Rabbits are classified as herbivores. Their digestive systems differ greatly from those of humans. What humans consider to be good nutrition is often hazardous to rabbits.
You may be wondering what to feed your rabbits then. The question is, “Can rabbits eat blueberries?” Read on and find out in this article.
What are blueberries?
Blueberries are a renowned tiny North American fruit growing in bushes. They come in a variety of colors, from blue to purple. They are at their peak from June to August.
Blueberries are one of the world’s most nutrient-dense fruits. They’re usually eaten fresh, but they’re also delicious when frozen. They also come in various baked, juiced, or pureed products.
These low-cost fruits don’t require any preparation. You can obtain them at practically every grocery shop.
Are blueberries safe for rabbits?
Oh, yes, rabbits can eat blueberries, and they love them! Rabbits more likely eat the stems and leaves of a blueberry shrub than the fruit itself in the wild.
While blueberries are safe for rabbits to eat, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Before you feed this fruit to your rabbits, make sure to learn its nutritional benefits and the potential dangers.
What parts of blueberries can rabbits eat?
Stripping the skin is not only time-consuming but also useless when feeding blueberries to rabbits. Rabbits benefit from blueberry skin. The skin contains the majority of fiber and antioxidants.
The antioxidant anthocyanins are abundant in blueberries. They are concentrated in blueberry skin. This shows that the berry’s outer layer is the healthiest component for your bunny to consume.
The seeds of blueberries are so tiny and are harmless to rabbits. Your rabbit is likely to pass the seeds out with its excrement and not notice. If it helps you feel better, you can split a blueberry in half. Then, remove the seeds. Feed the skin and pulp only.
You can also offer your rabbit one or two blueberries containing seeds. Keep an eye on your pet for signs of stomach trouble. You could find it tough to feed your pet bunny. Yet, blueberry seeds are too small to harm your rabbit’s digestive system.
Stems and Leaves
Rabbits enjoy nibbling blueberry plants. Blueberry bushes are one of the rabbits’ favorite plants. They love munching on the stems of this fruit during the winter.
What types of blueberries are good for rabbits?
Fresh blueberries are the healthiest choice. They’re healthier and more refreshing with a reduced sugar level. They’re available at any local grocery shop, farmers’ market, or straight from your garden. Just make sure to clean them well.
You don’t have to remove the leaves and stems. Your rabbit can chew them as long as they’ve been washed.
Your bunny will love frozen blueberries, particularly on a summer day. However, some nutrients may be lost during the process. Frozen blueberries have the added benefit of containing a little excess water. This provides your pet with little extra hydration.
Though the change in moisture from frozen to raw is minor, bunnies weigh between 4 and 8 pounds. A little added water helps in terms of digestive health.
Roughly 85-90% of their water has been drained out in dehydrated blueberries. Although this may not seem significant, it boosts the sugar content of the blueberry.
After removing a large percentage of the blueberry’s water content, the blueberry becomes quite packed with sugar.
Like dehydrated blueberries, dried ones have their water content removed but to a greater extent. They have had between 92- 97 of their moisture sucked off. So, their sugar level is even higher.
Introduce blueberries slowly
Is it your pet rabbit’s first-time tasting blueberries? Introduce it to your bunny’s diet gradually. Too many blueberries can induce diarrhea.
Give your rabbit one blueberry and keep an eye on his digestion over the next 12-24 hours. The behavior and droppings of your rabbit will reveal whether it has a digestive problem.
Larger breeds can have 3-6 per week to start with. For instance, the Checkered Giant burns off the calories of foods high in carbohydrates like blueberries faster. They can do so because they have larger muscles and stronger digestive systems.
In contrast, a dwarf rabbit’s digestive system may tolerate one blueberry only. For example, the Dwarf Hotot may quickly gain weight from a modest number of fruits.
Give blueberries as treats
Blueberries should only be served as a treat to rabbits because they are rich in fructose or fruit sugar. A diet high in blueberries can lead to gastrointestinal troubles, dental concerns, and obesity.
