Rabbits don’t usually take baths.
It gives them discomfort sometimes.
However, you want to help them keep a fluffy and healthy coat.
Can they get this from the food they eat?
Well, let’s see if feeding them some watermelon helps.
Read on to learn more:
- 9 interesting benefits of rabbits eating watermelon.
- Edible watermelon parts that are safe for your fluffballs.
- 9 potential dangers of feeding watermelon to your bunnies.
- And so much more…
Can rabbits eat watermelon?
Rabbits can eat watermelon. It’s a great refreshing treat for them, especially in summer. However, watermelons contain nutrients that may be more than what your bunny needs. So, be sure to feed them in small portions occasionally.
Rabbit eating watermelon – 9 benefits
#1: Great for rabbits’ optimal growth
Watermelon contains 4 oz (112 g) of potassium per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
This mineral helps prevent your bunnies from deficiencies (hypokalemia) that lead to death.
Backed by a study, rabbit diets containing 0.3% less potassium increase their death rate.
Some common symptoms of potassium deficiency include:
- Rapid weight loss.
- Muscle weakness.
- Respiratory distress.
- Paralysis or inability to move.
Note: Rabbits need at least 0.6% of potassium in their diet for optimal growth and development.
#2: Supports bone development and quality
Feeding your bunnies with watermelon slices provides the minerals that their bones need.
A 3.5 oz (100 g) of watermelon goes a long way.
It gives 0.0002 oz (7 mg) of calcium and 0.0003 oz (11 mg) of phosphorus.
This power duo is essential in your rabbit’s bone development and strength.
Their teeth need it, too.
It supports their formation and quality.
Moreover, these minerals help your fetus rabbits from developing bone defects at birth.
Rickets, for example, is a skeletal disorder that baby rabbits develop in the uterus.
Insufficient amounts of phosphorus or calcium could be the main cause of rickets.
Or an inappropriate dosage of these minerals in the mother rabbit’s diet.
#3: Great source of thiamine
Watermelon isn’t just a refreshing treat for your bunnies.
But a source of thiamine, too.
“What does thiamine do to my rabbits?”
Well, thiamine helps improve your bunny’s nervous system.
It also plays a vital role in their red blood cells.
As a result, it prevents your rabbits from the following:
- Scaly skin in their ears.
- Prolonged blood clotting or bleeding.
- Mild anemia or low levels of healthy red blood cells.
#4: Helps prevent vitamin deficiency
Rabbits also suffer from the effects of vitamin deficiency.
But watermelon may provide some essential types of vitamins that your bunnies need.
Luckily, watermelon contains a B-complex vitamin called folate.
It helps your rabbit’s body to function properly.
Folate reduces the risk of your fluffy ones from the following:
- Artery damage.
- Blood vessel disorders.
- Increase in blood clot formation.
Plus, your bunny gets 0.0001 oz (3 mg) of folate per 3.5 oz (100 g) of watermelon intake.
#5: Boosts calcium content
Watermelon is a great source of magnesium.
Your bunnies may enjoy 0.0003 oz (10 mg) of magnesium from a 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
This mineral is also an essential factor in bone development.
It partners with calcium in making your bunny’s bones and teeth strong.
In fact, an increase in calcium needs also requires the same level of magnesium.
“What happens when rabbits have magnesium deficiencies?”
Your rabbits may chew their fur a lot if they lack magnesium.
Interestingly, magnesium also helps send nerve impulses.
Or the signals between the nerve cells resulting in responses in the body.
Note: Rabbits need at least 0.01-0.10 oz (0.3-3 g) of magnesium per 35.27 oz (kg) of body weight.
#6: Supports fetus growth
Preggy rabbits need doses of iron to provide for their offspring’s well-being.
Luckily, watermelon contains 0.000008 oz (0.24 mg) of iron per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
“How can baby rabbits benefit from iron in their mommy’s uterus?”
Upon gestation or pregnancy, mother rabbits can’t entirely share the iron they get in their milk.
But the placenta does.
This organ helps deliver iron and other nutrients to the offspring.
When mother rabbits get enough iron, it’ll sustain their litter’s (group of baby rabbits) growth.
Especially until they’re a few months older or separated from their mother.
#7: Makes their coat fluffier
As a fur parent, you might get curious sometimes.
And ask things like:
“What makes their coat soft and smooth?”
Firstly, your bunny’s healthy coat is one of the great benefits of a proper diet.
Aside from the natural oils they produce, rabbits need copper.
This is a mineral that helps your bunny’s coat smooth and thick.
Feeding them slices of watermelon will help fur growth and quality.
Watermelon contains 0.000001 oz (0.042 mg) of copper per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
Interestingly, rabbits groom each other, too.
That’s pretty much the same as taking a nice shower.
Warning: Rabbits don’t need regular baths. Bathing can be stressful for them and wears out the oils in their fur.
Relevant read: 15 Surprising Reasons Why Your Rabbit (Always) Licks You
#8: Supports their eye health
Generally, rabbits need at least 5,000-75,000 IU of vitamin A per 35.27 oz (1 kg) of body weight.
“Does watermelon contain vitamin A?”
Yes, they do.
A 3.5 oz (100 g) serving contains 569 IU of vitamin A.
This vitamin helps keep your bunny’s eyesight healthy and sharp.
As prey animals, they’re constantly on the lookout for predators nearby.
You’ll notice them sniffing and standing on elevated platforms.
Or thumping their feet to send signals of threat.
Plus, their superb night vision helps them and their companions safe.
Especially in the wild.
#9: Supplies your bunny’s beta-carotene needs
Carrots aren’t the only source of beta-carotene.
But watermelons, too.
A 3.5 oz (100 g) of watermelon slice contains 0.01 oz (303 mg) of beta-carotene.
