Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits require much more than a commercial diet to be nutritionally balanced. Rabbits thrive on a variety of vegetables and quality hay, and while fruit seems like it would be inherently healthy for an herbivorous animal that isn’t always the case. Bursting with vitamin C and antioxidants, are strawberries okay to feed to your bunny?
Rabbits and Strawberries
There isn’t anything toxic in strawberries that will make a rabbit sick. The biggest danger is the high amounts of sugar found in the fruit. Rabbits need a high-fiber, low-sugar diet to thrive. The majority of their diet needs to be comprised of quality grass hay and fresh vegetables.
Too much sugar leads to obesity and digestive problems. Even if your rabbit doesn’t suffer physically from excessive sugar, frequent fruit consumption could turn them off of their hay and vegetables because they’ve grown accustomed to the sweetness of the fruit. Fruit is best saved as a rare treat or to use for training purposes.
Why Strawberries Are Not Good for Rabbits (unless in moderation)
Rabbits’ digestive systems aren’t designed to process sugar and starches. Undigested sugar reaches the end of the digestive tract (caecum) where it’s broken down by the gut’s bad bacteria. The breakdown causes bloating, gas, and diarrhea, all of which are very uncomfortable for your rabbit.
Safely Feeding Strawberries to Rabbits
If you decide to throw some strawberries into their daily fruit serving, cut the berries up into manageable, size-appropriate pieces. Large pieces of fruit probably won’t be an issue for bigger rabbits, but smaller breeds should have smaller pieces of fruit to prevent creating a choking hazard. Also, don’t ever give bunnies dried strawberries because they’re actually worse for them than fresh fruit. Remember fruit should make up less than 10 percent of a rabbit’s daily nutrition. This equates to one or two tablespoons of fruit every day. Any more than that is considered excessive and unnecessary.
Rabbits are healthiest when they’re eating hay and vegetables or a balanced hay-based pellet. Fruit isn’t a necessary part of a rabbit’s diet, and even wild rabbits rarely eat fruit, preferring to stick to more “savory” foods. If you’re ever concerned about your rabbit’s diet, always consult with their vet before you add or take anything away.