blood clots. Vitamin K ensures that minerals are transferred adequately throughout the body. It may also support good bone health.
- Folic acid. It enhances the reproduction of red blood cells, increases immunity, and stops anemia.
- Potassium and magnesium. These help your pet rabbit to sleep adequately and support muscle relaxation.
- Phosphorus. This nutrition works with calcium to keep their bones and teeth healthy.
- Manganese. Required for normal intake of protein, amino acid, lipid, and supports normal carbohydrate metabolism.
Blueberries are also filled with antioxidants, such as:
- Anthocyanins. Responsible for furnishing blueberries their color. Anthocyanins also help lessen a rabbit’s risk of heart-related ailments.
- Myricetin. A flavonol may lessen the chance of cancer and diabetes.
- Quercetin. Another type of flavanol lessens the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
These are the types of nutrients that must be provided to rabbits in large quantities. They provide a sustainable source of energy to animals.
|Nutrients||Blueberries per 100g/raw||Mango per 100g/raw||Apple per 100g/raw||Grapes per 100g/raw|
These molecules must be provided in small quantities to allow a rabbit to complete essential bodily processes.
|Vitamins in Blueberries||Amount Per 100 g|
These are naturally occurring elements that facilitate a rabbit’s body to grow and remain healthy. They should be also given in small quantities.
|Minerals in Blueberries||Amount Per 100 g|
The reason is now clear why rabbits are allowed to consume blueberries but still don’t necessarily gain several benefits from them once you’ve examined the diet of a wild rabbit.
Rabbits don’t have easy access to blueberries explicitly, but they do eat foods with similar benefits. This enables rabbits to digest the blueberries and gain some nutritional value from them.
It will not present any severe health issues when you serve blueberries to your rabbit in small amounts, but larger amounts will surely create some. Blueberries do carry a fair amount of water and sugar, although their sugar levels are frequently lower than other fruits.
High sugar and water content may happen in intestinal discomfort and weight gain. Don’t let your pet rabbit eat frozen blueberries at all costs, as they’ll likely carry a higher amount of water but lower nutritional value.
One other thing to remember is that rabbits should never be provided with fruits that have seeds or pits in them. That’s because they could create complications. Blueberries also contain seeds, but they’re so tiny so they won’t surely produce any problems, particularly when you’re only feeding blueberries to your rabbit in suggested amounts.
Regardless of the downsides, blueberries can be a very tasty bunny treat when served properly and worked into a total diet.
How Many Blueberries Can Rabbits Safely Eat?
Blueberries are only classified as treats. You should give no more than 1-2 blueberries to your rabbit per week.
In the wild, rabbits don’t have easy access to any fruit, let alone blueberries. Their major diet mostly consists of grass, hay, leaves, and stems.
Even with berries that grow in the wild, rabbits mostly chew the leaves and stems of the bushes, not the exact berries.
However, rabbits really love the flavor of blueberries. So why shouldn’t you give more of this irresistible treat to them?
High in Sugar
Blueberries are a rich source of fruit sugar, and too much of it can create major digestive problems in rabbits. Overfeeding them with fruits can make a rabbit encounter uncomfortable bloating and tummy discomfort.
In critical cases, your rabbit may even experience digestive problems, such as loose stools or diarrhea and GI stasis.
If this is your rabbit’s first time-consuming blueberries, introduce the fruit gradually. Offer one blueberry and observe your rabbit’s metabolism for the next 12 to 24 hours.
Your rabbit’s reaction and droppings will show whether they’re healthy or are suffering from digestive difficulty.
Low in Fiber
80 to 90% of your pet rabbit’s diet should consist of hay and grass because they’re rich sources of fiber while being low in sugar and calories.
Rabbits massively depend on fiber for their overall nutrition. Lagomorphs possess very specialized digestive tracts that can assimilate fiber and regain essential vitamins and minerals from them.
Unfortunately, blueberries do not carry enough fiber content. Too many of these low-fiber, high-sugar foods can trigger obesity in rabbits.
Therefore, even though a blueberry or two can be a delicious treat for a rabbit, it’s less likely to submit any major health benefits if provided in excess.
What Do Rabbits Eat In The Wild?
To better grasp the idea of why rabbits can’t just munch the bushes of blueberries, we should also understand what wild rabbits naturally consume.
For thousands of years, rabbits have hopped free throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Sumatra.
At this age and time, these wild rabbits have all consumed roughly the same foods, ending in their digestive systems maturing fine-tuned for working those foods.
This is the reason it’s essential that you resemble your pet rabbit’s diet to the diet of a wild rabbit. Their bodies are specially built for specific foods!
A rabbit is an herbivore, indicating that its diet consists mostly of plants and different kinds of plant matter. Their bodies can utilize this plant matter to gain all of the essential nutrients they require.
This furnishes you, the owner, quite a bit of leeway as herbivores can consume a wide assortment of different plants but don’t need a very distinct diet. A wild rabbit’s diet consists of wild grasses, leafy weeds, and forbs.
Upon observing a wild rabbit, you may see that they use most of their time by grazing. Rabbits nibble so much that about 80-90% of their diet is made up of grass! While the rest consists of different plants, which can be wildflowers, clovers, weeds, and vegetable plants.
