In the southeastern part of America, the season of strawberry is a hotly anticipated time of year – and for good reason!
These amazingly palatable and ripe berries have brought many a fan, human and rabbit alike. Luscious, ripe strawberries are prepared fresh off the vine from the start of April through Mother’s Day. And if you’re like us, you can’t help but want to share the tasty fruit with your pet rabbit.
But no matter how much they adore eating strawberries, is it really harmless for bunnies to do so?
In this post, we’ll talk about the ins and outs of providing strawberries to your pet rabbit. From their nutritional advantage and health benefits to the safest way to feed them to your rabbit, you’ll discover everything you need to know to share nature’s bounty with your furry buddy.
Skip to section
- What are Strawberries?
- Nutrition Facts for Strawberries
- Rabbits and Strawberries
- Yes! Rabbits can Eat Strawberries
- Health Benefits of Strawberries for Rabbits
- Rabbit’s regular diet
- How to Feed Strawberries to Your Rabbits
- How Much Strawberry Should I Feed My Rabbit?
- Types of Strawberries to Feed Your Rabbit
- Why Do Rabbits Like Strawberries?
- Are Strawberries Bad For Rabbits?
- Cons of Strawberries for Rabbits
- Final Thoughts
What are Strawberries?
First, let’s take a closer look at what strawberries are so that we can have a better understanding of their role in rabbits’ diets.
Strawberries are a member of the family Rosaceae (which incorporates apples, pears, plums, almonds, and roses) that are well-known for their bright red color and luscious flavor.
In contrary to their name, strawberries are not really a type of berry. A berry is a type of fruit that does not contain a stone and possesses three distinct layers, with two or more seeds, and also comes from one flower that only carries one ovary.
As a matter of fact, several berries like raspberries and blackberries are mislabeled. There are also fruits that don’t have “berries” in their name, which are the real berries (e.g., grapes and watermelons). Would it surprise you to know that a banana is also a type of berry?
Alternatively, strawberries are aggregate accessory fruits (a lavish term for fruits in which not all their flesh came from the ovary). These fruits are also termed false fruits.
For strawberries, their flesh comes from the repository (what we think of as the “fruit”) that carries the ovaries. And what we know as “seeds” are the actual ovaries that contain the seeds. This is an important note to remember because it means that rabbits can eat strawberry seeds as well!
So, while several parts of fruit like seeds, stems, and leaves are lethal to rabbits (i.e., apples, tomatoes, and apricots), strawberries (and several other aggregate accessory fruits) are not considered toxic. This means that you can satisfy your rabbit with any part of a strawberry plant.
Nutrition Facts for Strawberries
As listed to NutritionalValue.org, strawberries possess the following properties:
And with a calorie structure of 7% protein, 85% carbohydrates, and 8% fat, strawberries are also considered an excellent choice as an occasional treat for pet rabbits.
Strawberries do carry soluble and insoluble fiber. But it doesn’t satisfy rabbits’ needs that can be found in hay and grass.
The majority of strawberries are mostly made up of water. But other nutrients they produce incorporate carbs, sugar, and protein.
For humans, this fruit is also an excellent source of vitamin C. This is great for immunity and skin health, but can rabbits receive the same benefits?
Rabbits actually obtain the bulk of the vitamins they require from leafy greens. So, the health benefits of strawberries don’t really surpass the negatives.
Rabbits and Strawberries
Rabbits are also herbivores. So, they also live off plant-based consumption and eat no meat.
Rabbits require lots of fiber in their diet. So, they should always be provided by either grass or hay. This fibrous food assists them to grind down their ever-growing teeth.
Hay, grass, and leafy greens are the foods that should make up the majority of your rabbit’s diet. Fruity and sugary foods like strawberries should only be provided occasionally as treats.
Yes! Rabbits can Eat Strawberries
Bunnies most definitely can consume strawberries. As they’re thriving on the vine in spring, any neglected plants are likely to be eaten by wild rabbits around the neighborhood.
Although strawberries’ high sugar content suggests that they shouldn’t be the main part of any rabbit’s diet, they’re completely safe to give as an occasional treat.
Strawberries are not deadly for your rabbit. Most rabbits can digest them. The strawberry plants of strawberries are good too. Yet, large amounts or constant feeding of fruits may create serious gastrointestinal or weight difficulties.
But, what exactly is the correct quantity and how frequently are we supposed to serve our bunnies with strawberries? Your concern in your rabbit is to have a long and healthful life. Follow these guides about strawberries and other fruits:
Rabbits can consume no more than two tablespoons of sliced strawberries at a time, around the size of your thumb. One medium-sized strawberry is already enough. We encourage you to consider this quantity as it can create problems for your dear bunny.
He should not consume fruits each day. You don’t want your bunny to be hooked and refuse his normal food. Provide him that little amount of fruit occasionally only, from time to time. Always serve him his treat after he has his hay and veggies.
