If you have a rabbit, you will already be well aware that you need to be careful about what you feed it. Giving lots of variety in the food you provide can help your rabbit to stay healthy and enrich its life, but you also have to pay attention to what foods are and are not safe for bunnies.
Watermelon is a great treat for rabbits, and perfectly safe in small quantities. Most rabbits love this fruit and will eat it with great eagerness, but you should be aware that it is not nutrient-dense, and you should not let your rabbits eat it in quantity. It is mostly made up of sugars, so consuming a lot of watermelon could lead to health problems.
Can I Feed My Rabbit Watermelon?
Yes, you can feed your rabbit watermelon, but you must do so in limited quantities. Remember, rabbits are a lot smaller than people, so what seems like a small portion to you is a big portion to your rabbit.
Treats should only make up a small percentage of your rabbit’s diet, and that’s true even of treats like fruit. Watermelon is a great snack for rabbits, but if you feed them a lot, it will upset their digestive systems and could make them fat. This is because watermelon contains a lot of sugar.
The majority of your rabbit’s diet should be made up of hay and grass, and not snacks. Even things like leafy greens, which are very good for rabbits, should be fed on occasions, and not given regularly.
Too many treats can give your rabbit diarrhea, and will make it sick because it won’t be getting the nutrients that it needs from its diet.
What Nutrients Does A Watermelon Offer?
A watermelon does not really contain much in the way of nutrients. Other fruits tend to be healthier options, but since rabbits love watermelons, here is what they can get from them.
100 grams of watermelon contains:
- 0.61 g of protein
- 0.4 g of fiber
- 8.1 mg of vitamin C
- 7.55 g of carbohydrates
- 91.45 g of water
- 30 kcal of energy
- 6.2 g of sugar
- 112 mg of potassium
You will probably have noticed that most of the watermelon is – unsurprisingly – water. That makes it a great snack when you want to keep your rabbit hydrated, so it’s often used as a summer treat.
It also contains a good portion of vitamin C, and quite a lot of sugar and carbohydrates. However, it doesn’t offer much in the way of other nutrients, besides a bit of potassium.
How Do I Introduce Watermelon To My Rabbit?
If your rabbit has never eaten watermelon before, it is important to introduce it slowly. Although most rabbits can eat watermelon with no problems, you should always be careful when you give your bunny a new food, just in case it doesn’t agree with your rabbit.
Give your rabbit just one small piece of watermelon with the seeds removed, and keep an eye on it for the next two days. You should check its stools, make sure it is eating and drinking normally, and ensure it is not lethargic or hyperactive.
If your rabbit seems normal and its droppings are healthy, watermelon should be safe for it. You may wish to do one more test before including it in the rabbit’s diet regularly, however.
How Often Can Rabbits Have Watermelon?
Your rabbit can have watermelon a couple of times a week, depending on what else you feed to it. Treats should make up less than ten percent of the rabbit’s overall diet, so if your rabbit is getting lots of other fruit, cut back on the watermelon.
The leading cause of death in rabbits is improper diet, so it is extremely important to adhere to this rule and make sure your bunny is getting most of its nutrition from hay or grass. While treats are fun for both owner and pet, they must be given in moderation.
It’s best to offer variety, and keep swapping the treats that you give your rabbit, rather than always feeding them the same thing. This helps to keep them engaged and ensures they are getting the benefit of different foods. Although you can feed watermelon up to twice a week, it is usually better to offer your bunny different things.
How Should I Serve Watermelon?
It’s best to cut the watermelon into small pieces before feeding it to your rabbit. Large pieces of watermelon will result in a very sticky rabbit, and most rabbits do not like being bathed, so it’s best to minimize the mess.
Make it as easy as possible for the rabbit to eat the watermelon without getting too much in its fur. Sticky fur is uncomfortable and will collect dirt and bacteria. Try feeding your rabbit from a shallow dish so it can pick the pieces up easily.
Remove the seeds from the watermelon before you give it to your rabbit. Seeds could cause a blockage in the intestines, which might require surgery or kill your bunny, because they will stop it from passing stool.
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon Peel?
Surprisingly, rabbits can eat the rind of a watermelon. It is actually better for them than the main fruit, because the rind contains more fiber and less sugar.
Your rabbit probably won’t eat a lot of the peel, but it may enjoy chewing on it. This is a good enrichment activity and can help to keep a bored rabbit entertained, but again, don’t feed the peel to your rabbit in large quantities. You still want it to eat mostly hay or grass.
Most rabbits love watermelon, and in small portions, this is a great treat for them. It is especially good in the summer, providing some extra hydration and a vitamin C hit.
However, do not feed your rabbit the watermelon pips, and avoid giving them large quantities of watermelon. Limit servings to one or two a week, or your rabbit may suffer from diarrhea and stomach problems.