Can Rabbits Eat Strawberries?
See files for Rabbits
Strawberries are a beautiful spring fruit which are valued for their naturally sweet taste, as well much as their nutritional value. We humans use them in various dishes and recipes, but can equally enjoy them on their own. Thanks to different growing techniques, strawberries can often be found all year round. Such deliciousness and availability for us, doesn't necessarily mean our rabbits can enjoy the same benefits.
AnimalWised asks can rabbits eat strawberries? By looking at the composition and nutritional benefits of strawberries to see if they apply to our bunnies.
Are strawberries good for rabbits?
Rabbits are herbivorous animals. This means their nutrition derives from plant-based foods. For rabbits, their diet must be based on three fundamental elements:
- Hay (80%)
- Rabbit feed (pellets) (5%)
- Fresh food (15%)
The fresh food portion of a rabbit's diet should mainly consist of leafy greens and other vegetables. Occasionally, a small amount of fruit may be offered to help supplement and vary their feeding.
Strawberries are on the list of foods suitable for bunnies. They do not contain any compound that is toxic to their organism. As with all fruits, they should be only offered in very limited quantities for two reasons:
- Sugar: the high content of easily digestible sugars in strawberries can cause the proliferation of harmful bacteria in their intestinal tract or the abnormal accumulation of gas in the digestive system (tympanism). It can also lead to problems such as obesity in rabbits.
- Dietary habits: most rabbits tend to show great interest in this fruit, due to its sweet taste and juicy texture. If we feed rabbits too much fruit, it is likely they will begin to reject dry food (hay and pellets). This means they won't get the correct nutrition.
Although rabbits can benefit from the nutritional value and flavor of strawberries, it is important to offer them in moderation to avoid any detrimental effects on their health. In the following sections we will detail in what quantity this fruit should be given to rabbits.
Benefits of strawberries for rabbits
Now we know bunnies can eat strawberries, we should consider the nutritional value of the fruit and how this can benefit your rabbit. As long as they are offered in moderation, strawberries are beneficial to rabbits for the following reasons:
- Low-calorie fruits: including strawberries in the diet of rabbits does not lead to a notable increase in the energy value of their daily food consumption. This is a great advantage for maintaining stable body condition in these animals. Learn more with our article on what to feed an overweight rabbit.
- Good source of fiber: dietary fiber is a fundamental nutrient in the diet of rabbits. In addition to regulating intestinal transit and energy intake, it maintains intestinal health by preventing the appearance of pathologies such as mucoid enteritis.
- Rich in vitamin C: the vitamin C content of strawberries is even higher than that of oranges.
- Contain minerals: minerals found in strawberries for rabbits include iron, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
- Contain flavonoids (anthocyanins): these compounds act as powerful antioxidants, helping to delay cell aging.
- Taste: strawberries are usually an exquisite delicacy that few rabbits reject. For this reason, is one of the fruits you can use as a reward to train your rabbit. Receiving this reward can be a great incentive for learning new tricks, commands or even how to use a litter box in some cases.
How to give strawberries to rabbits
Although rabbits can eat strawberries, we need to prepare them for consumption. Strawberries we buy in the store have often been treated with chemicals or have been contaminated during transportation. For this reason, we need to wash them thoroughly. We should also dry them. If we don't and the rabbit doesn't eat them right away, it promotes their spoilage and promotes bacteria.
Although we humans should remove the stalk and leaves of strawberries, these parts are actually very beneficial to your bunny. Once washed, you should slice the strawberries into centimeter cubes with the leaves still attached. This way, they can enjoy the strawberry as a treat, but also have the nutritional benefit of the green leaves. This will also help counteract the high level of sugars in the strawberry.
It is also worth mentioning that strawberries should only be given to rabbits fresh. Dehydrated strawberries, strawberry jams or similar fruit compotes all have a very high sugar content. It is also not advised they be given too cold, i.e. frozen or straight from the refrigerator. The rabbit will enjoy the fresh strawberries more if they are at room temperature.
Dosage of strawberries for rabbits
Fruit should not be a part of a rabbit's daily diet, nor should they be provided in large quantities. Their high sugar content can have very negative consequences on their health. Check out our related article to learn more about common diseases in rabbits.
We recommend that you only incorporate strawberries into your rabbit's diet in moderation. The healthy way to do this is to provide this fruit only as a sporadic reward. As a guideline, you can provide one or two strawberries a week in total. This amount may vary depending on the breed and size of the animal. We also need to ensure we consider other fruit we may be giving them as they will also affect the amount of sugar they ingest.
Giving strawberries to rabbits is great, as long as it is part of a nutritionally-balanced diet. You can learn more by reading our related article on how much food a rabbit can eat, as well as watch the video below on what plants are good for rabbits:
If you want to read similar articles to Can Rabbits Eat Strawberries?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA). Strawberry . Available at: https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/ministerio/servicios/informacion/Fresa_tcm30-102645.pdf