This antioxidant does wonders for your rabbit’s health.
Not to mention, their cell functions and development.
It prevents your bunnies from life-threatening cases, such as:
- Cell and DNA damage.
BONUS: Provides hydration
Watermelon contains more than 90% water.
They may not be an ideal substitute for liquids that your bunny needs.
But watermelons may give them some cooling effects on the body.
Especially in summer or warm temperatures.
You may feed your fur babies small portions of watermelon 1-2 times a week.
Rabbit eating watermelon – 9 dangers
#1: High in carbohydrates
A 3.5 oz (100 g) of watermelon contains 0.27 oz (7.55 g) of carbohydrates.
With this amount, your bunnies could be in danger of bloating and gas.
These can be extremely painful for your bunny.
Without medical attention, it could lead to the following:
- Breathing difficulty.
- Blood circulation problems.
- Rapid increase in stomach size.
Also, carbohydrates overwork their tummy resulting in sticky poop droppings.
#2: Contains lots of sugar
There’s no wonder why your bunnies like watermelon.
It’s tasty and sweet!
But be careful.
Too much of this sugary treat may cause them harm.
According to USDA, watermelons contain 0.21 oz (6.2 g) of sugar per 3.5 oz (100 g) serving.
For a 6-pound (2.7 kg) rabbit, 2 tbsp (30 ml) of sugar or less is enough for them.
Without moderation, excess sugar intake may lead to:
- Dental problems.
- Changes in the pH level of their digestive tract.
In severe cases, the development of pathogens or bad bacteria in the tummy.
#3: Low in fiber
Vets recommend an 80-90% fiber-rich diet for your rabbits.
Unfortunately, watermelon only consists of 0.014 oz (0.4 g) of fiber.
“Why is fiber important for my rabbits?”
Firstly, your rabbits have a unique gastrointestinal (GI) structure.
And fibrous materials like grass hay are their comfort food.
The GI tract separates two forms of fiber: digestible and indigestible.
Your bunny releases indigestible fiber in the body in the form of hard poop.
While digestible fiber passes through the caecum.
This organ digests it further allowing the absorption of nutrients through the bloodstream.
However, these are only tiny amounts of nutrients.
So, your bunny needs to digest it again.
This is done by eating it once it’s expelled into the anus.
This soft, special poop (cecotropes) contains lots of vital nutrients to stay healthy.
Note: Grass hays are recommended for unlimited feeding in your bunnies.
Are your rabbits pooping everywhere?
Read here: 19 Tips To Stop A Rabbit From Pooping Everywhere (How-To)
#4: Excessive vitamin C harms your bunny
A 3.5 oz (100 g) serving of watermelon contains 0.00028 oz (8.1 mg) of vitamin C.
It doesn’t sound like much.
But rabbits already produce vitamin C in their body.
Particularly in the liver.
As a result, excess vitamin C will only lead to kidney stone formation.
And when they do, watch out for these symptoms in your rabbits:
- Blood in their urine.
- Cloudy brown urine.
- Pain during urination.
Seek your vet immediately for proper treatment.
#5: Low in Vitamin K
The importance of vitamin K in a rabbit’s health starts in the uterus.
Pregnant bunnies may need extra doses of vitamin K to prevent:
- Separation of the placenta from the uterus.
However, feeding your rabbits with watermelon may not supply what they need.
It only contains 0.000003 oz (0.1 mg) of vitamin K per 3.5 oz (100 g) of serving.
#6: Contains 0 vitamin D
“Why does vitamin D matter?”
Just as plants need sunshine, so do your fluffy ones.
Indoor rabbits that are not exposed to the UVB rays of the sun are prone to brittle bones.
The sun gives off vitamin D to push calcium and phosphorus into the body.
It works like a booster.
As an alternative, your bunnies can get vitamin D through food.
But watermelon isn’t on the list this time.
Note: Rabbits may suffer from arthritis due to old age or vitamin deficiency.
Watch the causes and treatment of rabbits with arthritis here:
#7: High pesticide content
According to EWG, watermelon contains chemical residue on its skin.
Ranking at the 33rd spot in pesticide content, this round fruit must not be taken for granted.
Pesticides in plants and vegetables decrease their nutritional benefits.
This also makes your bunnies vulnerable to diseases like cancer.
So, wash your watermelons thoroughly in running water to rinse off chemicals.
#8: Contains no vitamin E
Vitamin E protects your bunny’s cells and DNA from damage.
Your rabbits need at least 0.0017 oz (50 mg) of vitamin E per 35.27 oz (kg) of body weight.
Surprisingly, watermelons have 0 amounts of vitamin E.
For your reference, here are some potential dangers of vitamin E deficiency:
- Muscle destruction.
- Infertility or inability to reproduce.
- Damage in cell fats and proteins in the liver.
#9: Triggers food aggression
This info might raise your eyebrows.
But rabbits can get aggressive over food.
Especially when you’re feeding them past their meal time.
Or giving them food that isn’t satisfying enough.
Watermelons may be sweet and tasty.
But rabbits will ask you to give them more.
Reason: Watermelons are not fibrous enough to let them reach satiety.
Or the feeling of fullness in their tummy.
The more you give them watermelon, the higher chance of them bloating.
In some cases, showing weird behaviors like:
- Biting hard.
- Fur chewing or pulling.
- Grunting when you give them food.
Can rabbits eat watermelon skin?
Rabbits can eat watermelon skin (or rind). It contains lots of nutrients that your bunny needs. However, watermelon skin contains high amounts of sugar. So, be sure to feed this to your bunnies in moderation to prevent diabetes and dental problems.
Can rabbits eat watermelon seeds?
Rabbits shouldn’t eat watermelon seeds. They can’t properly digest it and may only cause intestinal blockages. So, remove the seeds from the flesh before feeding them.