Cherries are one of the most delicious summer fruits enjoyed around the world. They’re not only tasty, but they’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that have tremendous health benefits.
Does this sweet, delectable fruit provide the same benefits to bunnies as it does to us? Rabbits can certainly eat cherries but in small quantities and as a delicious treat.
In today’s article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about feeding cherries to your rabbits. We’ll also look at whether cherry stones surrounding the seeds are safe for your bunny, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of cherries for rabbits. Our FAQ section also has the answers to your questions.
Are Cherries Safe for My Rabbits?
Fresh cherries, including Montmorency, bing, black, and dark red cherries, are safe for rabbits to eat. The frequency and quantity is the issue here. Rabbits are known to enjoy all things sweet, and if given the opportunity, they may eat it all, resulting in health issues.
Cherries have high sugar content. A rabbit’s digestive system cannot process vast amounts of sugar. As a result, cherries should be given to your rabbit only as a treat.
How Many Cherries Can a Rabbit Eat?
One teaspoon of cherries for every two pounds of body weight is recommended for your rabbit, no more than twice a week.
Adult rabbits, pregnant and lactating mother rabbits can enjoy a limited amount of cherries.
Make sure your rabbit receives the required amount of fiber for the day before giving it any sweet treats. Hay, which should make for around 80% of a rabbit’s diet, provides all the fiber they require.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Cherries?
Sweet fruit like cherries that contain sugar should not be given to young rabbits or rabbits under the age of six months to prevent causing painful digestive issues. The digestive system of a young rabbit is still developing and growing; therefore, it cannot digest or metabolize sugar. In young rabbits, the sugar in cherries and fruit can induce diarrhea which can be fatal.
Which Rabbits Aren’t Allowed to Eat Cherries?
Rabbits with gastrointestinal issues and diabetic rabbits should avoid cherries. All sugary treats and snacks should be removed entirely from a diabetic rabbit’s diet to maintain appropriate gut flora and prevent obesity and significant metabolic swings..
Can Rabbits Eat Cherry Leaves, Stems, and the Stone?
Cherry leaves and stems are toxic to rabbits and should never be offered to them. Both contain traces of cyanogenic glycoside, better known as cyanide, which makes them poisonous to our pet rabbits. The wilted leaves of the cherry tree are far deadlier than when fresh.
The cherry pit and the seed once the shell is cracked open are no safer. Cyanide is prevalent in both and, as such, should never be given to your pet rabbits.
If your rabbit accidentally eats the leaves, stem, or stone of the cherry, seek medical attention immediately. Cyanide poisoning can be fatal to rabbits.
Cyanide poisoning symptoms are:
- Excessive salivation
- Difficulty breathing
Unfortunately, cyanide poisoning causes anoxia in rabbits, which leads to death. Anoxia occurs when the body or brain’s oxygen supply is entirely depleted. Before giving cherries to your rabbits, always remove the leaves, stems, and stones.
Always wash the cherries thoroughly, removing the stems, stones, and leaves before feeding them to your pet rabbits. Cut the cherries into bite-sized pieces or serve them in halves to your bunnies.
Why Washing Cherries Is Important Before Serving
Farmers and producers use insecticides, a form of pesticide used to target and kill insects damaging their cherry crops. It’s critical to wash fresh produce to keep your rabbit safe from parasites, harmful bacteria, and pesticide poisoning.
Rabbits, unlike most other animals, are unable to regurgitate or vomit. As a result, rabbits are unable to rid poison from their bodies. Sadly, poisoning from pesticides could result in a painful death.
The symptoms of pesticide poisoning to be aware of is as follows:
- A lack of appetite
- Hunched posture
- Difficult or labored breathing
- Irritation around the mouth
Health Benefits of Cherries
Although caution needs to be taken when feeding your rabbits cherries, there are numerous benefits for rabbits too.
Cherries have a low calorie and fat content. They are also packed with essential nutrients, including sugar, minerals, fiber, vitamins, and robust antioxidants.
