Rabbits like sugary treats.
And apples are one of them.
As the popular saying goes…
“An apple a day keeps the doctors away.”
Would it keep vets away, too?
Read on to learn more:
- How often rabbits should eat apples.
- 9 health benefits of bunny eating apples.
- 9 potential dangers of apples in your rabbit’s health.
- And so much more…
Can rabbits eat apples?
Rabbits can eat apples. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals that may supplement what your bunny needs. You may give your rabbits apple slices as occasional treats. But remember, fruits should only take up 5% of their total diet.
Rabbit eating apples – 9 benefits
#1: Helps prevent hypokalemia
According to a study, potassium supplements help lower the effects of hypokalemia.
Or potassium deficiency in rabbits.
Fortunately, apples may help lower this risk in your bunnies.
They contain 0.004 oz (104 mg) of potassium per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
And rabbits need at least 0.22-0.35 oz (6.5-10 g) per kg of their body weight.
So, a few slices of fresh apple 1-2 times a week benefit them.
For your reference, signs of potassium deficiency include:
- Muscle weakness.
- Respiratory distress.
- Paralysis or inability to move.
If left untreated, hypokalemia may lead to the following:
- Swollen and pale kidneys.
- Stomach hemorrhage or bleeding.
- Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats.
- Lack of movement in the intestinal tract.
- Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
#2: Provides hydration
With 86% water content, apples make a good refreshing treat for your bunnies.
Especially in the summer season or hot temperatures.
Moreover, rabbits like their environment cool.
Their normal body temperature is 38.5 to 39.5°C (101.3 to 103.1°F)
Temperatures exceeding 30°C (86°F) cause them stress.
And when they’re under stress, it may cause the following:
- Higher death rate.
- Decrease in weight.
- Decrease in Vitamin C production.
- Infertility or inability to produce offspring.
Related search: 21 Quick & Effective Ways To Reduce Stress In Rabbits
#3: Lowers the risk of diabetes
Studies are backing up the benefits of phytochemicals in apples in diabetes prevention.
Phytochemicals help boost the immune system.
It also protects cells and DNA from damage.
Although diabetes mellitus is rare in rabbits…
This rare disease occurs when their body produces insufficient amounts of insulin.
Insulin is an essential hormone that regulates energy distribution.
It also breaks down fat and protein.
If left untreated, this disease can be life-threatening for your fur babies.
Consequently, your rabbits may have the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination.
- Lethargy or sleepiness.
- Excessive thirst and eating.
#4: Helps rabbit growth rate
Apples contain thiamine.
Thiamine is a B-complex vitamin that helps improve the nervous system and red blood cells.
Moreover, a lack of thiamine and other B-complex vitamins in rabbits may lead to:
- Scaly skin in the ears.
- Increase in blood clotting time.
- Paralysis or loss of muscle movement.
- Mild anemia or low levels of healthy red blood cells.
Trivia: Your rabbits can already produce vitamin B complex in their body.
Cecotropes or the soft poop that your bunnies eat contain at least 54% of it.
#5: Improves their immune system
Vitamin E that apples contain helps prevent cell and tissue damage.
They work great with selenium that apples also contain.
Moreover, deficiencies in vitamin E and selenium often result to:
- Destruction of the muscles.
- Fetal resorption or the breakdown and absorption of the dead fetus in the uterus.
For optimal immune health, rabbits may need vitamin E supplements.
#6: Essential for blood clotting
Rabbits rarely have vitamin K deficiencies.
However, supplements can be beneficial, especially for pregnant does (female rabbits).
The vitamin K content in apples may prevent your female bunnies from the following:
- Prolonged bleeding from a minor injury.
- Placental hemorrhage or separation of the placenta from the uterus.
Moreover, vitamin K also helps aid coccidiosis.
Coccidiosis is a common disease in rabbits caused by parasites.
#7: Promotes fur growth
Giving your bunnies some apple treats may help grow their fur.
This is due to the copper content in apples.
Copper also helps in collagen formation in your bunnies.
However, rabbits may suffer from copper deficiencies.