Fruit is rarely seen in a rabbit’s diet in the open. So, limit your pet’s blueberry consumption to not more than two per week.
Rabbits graze, so hay and grass should make up the most of their diet. Give the blueberry treat after they’ve consumed their daily hay and leafy vegetable diet.
Always go for fresh blueberries as much as possible
While frozen, dried, or dehydrated berries are still delicious, the processing reduces their nutritional value. Make any occasional treats like blueberries as nutritious as possible.
Opt for organic blueberries. They’ll be better for your bunny’s digestive and immune systems since they’re not grown with pesticides or toxins.
Keep your blueberry plants away from your rabbits
If you have blueberries in your yard, be sure your pet rabbit does not consume everything it finds while playing and hopping around. Protect your blueberry patches so that your fruits don’t spoil and your pet rabbit doesn’t eat more than it should.
Curb your bunny’s blueberry addiction
If you’ve been overfeeding your rabbit with blueberries, it’s time to switch back to a more balanced diet. Replace them with blueberry leaves and stalks to help your rabbit overcome its blueberry addiction.
You can also try the leaves of blackberry, raspberry, or strawberry plants if you can’t access blueberry leaves and stalks. Carrot tops are another great option, and they’re easy to come by in grocery shops.
Follow the table below showing the number of blueberries you can give depending on your bunny’s age
Recommended Amount of Blueberry
7 weeks - 7 months
7 months - 1 year
1- 2 oz
Not over 2 tbsp per 6 lbs
6 years up
Consult your veterinarian
Health Benefits of Blueberries for Rabbits
Blueberries are high in the following nutrients:
Water makes up roughly 84% of blueberries. It is essential in a rabbit’s diet since it helps with hydration and bowel functions. It also prevents overheating and dehydration.
Vitamin A is necessary for skin and vision health. This vitamin is essential for your rabbit’s lungs, kidneys, and heart to operate right.
Vitamin K helps maintain healthy blood circulation and reduces the danger of blood clots. So, minerals are transported properly throughout the body. It could also help with bone health.
Folic acid increases red blood cell production, promotes immunity, and inhibits anemia.
Magnesium and potassium.
These are good for your rabbit’s heart, promoting muscle relaxation and sleep.
Phosphorus maintains bone and tooth health by interacting with calcium.
Manganese regulates protein, lipid, carbohydrate, and amino acid metabolism.
Here is a table showing the nutritional contents of raw blueberries compared with apple and mango for every 100 grams:
Blueberries are also high in antioxidants, including:
Anthocyanins are the pigments that give a blueberry its color. They help lower the risk of heart disease in rabbits.
Myricetin is a flavanol with anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties.
Quercetin is another flavanol that helps to prevent hypertension and heart disorders.
Risks of Overfeeding Rabbits with Blueberries
Blueberries are healthy and nutritious for your pets. But, if given in excess, they’re unlikely to provide any significant health benefits.
Below are some concerns connected with overfeeding:
Offering your rabbits too many blueberries may cause GI stasis. This is triggered by insufficient amounts of fiber in their diet.
Diarrhea can also occur when you overfeed your pet rabbits with large amounts of blueberries too quickly. Always start your rabbits on a new diet cautiously.
When rabbits consume too many blueberries in place of hay, they can get mushy, uneaten cecotropes. This condition is also known as “poopy bottom.” It is caused by the deficiency of fiber in their diet.
Bloating and Stomach Pain
Too much sugar can cause severe intestinal problems in bunnies. Overeating blueberries can cause bloating and soreness in the stomach.
Blueberries have a poor fiber content. Obesity in rabbits is usually caused by a diet low in fiber but high in sugar. This is common, especially in older rabbits who have a slower metabolism.
Blueberries are high in sugar. Feeding your rabbits a lot of them could cause dental problems.
Can rabbits eat blueberries? Definitely! Blueberries are a great favorite of rabbits of all breeds and sizes. They are sweet, tasty, and nutritious. But that doesn’t mean you should serve them to your pets daily. Due to their high sugar level, offer them to your rabbits as a special treat.