Cherries are rich in vital vitamins A, C, B complex, and K, which rabbits need to develop strong teeth and bones. Its also abundant in calcium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and dietary fibers that all play a role in keeping your rabbits happy and healthy.
Antioxidants in Cherries Can Fight Free Radicals in Rabbits
Free radicals are produced naturally in your rabbit’s body due to metabolic processes such as digestion and respiration. When free radicals expand in the body and cannot be eliminated gradually, oxidative stress develops. This process affects cancer, autoimmune diseases, aging, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neurological problems.
Fruits that are more sour or yellow, red, or bluish-black when ripe are the greatest for fighting free radicals. Cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are examples of fruits that help fight free radicals. Antioxidants are found in larger quantities in the skin of cherries than in the pulp.
Anti-inflammatory Properties: Ease Arthritis
Cherries are known for their anti-inflammatory abilities as well. Anti-inflammatory foods have a greater chance of preventing disease in rabbits than alleviating existing diseases’ symptoms.
The anti-inflammatory properties in cherries might make it easier for your elderly rabbit to walk about and have minor discomfort. At the same time, senior rabbits and rabbits suffering from arthritis will benefit from nibbling on cherries.
Anti-inflammatory foods like cherries have been proven in studies to reduce joint inflammation, resulting in reduced pain and increased joint mobility.
Risks of Eating Too Much Cherries
We’ve already mentioned that feeding your rabbit cherry leaves, stems, and stones can result in cyanide poisoning. This is not the only negative effect cherries can have on your rabbit’s health.
Let’s take a closer look at the consequences of overfeeding your rabbit cherries.
Cherries contain a lot of sugar, which is harmful to rabbits if they eat them in large quantities. The results of eating too much sugar can lead to rabbits developing gastrointestinal stasis. Gastrointestinal stasis is when the food movement slows down in your rabbit’s digestive tract, resulting in blockages.
In rabbits, gastrointestinal stasis is potentially deadly in which stomach and intestine, muscular contractions are reduced, and normal bacteria in the digestive tract get out of balance.
Sugars that can’t be digested in the small intestine end up in the cecum.
They promote the overgrowth of toxin-producing bacteria in the cecum if they arrive in significant amounts, causing disease in the rabbit.
Diarrhea can also develop when rabbit owners overfeed their animals too fast with large amounts of cherries. To reset your bunny’s digestive system, stop giving them cherries for a while and feed them only hay and clean water. If your bunny’s diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours, you should get medical help right away.
Cherries contain a lot of sugar; overfeeding them to elderly rabbits with sluggish metabolisms can lead to obesity. Obese rabbits may be unable to access and swallow their cecotropes, resulting in uneaten cecotropes or a “poopy bottom.”
Rabbits can develop soft uneaten cecotropes if they consume a lot of cherries instead of hay. Cecotropes may become softer as a result of the absence of fiber.
Because cherries are high in sugar, giving them to your rabbits in large quantities might cause dental issues like tooth decay. Limit the amount of sugar your rabbit consumes to avoid tooth decay.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Give My Rabbit Dried Cherries?
It is better not to offer dry cherries to your rabbit. In general, dried fruits are three times sweeter than fresh fruits. Dried fruit is not recommended. Your rabbit might develop diarrhea from dried fruit.
What Is the Easiest Way to Serve My Bunny Cherries That Isn’t Messy?
The cherry juice will stain your furniture, carpet, and the fur around its mouth, especially if your bunny has light-colored hair. Feeding your rabbit from a plate or your hand is an excellent choice if you’ve never provided it with fruits with a lot of colors.
Cherries: A Delicious Treat for Your Rabbit
While virtually every rabbit will eagerly eat any cherry within reach, feeding cherries to your rabbit daily is not recommended. Although cherries are not poisonous to rabbits, the leaves, stems, and stones are. Serve your beloved rabbits’ cherries as a seasonal treat, and be sure to remove the stems and stones.