Thinking of giving your bunnies a sweet treat?
Grapes may come to mind.
And they’re definitely a delicious option.
You definitely need to know these pros and cons first.
Read on to learn more:
- 9 alarming dangers in bunnies eating grapes.
- Interesting facts about rabbits eating grape stems.
- 9 surprising benefits your rabbits can get by eating grapes.
- And so much more…
Can rabbits eat grapes?
Rabbits can eat grapes. In fact, they love sweets. But feeding grapes to your rabbits aren’t ideal as their core diet. Their tiny bodies can’t tolerate too much sugar. However, you can offer it as a motivational treat for your bunny.
Rabbit eating grapes – 9 benefits
#1: Lowers the risk of heart diseases
Grapes contain bio-compounds like polyphenols.
Polyphenols reduce triglycerides (type of fat) in the bloodstream.
And polyphenols give your bunnies the following benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory or reduces swelling in the body.
- Antimicrobial or kills microorganisms like bad bacteria.
- Antioxidant or protects cells from free radicals (unstable atoms).
Grape stalks (main stem) also contain linoleic acid.
Linoleic acid is essential for your rabbit’s heart health.
It lowers the risk of common cardiac problems, such as:
- Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats.
- Heart murmur or abnormal heartbeat sounds.
Moreover, linoleic acid plays important functions in your bunny’s body, such as in the:
- Cell physiology or processes.
#2: Helps lower cholesterol
Grape stalks contain antihyperlipidemic properties.
A study confirms.
Antihyperlipidemic contents help lower lipids (fats) in your bunny’s blood.
Lower lipids mean lower risks of diseases caused by bad cholesterol, such as:
- Kidney and heart failure.
- Hypercholesterolemia or lipid disorder.
- Hyperlipidemia or excess fat in the blood.
Unfortunately, rabbits are prone to obesity.
And cholesterols in their diet are usually present in pellets and treats.
As a fur parent, looking after your bunny’s welfare is a huge commitment.
And monitoring their diet is a life-saving hack.
#3: Contains lots of water
Grapes contain at least 82% water.
Since rabbits prefer cool temperatures…
Grapes can make good refreshing treats for your bunny.
Plus, hot temperatures cause them heat stress.
Their environment shouldn’t exceed 60-65°F (15-18°C).
You may feed them grapes once or twice a week to add some hydration to their plate.
#4: Boosts their immune system
Grapes are a great source of phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients are chemicals that most plants produce.
These nutrients are essential for your bunny’s overall health.
In particular, carotenoids increase their immune system efficiency.
Carotenoids may also give a significant increase in your bunny’s weight.
Moreover, most of these nutrients are present in grape skin and seeds.
Carotenoids also help lower the risk of metabolic syndromes, such as:
- Excess fat.
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol level.
#5: Protects your rabbit’s kidneys
Grapes contain resveratrol.
It’s a powerful antioxidant that may benefit your bunny.
Resveratrol helps protect against kidney injuries.
Especially rabbits with diabetic nephropathy.
Or a common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, resveratrol helps reduce renal hypoxia or chronic kidney disease.
A study confirms.
This antioxidant also helps reduce cell dysfunctions in your rabbits.
#6: Supports your bunny’s vision
Rabbits don’t necessarily have poor eyesight.
Their vision is designed for their safety.
It allows them to see predators even from afar.
Moreover, your bunnies have better night vision than humans.
But, the depth of what they can see is limited.
Especially up-close or face-front.
Feeding your bunnies with grapes may help keep their eyes healthy.
Thanks to their zeaxanthin and lutein components.
These antioxidants promote healthy vision.
#7: Lowers blood urea nitrogen
BUN or blood urea nitrogen helps spot kidney problems.
Not just in humans, but also rabbits.
Urea nitrogen is a waste product in the blood.
It’s the kidney’s job to remove it from the bloodstream.
Higher BUN in your rabbits could mean their kidneys aren’t working well.
Surprisingly, grape ingestion may reduce the risks of kidney problems.
Or help prevent their kidneys from further damage.
#8: Helps your bunnies recover from injury
Grapes contain vitamin K.
And this supports the regeneration of your bunny’s peripheral nerves.
These nerves lie outside their brain and spinal cord.
Their role is to communicate or deliver responses to their central nervous system.
Sometimes, stretching can cause damage to your bunny’s nerves.
Interestingly, your rabbits can already produce vitamin K in their body.
But the need for supplements may arise in cases of injury.
#9: Helps them absorb nutrients during digestion
Rabbits have a unique digestive system.
It’s almost the same as that of humans.
But, one of the main differences is the functions of the caecum.
Trivia: Rabbits digest their food twice.
Food passes through the caecum in the first round of digestion.
Bunnies then eat this poop (cecotropes) to absorb more nutrients.
Then, the second round of digestion.
Cecotropes pass through the digestive tract and expel in the anus.
“Why is eating grapes relevant in my rabbit’s digestion then?”
Grape stalks, in particular, help enlarge their small intestines and caecum.
This gives enough time and space to digest more plant (fiber-rich) material.
Moreover, this phase helps your rabbits absorb the vital nutrients for their body.
Watch this video of rabbits eating grapes here:
Rabbit eating grapes – 9 dangers
#1: Causes diabetes
Rabbits love sweet treats.
And grapes can be appetizing on their palate.
This fruit contains 0.56 oz (16 g) of sugar per 3.52 oz (100 g) serving.
However, too much sugar can be harmful to your bunny’s health.
