Feeding tasty foods to our pet rabbits is one of the most satisfying and enjoyable parts of being a rabbit owner. It’s a great bonding activity, and rabbits enjoy exploring new foods and interacting with us socially. But if your rabbit starts showing interest in an orange you’re eating, you might find yourself wondering, can bunnies have oranges?
While oranges are a healthy food, there are some risks in feeding them to rabbits. Rabbits have sensitive stomachs, so owners should know the facts first before introducing oranges to their pet.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about rabbits and oranges, including:
- Can rabbits eat oranges?
- What are the health benefits of oranges?
- Are there any risks of feeding oranges to your rabbit?
- How to feed oranges to your rabbits.
Read on and let’s dive into the truths about this juicy and vibrant fruit!
Can Rabbits Eat Oranges?
Rabbits can eat oranges, but they should be given as an occasional treat in small portions. Oranges contain vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber which can be beneficial to rabbits. However, eating too many oranges can cause an imbalance in the gut health of rabbits, and the high sugar content can cause dental and weight problems.
Oranges shouldn’t be given to young rabbits below 7 months as they still have sensitive stomachs.
Health Benefits of Oranges
Now that we have answered the question “Can bunnies eat oranges?”, let’s talk about the fruit itself. Oranges are nutritious powerhouses, and they are good for humans as well as rabbits.
While we think of the main benefit of oranges being vitamin C, rabbits don’t really need vitamin C in their diet, as they can make their own. Fortunately, there are a lot of other benefits your rabbit can enjoy when you add a little bit of orange to its diet:
- Oranges contain large amounts of a fiber called pectin. This dietary fiber aids digestion, thereby decreasing the chances of constipation in your rabbit. It can prevent GI stasis. It can also lower the level of cholesterol.
- Oranges also contain potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Potassium promotes cardiovascular health in rabbits. Magnesium can help regulate blood pressure, and calcium can keep bones and teeth healthy.
- Oranges contain beta-carotene. Beta-carotene lowers the risks of high blood pressure, and gives your rabbit a shiny coat. What pet owner doesn’t love it when their rabbit’s coat is soft and shiny?
Risks of Feeding Oranges to Rabbits
It is said that every good thing has a downside, and this applies to treats for your pet. While your rabbit may enjoy eating oranges, they should be given in small portions only.
There are risks associated with rabbits eating too many oranges, including:
- Digestive problems: The high sugar content in oranges can disrupt your rabbit’s gut flora, thus making it susceptible to digestive problems.
- Risk of obesity: Rabbits love sugary treats. As a result, they may become addicted to oranges and neglect their main food which is grass, hay, and pellets,
- High in acid: Oranges are highly acidic, which may cause mouth and stomach ulcers for your rabbit. Your bunny’s stomach lining is delicate, and eating an excess of acidic fruits is harmful.
- Injury to the respiratory tract: This may happen when rabbits swallow orange seeds which are choking hazards, and could get stuck in their respiratory tracts.
- Dental issues: Since oranges contain sugar, too much orange can make rabbits’ teeth vulnerable to cavities.
How to Feed Oranges to Your Rabbit
Now that we know that rabbits can indeed eat oranges as an occasional treat, it is now important for you as a pet owner to know how to feed your rabbits oranges.
What is the right way to get the benefits of oranges while preventing their risks? Here’s what you need to do.
Determine the right amount
How much orange should be given to your rabbit? The amount of orange you can give to your rabbit at one time depends on the size of your rabbit:
- Small breeds: a small piece, the size of your thumbnail
- Medium breeds: half a wedge
- Large breeds: one wedge
Pick a schedule
Oranges shouldn’t be a large part of your bunny’s meal. It’s important that your rabbit’s diet is mostly made up of grass hay and green leafy vegetables.
Check and wash the fruit carefully
Choose the oranges for your rabbit carefully, and make sure you only buy fresh, plump, ripe oranges. If an orange looks dry and unattractive, chances are that it is already rotten inside and may give your rabbit an upset stomach.
Another factor is that most oranges are farmed with pesticides and preservatives, so you need to either peel them or wash them thoroughly before serving.
Watch out for any adverse effects
Observe your rabbits after you have fed them oranges. If you notice any type of inconsistency in its everyday pattern, or unusual behavior and poop, stop feeding your rabbit oranges immediately.
Can baby rabbits eat oranges?
No. Young rabbits under 7–8 months old should only be fed hay and pellets, because they need extra protein and calcium as they grow. Their sensitive stomachs are not ready for high-sugar foods or acidic citrus fruits.
At 7 months, they can transition to an adult diet as their growth slows down. However, you should still prioritize their main foods rather than giving them treats.
Can rabbits eat orange leaves?
Yes, your rabbits can eat orange leaves only if they are safe from pesticides and preservatives.
Can rabbits eat orange peel?
Yes, adult rabbits can eat orange peels if they are safe from pesticides. Ensure you wash them properly before you feed your rabbit orange peels.
Can rabbits eat dried oranges?
It’s not a good idea for your rabbit to eat dried oranges, as they contain concentrated amounts of sugar.
Can rabbits eat mandarin oranges?
Mandarin oranges and tangerines are also good for your rabbit as an occasional treat. All these fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals, but they also contain sugar, so shouldn’t be eaten by rabbits often.
Can rabbits eat orange seeds?
Seeds are choking hazards and can be very dangerous if they become lodged in your rabbit’s respiratory tract. So, don’t feed them to your rabbits.
The seeds of oranges are also bitter, so your rabbit probably won’t like them. Aside from the bad taste, they don’t contain any nutrition and are difficult to digest.
Can rabbits drink orange juice?
Your rabbit can drink orange juice, but in moderation. It should also be treated as an occasional treat, as it is high in sugar and low in beneficial fiber.
Bear in mind that store-bought orange juice often contains added sugar and preservatives. If you choose to give orange juice to your rabbit, it’s better to make it at home.
Rabbits can eat oranges, and enjoy them as much as humans do. However, oranges shouldn’t be used as a main part of the diet, but rather as a treat. Fed in moderation, oranges bring benefits like increased gut health for your rabbit, but overfeeding can lead to health risks like stomach upset and addiction to this sugary treat.
If this article has been helpful to you, then please share it with your fellow rabbit owners! If you have questions about your bunny’s fruity treats, please leave them in the comment section below.