Although the popularity of keeping rabbits has been steadily increasing over the last few years, the increase in the number of questions that we see each month has drastically increased at a rate far quicker than the growth of the number of people who actually own rabbits. We always love to see this as it shows that more and more rabbit owners are reaching out for guidance on how they are able to offer the absolute best possible care of their pets and we are always happy to answer the questions that we see people asking.
When it comes to rabbits, the most common type of questions that we see asked is always based around the topic of “What do rabbits eat?”. One of the more specific questions that we have noticed asked more and more about the types of food you should be offering to your bunnies is based around if rabbits can eat apples or not. We have seen a huge increase in the number reaching out abut using apples as food treats for rabbits due to a popular YouTuber mentioning how they use apples with their rabbits a few weeks back. Due to this, we have decided to make this the subject of this article to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Provided that you make sure you only use apples as an occasional treat in addition to a high-quality primary rabbit food, pet rabbits will usually do well to have red, yellow, and green apples added to their diet once or maybe twice per week as a treat to supplement their vitamin and mineral needs. We are now going to be taking a more in-depth look at the benefits of adding apples to your rabbit’s diet and how they are able to offer some surprising health benefits that may people often overlook.
Vitamin And Mineral Content Of Apples
As the vast majority of people can probably guess, the number one benefit if you feed your rabbit any fresh vegetables or fruits is that they tend to be jam-packed with vitamins and minerals. Apples are no different and they can act as a solid way to add some often lacking essential nutrients into your pets diet. With so many rabbits eating hay or other low nutrient foods as a primary food source, its not surprising that so many rabbit owners choose to add a multivitamin for rabbits to their pets meals.
As we touched on earlier, you should only use rabbits as an occasional treat due to the high amounts of sugar in them so you are unable to use them as a regular way to top up your rabbit’s nutritional profile on a daily basis. That said though red, yellow, and green apples all come with a great break down of vitamins while also packing some decent mineral content too offering some solid health benefits to your rabbit. Although the exact nutritional information will depend on the type of apple that you get, the average apple contains the following vitamins in high amounts:-
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Pantothenic Acid
On top of this, the average apple also contains the following minerals too:-
On to of this, the average apple is around three percent fiber too and although this does not sound like much, trying to ensure that your pet rabbit gets enough fiber, especially in its older ages is essential. Although constipation is pretty common in rabbits, it is not too serious but the less common impaction can lead to some serious health issues and potentially be fatal. Although ensuring that your rabbit is getting plenty of fiber will not guarantee that your pet will not end up getting impaction, it can reduce the risk.
This is much less common in a younger rabbit but the importance of fiber exponentially increases as your rabbit gets to its later years and the risk of impaction becomes greater and greater. This is why so many rabbit owners with senior rabbits will put them on a primary food source that is high in fiber. Anyway, out of all of the suitable fruit and veg for rabbits, apples are definitely on the higher end when it comes to fiber offering them another advantage.
As you are probably aware if you eat apples yourself, the taste can vary wildly depending on the type of apple that you get and this is no different for your rabbits. The vast majority of rabbits will eat green apples without issue where as some may not eat red or yellow apples at all while others may pick at the red or yellow variants. If you are trying to get your rabbit to eat apple for the first time then try green apples initially and only use small amounts due to the sugar content.
How Much Apple Should You Give Your Rabbit
We will only offer advice on the serving size for an adult rabbit but the usual recommendation is to dice the apple up into small amounts, slices that are usually quarter of an inches thick are usually optimal and then put the apple onto a tablespoon. Each adult rabbit that you own should then be give roughly the amount of apple that you managed to fit onto the tablespoon once or twice per week. Although rabbits can eat apples, you should be sure not to over do it due to the high sugar spike and if you are planning to add apples into their diet then you should try to keep at least two days between servings.
If you are brand new to owning your pet then you may want to hand-feed your rabbit the apple slices to help speed up the bonding process. Many rabbit owners will simply add the apple to their pet’s hay feed along with any other veggies or fruit and then leave for work or go about their daily business. Your bunny is then free to pick at the foods as it pleases and get a healthy snack along the way from the apple.
How To Prepare Apples For Your Rabbit
The main thing to remember is that you make sure you remove the seeds as they can potentially be harmful to your pets due to the toxins contained in them. Ideally, you want to be slicing the apples prior to serving them to your rabbit as explained above but if you are putting whole apples in for your rabbits to snack on then it is essential that you try to remove the cork as well as all of the seeds too. This is usually done during the slicing process though and can sometimes make everything easier anyway.
Due to so many products being sprayed in chemicals during the farming phase to protect against insects eating the crop, most people should wash the apple under cold water for at least 30 seconds too. Although the pesticides are tests for humans, rabbits have a much more delicate digestive system so taking the extra time to ensure that there is no pesticides on the apples before you feed your rabbit is ideal.
Once washed, we usually recommend that you then chop the apple up into slices that are around a quarter of an inch thick. This allows you to make sure that your pet rabbits will easily be able to eat the apple without it presenting a potential choking hazard to them too. Although it is usually recommended that you gradually introduce new foods to your rabbits diet, apples are usually fine due to their delicious taste and the fact that the vast majority of rabbits love green apples with many of them also choosing to eat apples of other colors too although green tends to be most popular.
Can Rabbits Eat Apples With Skin
We have seen a number of people say that they will remove the skin of the apple prior to feeding it to their rabbits. Although there is a solid reason behind this due to the skin of the apple being harder to digest for a rabbit, the skin is also where most of the fiber is so we usually recommend that you just use the slicing method that we covered above. That way the skin can stay on and you can make sure that it is in small enough chunks that your rabbit should be able to digest it without issue.
Alternatives To Apples For Your Rabbit
As we touched on, although rabbits can eat apples, their high sugar content usually means that you should try them with other new foods too. Keeping all of the treat options in moderations allows you to cycle through multiple types throughout the week and keep your pet rabbits diet interesting and exciting. Some other great fruit and veg options that you are able to offer to your pet rabbit include:-
- Beetroot greens
- Dark Green cabbage
- Carrot tops and roots
- Cauliflower and leaves
- Curly Kale
- Salad greens and lettuce
This should be plenty of options for you to be able to mix it up each time and ensure that you are able to help ensure that you rabbit is eating plenty of vitamins and minerals. All of those options can usually be added to your rabbit’s regular feed as a treat option too but make sure that you rotate them and check if they should only be used in moderation prior to using them.
That brings our article answering the question can rabbits eat apples to an end. Rabbits can eat apples and they can make a great addition to your pets diet but keep in mind that they are very high in sugar so should be used sparingly and although your rabbit will eat apple, they will probably prefer a green one over any other color. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you prepare apples for your rabbit and add them to their diet to help get more essential nutrients into your pet.