Can we say that like humans, rabbits eat oranges too? Oranges are one of the most common fruits that humans consume in the world today. They are known for their sweet juice, fibrous pulp and high vitamin C content. Oranges come in different species and variety, and in all of their forms, they are a fruit humans love to take.
The answer to that question is yes. Rabbits enjoy eating oranges and even playing with them. As a rabbit owner, ensuring your rabbit has a healthy diet is of great importance to you, so the main question here is, are oranges safe for rabbits to consume?
Let’s find out as we go further.
Are Oranges Harmful To Rabbits?
Oranges are good for rabbits, and they have some health benefits for these animals. Rabbits are herbivorous animals, and as such, their diet is made up mostly of hay, which is about 80%. Fresh vegetables and greens make up 10% of their diet, pellets make up about 5%, and then treats make up the remaining 5%.
Since oranges are fruits, they can be considered a treat, so they do not pose any threat to rabbits as long as they are given in minimal quantities, in the same way with other treats.
Oranges are fruits that have a high acid content as they contain citric and ascorbic acids. For this reason, they should be given to rabbits sparingly as too many of them can cause ulcers around the rabbit’s mouth and stomach upset as well. Generally, many rabbits are able to handle eating oranges well, while some others can only manage a few slices.
What Are The Health Benefits That Rabbits Gain From Eating Oranges?
Oranges have a lot of benefits they offer human beings, and that is part of the reason humans enjoy taking them. In the same vein, they have some benefits for rabbits as well. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, which is one of the major nutrients found in oranges helps to boost the immune system of the animal, fighting off harmful and infectious diseases, thereby prolonging the lifespan of your rabbit.
Vitamin A in the orange helps with excellent and clear vision while Vitamins B6 and B12 aid metabolism in the body. Oranges also help to prevent the formation of hairballs which can block your pet’s stomach and cause GI stasis or bloating. Magnesium, potassium and calcium help to provide support for the bones, joints and nerves of your rabbit.
Beta-carotene is another constituent found in orange, which is essential in strengthening the coat and skin of the rabbit, as well as lowering its blood pressure and regulating its heart rate.
Oranges also contain pectin in large amounts, and they aid digestion by quickly emptying out the food content of the colon. This, in turn, reduces the risk of exposure to toxic substances that may cause severe illnesses. It also helps in reducing cholesterol levels by stopping reabsorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Can All Rabbits Eat Oranges?
Since it has been established that oranges are not toxic or harmful to rabbits in general, you may wonder this applies to all rabbits. It does, but in the same way that as a human, you would avoid certain foods if you have a health condition, you should also not feed oranges to your rabbit in some cases.
For instance, rabbits that are suffering from diabetes should not be given oranges as oranges have high sugar content, and this can negatively affect their blood sugar levels, leading to health problems. Also, young rabbits should not be fed with oranges until they are over three months old.
This is because they have a digestive system which is not fully developed at that stage, so the acids and sugar present in the fruit may cause health challenges for them.
When you think that your rabbit is mature enough for oranges to be included in its diet give it oranges gradually a little bit at a time and wait for 24 hours. During this time, you should watch the animal carefully to check for adverse reactions. If you notice any adverse reactions, do not give the animal any more oranges, and call your veterinarian if the symptoms are severe.
What Quantity Of Orange Should I Give My Rabbit?
As with all treats, oranges should be given to rabbits moderately as excessive consumption of the fruit will cause problems for the animal. The quantity of oranges that you feed to your rabbit depends on its size age. Adult rabbits can handle eating a whole medium-sized orange, but it should be completely ripe.
If you have a young rabbit, on the other hand, you can give it a quarter of a medium orange, and it should be ripe, juicy and sweet as ripe oranges contain less acid than the unripe or half-ripe ones. Rabbits, both old and young, can have a maximum of just one orange fed in bits so that you do not overdo it and cause diarrhoea or indigestion for your pet.
How Do I Feed Oranges To My Rabbits?
If possible, it is best that you get untreated oranges for your rabbits. Wash and peel the back away properly, then cut it up in bits and remove the seeds in it before feeding it to your rabbit. It is vital that you remove the seeds because they contain hydrocyanic acids which may be harmful to your pet.
Also, the seeds may be difficult to digest, or they may cause a blockage in the respiratory tract of the rabbit, and this can lead to unpleasant situations. Another way to give an orange to your rabbit is to give it orange juice or have it mixed with the animal’s food. This way, its body will absorb the nutrients faster.
Can I Feed Orange Peel To My Rabbit?
This issue has always been a debate as some vets think it is okay to do so, while others do not recommend it. Although humans do not consume orange peels, rabbits seem to love them. Some research has shown that there are nutritional benefits to gain from the orange peel  as it is said to have four times more fibre than orange pulp.
It is also noted that orange peel contains nutrients that can lower cholesterol in the blood. Others argue that orange peels contain toxic substances, especially in cases where the fruits were treated with chemicals like pesticides. Therefore, it is necessary to seek the opinion of your veterinarian before making a decision to give your rabbit orange peels or not.
Dangers Of Overfeeding A Rabbit With Oranges
Giving your rabbits too many oranges has consequences and repercussions. As has been stated earlier, orange has high sugar content and is acidic. When rabbits take it in excess, they may experience stomach upset or suffer from diarrhoea. Also, too much consumption of orange can cause ulcers to develop in the rabbit’s mouth.
Since rabbits like sweet foods, giving them a lot of oranges can make them get addicted to eating them. If this happens, they may stop eating their usual food which contains the major nutrients their body needs, and this can be a serious problem in the long run.
As a rabbit owner, you should always make your rabbit’s health a priority. Consult the veterinarian who is in charge of your rabbit before making adjustments to its diet. There are a lot of nutrients in oranges that rabbits can make use of and benefit from, so if you feel the need to give your rabbit oranges, by all means, do so, but remember to do it moderately.
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