We all love to spoil our rabbits every now and again, making sure that our fluffy and furry little family members get to enjoy a sweet treat just the same way that we do. At the same time, you never want to give any potentially poisonous foods for rabbits to your pets. The last thing you want to do is be responsible for introducing even just small amounts of potential toxins into their regular diet. Which brings us to blueberries.
A lot of people want to know if blueberries are safe to feed their rabbits, if it’s going to have an adverse effect on their digestive system, and if they add any potential health benefits to the mix. We dig deeper into all of that (and then some) in the rest of this quick guide. By the time you’re done with the inside info below you’ll know exactly whether or not it’s safe to feed blueberries to your rabbit or not. Let’s get right to it!
Vitamin And Mineral Content For Blueberries
Can rabbits eat blueberries safely? You bet they can! It should come as no surprise to anyone that rabbits absolutely LOVE eating blueberries whenever they get a chance to, especially in the wild. Sure, these furry little animals are usually going to opt for the leaves and stems of a blueberry bush rather than go right for the fruit itself. But every now and again they will sneak a bite of these delicious little berries as a treat themselves – and domesticated rabbits love them even more!
The good news is that blueberries aren’t ever going to wreak havoc on the health and wellness of your rabbit as long as you are smart about how often you feed them. Absolutely swimming in all kinds of health boosting elements, blueberries not only have a lot of vitamins and minerals that your rabbit is going to appreciate but they also have a lot of antioxidants, a decent amount of fiber, and even a significant amount of protein that’s going to round out this little treat nicely.
Of course, blueberries are also pretty high in sugar that you don’t necessarily want your rabbit to ingest too much of as part of their daily diet. But as long as you really stay on top of the amount of blueberries you give your rabbit you shouldn’t have anything to worry about in this department. As far as the nutritional breakdown of blueberries go, you’ll be pleased to learn that they are. Pretty much 84% water, helping to keep your rabbit hydrated on a day-to-day basis.
Loaded with vitamin A, an essential vitamin when it comes to health of the skin and the vision your rabbit – as well as the optimum function of their kidneys, lungs, and cardiovascular system. Filled with vitamin K, the vitamin that promotes improved circulation and dramatically lowers the overall risk of your rabbit developing blood clots later down the line.
Plenty of folic acid, boosting the production of red blood cells throughout your rabbit’s body that will only improve their overall immune support while preventing anemia at the same time. A whole host of essential minerals like potassium and magnesium, vitamins that they might not have been getting enough of through their traditional daily diet…As well as phosphorus, manganese, and other potent antioxidants.
Calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium are also found in blueberries, really making these a superfood that you’ll want to add sporadically to their diet just the same way that they are for human beings!
How Many Blueberries Should Your Give Rabbits?
Now that we have covered the important details regarding whether or not it is safe to feed your rabbit blueberries as part of their diet every now and again (it is) it’s time to dig a little deeper into how much you should be giving them on a regular basis. Obviously, every single rabbit is going to be able to handle different amounts of blueberries on a regular basis at different levels – but for ballpark figures, you should strive to only give handful of these berries to your rabbit on a semi-daily basis.
Baby rabbits should be getting absolutely no blueberries whatsoever (juveniles shouldn’t be getting any, either), but by the time your rabbit hits adulthood you can sneak them one to two larger blueberries a couple of times a week – but no more than that. As we made mention of earlier, blueberries are only safe in small amounts because of the skyhigh sugar level that they have. All of the beneficial vitamins and nutrients we broke down a bit earlier – and all of the health benefits your rabbit will enjoy – are wiped out completely with blueberries when they are overwhelmed with the amount of sugar these berries include.
How To Prepare Blueberries For Rabbits
It’s important that you think about how to feed your rabbit blueberries, too, before you just start dumping them into their food dish or having them eat them out of your hands. Smaller size rabbits should only ever be given smaller sized blueberries (the tiny ones you usually add to muffins, for example) whereas larger rabbits can handle bigger blueberries – though you’ll want to scale back the amount of berries that you feed them. A lot of folks like to buy frozen blueberries so that they have a fresh supply on hand throughout the year, and there’s nothing wrong with giving your rabbit these blueberries as long as you give them a little bit of time to defrost.
You don’t want to toss these hard, frozen blueberries to your rabbit and potentially run the risk of them ruining their teeth. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have these berries completely thawed out (though it doesn’t take very long to do so, especially if you drop them into a couple of room temperature water 10 or 20 minutes before you give them to your rabbit) but you should never give blueberries to your rabbit when they are still completely frozen.
At the end of the day you’ll want to think about what do rabbits eat out in the wild, what does your rabbit’s daily diet look like on a day-to-day basis (and what size food do they normally eat) and then make sure that any blueberries you feed them are appropriately sized, too.
Alternatives to Blueberries for Rabbits
There are a couple of pretty cool alternatives out there if you don’t have blueberries on hand to feed your rabbit, giving them a sweet treat all the same without overloading them with sugar and without feeding them anything potentially toxic along the way, either. Watermelon, banana, figs, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all okay for your furry little family member to enjoy on a regular basis.
On the flip side of things, you want to make sure that you stay as far away as possible from yogurt drops (which can be deadly poisonous to rabbits), anything with skyhigh levels of carbs – breads, pastas, cookies, and crackers – as well as avocado, cereal, lettuce, hamster foods a walnuts, chocolate, peanut butter, and any kind of meat. Steer clear of those foods in your bunny’s daily diet and you won’t have anything to worry about when it comes to the overall health and wellness of your rabbit when you are sneaking them a treat every now and again.
Hopefully now you won’t have to be nervous anytime someone asks you “can rabbits eat blueberries?”. Instead you’ll be able to confidently tell them that rabbits eat blueberries all the time – and about how much your rabbit loves them! Before we wrap up, it’s also a good idea to know that you don’t necessarily have to peel the skin of your blueberries for your rabbits to safely eat them, and you don’t have to try and remove any seeds, any stems, or any leaves, either.
In fact, according to studies conducted by both the University of Minnesota as well as the Cornell University of Agriculture and Life Sciences it might not be a bad idea to leave any blueberry seeds, stems, or leaves directly on the berries that you are feeding your rabbit. As we highlighted a bit earlier, rabbits absolutely love to chew on these leaves and stems when they are out in the wild – especially in the wintertime – and you can’t go wrong letting your domesticated rabbit get a taste of the wild, either.
Just don’t be surprised if you discover that your rabbit ends up liking these leaves and stems a little bit more than they enjoy the blueberries. The good news here, though, is that you could give them leaves and stems more frequently than you can give your rabbit blueberries – working those leafy components into their daily diet without a lot of risk to illness or digestive problems – if you have a steady supply (like a blueberry bush in your backyard or a blueberry farm close by).
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong or getting too much trouble sneaking your rabbit a couple of blueberries sporadically throughout the week. You definitely don’t want to go overboard (rabbits have notoriously sensitive digestive systems that can get in trouble pretty quickly), but one or two times a week with one or two decent sized blueberries isn’t going to get you into any trouble. More than that, your rabbit will probably love the shakeup to their daily nutritional routine and come to look forward to the sweet little snacks every time you decide to share them!