In rare cases, rabbits may develop diabetes mellitus.
This occurs when the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin.
Insulin regulates the glucose level in the bloodstream.
Glucose is the primary sugar type in the blood and comes from the food that your rabbits eat.
It’s the major source of energy for their body cells.
When your bunnies lack insulin, they may experience the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination.
- Lethargy or sleepiness.
- Excessive thirst and eating.
Note: Avoid feeding raisins to your bunnies. Raisins also contain high levels of sugar.
#2: Causes tummy issues
Excess grape ingestion may cause your bunnies some serious digestive issues, such as:
- Gastrointestinal stasis or lack of digestive movement.
Take note, however, that these belly problems are due to the excess sugar content in the fruit.
Lack of fiber in your rabbit’s diet can harm them.
This is because their digestive tract is built for fibrous foods, such as hay.
Unfortunately, grapes only contain little amounts of fiber.
Interesting read: Can Rabbits Eat Paper? 3 Dangers, 4 Reasons, & 5 Tips
#3: Reduces volatile fatty acids
Volatile fatty acids or VFAs provide energy to your rabbits.
They are produced in the caecum of your bunny’s digestive tract.
Volatile fatty acids need the help of good bacteria during food digestion.
The presence of bacteria in their belly makes digestion easier.
And your bunny needs great amounts of fiber in their diet to produce VFAs, such as acetate.
However, grapes don’t have enough amounts of fiber that your rabbit needs daily.
It only contains about 5% of dietary fiber in a 5.30 oz (150 g) serving.
Changing your bunny’s diet to solely grapes may also disturb the bacterial environment in their tummy.
#4: Contains high levels of pesticide residue
According to EWG’s Dirty Dozen, grapes contain one of the highest levels of chemical residue.
Ranking at the 6th spot, commercial grapes are a health hazard for your bunny if given directly.
In particular, non-organic grapes rely on growth-inducing and pest-control chemicals, such as:
This is inevitable due to mass production and increasing worldwide demand.
On the positive side, you may opt for organic grapes for your bunnies.
These grapes undergo natural cultivation processes.
They grow without the help of chemicals.
But, organic or not…
It’s best to always wash them well before feeding them to your pets.
#5: Contains insufficient nutrients for their daily needs
Rabbits must meet their nutritional requirements every day to keep them healthy.
However, feeding them fruits should only consist of 5% of their total diet.
Here’s a table of comparison between a grape’s nutritional value and a rabbit’s diet rule:
|Content||Grape nutritional value per 3.5 oz (100 g)||Minimum dietary requirements for rabbits per 3.5 oz (100 g)|
|Fiber||0.01 oz (0.38 g)||0.49-0.88 oz (14-25 g)|
|Carbohydrate||0.65 oz (18.6 g)||Less than 0.70 oz (20 g)|
|Protein||0.03 oz (0.9 g)||0.42-0.60 oz (12-17 g)|
|Vitamin A||105 IU||1000 IU|
|Vitamin D||None||80-100 IU|
#6: May lead to grape poisoning
This might confuse or startle you…
But, it’s better to be aware of some other threats that may harm your pets.
Grape poisoning is rare in rabbits than in dogs and cats.
But, all grapes may contain mycotoxin.
Mycotoxins are harmful bi-products from organisms like fungi.
Fungi grow in some plants and produce mycotoxin under natural conditions.
They look like molds in your food.
And they’re lethal to both humans and animals.
Warm or humid conditions trigger these molds to grow.
So, be careful when buying grapes and all other foods for you and your rabbits.
#7: Causes dental problems
Your rabbit’s teeth continue to grow every day.
Their front teeth can grow up to 0.07-0.09 in (2 – 2.4 mm) every week
While it’s interesting to know…
Too much dental growth can lead to malocclusion.
This occurs when their incisors (front teeth) grow in different directions.
The absence of fiber in their diet is the primary cause of this problem.
If given in unlimited portions, grapes may cause tooth decay, too.
This is due to the excess sugar and levels of acidity in the fruit.
Sometimes, the best sweet treat you can find might only harm your bunny.
#8: Promotes grape addiction
Yup. You heard that right.
There’s a possibility that your rabbits may get addicted to grapes.
According to Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM, rabbits may develop an avoidance of regular food.
Especially feeding grapes on a regular basis.
With its sweet savory taste…
Your bunnies will become picky eaters.
Chances are, they’ll be able to identify which is sweeter between hay and grapes.
If this happens, it’ll lead to malnutrition in your rabbits.
#9: Changes the pH level in their tummy
Rabbits are gut-sensitive.
A little too much of something can upset their tummy.
Especially foods with high levels of starch and sugar.
And grapes are no exception.
High concentrations of sugar lower the pH level in their intestines.
This weakens or destroys the good bacteria in their gut.
Furthermore, this allows parasites to grow like the eimeria and coccidia species.
These parasites live in a rabbit’s intestines.
They’re also present in their poop.
Parasite transmissions may occur when a rabbit eats the infected poop from another.
Can rabbits eat grape stems?
Grape stems are safe for your rabbits. They’re great for chewing and help regulate their teeth growth. Grape stems also contain antioxidants that boost your bunny’s heart health.
Can rabbits eat grapes with seeds?
Grape seeds are non-toxic for rabbits. However, they’re a choking hazard. As a safety measure, you may remove the seeds before feeding them to your bunnies.
Can wild rabbits eat grapes?
Wild rabbits can eat grapes. As plant-eating species, they graze in pastures and vegetation for food. However, fruits aren’t their main preference.