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Watermelon is an extremely popular snack for us humans and is likely to be in the fridge, especially around summertime!
For all of you bunny owners out there, you might be wondering whether or not it’s ok to feed your rabbit a little bit of watermelon.
In this article, we’ll answer the can rabbits eat watermelon question and go over everything you need to know for keeping your bunny safe around this sweet fruit.
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon? The Short Answer
The short answer is yes, watermelon is safe for rabbits to eat. A large percentage of watermelon is made up of water, so it can help to hydrate your rabbit. This fruit features many nutrients that can be beneficial in small portions, and your rabbit is sure to beg for this sweet treat. However, watermelon is a fruit that is naturally quite high in sugars, so you need to be careful when you feed it to your bunny.
The human body is designed to be able to easily break down these sugars and turn them to fuel. That’s not exactly the case with rabbits – their digestive systems aren’t equipped to handle the breaking down of sugars. It’s ok to feed them some in small portions, but over doing it – even a little bit – can lead to some major digestive issues, gas, indigestion, or diarrhea.
With that in mind, it’s best to only offer watermelon to your bunny as a dessert or a treat, and in a small portion size. We’d also recommend only feeding watermelon as a treat to full grown bunnies – so keep it away from the youngsters.
A Few Things to Keep In Mind About Your Rabbit’s Diet
From a high level overall perspective, the diet of your bunny should be about 85% hay or fresh pellets that you’d place in a standard or automatic rabbit feeder. The next 10 to 15% of the diet should consist of fresh vegetables like bell pepper or celery. Only 0 to 5% of a rabbit’s diet should be fruits.
So with that said – while rabbits can eat watermelon, it really does need to be in moderation. In addition to the side effects we have listed out above, too much fruit and sugars can affect your bunny’s appetite, or worse, make them become dependent on too much sugar.
We don’t say that to scare you. It’s just a reminder that watermelon is not a replacement for a bona fide, healthy diet for your rabbit. In small amounts though watermelon can be a very rewarding treat!
How to Feed Watermelon to Your Rabbit
The first time you feed your rabbit watermelon, give him or her a very small amount. For the first time we recommend a half ounce cube or about a 1/2 by 1/2 inch cube to feed. Let them enjoy it and pay attention to their stools the next day. If everything seems ok and your bunny digested well, it’s ok to increase a little bit the next time.
For any fruit, the rule of thumb is a maximum of 1 ounce per day (or 2 tablespoons) for every 2 to 3 pounds your bunny weighs. Cut cubes for your bunny accordingly and feed them with small pieces at a time.
It’s also important to realize that you should only feed watermelon to your rabbit at most 2 to 3 times per week. Any more than that and you run the risk of spoiling their diet, causing health issues, or getting their bodies too used to the sugar intake levels. It also might be a good idea to mix up which fruits you feed to your rabbit on those 2 to 3 days per week that you give them a small sugary treat.
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon Seeds or Rinds?
As far as seeds go, you should never feed watermelon seeds to your rabbit, and you should not even feed your bunny a piece of watermelon that has seeds in it. The seeds don’t provide any nutritional value, but the real issue is that the seeds can easily become lodged in your bunny’s digestive tract, causing them to either choke or block their intestinal tract. Also, the seeds can easily get stuck in their teeth and damage gums.
Rinds are a little bit of a different story. The rind is probably a better choice for feeding your bunny fruit than the flesh itself. They will still enjoy the flavor, and the rind is also a tiny bit tougher which is fun for them to chomp on. And nutrition wise, rinds have far less sugar and are higher in fiber content, which is a better make up than the flesh. With that said, it’s still not advisable to feed your bunny watermelon rinds on a regular basis. Also make sure that the rind is cut into a small enough piece that your bunny can easily handle it.
Nutritional Benefits of Watermelon
Here are the general health benefits of watermelon and how in small doses, they can be beneficial to your bunny’s overall diet:
- High water content – which can help contribute to your rabbit staying hydrated
- Vitamin A – promotes strength of the immune system
- Vitamin C – helps to heal damaged skin and promotes general skin health
- Magnesium – promotes a healthy urinary tract
- Choline – helps to build strong muscles
I hope this article has helped you with the answer to the question of can rabbits eat watermelon? At the end of the day, there are a few benefits to feeding them watermelon, and they are sure to obsess over this sweet treat. You just need to be very careful to do it in moderation and make sure you don’t over do it, because the negative side effects of watermelon can be very bad if you aren’t careful.