If this happens, it’ll lead to the following:
- Fur discoloration.
- Bone abnormalities.
- Slow mental development.
Furthermore, copper works along with iron, manganese, and zinc for your bunny’s cell health.
#8: Helps make bones stronger
Apples contain calcium and phosphorus.
These minerals are vital for your bunny’s skeletal system.
Especially in the formation of bones and teeth.
Moreover, calcium is also responsible for the following:
- Heart functions.
- Muscle contractions.
- Coagulation or bleeding.
- Electrolyte balance in the blood.
Meanwhile, phosphorus plays a vital role in energy metabolism.
Or the conversion of carbohydrates and fats.
And we’re not done yet…
Phosphorus produces protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.
#9: Promotes heart health
Apples are a rich source of polyphenols.
Polyphenols help regulate blood circulation.
It keeps the blood vessels healthy.
Moreover, feeding your bunnies with apples may give them the following benefits:
- Lowers the risk of cancer.
- Prevents prolonged bleeding.
- Lipid metabolism or breakdown of fats into energy.
- Lower risks of cardiovascular diseases like cardiomyopathy or blood pumping difficulty.
Rabbit eating apples – 9 dangers
#1: Contains cyanide
Apple seeds contain a compound called amygdalin.
At least 0.024 oz (0.7 g) of amygdalin is present in 1 apple seed.
Moreover, amygdalin is a cyanide and sugar-based component.
And cyanide is a not-so-friendly chemical.
This chemical is popular in some industries for the following:
- Rat poison.
- Soil fertilizers.
- Gold and silver extracting agent.
In short, it can kill both humans and animals.
In cases of accidental ingestion, watch out for these symptoms:
- Muscle cramps.
- Rapid breathing.
- Faster heartbeats.
Note: Rabbits are incapable of vomiting or throwing up.
So, be cautious whenever you’re giving them apple treats.
Interesting read: Can Rabbits Eat Green Apples? 9 Dangers & 7 Benefits
#2: Causes sticky bottom syndrome
The sticky bottom syndrome occurs when uneaten poop builds up on your bunny’s bum fur.
It’s called caecotrophy.
Rabbits normally eat their soft poop (cecotropes) to absorb vital nutrients.
Moreover, apples contain at least 0.45 oz (13 g) of sugar per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that contains 0.14 oz (4 g) of calories.
And a calorie-rich diet in your bunnies upsets their stomach.
Digestive issues like diarrhea cause rabbits to have watery poop.
Thus, not so appetizing for them to eat.
The sticky bottom syndrome also attracts flies.
When this happens, flies lay eggs on your rabbit’s bum (myiasis).
It can be lethal when flies invade your bunny’s insides.
This is a warning.
No sugar coating.
#3: Excess vitamin C may cause kidney damage
Vitamin C helps rabbit growth and development.
Your bunny needs it for healing wounds.
As well as bone and cartilage repair.
Rabbits need at least 0.0008-0.0010 oz (25-30 mg) of vitamin C supplements per day in times of stress.
Or when they’re suffering from illnesses.
Trivia: Rabbits already produce vitamin C in their liver.
So, too much intake of this vitamin may cause diarrhea.
In severe cases, the formation of kidney stones.
#4: Contain high concentrations of chemical residue
Since apples are popular fruits…
Commercial entities must strive to meet demand.
As a result, apples contain one of the highest levels of pesticide residue.
This is according to the Dirty Dozens list of EWG.
Ranking at the 5th spot, apples pose a health threat to you and your bunnies.
Moreover, about 80% of apples tested by USDA in 2016 contain diphenylamine.
Interestingly, this chemical doesn’t kill insects, fungi, or weeds.
It prevents apple skins from having brown or black spots during storage.
And apple farmers spray diphenylamine after harvest.
Caution: Traces of diphenylamine are present in applesauce and apple juice.
So, be careful when feeding these to your bunny.
#5: Your bunny’s good bacteria hate sugar
In general, fruits contain high levels of sugar.
This explains why your bunny likes them.
Unfortunately, sugar fights their tummy’s good bacteria.