Treats can accept around 5-10 % of your bunny’s regular diet. But, avoid serving the same type of treats and withdraw feeding only fruits. Try to replace them with root vegetables like carrots or beetroots.
Always remember to add any new foods gradually and in small amounts, particularly fruits. Observe and examine your pet for any strange behavior. If your pet bunny doesn’t exhibit any pain or soft stool, you can proceed with feeding him strawberries.
Regulation is key! Feed your pet rabbit twice a week with a different kind of fruit. Variations work great, too.
It’s advised to give your bunny a variety of fruits or treats. This includes strawberries, apples without the core, blueberries, pitted melon, orange, blackberries, pitted plums, and pineapples. The rule of thumb is to follow the “two tablespoons” rule.
Sweet fruits like bananas should be sliced between 1/2 of an inch and 1 inch before giving it to your pet rabbit, grapes should be 1 to 2 pieces, and dried fruits for 2 to 3 pieces or even in smaller quantities.
Health Benefits of Strawberries for Rabbits
Generally, sweeter foods that are given to your rabbit as a treat have very little to no nutritive value. But not with strawberries!
In addition to having a fair amount of vitamins and minerals, they also have a generous amount of dietary fiber. Thus, they make healthier substitutes for treats that you can serve your rabbit. Their low calcium content also makes them much easier on your pet rabbit’s digestive system!
Like all fruits, they should also be washed thoroughly. If you’re serving the plants to your bunny, don’t skip washing them, too. Purchase organic fruits and vegetables to evade pesticides and other poisonous chemicals, for they cannot be removed with water.
These fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants, although rabbits can create their own vitamin C from their basic diet.
Still, treats have their purpose too. Firstly, it’s an excellent way to verify if your rabbit is feeling ok. If he is reacting well to his favorite treat, he is in great shape. Secondly, it’s a great tool for training your rabbit. Thirdly, because happiness is quintessential! It’s a great way to free themselves from stress.
Just try not to overfeed your pet bunny with strawberries. Replace them with root vegetables like carrots or beetroots from time to time. They are packed with nutrients, therefore perfect for your pet.
Rabbit’s regular diet
Rabbits find it hard to digest foods like dairy, grains (bread, pasta, rice, crackers, and cereal), legumes (beans), and starchy vegetables. You should also avoid giving them yogurt drops for example.
No glutinous texture foods. Chocolates are also toxic to bunnies. In short, nothing high in sugar content.
These foods, because they’re hard to digest, and big amounts of fruits will produce fermentation. Therefore, toxic bacterias will overgrow. By avoiding this, you’ll also avoid diarrhea, bloat, or gastrointestinal stasis, as well as appetite loss, dehydration, and weight loss. If you notice any of these problems with your pet rabbit, contact a vet for the right treatment.
Strawberries are excellent for any commercial treats located in any pet store. But try to keep in mind that your rabbit requires essentially these foods:
- Fresh hay. The large amounts of fiber from hay will keep the food flowing through the gastrointestinal system and support good bacteria to thrive.
- Green leafy vegetables. One at a time! Wash them completely only with fresh water.
- A few pellets! About 10% of your pet rabbit’s serving. They carry all essential nutrients. Remember to view the expiration date.
- Lots of fresh and clean drinking water!
How to Feed Strawberries to Your Rabbits
As long as the strawberries are freshly taken from the vine, you can feed them to your rabbit.
However, because of their insatiable appetite for sweets, your pet bunny will surely suck down a whole strawberry in no time. So, we recommend slicing your strawberries into smaller pieces and serving them to your rabbit over a longer time.
Always be sure to collect organically grown strawberries for serving your rabbit. By avoiding toxic waxes and pesticides, you’ll support your rabbit’s sensitive digestive and immune systems to outlive in peak health.
How Much Strawberry Should I Feed My Rabbit?
For small or dwarf rabbits, a whole strawberry can already be served as a feast. Be sure to slice them up into smaller bits so as not to overload your rabbit’s digestive system. Bigger rabbits, however, can easily consume 2-3 strawberries in one sitting without having any problem.
Just keep in mind that strawberries should only be served as an occasional treat. No matter how adorable they may be while watching them munch a juicy strawberry, they’re still best served as a once- or twice-a-week treat.
Types of Strawberries to Feed Your Rabbit
Always feed your pet rabbit with fresh strawberries – never frozen, cooked, or canned ones. Anything rather than fresh, organic fruit can create serious gastrointestinal discomfort for your rabbit. When available, opt for freshly picked strawberries for their higher vitamin content.
Can Rabbits Eat Strawberry Tops?
So, we already know that rabbits can eat strawberries. But can rabbits eat the top part of the strawberry?
The top part of strawberries carries the little green leaves and stem of the fruit. These are considered safe for your rabbit to eat.
