Apples not only taste great but provide a long list of nutritional benefits for humans. As the old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
But are they also a healthy snack for bunnies? Can rabbits eat apples?
The answer is yes, apples are safe for rabbits to eat. However, they should only ever be given occasionally as a treat, and bunnies should never eat apple seeds, stems or cores.
Are Apples Good for Rabbits?
While apples do have some nutritional benefits for bunnies that we’ll outline below, they should never be a major component of your pet’s diet.
Fresh hay should make up the bulk of your bunny’s diet and can be supplemented by vegetables, fruits and pellets. Apples have a high sugar content and should only ever be given as an occasional treat.
It’s also important to be aware that some parts of the apple are dangerous for rabbits:
- Can rabbits eat apple seeds? No. Apple seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are toxic and extremely dangerous to rabbits. They can cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems and even death.
- Can rabbits eat apple cores? No. For the same reason why rabbits can’t eat apple seeds, you should never let your furry friend eat apple cores.
- Can rabbits eat apple stems? No. The stems are also highly toxic and must be removed before you give any apple to your bunny.
- Can rabbits eat apple skin? Happily, the answer is yes, apples with skin are perfectly safe for your bunny to eat. This ensures that they’re a quick and easy treat to prepare for your furry friend.
If your rabbit does consume any toxic parts of an apple, monitor him closely for any signs of distress. And if you’re at all concerned about your pet’s health after eating apple seeds or stems, contact your vet for advice.
Health Benefits of Apples for Rabbits
Apples can provide a handful of nutritional benefits for your fluffy friend:
- They’re high in fiber. Fiber is essential for healthy digestion and overall health.
- They’re a source of potassium. Apples are well known as a good source of potassium. Rabbits that don’t get enough potassium in their diet can suffer from hypokalemia, which can lead to stunted growth, weight loss and weakened muscles.
- They include water. Apples also have high water content, which of course can help maintain your rabbit’s general health and wellbeing.
But do rabbits like apples? Yes! Because of their sweet flavor, apples are a much-loved treat for many bunnies. Just make sure not to give your rabbit more apple than is healthy for him to consume.
What Type of Apple Should My Bunny Eat?
Many rabbit owners also wonder if it matters what type of apple their rabbit eats: Can rabbits eat green apples? Should they only eat red apples?
The good news is that rabbits can eat red and green apples. Apples also come in several different varieties, including Red Delicious, Gala, Pink Lady and Granny Smith. So no matter whether you prefer a Red Delicious or a Granny Smith apple, you can share a bite of your treat with your gorgeous bunny.
However, some rabbits will prefer red apples to green apples due to their sweeter taste.
There are some minor nutritional differences between different types of apples, as shown in the table below.
|Nutritional content per 100g serve|
|Red Delicious apples (raw, with skin)||Granny Smith apples (raw, with skin)|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.2g||0.19g|
Source: FoodData Central
Risks of Feeding Apples
Unfortunately, there are also several risks you need to be aware of before feeding your furry friend any apple:
- They have toxic parts. Apple seeds, cores and stems are toxic to rabbits. They can even be life-threatening in severe cases, so take extra-special care never to feed them to your bunny.
- They’re high in sugar. Due to their high sugar content, apples should never form a major part of your rabbit’s diet. Instead, they should only be given as an occasional treat.
- They can cause an upset stomach. Some rabbits may experience an upset stomach after eating apple, as high-sugar fruits can lead to diarrhea. Make sure you introduce any new foods to your pet’s diet gradually to reduce the risk of this happening.
How Much Apple Can I Give My Rabbit?
Apples should only ever be given to rabbits in moderation. Remember, their high sugar content means they’re a “sometimes food”, so you can give your pet apple as a treat once a week or so.
In terms of the serving size, one or two slices of apple a week is sufficient.
How to Prepare Apple for Your Rabbit
You can prepare a tasty apple snack for your rabbit in a few simple steps:
- Wash the apple thoroughly to remove any pesticides.
- Make sure the stem and core have been removed and that there are no seeds.
- Chop the apple into small pieces.
- Hand-feed it to your rabbit.
A small amount of apple can make a tasty treat for your rabbit from time to time. However, apples should only ever be a minor part of your bunny’s diet, which should be largely made up of hay. You should also make sure never to let your rabbit eat the apple stem, core or seeds.