If you’re a rabbit owner, it’s not uncommon to wonder if your bunny can eat apples. And that’s something I’ve asked myself a lot over the years. Back in my childhood, my sister had a rabbit in her backyard that often ate apples that fell from the tree nearby.
Can rabbits eat apples? Rabbits can eat apples in moderation. While apples are nutrient-dense fruits, they also contain sugar and acid, both of which can be harmful to your furry pets in several ways when fed in excess.
Moreover, while the flesh and skin of apples are safe for rabbits, their stem, seeds, and core are lethal and should always be cut off beforehand.
If you have kittens (or baby rabbits) at home, you should introduce these fruits to them only once they’re older than three months.
This article will cover every aspect of feeding apples to rabbits, including their nutritional value, safe parts for their consumption, and more.
Can rabbits be allergic to apples?
Whenever you’re adding something new to your furry pet’s diet, the first thing you should do is to check whether or not they are allergic to it.
Although rabbits don’t have an allergic reaction as often as other pets, it is still a possibility that you should rule out, in the beginning, to avoid problems in the future.
All you need to do is feed them a small quantity (2-3 teaspoons) of apple flesh and keep an eye on them for the next 24 hours. When your furry friends are allergic to any food, they will display some of the following signs that you should look out for:
- dry sneezing frequently without any discharge
- releasing a clear discharge from their nose
- drooling frequently
- watery eyes
- redness or inflammation in the eyes
- rubbing their face (with paws or in the ground) constantly
If your furry pets show any of the above signs, you will have to stop feeding them apples right away. However, if they seem to be fine after eating apples, it is a good sign. It means that they’re not allergic to these fruits, and you can safely add them to their diet.
Are apples healthy for rabbits?
If you’ve performed the allergy check for apples on your little pets and they’ve passed, it indicates that these fruits are safe for them.
However, any food you’re planning on feeding your pets should be both safe and healthy for them. Do apples fulfill the second criteria? That’s what we are going to talk about it in this section.
To help you brush up on your knowledge about the apple’s nutritional value, we have curated a table below. Take a look:
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
|Vitamin B4 (Choline)
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Serving size: 100 grams
As you can see for yourself, apples are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.
There are seven different B-complex vitamins present in them. Three of them (thiamin, riboflavin, and pyridoxine) can improve your pet’s nervous responses and promote their red blood cell health. Vitamins C and E boost their immune health, while Vitamin K plays a key role in their blood coagulation mechanism.
Apples also have a high level of minerals like calcium and potassium. Calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth, while potassium protects them from Hypokalemia, a potassium-deficiency disease common among rabbits.
Following are some of the common hypokalemia symptoms you might want to look out for:
- stunted growth
- sudden weight loss
- weakness and occasional pain in muscles
Additionally, apples are also rich in phytonutrients that fight the free radicals in your pet’s body and prevent oxidative damage in their cells.
Lastly, these fruits contain fibers that promote healthy bowel movement in rabbits.
The cons of feeding apples to rabbits
While apples have a lot to offer your furry pets from a nutritional standpoint, there are some downsides to feeding them these sweet treats as well. And you must know both upsides and downsides of apples for your pet so that you can make an informed decision.
Apples have an acidic nature and are also rich in sugar, which can be detrimental to your pets’ oral health. Moreover, rabbits also have a delicate digestive system that can have trouble digesting large amounts of sugar.
Therefore, if these little guys are eating apples frequently, they can suffer from digestive issues like diarrhea. In the long run, the excess sugar deposited in their body gets converted into fat, which can eventually make them obese.
Obesity can invite several other health problems, and you wouldn’t want that happening to your pets, would you?
Another issue with apples is their high vitamin C content. While this vitamin is highly beneficial to us, they’re unnecessary for the rabbits to synthesize it themselves.
That’s why feeding them too many apples would be adding more vitamin C into their body, which can ultimately lead to kidney damage.
If you want to protect your pets from all the problems, all you need to do is to feed them apples in moderation. Go with a couple of medium-sized slices twice a week.
Is it safe to feed unpeeled apples to rabbits?
As you already know, the skin of an apple is actually where most of its fiber and antioxidants are concentrated. This makes apple skin the most nutritious part of the whole fruit. But are these nutritious parts safe for the consumption of your little pets? Yes, absolutely.
Apple skin poses no threat to rabbits and is easily digestible to them. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the skin is healthier for them than the flesh.
However, if you’re going to feed your pets unpeeled apples, it would be wise to purchase organic ones free from any toxic chemicals. Because if any of these chemicals are ingested by your pets, they could make them very sick.
What about apple seeds? Are they edible to rabbits?
No, the seeds present inside apples are not safe for your rabbits to eat. But the problem with these seeds is not that they pose a choking threat for your bunnies (like the seeds or pits of other fruits).
The real problem is the presence of amygdalin in these seeds. For those of you who have no idea what amygdalin is, it is a naturally occurring chemical compound present in the seeds of some fruits, and apples are one of them.
If your pets ingest these seeds and they’re broken down inside their stomach, the amygdalin degrades into hydrogen cyanide, which can poison them. Following are symptoms of cyanide poisoning in rabbits:
- reduced heart rate
- upset stomach, often leading to diarrhea
- congestion in respiratory tracts (difficulty in breathing)
You should also know that amygdalin is present in apple seeds and their stem and core. That’s why you should always cut off all these parts from the apple before preparing it for your furry friends.
Leaves, twigs, and branches of the apple trees: safe for rabbits or not?
As many of you might already know, rabbits are used to eating stems, twigs, and leaves regularly in the wild. In fact, during the winter months, when there is a scarcity of fresh foliage, they are an essential source of nutrition.
But are the leaves, twigs, and branches of apple trees safe for your pets to eat? Yes, they are. Many rabbit owners, particularly ones with apple trees in their yard, feed their twigs to their pets frequently to help them wear down their teeth.
If you have an apple tree in your neighborhood, you can do it, too. Just wash them thoroughly beforehand to get rid of dirt or pesticides, and they’re good to go.
Can kittens (baby rabbits) eat apples?
Do you have baby rabbits or kittens at home and wonder if apples can be fed to them?
Well, that depends on the age of these kittens. When they’re born, these kittens feed only on their mother’s milk for the first 2-3 weeks, after which solid food is introduced to their diet.
However, it is best to feed them only high-quality hay for a couple of months, as it promotes their healthy growth and development.
So, if you want to introduce apple, or any other fruit, to their diet, you must wait for them to grow older than three months. And, in the beginning, feed them small amounts of it (2-3 teaspoons) so that their digestive system can get used to it.
Conclusion: Can Rabbits Eat Apples?
Rabbits can eat apples in fact, they usually love the sweet taste of apples.
Like humans, problems with rabbits are more a result of not enough other food in their diet as opposed to too much. Rabbits that eat primarily commercial rabbit food such as pellets have less of what to choose from and can go wrong easily.
Well, that ends this blog post answering your questions on whether rabbits can eat apples.
If you have been considering providing apples and other fruits as treats for your rabbit then I hope that this has helped clarify some of the issues around whether they are safe for rabbits to eat, and what type of apples are best
Also, I am sure that now you understand the answer and would feel confident in explaining it to a friend or family member.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.