Many people are cautious about feeding fruit with stones to their rabbits, and apricots often fall into that category. However, if you have some plump, juicy apricots to hand, you might be wondering whether these are safe to add to your rabbit’s treat bowl.
Apricots are safe if you remove the stone before offering them to the rabbit. Apricots make a good treat if they are fed in small quantities, and many rabbits thoroughly enjoy them, so consider occasionally adding a little chunk to your rabbit’s bowl.
Are Apricots Good For Rabbits?
Apricots are pretty good for rabbits in a few different ways, although they do have their downsides too. If you feed your rabbit apricot, it will benefit from vitamin A and vitamin C, and it will also get iron, calcium, copper, potassium, and a bit of fiber.
Apricots also contain carbohydrates and sugar, and it’s important to be aware of this so that you remember to only offer small amounts to your rabbit. In controlled portions, apricot can be beneficial to your rabbit’s health and may help to boost its immune system and strengthen its bones.
The vitamin A and carotene in the apricots can help to improve your rabbit’s eyesight, and they promote healthy fur growth. Potassium is good at preventing kidney stones and bladder stones, which rabbits are surprisingly vulnerable to, so it’s an important nutrient to include in your rabbit’s diet.
Apricots may also help your rabbit to stay hydrated, which is good in the summer. However, you should always make sure your rabbit also has access to clean, fresh water as well, rather than depending on fruits for hydration.
Why Can’t Rabbits Have An Apricot Kernel?
Rabbits should not be given the kernel of an apricot because it could be a choking hazard. The kernel also contains the seed of the plant, and therefore the plant protects this by filling it with cyanide to discourage any animals from trying to eat it.
You should not give your rabbit an apricot kernel, either as a toy or for any other reason. Your rabbit might try to eat it, as it will likely smell of apricot, and this could lead to all sorts of issues, including stomach ache and even death.
Do not try to wash apricot kernels and give them to your rabbit. You should remove these from the fruit and discard them in a safe compost bin that your rabbit cannot reach. The rest of the apricot is totally safe for consumption.
What Happens If I Give My Rabbit Too Much Apricot?
Although apricots are safe, you still need to be careful how much you give to your rabbit. Like all fruits, apricots are high in sugar, and they can therefore contribute to weight gain. An obese rabbit will often be unhappy and may face health complications, so be very careful about this.
If you give your rabbit too much apricot, you run the risk of causing diarrhea and stomach cramps. A rabbit that eats a lot of fruit may be very uncomfortable, as their systems are not designed to cope with high levels of sugar and low levels of fiber.
In the wild, a rabbit is pretty unlikely to get a lot of fruit, and therefore rabbits can easily over-eat and make themselves ill. They cannot vomit, so they have no means of removing unsuitable foods from their bodies once they have consumed them.
Eating a lot of soft food can also cause teeth problems for your rabbit. Like all rodents, their teeth grow continuously, and they need to eat tough foods that will grind them down and keep them in shape. If you only feed your rabbit soft foods, like apricots, its teeth will quickly get too large and may grow into its lip and cause injuries.
Furthermore, the amount of sugar in apricots could contribute to diabetes. Like humans, rabbits are vulnerable to this disease, and like humans, they are fond of soft, sugary foods. It is therefore up to you to ensure that your rabbit does not eat enough apricot to damage its body.
An obese rabbit should never be given sugary foods like apricot. You must work to get its weight down and keep it on low-sugar treats until you have done so. Keep fruits out of its food bowl until it is a normal weight again.
Overall, rabbits should not have more than a teaspoon or two of apricot a couple of times a week. If you feed your rabbit a lot of other fruit, decrease this quantity.
Can Rabbits Eat Apricot Skin?
Yes, apricot skin is perfectly safe for rabbits and generally contains more fiber than the flesh of the fruit. This makes it safer overall, although you must still limit how much you offer.
You don’t need to peel an apricot before you give it to your rabbit, but you should wash it thoroughly to remove any traces of pesticides or dirt. Give it a good rub under the tap, and then cut it open and slice off a couple of small pieces for your bunny to enjoy.
Is Dried Apricot Also Safe?
On the whole, it is better not to give any dried fruits to your rabbit. Some owners do this without any issues arising, but many choose to avoid all dried fruits because they can cause problems.
With the massively reduced water content, dried fruit is very sugary. A small piece of dried apricot contains significantly more sugar than a small piece of fresh apricot, and therefore it’s more dangerous.
If you are going to give your rabbit dried fruits, make sure you only offer it tiny amounts and ensure there is plenty of fresh water available too.