Can rabbits share your breakfast blueberries? Well, better the blueberries than the cereal you put them on!
Many house rabbit owners treat their bunnies like part of the family. Your bunny is likely a source of simple comfort as you do life together – whether that’s playing, snuggling on the couch, or eating together.
As you share life with your bunny, it’s easy to forget how different rabbits’ nutritional needs actually are from those of humans. Rabbits are strict herbivores. They can only digest plants, and low-carbohydrate ones at that. So there are many human foods that you might consider harmless – like a bite of your corn flakes– that could be dangerous for your rabbit to eat.
This article will tackle topics such as:
- Are blueberries safe for rabbits?
- How many blueberries can a rabbit eat?
- Do rabbits like blueberries?
- What kind of blueberries are good for rabbits?
Can Rabbits Eat Blueberries?
Blueberries make great treats for rabbits! Here are 5 reasons why.
- It’s easy to prepare blueberries for your bunny.
- Blueberries are low on the glycemic index.
- Blueberries are high fiber.
- Blueberries are high in antioxidants and vitamins.
- Rabbits love them to the moon and back!
What Kind of Blueberries Can Rabbits Eat?
Blueberries of all kinds make some of the best rabbit treats. They’re quick and easy to serve, relatively low sugar compared to other fruits, and loaded with nutrition.
Rabbits can eat fresh, frozen, dried, wild, and cultivated blueberries, but some of these varieties are better than others. We’ll go through each one in detail below.
Cultivated vs. Wild Blueberries
In North America, blueberry varieties fall under one of two categories: high bush (cultivated) and low bush (wild) blueberries.
There are several different species within each of these two categories, and many more species that grow across the globe. But all of them are edible for rabbits and their keepers.
My rabbits and I are spoiled on wild northern blueberries, since I grew up picking them in my northern Michigan backyard.
Wild blueberries are tiny, easy for rabbits to bite into, rich in flavor and nutrition, and – if you forage them from the wild – free of pesticides or other concerning chemicals.
Cultivated blueberries – or the regular ones you see in the produce section – are larger and sweeter than their wild cousins, and rabbits gobble them up, too.
Can rabbits eat frozen blueberries?
Yes, rabbits can eat frozen blueberries. In fact, if you don’t live in an area where wild blueberries grow, buying frozen ones may be your only source for wild blueberries.
Frozen fruit can even be healthier for your rabbit than fresh berries! By the time your “fresh” blueberries get to the grocery store, they have already been sitting in a package for a week or more.
Nutrients have started breaking down and mold spores are looking for a foothold on “fresh” blueberries before you even get them home.
In contrast, frozen blueberries are preserved in their peak condition by flash-freezing. When giving them to your rabbit, don’t cook them, but you can let frozen berries thaw first.
Thawed blueberries will be soft (though messy) and pose less of a choking hazard than fresh berries.
Can rabbits eat dried or dehydrated blueberries?
Be wary of feeding dried or dehydrated fruit to your rabbits. Many dehydrated fruits include canola oil, added sugar, and/or sulfites to aid the drying process. None of these additives are safe or healthy for rabbits.
Dehydrated blueberries with nothing else added are safe for rabbits in small amounts. But, since most of the water is gone, dried blueberries have a much higher percentage of sugar for their weight than fresh ones.
Only feed your rabbit 2-4 blueberries at a time, even if they are tiny dehydrated ones.
Can rabbits eat blueberry seeds?
Blueberries are not stone fruits, and they don’t have large seeds. You don’t need to remove seeds before giving blueberries to your rabbit. The seeds are almost microscopic, and will pass through your rabbit’s system without causing harm.
What Other Kinds of Berries Can Rabbits Eat?
Rabbits can eat most berries that are edible for humans. Other safe berries for rabbits include:
The common favorites – strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries – are all safe for rabbits to eat, whether fresh or frozen.
Rabbits can even eat the biggest berry found in American grocery stores: watermelon. (Yes, a watermelon is technically a berry!)
Are Blueberries Good For Rabbits?
Yes, blueberries are good for rabbits! Let’s look at some of the star nutrients in this summer fruit.
