Rabbits are some of the cutest companions that we can have, but looking after them can be demanding at times, especially because of their sensitive stomach and digestive system, which makes figuring out what to feed them particularly troublesome.
Whilst their diet is known to consist of hay, fruit, vegetables, pellets, and freshwater, it’s always important to check whether what you’re planning on feeding your rabbit is suitable for them.
So, with rabbits having a bit of a reputation for their sweet tooths, then naturally you’ll begin looking to incorporate some fruit into their diet!
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Cherries are a natural form of sugar, so if you’re thinking about adding cherries to your rabbit’s diet, then read on and discover whether they’re suitable for your rabbit!
Can A Rabbit Eat Cherries?
Short answer? Yes, they can!
Rabbits really do have a love for sugary food, and if they begin eating cherries, there’s a strong chance that they’ll go a little wild and begin feasting on them.
However, as with most foods that rabbits eat that aren’t hay, too much of them can cause the rabbit stomach issues.
Another issue is that there are so many types of cherries available, and some of them have more sugar in them than others, with their flavor differing between sweet and sour.
As a result of this, it’s important to understand which cherries are the best choice if you’re planning on feeding them to your rabbit.
Nutritional Information Of Cherries
Fresh cherries are notable for being rich in vitamins and minerals, featuring vitamins such as vitamin C, A, B6, as well as vitamin K! Another great thing about cherries is that they also contain water and dietary fiber, which is great for the digestive system of your rabbit.
Whereas vitamin C is great for helping the blood system of the rabbit, as well as developing its muscles, rabbits manufacture Vitamin C themselves and do not need to get it from the food they eat. In fact, too much Vitamin C can cause kidney damage..
Other things that cherries contain include anthocyanins and cyanidin, both of which are great antioxidants. As well as being antioxidants, they’re also anti-inflammatory, which will help your rabbit by preventing any cell damage.
In addition to this, the polyphenol content that is within cherries is also beneficial and helps to reduce your rabbit’s blood pressure.
Another benefit of cherries is the large amounts of melatonin that they contain, which is excellent for helping to relax your rabbit and therefore improving its sleep cycle.
The downside to cherries is the high sugar content, which unfortunately outnumbers the overwhelming amount of benefits that the cherry has to offer.
In addition to this sugar content, cherries are also known for having a particularly high amount of phosphorus in them, which is another reason why you need to moderate the amount of cherries that your rabbit eats.
How Many Cherries Can A Rabbit Eat?
Cherries should only be used to help supplement your rabbit’s diet, and giving your rabbit cherries on a daily basis, or in large quantities, can have a detrimental effect on your rabbit’s health.
As a result of this, you’re best off limiting the number of cherries that your rabbit can eat to one cherry per serving, and limiting the intake of cherries to twice a week.
Similar to introducing any new food to your rabbit, you should introduce them very slowly.
The best way to do this is to feed your rabbit a small portion of a cherry, perhaps no more than half a cherry at first, ensuring that you remove the stem and the stone before giving it to your rabbit.
You should then observe your rabbit to ensure that they’re passing their stools correctly and that they’re not suffering from any gastrointestinal distress. If they do, then you should cease feeding them any cherries immediately.
You should keep your rabbit’s cherry intake to a minimum, and should lessen their consumption of other fruit during this time too!
Remember, cherries and other fruits are a supplement to a rabbit’s usual diet, so you need to make sure that your rabbit is still eating the rest of its food too.
Finally, a good idea is to introduce your rabbit to cherries once they’re fully adults, so from about 7 months onwards. This goes for other fruits too.
What Happens If A Rabbit Eats Too Many Cherries?
If your rabbit eats too many cherries, it can give them gastrointestinal stasis, which is a condition that can cause a lot of trouble to your rabbit’s digestive system.
This involves harmful bacteria building up in your rabbit’s cecum, which in turn makes them ill. Some of the symptoms of this include loss of appetite, constipation, and diarrheas. In some serious cases, this can even be fatal for your rabbit.
Preparing Cherries For Your Rabbit
If you’re going to feed your rabbit cherries, then you need to ensure that you wash the cherries well to remove any pesticides that may be present, as well as remove all stems and stalk, this is because these parts of the cherry actually contain cyanide, which in turn can cause anoxia in rabbits, and is ultimately fatal.
What Types Of Cherries Can I Feed My Rabbit?
The best types of cherry to feed your rabbit are fresh organic cherries, whilst different varieties cherries may have different flavors, that’s down to your rabbit’s preference.
But you certainly shouldn’t feed your rabbit dried cherries or canned cherries, which can be harmful to their digestive systems.
The Verdict: Cherries And Rabbits
Cherries for rabbits can be a great way of supplementing their already balanced diet, but it’s incredibly important to ensure that they are only receiving small portions and that they are able to digest the cherries well.
Remember, if your rabbit begins to show any signs of gastrointestinal distress then you should stop feeding your rabbit cherries immediately, and if you discover your rabbit has eaten a part of the cherry that it shouldn’t have, then you should contact your vet as soon as possible.