How to Feed Blueberries to Your Rabbits
Berries are considered to be one of the most useful occasional treats for rabbits. Simply because you can consume them one by one.
Cooking blueberries will both diminish their nutrition content and make your rabbit don’t want to eat them; rabbits favor everything raw.
Be sure to scan for organic blueberries to satisfy your rabbit. Organic fruits are not treated with pesticides or any chemicals so they will be surely safe for your bunny’s health.
Can Rabbits Eat Blueberries with Skin?
Peeling the skin off of blueberries isn’t only time-consuming, but a completely irrelevant job, even while feeding rabbits.
Blueberry skin is also healthy for rabbits. In fact, most of the fiber content and antioxidants in blueberries are found in their skin.
Anthocyanins, an essential antioxidant in blueberries, seem to be stored in the skin as well. This shows that the outer layer of the berry is the healthiest portion for your rabbit to eat.
Can Rabbits Eat Blueberries with Seeds?
The seeds of blueberries are so tiny that they will not create any harm to your pet rabbit. Your rabbit will only pass the seed out with its stool and won’t feel a thing.
If it still doesn’t make you feel better, you can just slice a blueberry open, extract the seeds, and feed the pulp and peel only to your pet rabbit.
Alternatively, you can provide your rabbit with 1 to 2 blueberries with the seeds then wait and observe for any signs of gastric distress.
Keep in mind that the seeds from most other fruits should be extracted. This is due to the harmful chemicals they carry and the chance of choking. But when it gets to blueberries, seeds are almost always safe.
Can Rabbits Eat Blueberry Leaves and Stems?
Rabbits love munching at blueberry plants. Blueberry bushes are among their most loved plants by rabbits.
According to the University of Minnesota, rabbits fancy munching on the stems of blueberry bushes in the winter.
The Cornel University of Agriculture and Life Sciences also claims that wildlife feeding by animals creates physical damage to blueberries.
Blueberries are a healthy and reliable fruit to serve to rabbits. Just keep in mind not to give your rabbit more than 1-2 pieces per week. Giving your rabbit blueberries that exceed this amount can cause obesity and digestive problems.
Always opt for fresh, raw blueberries to serve your rabbit. While frozen berries may still taste very good, their nutritional value is already lowered by the processing. And when it comes to occasional treats like fruit, you should try to make them as healthy as possible for your rabbit.
Ways Rabbits Can Eat Blueberries
While you can provide regular blueberries to your rabbit as an occasional treat, they can also be given in several other different ways. Rabbits may not be very large or very smart enough, but they can still determine whether they’re getting bored of eating a certain food. Giving your bunny fresh fruits and veggies served in different techniques is a great idea to add variation to their diet.
- Fresh blueberries – This is just a regular blueberry, and it can make for a delicious little treat every once in a while! You can either buy these in a store or cultivate them in your backyard. Make sure that the blueberries are washed before giving them to your rabbit, and be sure to exclude any stems or leaves.
- Dehydrated blueberries – These are just blueberries that have had around 90% of their water content extracted from them. Although this is a rather easy move that’s done with a simple food processor, it makes quite a huge difference for rabbits. They manage to like the variety in flavor and texture. One thing to remember, though, is that dehydrated blueberries can be a little dense in sugar, so you’ll need to give it to them in smaller amounts.
- Dried blueberries – These are blueberries that have had even more water extracted from them. At this point, they’re even more dehydrated but still very tasty. Again, the sugar content becomes much higher in these blueberries, so you have to feed it to your rabbit in a smaller amount.
While the blueberry jam is very tasty, it should not be given to your pet rabbit ever. Jam carries way too much sugar content and not enough nutrients to be healthy for rabbits. It might also carry pectin or lemon juice, which is harmful to rabbits.
Are Blueberries Safe For Bunnies To Eat?
In general, blueberries are considered safe for rabbits to eat. But because rabbits tend to possess a very sensitive digestive system, consuming too many blueberries can lead to bacterial dis-balance. This goes for any other fruits as well.
When you are serving the rabbit blueberries for the first time, you will want to observe them for a couple of days. You will be able to detect whether they have absorbed it well, or are directed to get sick from the blueberries.
And keep in mind to wash the blueberries before you provide them to your bunnies.
Overfeeding Blueberries to Rabbits
If it seems that you’ve been serving blueberries and other fruit treats to your pet rabbit in an excessive amount, then it’s time to bring its diet back to a normal healthy one.
Wild rabbits relish eating blueberry plants. You can control your rabbit’s blueberry habit by replacing them with blueberry stalks and leaves.
If there’s no place to purchase blueberry stalks and leaves, try the leaves of raspberry, blackberry, or strawberry plants. Carrot tops are another excellent option, and they’re widely obtainable in grocery stores.
Continue giving a healthy dosage of 1-2 berries a week, enriched with healthy leafy greens.
Rabbits of all sizes and breeds love to eat all types of fruit, but this doesn’t suggest that you should serve it to them regularly! While rabbits can definitely eat blueberries, it should still be given to your pet rabbit as an occasional treat because of the high sugar content it carries.