Watermelon is a juicy, delicious treat, and rabbits love it. Many owners prefer it on a hot summer afternoon to refresh their bunnies. But, is this fruit safe for their consumption?
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon? Yes, your rabbit can eat watermelon, but in moderation. Watermelon is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, it has high levels of sugar and FODMAPs, which may not be suitable for your bunny. If your rabbit is to obtain the nutritional value of watermelon, there are some essential precautions you need to take to ensure that the fruit is still safe for their consumption. Keep reading to find out the measures you should take when preparing and feeding your rabbit watermelon.
- Is Watermelon Healthy for Rabbits?
- Where Does Watermelon Lie in the Glycemic Index (GI)?
- What Are FODMAPs?
- What Precautions Should You Take When Feeding Your Rabbit Watermelon?
- Can Baby Rabbit Eat Watermelon?
- How Do I Serve My Rabbit Watermelon?
- Related Questions
Is Watermelon Healthy for Rabbits?
Absolutely! Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B5, potassium, and copper.
Vitamin C has excellent oxidant properties, essential for your rabbit’s immune function and skin health. Potassium is also an incredible mineral that helps keep the blood pressure in check and promotes heart health.
Watermelon also has Choline, a superb nutrient that helps improve your rabbit’s muscle movement, sleep, and brain response.
Watermelon is an ideal fruit to keep your rabbit hydrated as 92% of its content is water.
In every 100 grams of watermelon, you get:
- 4 grams of fiber
- 6 grams of carbs
- 6 grams of protein
- 2 grams of fat
- 2 grams of sugar
- 30 calories
Where Does Watermelon Lie in the Glycemic Index (GI)?
Watermelon has a relatively high amount of carbs. Carbs are simple sugars such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose.
According to the glycemic index (GI) (a measure of how fast food sugar enters the bloodstream), watermelon falls in the category of 72 – 80.
A GI of below 55 is considered low, 55-69 is medium, and if it goes above 70, that’s high. Foods with a low or medium GI are less likely to raise your rabbit’s blood sugar levels.
Glycemic index goes hand in hand with glycemic load (GL). GL is a combination of the overall carbohydrates in a food serving and the food’s GI. A GL of below 10 is low, 10-19 is medium, while anything above 19 is high.
Although watermelon has a high GI of 72, a small serving of 100g contains only 2 GL. As such, you can comfortably give your rabbit fewer amounts of watermelon occasionally. Doing so won’t affect their blood sugar levels.
What Are FODMAPs?
Due to its high fructose content, watermelon is also high in FODMAPs. FODMAPs are fermentable short-chain carbohydrates which most people and pets are unable to digest fully.
FODMAPs like fructose cause digestive discomforts such as diarrhea, bloating, gas and constipation.
If your rabbit has a history of stomach upsets, it is better to avoid this fruit. Also, if your bunny has never eaten watermelon before, give it a small piece and observe its stool for 24 hours. A watery stool could be a sign that it does not tolerate the fruit.
Note: Watermelon is an occasional treat and not a daily snack!
What Precautions Should You Take When Feeding Your Rabbit Watermelon?
To avoid digestive problems like gas, soft stool, and others;
Don’t give your rabbit watermelon daily
Rabbits predominantly feed on high-fiber foods like hay, grass, and pellets. Fruits and veggies are just supplements to keep their vitamins and mineral needs in check.
It is recommendable to give your rabbit one or two servings of watermelon per week. Too much sugar can change their bacterial equilibrium in the intestinal tract.
You also need to interchange the fruits and treats you offer your bunny to add a variety to their diet. Doing so will give them all the necessary nutritional values they need for a healthy and happy life.
Keep the quantities in check.
If you decide to give your bunny two servings of watermelon per week, each serving should not exceed one to two tablespoons per five pounds of their body weight.
Keeping the quantities low is vital in maintaining low fructose levels.
One of the most devastating effects of too much sugar is obesity. Your rabbit can put on excessive weight, which leads to GI stasis, myiasis, and an array of other health problems.
Too much sugary fruit in your rabbit’s diet could cause them to obtain fussy eating habits. They would prefer the sweet watermelon over hay, pellets, and other essential rabbit foods.
Always give your rabbit a fresh watermelon.
Freshness is a crucial consideration when giving fruits or veggies to your rabbit. Wilted, overripe, or spoilt watermelon is likely to irritate your rabbit’s stomach. Consequently, they may experience diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, and other infections.
Frosted and then defrosted watermelon is also not good as it has a mushy texture. It is recommendable to feed it fresh or as a little frozen cube.
Avoid unripe, canned, or processed watermelon as it has a high concentration of FODMAPs.
Can Baby Rabbit Eat Watermelon?
Infant rabbits should never eat watermelon and any other fresh fruit or vegetable. They have a delicate digestive system that needs time to mature.
It is better to wait until your rabbit is three months old or more to avoid digestive complications. Even so, introduce the new treat with great caution, smaller amounts than average, and in consultation with your veterinary.
Note: Start with the soft fleshy part of the watermelon and wait until the rabbit is an adult to introduce the rind.
How Do I Serve My Rabbit Watermelon?
- First, ensure that the watermelon is fresh and preferably at room temperature.
- Wash the watermelon rind thoroughly to remove dirt and pesticides
- Peel off the rind – it can be a little hard for your furry friend to bite
- Cut it open and then into your desired shape, but ensure you slice it into bite-sized pieces
- Remove the seeds – to avoid choking. If you can get a seedless watermelon, the better for you.
- Serve your rabbit a small piece on a clean platter.
Giving your bunny a tiny piece at a time will prevent choking and ensure that they don’t foil their fur. Watermelon juice is likely to stain your bunny’s fur if it sticks on it for a long time.
It is recommendable not to leave your pet alone as they snack. Observe it closely for any reaction – good or bad. Also, take this precious moment to bond with your little furry friend.
Can Rabbit Eat Watermelon Seeds?
No, it is not recommendable to give your rabbit watermelon seeds. Rabbits cannot vomit, and so any seed that sticks on their throat could lead to choking. Watermelon seeds are also hard to digest and can cause intestinal obstruction/ blockage.
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon Rinds?
A watermelon has two rinds – the outer green part and the inner white part. Amazingly, both of these parts are safe for your rabbit to eat, and they will have fun chewing it.
Some experts recommend the rind instead of the flesh due to its nutritional value. The rind has higher amounts of citrulline amino acid as compared to the red part. It is also high in fiber & potassium and low in sugars.
Despite its overwhelming benefits, don’t overfeed your bunny the rind. Serve similar quantities as you would do with the flesh.
You should also clean it well to minimize the risks of infections from dirt and pesticides. Cut it into even smaller pieces for easy ingestion.
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon Leaves?
Yes, watermelon leaves and flowers are not toxic, and your rabbit can safely eat them. Wild rabbits love them and will constantly nibble on them if you let them wander around the garden.
Can I Give My Rabbit Watermelon Juice?
Watermelon juice has the highest concentration of sugars as compared to all the other parts of the fruit. Therefore, you should avoid giving your bunny the extracted or processed juice.