“Why are bacteria important?”
Your bunny’s enzymes alone can’t break down fibrous plants like grass hay.
But it’s possible with the help of bacteria.
This is called bacterial fermentation.
However, sugar and starch invade their harmony.
And causes parasites to take over.
These parasites do nothing but harm to your rabbits.
Plus, they can infect other bunnies through poop ingestion.
#6: Contains lots of carbohydrates
Apples contain too many carbohydrates 0.53 oz (15g).
Yet too little fiber 0.07 oz (2 g).
This relationship is nothing but against your bunny’s gut.
And if given in unlimited portions, your bunnies may only suffer from:
- GI stasis or lack of digestive movement.
- Enterotoxemia or diarrhea in young rabbits.
Moreover, rabbit products are sprouting left and right in the market.
Caution: Some pellets, muesli mix, and rabbit treats contain high concentrations of carbohydrates.
#7: Vitamin A toxicity
Vitamin A in apples helps in the growth and maintenance of your bunny’s body tissues.
It’s also great for eye health.
However, excess apple feeding may cause their liver to suffer from vitamin A overload.
Once the liver stores beyond capacity, it’ll lead to reproduction issues in does.
Does or female rabbits may suffer from the following:
- Fetal resorption.
- High death rate in kits (baby rabbits).
- Hydrocephalus or fluid buildup in the brain cavities.
- Weak and small litter (group of baby rabbits born under one birth).
Furthermore, apples contain 54 IU per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
While rabbits need 6000 -10,000 IU per 35 oz (1 kg) of weight.
The big difference may not pose an alarm.
But remember, grass hays already contain high levels of vitamin A.
So, feed your bunnies apple slices sparingly.
#8: Insufficient fiber content
Your bunnies rely on a fiber-rich diet.
It’s the blueprint of their digestive system.
According to USDA, apples contain 0.07 oz (2 g) of fiber in a 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
Your rabbits need more.
Per 35 oz (1 kg) of their body weight, fiber should be at least 0.88 oz (25 g).
However, apples can’t supply this requirement.
Your bunnies will only get excess amounts of everything that’s not fiber.
#9: Causes tooth decay
Tooth decay and dental disorders are common in rabbits.
And it can be due to the following:
#1: Low-fiber diet
Malocclusion is caused by a diet that lacks fiber.
This occurs when your rabbit’s front teeth grow continuously.
But in different directions.
Since fibrous plants are coarse, hard to chew…
It helps regulate your bunny’s teeth growth.
In the absence of medical attention, your bunnies may suffer from the following:
- Weight loss.
- Swelling of the jaw.
- Inability to close the mouth fully.
#2: Excess sugar and acidity
The sugar content in apples can cause tooth decay in your bunnies.
It can make their teeth brittle and form holes in their surface.
This occurs when bacteria in the mouth convert sugar into acid that softens tooth enamel.
Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth.
This acid also affects the dentin or the tissue forming the body of the tooth.
Can rabbits eat apples with skin?
Rabbits can eat apples with skin. In fact, the skin doubles the nutrients your rabbits may get from eating them. However, be sure to wash them thoroughly with water to rinse off some chemical residue.
Plus, here’s a fun video of a rabbit eating an apple peel:
Can wild rabbits eat apples?
Wild rabbits may eat apples and other fruits in small quantities. As plant-eating animals, their instinct is to always graze for food in the field. However, fibrous foods like grass hay are what they prefer most of the time.
Can rabbits eat applesauce?
Rabbits shouldn’t consume sugary foods like applesauce regularly. It may cause dental problems and obesity. However, a tiny dab will do as an occasional treat.
Can baby rabbits eat apples?
Baby rabbits can’t eat apples or other fruits yet. Their primary source of diet should rely on their mother’s milk. You may try feeding them apple slices when they’re 12 weeks older. However, only feed one in moderation.
How often can rabbits eat apples?
Rabbits can eat apple slices 1-2 times a week as a treat. It’s a great source of vitamins and minerals that boosts their growth. However, grass hay should dominate their total diet at all times.