Rabbits are one of the most loveable of all pocket pets, it’s easy to want to give them human foods we enjoy, like tasty bananas! However, many human foods are not safe for rabbits to eat. So, can rabbits eat bananas? Dr. Jess explains it all below:
What Are Rabbits?
Rabbits and bunnies are small mammals that hop around from place to place.
They are commonly seen as pets with their sweet eyes, floppy ears, furry faces, and cute whiskers.
Bunnies come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, most commonly seen in shades of white, brown, black, and patches or combinations of those colors.
They can be seen with a large ear for their body size and even have long-eared varieties with even larger drooping ears.
Rabbits have long incisors (front teeth) that are constantly growing and needing to be filed either naturally or by the help of some intervention, both discussed further into this article.
What Do Rabbits Need From a Healthy Diet?
A well-balanced rabbit diet will need to deliver a multitude of things to the bunny ingesting it.
Just like humans, rabbits need the right combination of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water to keep their organs working and functioning properly.
However, the daily nutritional requirements for a rabbit differ quite greatly from that of a human, and that is reflected in the common diet that most healthy and happy pet rabbits eat.
What Does a Typical Rabbit Diet Consist of?
An adult rabbit’s main source of food in their diet should come mostly from high-quality hay.
Hay is a forage that is low in calories and high in fiber, easy on the rabbit’s digestive system.
Other pieces of the rabbit’s diet may include commercial pellets and/or treats and snacks such as fruits and vegetables.
However, not all fruits and vegetables are safe for your bunny to have.
Lets Talk Bananas?
Bananas are a very popular fruit because of their mild tasty flavor, beautiful yellow exterior peel which makes it easy to pack as a snack, and its many uses in cooking, especially in desserts.
Just like with any other fruit, bananas have their nutritional value…. as well as some things to be weary of!
Bananas have many nutritional benefits as well as tasty benefits.
Bananas contain antioxidants [source] that may help to prevent cell damage that harmful free radicals can cause. These antioxidants can help with things like preventing certain cancers and diseases.
#2- Sugar Levels:
With how tasty they taste, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that bananas contain sugar but not as much sugar as some other fruit choices contain. Too much sugar can cause health concerns such as obesity in your rabbit, so be careful.
#3- Packed with Vitamins and Minerals!
Bananas contain vitamins A B1, B6, and C, which aid in maintaining the rabbit’s immune system, eye sight, reproductive system, and body growth while they are young.
Bananas also come packed with essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron, which strengthen bones and tissues throughout the rabbit’s body systems.
Potassium helps regulate fluid balance, nerve signaling, and aids in muscle function.
More on the Importance of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is one of the major players of helping to prevent a disease known as scurvy.
Let’s just say that vitamin C is extremely important for your rabbit to have!
Can Rabbits Eat Bananas?
Well after learning about some of the health benefits and some of the risks that the consumption of bananas brings with it , wouldn’t it be nice it you could just safely feed it to your rabbit? Can rabbits eat bananas?
Well, you can…. in moderation.
That’s right, feeding a small amount of banana as a treat to your rabbit on occasion is totally fine and they will likely LOVE you for it!
Moderation = A couple little cubes of banana, equivalent to 1-2 tablespoons is enough for one adult rabbit. Baby bunnies should not be fed bananas.
In total, your bunny should have around 10% of their diet made up of fresh fruits and vegetables combined everyday, and no more than that.
If your pet does not eat all of their helping of fruits and vegetables within 12-24 hours, then you need to dispose of it for them.
They will likely not eat it, and it will only sit in their cage and get old and eventually become unsafe to eat.
The rest of their diet, the other 90 or so percent, should be made up of rabbit food and hay.
You should feed these few small pieces of banana no more than 1-2 times per week and no two days in a row.
Do Bunnies Like Bananas?
Yes they definitely do!
The reason why rabbits love bananas is because of the incredibly sweet taste from their high content of fructose (sugar).
Bananas are like candy to bunnies!
But bananas can be harmful to some pets. Are they toxic to rabbits too?
Are Bananas Harmful to Rabbits?
Yes, they can be.
Remember that too much banana fed to these little buddies can give them side effects like an upset stomach, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
This can lead to a multitude of problems including things like dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that could impart a trip to the veterinary clinic for your pocket pet vet to fix.
Some bananas can have pesticides on them that can severely harm or even kill your rabbit.
It is incredibly important to thoroughly wash all produce, including bananas, before offering it to your pet.
Besides the choking hazard, bananas can be dangerous to pets if they contain parasites or certain harmful microorganisms, making the pet sick after ingestion (eating).
But just as it’s not good for us to have too much sugar, neither is it a good idea to give loads of sugar to your rabbit. So too much banana could mean detrimental effects to your buddy, such as diabetes or obesity. Feed bananas in moderation!
So yes, consuming banana has its risks.
Can Rabbits Eat Banana Peels?
Another issue is the peel…….
Yes, your bunny an eat the peel along with their banana bites.
However, don’t be surprised if your rabbit doesn’t eat the peel, but scarfs down the banana fruit itself.
The peel is much less tasty (and has less sugar content to boot!) to your rabbit than the soft fruit of the banana inside of it.
How To Serve Bananas To Your Rabbit:
Make sure to introduce any new foods, including bananas, to your rabbit slowly and in small bite-sized amounts.
If your furry friend shows any signs of digestive discomfort, loose stool, diarrhea, or decreased appetite, stop feeding them banana immediately and contact your local veterinarian.
- 1 fresh, store-bought ripe banana
- cutting board
- kitchen cutting knife
- Check your banana for signs of parasites or irregularities. If there are concerns with your fruit, do not feed it to your pet.
- Peel the banana peel away and discard the peel if you are not serving the peel to your pet. Cut the banana into small slices, pieces, or bites, totalling no more than 1 tablespoon-worth for adult rabbits, or 1/4 - 1/2 tablespoon for smaller or dwarf rabbits.
- Remove any remaining banana that has been in the cage for longer than 12-24 hours.
- Monitor for signs of GI upset or adverse reaction.
Contact your veterinarian before changing parts of your pet's diet. Stop the feeding of banana immediately and contact your veterinarian if any signs of ill health appear.
How Much Banana Can Rabbits Have?
Bananas are best reserved as a special treat for your furry friend.
Why? Because The amount of sugar involved in this tasty fruit.
Remember that bananas contain a high amount of sugar, something that you need to monitor closely in your rabbit, espcially if they are overweight.
Therefore it is important to not overfeed banana to your pet.
A limit of 1 tablespoon worth of banana, offered to your rabbit properly (more on that in a second!), is all that should be given at one time.
If you have a dwarf rabbit or just a smaller-sized rabbit, feed up to 1/4 – 1/2 tablespoon of banana to your rabbit.
Banana should be given at a maximum of 1-2 times per week.
How Often Should Rabbits Eat Bananas?
Your rabbit can have their banana pieces as a snack one to two days a week.
These days should never be back-to-back. In fact, the days should be spread out a few days apart from one another.
Alternative Foods For Rabbits:
Your cute little bunny deserves the best – best home, best health, and best treats.
Can rabbits eat bananas? Yes – they can!
Weigh the pros and cons of feeding bananas to your rabbit before tossing them a sweet and tasty snack. If you do decide to give them a treat, remember, it’s safe in moderation.
Treating your pet to some of your favorite snacks, like banana, is just fine as long as that store-bought banana is cleaned and prepared properly, served correctly (correct amounts and correct pacing), and only to healthy rabbits.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your local vet before feeding banana to your buddy.