Providing your rabbit with the right type of feed is vitally important for their overall health and wellbeing. Rabbit’s nutritional needs are quite simple compared to some other animal breeds and providing your rabbit with a variety of different foodstuffs is not always necessary.
We were asked recently whether it would acceptable to feed to dates to rabbits and we thought this was an interesting topic that we’d like to give you some more information on.
So, can rabbits eat dates? It is not a good idea to feed your rabbit dates. This fruit is very high in sugar content and will likely cause your rabbit a severe stomach upset. Rabbits should not eat any sort of fruit as the main part of their diet and should be avoiding sugary foods at all costs.
Understandably, you may want to add a bit of variety into your rabbit’s diet since a life of living on hay and pellets can seem somewhat boring.
To us humans, this limited diet can seem rather dull and the equivalent to us eating dry toast day in, day out. Why would you not want to add in some juicy delights such as dates to mix things up a bit?
Why Rabbits Shouldn’t Eat Dates
Fruit may seem like a great idea to feed to your rabbit, but unfortunately, they can cause your rabbit some issues and it is a wise idea to avoid these or at least limit the intake.
Dates can be particularly troublesome for rabbits. This fruit is exceptionally high in sugar content which is bad news for our furry friends.
Foods such as dates can become quite addictive to rabbits, but provide no nutritional content to their health and wellbeing. Once your rabbit starts feasting on these tasty treats it can be very easy for them to forget about their regular feed such as hay which is such an important aspect of their diet.
Dates can also cause serious weight gain which can creep up on our furry companions in next to no time at all. Since they spend the majority of their time in a cage they do not have a huge window of opportunity to burn off calories which is why rabbit obesity can be common.
Rabbits have very complex digestive systems, which means feeding dates can cause severe stomach upsets and discomfort. This sugary fruit is known to give rabbit’s excess gas which can be very painful and may also cause diarrhea and loose stools.
For the welfare of your rabbit, it is always best to avoid including dates in their diet. It is always best to stick to the bare minimum when it comes to feeding rabbits.
What To Feed Rabbits Instead Of Dates
Rabbit’s nutritional needs are quite simple. They require mostly roughage to keep their digestive system functioning healthily. On a day-to-day basis, a rabbit’s nutritional intake should look like the following:
Hay should be available to rabbits freely throughout the day. A big bundle of hay (as big as them) should be provided as a starting point and topped up when needed.
Pellets should make up much less of the diet than hay. A handful of rabbit pellets should be available each day which equates to approx. a quarter of a cup, or 10% of the overall food intake.
Clean, fresh water should be available to your rabbit at all times. It helps your rabbit digest food properly, absorb valuable nutrients, and remove waste.
In addition to hay and pellets, many types of leafy green vegetables can be fed to your rabbit to add a bit of variety to their diet. You will find that many owners feed their rabbit’s lettuce and carrots to supplement the daily hay and pellets their rabbit receives.
If you are looking mix things up a bit for your furry friend then why not try some of the following veggies that are packed full of nutritional and will be less likely to cause any adverse side effects:
- Cabbage Leaves
- Brussel Sprouts
- Romaine Lettuce or Rocket
All in all, vegetables in small quantities are by far a better option for your rabbit than most fruits and we recommend avoiding dates in your rabbit’s diet for the benefit of their delicate stomachs.
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