Are you looking for a small, fluffy pet that is easy to care for? A perfect companion for young children and adults, a pet rabbit is adorable and requires relatively low maintenance. If you are a bunny or pet parent, you would know that having any type of animal friend come with responsibilities. You need to consider their living space, play and activity requirements, and most of all, their diet. Rabbits are social creatures and need a partner to remain happy. They also don’t need very large areas but a space fit for roaming around and exercise.
For their meals, remember that rabbits are herbivores, in human terms, they’re vegetarian! They do not eat any animal product and human treats like chocolate should be avoided at all costs. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot tolerate large amounts of carrots as part of their everyday meals because of its high fat and sugar content. Their daily diet usually consists of leafy green vegetables and hay.
If you’ve ever had one, you must wonder if they can eat fruit as well. Have you ever eaten oranges with your bunnies snuggling towards you with their doe eyes wanting some of that citrus goodness you’re munching on? It looks like they want a piece of that fruit! This brings us to the question, can rabbits eat oranges? It’s a fruit and it’s rich in vitamin C, right? In that case, can rabbits eat oranges without harming their digestive system?
Good news my friends! Oranges are safe for our cuddly pet rabbit to eat BUT only in small quantities as treats. Like any living and breathing being, rabbits can also get tired of repetitive food choices. Instead of feeding them with the same vegetables every day, provide varied but healthy foods for them to have once or twice a week. Oranges have quite a high amount of sugar and that’s why you might notice your rabbits getting wide-eyed and excited when they start smelling the juicy goodness of the fruit.
Today, oranges are one of the most famous fruit enjoyed fresh or juiced. They are nutritious, tasty, and have many health benefits. Here we breakdown what your rabbits can gain if you include oranges in their diet, we will also help you determine how much you should give your pets, and just as important, we also talk about how to prepare oranges for your rabbits to enjoy!
Vitamin and Mineral Content Of An Orange
Let’s round up the vitamins and minerals both you and your rabbits can get from eating oranges! It’s always better to know what food you’re giving your cherished companions. If you want your bunnies to live long and healthy, you have to be extra careful about what food they’re eating. Make sure you are providing a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to ensure your rabbits are healthy and strong. Here we give you a short orange nutrition 101!
Whenever we think of citrus fruits we always think that they contain large amounts of vitamin c! This also holds true for oranges! This vitamin is extremely important for immune health and hustles to keep the heart and other systems working properly. Rabbits do not particularly need a large amount of this vitamin because they are able to produce it themselves. However, when oranges are given to them in proper amounts and in moderation, the nutritional profile of the fruit itself is highly beneficial for your bunnies.
Not necessarily a vitamin or a mineral, fiber holds a vital role for the proper absorption of these nutrients in the body. It is essential for good digestion and lowering bad cholesterol. Whenever the question, “can rabbits eat oranges?” pops up, aside from saying yes, you should also mention that our bunnies will benefit greatly from the whole fruit because the pulp and peel alike are high in fiber! Even if oranges are given occasionally in small amounts, when rabbits eat oranges, they will still get all the sweet and health perks which is always a win-win!
This mineral is needed to maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body. A prolonged deficiency of this mineral is fatal for rabbits, it can cause a wasting away of their muscles and kidney disease. Make sure your rabbits eat food that contains a sufficient amount of potassium to meet their daily requirements to avoid heart disease and keep their muscles strong.
Also called, vitamin B1, thiamine makes sure that carbohydrates from food are metabolized properly so it can be used by the body as energy. It works to guarantee that the body’s systems, especially the cardiovascular and nervous systems are in good form. When rabbits don’t get enough thiamine in their system, they can experience severe side effects like ataxia, paralysis, and may eventually lead to death.
Vitamin B9 or folate, is key in cellular health, particularly in the formation of red and white blood cells. They work with other vitamins and minerals to ensure that carbohydrates can be used as energy sources for the body. Juice from citrus fruit are especially good sources of this vitamin. It is necessary for ensuring that body tissues are supplied properly with oxygen through red blood cells.
When you say fruit and vegetables, you know these are supercharged with nutrition. But aside from vitamins and minerals, oranges also contain antioxidants like carotenoids and phenolics that are great for improving health and well-being. It is nutritious down to its peel which has anti-inflammatory properties as well. So if you ask “can rabbits eat oranges?” You better rethink the question and ask why you’d deprive your lovable bunnies of all the health benefits they can get if you give them oranges as a treat!
