Just like us, rabbits seem to love sweet foods. But also, just like us, sweet treats are not always the best thing for us to eat. So, that brings the question – can rabbits eat cherries?
You might think that rabbits can eat all types of fruits and vegetables, but that is not case. All fruits are not created equal!
In this article I am going to cover everything you need to know about giving a rabbit cherries to ensure your bunny stays healthy.
First, let’s start with the main question – are cherries safe for rabbits?
Can Rabbits Eat Cherries?
Yes, adult rabbits can eat cherries.
The good new is that adult rabbits can eat cherries, but like anything else it should be done in moderation. Whether you feed them fresh or frozen varieties you will want to make sure you remove the pits, I will talk about why below.
The outer part of the cherry – the flesh and fruity goodness are perfectly safe for your rabbit to nibble on – but that is the only part of a cherry that your rabbit can have.
You can offer a sweet cherry or sour cherry to your rabbit. While the sweet option may be their preference – the sour version may be a tad bit healthier since there is less sugar in them.
Introducing any new food to a rabbit should be a slow process and it is no different here. Give your rabbit a half of a cherry and see how they do. For the next day keep an eye out for belly bloat or a change in behavior. If you notice something “off” then they should not be given any more.
If everything goes smoothly then go ahead and it to their list of treats.
Make sure you remove the pit and never give your rabbit cherry twigs or leaves as they can be poisonous.
Parts Of A Cherry Your Rabbit Should Never Eat
While they can be a great special treat, there are some parts of a cherry you should never give your rabbit. This includes:
- Cherry stems
- Any part of a cherry tree
- Cherry leaves
- Cherry pit
- Canned cherries (there is usually sugar added)
- Cherry wood
Health Benefits Of Cherries For Rabbits
While there are no amazing health benefits, they are low in fat and calories which and are filled with vitamins like C, A and vitamin K. They also offer your rabbit antioxidants like choline and beta-carotene which can be good for them.
They also contain fiber which can actually be good for the digestive system.
But, because this is a fruit that is high in sugar – feeding them too many can actual be bad for them.
I could not find any real scientific proof that there is any reduction in rabbit diseases from eating this fruit. But it has been rumored that the antioxidant properties can inhibit certain health risks.
How Cherries Can Be Bad For Rabbits
Although in most cases small amounts are not a problem, there are things you should be aware of.
- The pit of a cherry contains a cyanide compound which a body can convert to cyanide if chewed or crushed. In most cases the pit would be too hard to break – but for a bunny this is a chance we do not want to take.
- Rabbits should never eat cherry leaves or twigs of a cherry either. Like the pit, these parts of the cherry can be poisonous to rabbits.
- In sweet cherries – the sugar content of cherries can be a health issue and even cause rotting teeth which is why serving it as a once in a while treat is important and not an everyday thing.
- Diarrhea or an upset tummy can be an issue of too many cherries are eaten at one time.
How Many Cherries Can My Rabbit Eat?
Like all things in life, too much of something can be a bad thing.
Small amounts of cherries can be offered as an addition to a healthy balanced diet of pellets and hay.
They can be offered as a reward after exercise or playtime. Too often though, people give out more than one or two at once which can lead to overindulgence and even obesity in some bunnies.
To ensure your rabbit remains healthy, just a few cherries per week are recommended. Maybe 2-3 during the the week at the most!
Baby rabbits should NEVER be given cherries as their bodies are not yet able to digest them and they get all their nutrients from their mom.
Other Things You Should Know!
You might be tempted to give your rabbit some dried cherries as a treat, but please never feed them these! Dried cherries are processed and usually have a much higher sugar content than fresh cherries.
Feeding wild rabbits would require the same kind rules from above. Do not over indulge them and limit the amount they get. Typically wild rabbits are more skilled at eating properly and will find more healthy places to get their foods that will include more leafy veggies and hay.
The natural juice of a cherry is just fine for your rabbit, but never offer them cherry juice from a bottle! These are filled with preservatives and sugar which are not healthy for your rabbit.
When testing out cherries with your rabbit, do not offer them any other fresh foods at the same time. This can upset their belly and make it hard for you to know what is making them sick if something happens.
Varieties of Cherry
There are of course many different types of cherries out there and you can try any with your rabbit, just be sure to always cut it up and remove the pit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Baby and younger rabbits that are still weaning should not have cherries at all. Adult rabbits should be given no more than 1-2 cherries but spread out over several days.
Wonder If Bunnies Like Cherries?
I think this adorable video pretty much sums it up!