Rabbits are adorable creatures with really delicate stomachs. You should always double check what they eat because, despite their diet consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, and freshwater, some ingredients might be harmful to them.
Rabbits are renowned for having sweet-tooths. That being said, cherries are natural sources of sugar, which begs the question of whether it’s safe to include them in your rabbit’s diet.
Looking to introduce cherries into your rabbit’s diet? We will cover everything you need to know about feeding cherries to your rabbits with this article. We will also cover general care tips so that your rabbit can have the best quality of life in your care.
Can Rabbits Eat Cherries?
In short, yes they can.
Due to their love for sugary foods, rabbits can tend to go a little wild when eating cherries. However, cherries can hurt their stomachs. There are many kinds of cherries, including Montmorency, black, rainier, maraschino, bing, and dark red cherries.
Some of these cherries are sweet and others sour, but even the sour versions have a high quantity of sugar. The trick is to cut up the cherry into small chunks before feeding them to your rabbit.
Cherries have a hard pit that can be a choking hazard for your rabbit, so it’s best to remove the small stalk before feeding them. Due to the high sugar content, cherries can cause obesity in rabbits when overeating.
Cherries Nutritional Value to Rabbits
Fresh cherries are rich in minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin C, A, B6, and K. They also contain dietary fiber and water, which is quite beneficial to a rabbit’s digestive system. Vitamin C is known to help your rabbit’s blood system and develop its muscles.
Cherries contain anthocyanins, Vitamin C, and cyanidin, excellent antioxidants. These chemicals are also anti-inflammatory, which helps in preventing cell damage. The fruit’s polyphenol content in cherries also helps reduce your rabbit’s blood pressure.
Cherries also come packed with a hefty amount of melatonin, which helps your rabbit relax and improves its sleep cycle. Its sugar content overshadows the numerous benefits of cherry, and you need to regulate how much your rabbit eats since they can’t regulate it themselves.
The phosphorus in cherries is another reason to limit your rabbit’s cherry intake. The phosphorus in cherries will make your rabbit gassy when ingested.
How Many Cherries Should Your Rabbit Eat?
Cherries should only supplement a rabbit’s diet. Just like chocolate in humans, rabbits are not meant to consume cherries daily or eat them in large quantities. You can limit your rabbit’s cherry intake to twice a week and only give a maximum of one cherry per serving.
If you’re just introducing your rabbit to cherries, start small with maybe half a cherry and observe its poop. Start with portions of about one teaspoon for every 4 pounds of your rabbit’s body weight!
Since cherries are just a supplement, ensure that your rabbit continues to eat its normal food. Another problem will be introducing too many sugary foods into your rabbit’s diet simultaneously. When giving your rabbit cherries, limit feeding them any other fruits. If you must, reduce your cherry portion even more.
Since rabbits can only eat small amounts of cherries at a time, you can limit cherry feeding to adult rabbits and wait until your young rabbit grows to about seven months before introducing any fruit to them.
What Happens When a Rabbit Eats Too Many Cherries?
There are consequences to letting your rabbit binge-eat cherries. Too many cherries can cause gastrointestinal stasis, a condition that can really mess up a rabbit’s digestive system.
This condition can lead to a build-up of harmful bacteria in the cecum, which causes illness. The first sign of gastroIntestinal stasis is a lack of appetite in your robot. You can also investigate its bowel movement because gastroIntestinal stasis causes constipation.
Diarrhea can be another effect of eating too many cherries. Diarrhea can drain a rabbit’s body of water, and prolonged use can cause weight loss and eventually death.
Too much sugar can also cause obesity and diabetes in rabbits. The sugar content of these cherries is also enough to cause dental issues such as tooth decay.
Can a Rabbit Eat Any Other Part of a Cherry Tree?
Cherries are the only safe thing you can feed your rabbit because other parts, such as leaves, stems, and the stalk, contain cyanide which is toxic for rabbits. Cyanide can cause anoxia, a fatal condition that robs a rabbit’s body and brain of its oxygen supply.
You need to take your rabbit to a vet as soon as you realize that they’ve ingested anything other than cherries from a cherry tree. Look out for these symptoms if you suspect that your rabbit has eaten a forbidden part of the cherry:
- Excessive salivation
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing problems
- General weaknesses and unresponsiveness
- Hunched posture
Can You Feed Dried Cherries to Rabbits?
In short, no you can’t.
Feeding dried cherries to your rabbit will hurt your rabbit’s digestive system. Rabbits can’t eat dried cherries because they’ve been drained of the water content, making them almost three times more sugary than fresh cherries.
Can You Feed Canned Cherries to Rabbits?
Most canned fruits are either cooked or drowned in a sugary syrup which is already harmful to rabbits. Rabbits also find it hard to digest cooked foods, so it’s best to only feed them raw cherries.
Preparing Cherries for Your Rabbit
Due to their weak stomachs, rabbit food has to be prepared carefully such that no harmful content gets into their gut! Careful preparation includes washing the cherries of any pesticides.
Cherries are mostly sprayed with pesticides on the farm to prevent damage by pests. This coating might stick to the fruits and, if not removed, the chemicals will get into your rabbit’s gut.
First, choose a bowl. Cherries have a strong color which could end up staining your sofas and carpets, so serving the pieces in a bowl will save you heartbreak. Serving from a bowl also localizes the stains, making them easier to clean up.
Choosing the Best Cherries for Rabbits
When choosing the best cherries for rabbits, the first step is to ensure quality. Always look for organic cherries and ensure that they’re ripe. A ripe cherry will either be bright red, yellow, or yellowish-red.
You can do a taste test before purchasing the cherries. Ripe cherries should be a bit firm, a squishy cherry can be a sign of overripeness or spoilage.
Are There Healthy Alternatives to Cherries?
There are many healthier alternatives to cherries that you can feed your rabbit. We have compiled a short list of readily available veggies, including:
Remember to look into each type of rabbit food you’d like for your pet in order to ensure that it has a greater nutritional value and no side effects!
Yes, adult rabbits can eat cherries! Fresh cherries can even be pretty beneficial to rabbits in small quantities. When introducing fruits, such as cherries, to rabbits, you need to start with a small amount so that their stomachs have time to adjust.
Introducing any other form of cherries, including canned, candied, juiced, or cooked cherries, is bad for a rabbit’s health. You should take a holistic approach to taking care of your rabbit!