However, you need to make sure to wash them thoroughly before serving them to your bunny. This will stop any pesticides or toxic chemicals from reaching into your rabbit’s stomach!
Can Rabbits Eat Strawberry Plants?
Yes! The leaves and stems of a strawberry plant are also proven safe for your rabbit to consume.
Your rabbit might not find this as appealing as the fruit itself, because it is not that sweet.
But the same rule is implemented as before. You should also wash this before you give it to your rabbit, especially if you diffuse any pest repellents onto your plants.
Can Rabbits Eat Dried Strawberries?
A hot trend lately is to dry fruit as a nice snack.
The method of drying fruit can break down and dissolve vitamins found in fresh fruit. But, it does enhance its fiber content.
Drying fruit does not eliminate any sugar, it just fixes it in a smaller package. Plus, sometimes preservatives are combined to stop the fruit from turning brown.
It is best to adhere to fresh strawberries if you want to provide your rabbit a treat, as they will still receive the vitamins this fruit offers. They will receive all the fiber they require from hay and grass.
If you do provide your rabbit dried strawberries, only supply them a minuscule amount. The sugar is already concentrated into smaller pieces of strawberries, so it’s very easy to just give your pet rabbit too much and make them sick afterward.
Why Do Rabbits Like Strawberries?
So, we can now grasp the idea that bunnies can eat strawberries safely as a treat. But, why do rabbits like strawberries so much in the first place?
Most fruits, such as strawberries, are very sweet and obviously sugary, so rabbits will surely love them.
Rabbits are picky eaters!
This suggests that they will always prefer the tastiest bits of food, rather than just consuming everything. So, if you provide your pet rabbit the choice between a luscious treat, like a strawberry, and a dandelion leaf, he will surely go for the strawberry. This can be problematic when given in larger amounts.
Are Strawberries Bad For Rabbits?
Bunnies can consume strawberries as a treat. But this fruit carries a lot of sugar, so it should not be given as a regular part of your rabbit’s diet.
Excess sugar can make them obese which can also damage your pets’ teeth.
Rabbits require fibrous food like hay and grass to build up the bulk of their diet. Hay will file down your rabbit’s teeth, and help to stop abscesses.
So, strawberries are only bad for rabbits if they consume too many of them! Providing strawberries as an occasional treat will be delightful for your bunny.
You should never let your pet rabbit eat unwashed strawberries, even as a treat.
The pesticides applied to protect these plants can be really harmful to your pets if ingested.
Make sure that you correctly prepare strawberries before serving them to your rabbit, by washing them thoroughly and slicing them into smaller pieces.
Cons of Strawberries for Rabbits
While strawberries are not toxic and are generally considered safe for rabbits, they still come with some cons when feeding them to your pet rabbit.
The major con of strawberries is their high sugar attribute.
Rabbits possess a very specific diet. This is due to their peristalsis (which is a continuous stomach movement that supports rabbits to digest their food).
Due to this, rabbits require a diet that is remarkably high in fiber and very low in sugar. And although some humans find strawberries to be very sweet, rabbits find them even further so.
By rabbit standards, most fruits are very sweet desserts!
Since their digestive system does not work properly for lots of sugar, large amounts of it can produce bloating, gas, diarrhea, and stomach pain in several rabbits. Also, too much sugar can lead to health difficulties like heart disease, diabetes, and tooth decay.
You should always feed strawberries to your pet rabbit in moderation as an occasional treat or a tool for training.
An average serving of strawberries (depending on your rabbit’s size) is one medium strawberry given no more than twice a week.
It’s also essential not to feed your rabbit strawberries regularly, not only to restrict sugar but because several rabbits will frequently reject to eat their hay if given strawberries daily. Apparently, strawberries are quite addictive to rabbits!
Instead, consider strawberries as their version of ice cream. Would you eat your veggies every day if you were served chocolate ice cream? Of course not!
Try to always provide your rabbit after they have consumed their hay first.
Strawberries should also be washed thoroughly to help eliminate any chemicals or pesticides that may be harmful to your pet rabbit and slice it up into chunks to prevent choking.
You should also never feed your pet rabbits dried strawberries due to their higher sugar content that is three times more than fresh fruit!
Also, it is well apprehended that rabbits possess sensitive stomachs, so it is always a good idea to slowly add any new food to your pet rabbit. And, just like humans, some rabbits can also be allergic to strawberries.
Some signs to watch out for are loose stool, diarrhea, bloating, dehydration, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you think that your rabbit is having an allergic reaction to strawberries, run to the nearest veterinarian to have them checked immediately!
Strawberries are considered to be one of the most beneficial occasional treats that you can provide to your pet rabbit. This is due to their moderate sugar and fiber content. So, when you’re in the mode of treating your rabbit to something special, strawberries are a great choice.