vIs there anything more amazing than enjoying a tall glass of fresh watermelon juice? Somehow, it just really quenches your thirst on a hot summer’s day. Is it scorching, and your floppy-eared friend is lying in the shade trying to cool down? Perhaps you’re thinking of giving them a slice of watermelon to help keep them hydrated?
So can rabbits eat watermelon?
Rabbits can eat watermelon. However, due to its high sugar content, this fleshy fruit should only be given to rabbits as a snack and in moderation. Unlike other fruits, watermelon doesn’t contain many nutrients, and overeating watermelon can lead to obesity and diabetes.
Are you wondering if you can feed watermelon to your rabbit? But you need to know how safe it is and how much you should give them. Well, then this guide is perfect for you. It’ll provide you with all the information you need regarding feeding watermelon to rabbits.
Can Rabbits Eat Watermelon With Skin?
Surprisingly the skin (also known as the rind) of watermelon has more nutrients in it than the pink fleshy part of the fruit. Also, the rind contains less sugar than the flesh of the watermelon.
Your rabbit will benefit from eating the skin of the watermelon, which contains fiber and potassium. Most rabbits won’t eat the whole rind, but they enjoy chewing on it, which is great for their dental health.
Rabbits have open-rooted teeth, which means that their teeth continue to grow. They can develop tooth disorders such as their teeth growing in the wrong direction or developing tooth abscesses.
To prevent this, your bun needs to chew on things to wear their teeth down. Watermelon rind is a tasty and fun way for them to do this.
Let’s take a look at these tips on how to feed watermelon to your floppy-eared friend:
1. Always make sure the watermelon is fresh and organic. Wax on the rind can cause digestive issues. Watermelon that has gone off can make your bun very sick and lead to excessive vomiting and diarrhea.
2. Remove all the seeds, as they can cause blockages in your bun’s digestive tract. Purchasing seedless watermelon is best.
3. Cut the watermelon into small pieces.
4. Watermelon can be slippery. It’s best to serve it in a shallow dish so your bun can eat it easily.
Benefits of Feeding Watermelon to Rabbits
Watermelon contains very little nutritional value for rabbits as it’s made up mostly of sugar, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and a large amount of water (90%).
Here’s a look at a few of the benefits of feeding watermelon to rabbits:
- The watermelon rind contains potassium, which protects your bun against hypokalemia (deficiency of potassium in the blood).
- Watermelon has a high water content, which is excellent for keeping your bun hydrated on hot summer days.
- Chewing on the rind of watermelon helps keep your buns teeth short.
- The rind is a good source of fiber, which is vital for keeping your bunny’s digestive system running smoothly.
- It contains vitamins A and C, which boost your bun’s immune system.
- Watermelon makes an excellent reward when training.
- Watermelon contains a compound called choline, which improves your bun’s muscle functions and sleep pattern.
- It contains an antioxidant known as lycopene, which has cancer-fighting properties.
Risks of Feeding Too Many Watermelons to Rabbits
Domestic and wild rabbits have a serious sweet tooth, and watermelon is jam-packed with sugar.
Feeding too many watermelons to rabbits poses some severe risks such as:
- If your bun eats watermelon seeds by accident, the seeds can cause intestinal blockages, which, if left untreated, can be fatal.
- Watermelon is high in sugar, which can cause diarrhea and lead to obesity and diabetes.
- The high sugar levels can cause the growth of bacteria in the stomach, which can cause the digestive system to take the strain.
- Your bun may become a fussy eater and refuse to eat its usual diet of hay, fruit, vegetables, and pellets. Watermelon tastes good, and they may refuse to eat anything else.
How Many Watermelons Can I Give My Rabbit?
As mentioned, watermelon is very high in sugar and carbohydrates, so you must ensure that you don’t give your bunny too much. When feeding your rabbit watermelon, you should only give them 1 to 2 tablespoons of watermelon for every 5 pounds of body weight.
Only give your bun one helping of watermelon a week as a treat. Unfortunately, because of the sweet taste, your bun may refuse to eat anything else if you give them watermelon too often.
Your buns diet should be made up of:
- 0-5% fruit and vegetables
- 5% good-quality pellets
- 10% fresh leafy greens
- 75-80% Timothy grass hay
If you’re giving your bun watermelon for the first time, introduce it slowly. If your bun develops runny poop, you should remove the watermelon from your diet.
Can Baby Rabbits Eat Watermelon?
Here’s a look at why you shouldn’t feed watermelon to baby rabbits (kits):
1. Kits should only have their mother’s milk for the first 10 to 11 weeks.
2. A baby rabbit’s digestive system isn’t fully developed yet.
3. Once a kit is around 12 weeks old, they can begin eating small amounts of Timothy grass hay and pellets.
4. Introducing fruits and vegetables too early can cause serious digestive issues, which can lead to death.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Although watermelon is a thirst-quenching treat for humans, too much watermelon can be fatal for your bun. Besides, watermelon doesn’t offer many nutritional benefits for your floppy-eared friend. Basically, it’s a lovely snack or treats once in a while.
A friendly tip: watermelon is a sticky fruit that can get caught in your buns’ lovely, soft fur. When feeding watermelon to your bun, cut it into small-sized pieces and place it in a shallow dish. This will prevent the juices from matting your bun’s fur.
It would be best if you never bathe your rabbit, as this is traumatizing for them. Feeding your bun the watermelon rind has more benefits and is far less messy.