Can Rabbits Eat Cherries? Are Cherries Safe For Rabbits?

Yes, rabbits can eat cherries, but only in small amounts as a treat and not as a regular part of their diet. Most rabbits will enjoy eating cherries because they are sweet, juicy, and high in sugar. Our mini rex bunnies, Annie and Spurgeon, both love cherries and run when they see us bringing some.

Remember these few things when feeding pet rabbits cherries:

  1. Seeds/Pits: Cherry pits contain cyanide and can be toxic to rabbits, so you should always remove them before feeding cherries to your bunny.
  2. Portion Size: Fruits should only make up a very small portion of a rabbit’s diet. Overfeeding fruit can lead to obesity and other health problems, as fruits are high in sugar.
  3. Frequency: Limit cherries to an occasional treat. A diet that is too high in sugar can lead to health problems like GI stasis, a potentially life-threatening condition in rabbits.

The main diet of a rabbit should consist of hay, a small amount of leafy greens, and a smaller amount of rabbit pellets. Fruits and other treats should be given sparingly. Always introduce new foods to a rabbit’s diet gradually and watch for any signs of upset stomach or changes in their eating or bathroom habits.

Can Rabbits Have Cherries?

can rabbits safely eat cherries
Annie eating her cherry with pip and stalk removed

Cherries, like many fruits, contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that can offer some health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet. The key nutrients found in cherries include:

  1. Vitamin C: This vitamin is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and aids in the absorption of iron. Rabbits actually produce their own Vitamin C, unlike humans, but a little extra can be beneficial.
  2. Vitamin A: Important for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune function.
  3. Vitamin K: This vitamin plays a role in blood clotting, which helps wounds heal properly.
  4. Potassium: An essential mineral for maintaining proper heart and muscle function.
  5. Fiber: Cherries, like other fruits, contain dietary fiber which can contribute to digestive health.

Remember, while cherries do contain these beneficial nutrients, they should be given sparingly due to their high sugar content. They should not be a replacement for the rabbit’s primary diet of hay, vegetables, and a small number of pellets.

The hay, in particular, is critical for a rabbit’s dental and digestive health and should make up the majority of their diet. Always be sure to thoroughly wash and pit cherries before giving them to your rabbit, and monitor your pet for any potential adverse reactions when introducing any new food into their diet.

Are Cherries Toxic For Rabbits?

how much cherry to give rabbits
1/2 – 1 cherry a day is fine for most rabbits

The potentially toxic part of cherries for rabbits, and many other animals, including humans, is the seed or pit. The pit of the cherry contains a compound called amygdalin. When ingested and metabolized, this compound breaks down into hydrogen cyanide, a potentially toxic substance.

Cyanide interferes with cells’ ability to use oxygen, essentially preventing them from being able to function properly. In large enough amounts, cyanide can be fatal. It’s important to note, however, that a rabbit would likely need to consume a large number of cherry pits to receive a lethal dose of cyanide. Nonetheless, even smaller amounts can still cause health issues, such as digestive problems.

It’s also worth noting that the pit of a cherry can present a choking hazard for a rabbit, or could cause an intestinal blockage if swallowed. For these reasons, it’s best to completely remove the pit before feeding cherries to your rabbit.

Cherry leaves and stems can also be harmful to rabbits. Like the pits, the leaves and stems of cherry trees contain compounds that can convert to cyanide when ingested.

Although the cyanide content varies, wilted leaves especially can be dangerous as they contain higher concentrations of these compounds. That’s why it’s advised to keep rabbits and other small animals away from cherry trees, particularly those that are dropping wilted leaves.

If you’re looking to give your rabbit fresh greens, safer options include herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro, or leafy greens like romaine lettuce, bok choy, and kale. But, remember that a rabbit’s primary diet should be hay, as it’s crucial for their dental and digestive health.

Sprays On Cherries

best travel carrier for rabbits
Annie in her carrier bed

There can be dangers associated with fungicides, insecticides, and fertilizers on cherries, not just for rabbits but for humans and other animals as well. When we give our rabbits and chickens cherries they come from our own fruit trees. We don’t use any chemical fertilizers or pest products, so we don’t have to worry about this, but keep it in mind if you buy cherries from the store.

Pesticides are often used in commercial farming to control pests, diseases, and weeds. However, they can also pose health risks if consumed in large amounts over time. For rabbits, because of their small size, even small amounts of pesticide residue might potentially have harmful effects.

When feeding cherries or any other fruits and vegetables to your pet, it’s important to wash them thoroughly under running water. This can help remove some of the pesticide residues, dirt, and bacteria that may be present on the surface.

Moreover, buying organic fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of pesticide exposure. Organic farms use natural methods for pest control and don’t use synthetic pesticides. However, it’s still a good practice to wash organic produce before feeding it to your rabbit.

How To Feed Rabbits Cherry

Before feeding cherries to your rabbit, be sure to:

  1. Wash the cherries thoroughly: This removes any potential pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals that might be on the cherry’s surface.
  2. Remove the pits: The pits can be a choking hazard and contain small amounts of substances that can convert into cyanide, a toxic compound.
  3. Cut into small, manageable pieces: This helps to prevent choking and makes it easier for your rabbit to eat the cherries.

As for the quantity, cherries are high in sugar, so they should be given sparingly. A good rule of thumb is to limit fruits to about 1-2 tablespoons per 5 pounds of body weight per day. Depending on the size of the cherries, this could equate to around half a cherry or less for a small rabbit.

Remember that this is a guideline, not a strict rule, and you should always monitor your rabbit’s health and behavior. If your rabbit has a history of health issues like obesity or gastrointestinal problems, it may be best to limit or even avoid cherries and other fruits. Always consult with your vet if you have any doubts or concerns.

We would give our bunnies 1 or 2 cherries a week. They actually preferred other fruit like watermelon, raspberries, and bananas compared to cherries, and of course, our tree was only fruiting for a month or so out of the year.

Can Bunnies Have Cherries?

In summary, rabbits can safely eat cherries, but these should be given as a small, occasional treat due to their high sugar content. Key nutrients in cherries include vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, and fiber, which can contribute to overall health in small amounts. However, it’s important to thoroughly wash cherries to remove potential pesticide residues and always remove the pits, as they contain cyanide compounds and can pose a choking hazard.

The leaves and stems of cherry trees are also harmful to rabbits, containing compounds that can convert to cyanide when ingested, especially in wilted leaves. Thus, it’s best to keep rabbits away from cherry trees. When introducing cherries or any new food into a rabbit’s diet, do so gradually and monitor for any changes in behavior or health.

Remember, a rabbit’s primary diet should be hay, supplemented with a small amount of fresh leafy greens and a few pellets. Treats like cherries should only make up a tiny portion of the diet. Always consult with a vet if you have any doubts or concerns about your rabbit’s diet or health.

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