How Much Orange Should You Feed Your Rabbit
Rarely is there someone who does not like sweets. Oranges come naturally with a sweet and tangy flavor that rabbits love. But wait! Don’t start peeling those oranges yet! Our bunnies cannot tolerate oranges as part of their daily diet. You can give it as a weekly treat just make sure you are minding the proportions so you only feed them in small quantities. Oranges are acidic and rabbits cannot handle large amounts of acidic food. Another consideration is the sugar content of the fruit. Once they get addicted to sweets, they may not be able to go back to eating their greens and hay.
An average-sized orange is around 100 to 120 grams. A good gauge is giving your rabbit a little less than 1/4 of the fruit. They may get overly enthusiastic so make sure to give them just small amounts at a time. Add this to your bunnies’ weekly regimen for variety and environmental enrichment. Try using it as motivation during training. You may find them learning faster because they have something to look forward to. Aside from enjoying their treats, they will also benefit from the high fiber content that is good for preventing furballs from forming in their digestive tract.
Preparing Oranges For Rabbits
As an occasional snack, you can prepare your bunny treats by peeling them properly and making sure that there are no seeds left in the fresh fruit. This applies to any fruit with a large enough seed size like apples. You wouldn’t want the rabbits to choke or have any respiratory problems if you forget to remove them. If you want to give them pick-me-uppers during hot summer days, you can use the pulp for juicing and then cool it. Add a few drops of juice in their bowl of cold water for a refreshing drink!
Can A Rabbit Eat Orange Peel
The subject of giving the peel of oranges for rabbits to eat is debatable. Some veterinarians and bunny parents are very much against it because of the insecticides used when growing oranges. They claim that one can never be too sure that all the chemicals are washed off properly. It then becomes too risky to give them the peels to eat as snacks.
Others contend that proper handling of the peels can remove any trace of pesticides left. Oranges are rich in fiber but their peels contain more than 4x more fiber than the pulp! It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that provide wholistic wellness for your pets.
Because of the high nutritional value found in orange peels, many owners find that it would be a waste for their rabbits not to eat it as well. In this case, using a fruit and vegetable cleansing solution is recommended to ensure removal of harmful chemicals in the peel. You can also buy organic oranges and fruits so you can be sure that they are chemical-free. You’ll also be helping your neighborhood farmers by doing so!
Alternatives to Oranges For Rabbits
For a healthy diet, rabbits eat hay as their main food source. The hay’s texture also keeps tooth growth in check. In addition to that, Timothy hay pellets are given daily in small quantities. Below, we list down the rabbits’ favorite food including treats that you can add sparingly to their customary dietary regimen. Maybe add these to your bunny grocery list to give your pets varied food choices.
- Leafy vegetables – Rabbits L-O-V-E greens like cabbage and lettuce. You can feed this to them daily and they will not get tired of it. They are nutritious, healthy, and your bunnies won’t get tired of having them every day.
- Bell pepper – your rabbits can also eat these every day. They like nibbling on the crispness of fresh bell peppers. Of course, it would be preferable to give them different vegetables so they won’t get bored with the menu.
- Cucumber – crunchy cucumbers are a treat for bunnies. During warmer months, you can give it to them chilled and it will serve as an energizing snack! Cucumbers also have high water content so your rabbits stay hydrated for longer.
- Broccoli – these happen to be one of their favorite food. Rabbits can eat this every day but it’s not recommended. Broccolli and other flower vegetables are high in starch and sugar so they must only also be given 1-2x a week.
- Celery – just like broccoli, celery must only be given at most twice in a week and at 1 tablespoon per 2 pounds of body weight per day only.
- Other fruits – if rabbits can indulge, they will eat fruits all day every day. Their favorites are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, and oranges. But as with their citrus favorite, they can only be given 1-2x per week an in proper portions.
Oranges are a nutritional food source, its fiber content alone is a helpful aid to digestion and bowel movement. There is no denying the benefits that your pet rabbits get when they eat oranges. In spite of that, bunnies have unique digestive patterns that are sensitive to large amounts of sugar. It is best to remember that your rabbits can live longer lives if you pay close attention to what you give them to eat. It is most important to provide them food that will sustain their health needs. Treats can be given in moderation and the responsibility always falls on the bunny parent.
But yes, rabbits can most definitely eat oranges. Give them something to look forward to once or twice per week. You can even use them as motivation when training them. While it has nutritional merits, other vegetables will be able to provide them their daily requirements. This is why oranges are not part of a rabbit’s daily meals. They are treats that should be given sparingly. Fruits are the best choice to give them for treats because chocolates and soft candies are toxic to them. Armed with this information, orange you glad they can enjoy this fruit just like you?