Nutritional Benefits of Blueberries
The rich indigo color of blueberries is created by a pigment called anthocyanin. While several fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanin – such as red cabbage and purple cauliflower – blueberries have higher concentrations of this antioxidant than most other edible plants.
According to the Wikipedia page linked above, scientific reviews are mixed on whether anthocyanins have direct health benefits or not. However, a host of studies indicate that blueberries as a whole fruit have positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and even brain function.
Since rabbits need to consume high-fiber diets, the significant fiber content of blueberries means your bunny can indulge guilt-free.
Blueberries also contain vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, and potassium.
How many blueberries can a rabbit have in a day?
Rabbits can have 2-4 blueberries per day as a treat. (If you are feeding your rabbit tiny wild blueberries, you can increase this to 2 tablespoons.)
It is generally recommended that rabbits only have 1-2 tablespoons of fruit per day.
Can rabbits have blueberries every day?
When you first introduce blueberries to your rabbit, only give him one or two. Then wait a few days (while avoiding other sweet treats) and watch for signs of diarrhea or upset stomach in your bunny.
If the blueberries seem to disagree with your rabbit, don’t feed him anything besides hay until fully recovered. But if there are no apparent problems, you can slowly increase the number of blueberries a rabbit eats to 1-2 tablespoons per day.
Rabbits can have a few blueberries every day if that’s the only fruit they are eating. Don’t give your bunny blueberries on days that you also give him bananas or other sweet treats. Too much fruit can lead to obesity and tooth decay in rabbits.
Cautions For Feeding Rabbits Blueberries
Though I’m a big fan of blueberries as a rabbit treat in general, here are a few things to keep in mind when feeding them to your bunny.
Watch for Mold
Rabbits love blueberries. People love blueberries. And unfortunately, mold does, too. When you bring fresh blueberries home, wash them right away and use this storage hack to keep them fresh as long as possible.
Inspect every berry before giving it to your rabbits. If there are any signs of mold or decomposition, throw it away. While some farmers feed their large animals spoiled produce, you should never do this with rabbits.
Bunnies have extremely sensitive digestive tracts and ingesting even a little mold can be dangerous for them.
While blueberries are naturally full of goodness with almost nothing in them to cause concern, modern growers rely on large amounts of pesticides to produce this fruit.
Since blueberries are soft-skinned, they absorb larger amounts of pesticides than other fruit, such as kiwi.
To avoid pesticides, buy organic or wild grown blueberries, and wash them very well.
Don’t Feed Fruit to Rabbits with Digestive Problems
While most rabbits can handle a small amount of fruit, all rabbits should be eating 80-90% hay. And if your bunny is prone to an upset stomach, it shouldn’t eat any fruit at all.
Fruit sugar – while much healthier than refined sugar – can still impact the gut bacteria in a rabbit and make it harder for a bunny with digestive issues to recover.
How to Feed Your Rabbit Blueberries
- Buy good quality blueberries and store them in the refrigerator.
- Wash them with warm water and a safe cleanser – like baking soda.
- Give blueberries to your rabbit one at a time. If they are large blueberries, you may need to cut them in half.
Do rabbits like blueberries?
Most rabbits love blueberries. (If your diet was mostly grass, wouldn’t you get so excited about a blueberry that you’d want to binky jump, too?)
However, if it’s your rabbit’s first time eating blueberries, don’t be surprised if he’s reluctant to try them at first.
Rabbits usually approach new foods with caution. They’ll sniff, lick, or nuzzle a new food to make sure it’s safe before trying it. You can encourage your bunny to eat it by cutting the berry in half, so your rabbit can access the juicy flesh without going through the skin.
Blueberries are my first choice for a snack that my bunnies and I can enjoy together. It’s a delightful bonding experience when my house rabbit, Sage, climbs on to my lap to enjoy this fruit with me.
Blueberries are nutritious for rabbits. They contain a swath of vitamins and minerals, as well as enough fiber to help rabbits digest the sugar in them without experiencing blood sugar spikes. As long as you avoid molded berries or ones that have been contaminated with pesticides, blueberries can be a healthy part of your rabbit’s diet.
Do you have a bunny with a taste for blueberries? Share your story with us in the comments!