Treats for Rabbits

Panda taking ONE bite of my banana

Safe Treats for Rabbits: What's Good, What's Not.

Safe treats for rabbits don't have to be complicated. It can be as simple as a small piece of fruit, though many rabbit owners notice their rabbit begging for the most unlikely of things, and they oblige their pet. Why? Well, have you ever seen such a desperate little face? I've met a few bunnies very interested by the sight and sound of a bag of potato chips or popcorn opening.

Don't give it to them!

Just like us, it really doesn't take much to get them hooked on junk food. If overloaded on treats, they will not eat the food that is actually good for them. I cannot stress enough the importance of a good diet. That is the number one thing that will help ensure keep your bunny's health and longevity.

Treats to Avoid

As mentioned in the Vegetables section, do NOT feed out chocolate, cookies, crackers, bread, cake, muffins, chips, popcorn, yogurt, honey, pasta, candy or any other foods that are processed.  

Despite what seems logical, avoid most treats sold by major pet stores. Almost all of those treats have ingredients the rabbit cannot properly digest. Do not even start them on yogurt drops and honey sticks!!! They have a high sugar content and can cause obesity, as well as wreck havoc in the digestive system. 

Important: Just because a rabbit shouldn't eat yogurt drops, honey sticks, french fries, potato chips, twizzlers and popcorn, doesn't mean they won't. How many of us will eat foods that we shouldn't or even can't? Maybe it's that piece of birthday cake, or maybe it's a Christmas or Halloween party, or maybe it's that intense craving for tacos or that banana split ice cream. We may be able to monitor ourselves, but we have to make proper dietary decisions for our rabbits.

The Ultimate Vegan

If you think of your rabbit as a vegan, you may get a better sense of their proper diet - no animal products - meat, dairy, eggs or honey. That should help you make the right choices when shopping online or in a pet store.

Rabbits do enjoy their sweets and will do their best to look extra adorable when you start peeling that banana. Please do your best to ignore those big round eyes and limit their intake of the following:

  • Apples (no seeds)
  • Bananas
  • Pears (no seeds)
  • Peaches and Nectarines (remove the pit)
  • Mango
  • Berries
  • Pineapple (remove the peel)
  • Melons (can include the seeds)
  • Apricots (remove the pit)
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes (or raisins)
  • Carrots
  • Edible flowers (just use the petals - Rose, Nasturtium, daisy, Carnation, Geranium, Hollyhock, Pansies, Sunflowers, Violets)

Serving Size for berries and carrot.
Serving Size for Apple & Pear
Serving Size for a Banana
Dried Calendula (left), dried rosebuds (right)
Dried Chamomile flowers (left), dried apple leaves (right)
Dried red clover tops (left), dried hibiscus flowers (right)

Can you dry your own flowers and herbs? Of course you can. Just be 100% sure all edible flowers and leaves are safe for your bunny to consume and do not have any evidence of mold or insect infestation. I would not use any plant material that has been sprayed with any insecticide or fertilizer.

There are a number of small businesses that specialize in natural treats for small animals. I like to use Food4Buns as the products are organic and they offer a variety of flowers my bunnies like. The owner is also an experienced rabbit and guinea pig owner, so she understands healthy treats for your small animal.

Click here to browse their products.

What About Dried Fruit as a Safe Treat?

Dried fruit is fine, but most dried fruit found in the grocery store have a lot of sugar added. You can easily make your own by slicing up small pieces and drying them out in your oven or dehydrator.

What about Bunny Cookies?

Certain biscuits can be fed out as treats as well. There are a few companies that make biscuits specifically for bunnies and other small animals. Oxbow has a selection of different flavors, combining herbs and fruits. Your community rabbit or small animal rescue may be in contact with several smaller local businesses that make healthy snacks.

Click here to shop Paw Kreations.

Most bunny biscuits are comprised of hay meal and may include grains or fruit baked in to make them extra appealing to bunnies. If you feel extra ambitious, you can easily make your own.

Seeds and Nuts: Safe Treats?

Although seeds and nuts are not recommended in large quantities, they provide valuable fats and proteins, especially for giant breeds and those with long hair such as angoras, or those senior bunnies that need a few more calories to maintain their weight. Avoid small seeds, as they can cause GI obstruction. All nuts and seeds should be unsalted and raw. 

Rabbits can have about 1 teaspoon of the following:

  • Almonds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts

Important: In the Pellets section, I wrote that muesli mixes or brands that sell pellets mixed with seeds, nuts, dried fruit, etc. should not be used. What is the difference between feeding out seeds and nuts vs. pellets with these ingredients present? The answer is the amount consumed. An occasional teaspoon is much less than what is present in a bag of muesli mix. When you feed out such mixes, rabbits tend to pick out the interesting bits and leave the pellets behind (called selective feeding). They may also avoid eating hay as well. A recent study by the University of Edinburgh linked museli diets to life threatening dental and digestive disorders, leading to shorter life-spans.

Grains

Grains, such as oats, should also be reserved as treats. A definite favorite is oat groats, which are unprocessed oats. If bunnies could make a wish, I bet they would request a tub of oat groats to eat all day long. It’s very easy to overfeed groats, but do make sure you limit it. An appropriate serving size is just a pinch (about the size of a quarter). Oatmeal is also OK, but do not feed out the instant packages. Purchase the brands that you need to cook, with no added salt or sugar. For a healthy rabbit, I would just give a teaspoon, (or less). I normally reserve cooked oatmeal for rabbits who need extra calories, such as seniors or special needs.

1 tsp serving size for sunflower seeds (left). 1/4 tsp serving size for oat groats (right).

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