As a rabbit owner, you will be familiar with constantly supplying your pet with fresh, clean water. You might also notice that your rabbit will quickly get through their drink, especially when the weather is warmer.
Keeping your rabbit hydrated is one of the most important aspects of its care but as humans, it would be easy for us to assume that the bunny will get bored with drinking water. You might offer an alternative such as fruit juice; but can rabbits have fruit juice or is it bad for them?
Rabbits can have fruit juice but this should only be to encourage rehydration after an illness. Fruit juice given to rabbits should be watered to reduce the level of acidity which could otherwise upset the rabbit’s digestive system balance.
While it can be tempting to give your bunny excessive treats (how can you resist that cute, fluffy face), it is essential that these are kept to a minimum. If you want to offer your rabbit some fruit juice, there are limitations that you ought to be aware of.
Can I Give Fruit Juice To My Rabbit?
Rabbit’s diets are made up mainly of hay, a handful of rabbit pellets and occasional fruits and vegetables. While most people will opt for veggies as a treat, rabbits absolutely love little pieces of fruit. However, there is some bad news; eating too much fruit could give your bunny a bad belly. For this reason, moderation is key.
Since certain fruits are allowed for your rabbit, it stands to reason that their juices will also be suitable. But again, you must make sure to follow strict guidelines to ensure that your pet doesn’t have too much. Primarily, you should consider that fruit juices tend to be more acidic than the fruit they come from and contain very little nutritional value in terms of fibre, which is essential to the rabbit.
Giving your rabbit a small amount of fruit juice just once a week will be more than enough of a treat. But this is not something that can be done from birth. Rabbits have a very delicate digestive system which takes time to develop. If you think about a human baby, they can live solely on their mother’s milk for six months; rabbits also need time before new foods are introduced.
Until your rabbit is three months old, he should only have a diet of hay and junior rabbit pellets. The high acid content will likely be too much for your pet’s underdeveloped digestive system to handle. Since your rabbit won’t have ever tried fruit juice up until this point, he won’t be missing out on anything.
Once your rabbit reaches a suitable age, you can begin introducing other things into their diet but this should be done gradually and with caution. If you offer news foods, including juice and notice that your rabbit’s bowel movements change, you should always revert back to a hay-only diet.
If your rabbit takes well to the fruit juices, you can continue to offer them as a treat on a weekly basis. The bad news is that rabbits will keep drinking fruit juice as long as it is available. If you fill up the water bottle with diluted orange juice, you will notice that it doesn’t last very long.
For this reason, you should always make sure that you monitor how much your rabbit is drinking and only supply him with enough for one treat. It might not seem like much, but just one tablespoon of juice on treat day is more than enough for your bun. Of course, this will be watered down, and you can use about six parts water for every tablespoon of juice.
You must also think about the type of juice you are giving. Many of the fruit juices that are available in the supermarket are filled with preservatives, sugars, and other unnecessary ingredients. Since your rabbit has such a delicate digestive system, you should ensure that you only ever use 100% fruit juice.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Giving Rabbits Fruit Juice?
If you have been thinking about treating your rabbit to a small portion of fruit juice, you might be keen to know whether it will have any nutritional value or if there are any risks associated with it. Take a look at the pros and cons detailed below to help you make a more informed choice.
- Fruit juice is a good way to add a few extra vitamins to your rabbit’s diet
- Your rabbit will enjoy this occasional treat
- If your rabbit is ill and refusing to drink water, sweetening the rabbits water with a little fruit juice can encourage drinking and help rehydrate your pet.
- Fruit juice has a higher acid and sugar content
- Fruit juices do not contain high levels of fibre
- Your rabbit may develop a penchant for juice and, if given too much, may begin to refuse water
- Fruit juice, in large amounts, could cause digestive upset and pain
What Fruits Can I Give My Rabbit?
Rabbits aren’t fussy eaters and will give almost anything a try, provided it fits in with their herbivorous diet. However, there are some fruits that could be lethal to rabbits and should never be offered. One of the most fatal fruits for a rabbit is the avocado which contains high persin levels and should always be avoided.
Furthermore, rabbits should never have rhubarb as this can also be toxic to your pet. However, it is not only the fruit that could cause poisoning but the plants as well. Therefore, if you have any of these plants in your garden, you should keep your rabbit well away from them.
That being said, there are plenty of fruits that are suitable for your rabbit, as long as they are always given in moderation. Rabbits might enjoy things like apples, apricots, bananas, cherries (pitted), mangoes, melons, pears, pineapple, plums, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.
What Can Rabbits Drink Besides Water?
Water is the most natural form of hydration for rabbits. In the wild, they will thrive off this liquid and you certainly won’t find them craving a cool orange juice. It is safe to say that rabbits do not need anything other than water, but if you want to give your pet a little variety then fruit juice is one of the best options.
There are some drinks that, according to the ASPCA should never be given to rabbits, or any other animal, for that matter. These include coffee or anything else containing caffeine, alcohol, chocolate drinks, or medicated drinks.
Again, it is essential to point out that, if you do decide to give your rabbit fruit juice, this should only ever be used as a treat. If you notice any problems after your rabbit has drunk fruit juice, immediately revert back to water-only.