The name of pineapples is quite misleading as this fruit has nothing to do with neither pines nor apples. In fact, pineapple is a berry-type of fruit – yes, many berries fused into one juicy and delicious tropical fruit. Well-aware of its benefits and in love with its taste, we are willing to wait as much as two years for pineapples to grow.
Considering how much we enjoy pineapples, it is no wonder why many rabbit parents want to know can rabbits eat pineapple. Are there any benefits or risks associated with rabbits eating them? And most of all, do rabbits eat pineapple in the first place?
If you want to learn the answers, keep reading, as this article will tell you everything you need to know about rabbits and pineapples.
Can Rabbits Eat Pineapple?
Yes, rabbits can eat pineapple. They contain many healthy nutrients like Vitamin C, and if you stick to our feeding guidelines for pineapples and offer an otherwise balanced diet, they can be a healthful treat. However, pineapples are high in sugar and water, so they may cause health risks like gut stasis, tooth decay, and obesity in rabbits.
Feeding your rabbit pineapples can be either beneficial or a risky challenge – it all depends on how much and how often you make pineapple available.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
That being said, you should always ensure your bunny is getting a balanced and complete diet, which is 80-90% hay wadded with healthy veggies and the occasional treats.
Can rabbits eat pineapple core, leaves, or skin?
The core is edible, but it is too tough and is best avoided. The leaves are also best avoided as they are bitter and have long fibers that can quickly get stuck in the rabbit's mouth and cause discomfort.
Finally, the skin is a no-go since it usually contains chemicals and lacks beneficial nutrients. Not to mention, it is too hard to digest.
Do rabbits like pineapple?
Yes, most rabbits adore pineapple. This is because rabbits have a sweet tooth, and sugary fruit such as pineapples soothe those cravings.
Can baby rabbits eat pineapple?
Baby rabbits have extremely delicate tummies, and even the slightest dietary changes can harm their digestion. Therefore, neither pineapple nor any other fruit is suitable for youngsters.
Now that we have the most common questions covered, it's time to move on to health benefits, risks, and how to feed rabbits pineapple in a way that prevents health problems. See, although pineapple is a nutritious food, it also comes with some health hazards you should be aware of as a pet parent.
Health benefits: Is Pineapple Good for Rabbits?
It is no secret that pineapples are packed with healthy nutrients that offer plenty of benefits. Let's see why pineapples are a good choice for rabbits.
Tons of vitamin C
There are not many things vitamin C cannot achieve. In addition to promoting excellent vision, healthy skin, and a shiny coat, vitamin C gives the immune system a strong boost.
Vitamin C is also vital for preventing heart disease and reducing blood cholesterol levels. It also promotes normal and healthy cellular and tissue regeneration and aids the absorption of other vitamins and certain minerals.
Strong immune response
One of the reasons pineapple promotes a healthy immune system is its vitamin C content. However, the presence of antioxidants makes the pineapple an even more potent immune booster.
Namely, vitamin C helps to fight off infections while the antioxidants protect cells from free radicals. Together these nutrients combat the effects of aging and have specific anti-cancer properties.
Last but not least, pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties. There is a popular theory that bromelain can prevent the formation of hairballs, and, therefore, you should add pineapples to the rabbit's diet, especially during molting season.
High thiamine content
Thiamine or vitamin B1 is an essential factor in carbohydrate metabolism – it aids their conversion to energy.
Since most of that energy is used for supporting brain function, vitamin B1 is important for brain health. It also plays a major role in promoting heart health and normal muscle contractions.
Powerful water and fiber combo
With 86% water and almost 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit, pineapples are a good source of water and dietary fiber. It goes without saying that watery fruits and foods are not a substitute for fresh water. However, they are a great source of refreshment.
The dietary fibers promote digestive health and ensure smooth intestinal motility.
A natural and healthy treat
Store-bought and processed treats often contain low-grade ingredients and are packed with chemicals – preservatives, additives, and colors.
Fresh pineapples, on the other hand, are the perfect healthy treat alternative – they are free from chemicals (especially if sourced organically) and offer many nutrients. Not to mention they are incredibly juicy and tasty.
A wide array of healthy nutrients
Just think of a vitamin or mineral, and you can find it in a slice of pineapple. Pineapples contain phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, copper, and iron. They are also rich in vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin E, and folate.
Bringing so many vitamins and minerals to the table, pineapples are definitely a rabbit-friendly and nourishing fruit.
Health Risks: Is Pineapple Bad For Rabbits?
With so many benefits, why not offer your rabbit pineapple on a daily basis? Well, here are several reasons explaining why pineapples are not suited for the daily feeding of rabbits.
High risk of obesity and diabetes
Pet rabbits are prone to gaining unnecessary weight because of two reasons – lack of physical exercise and the owners' tendency for feeding high-fat and high-sugar treats.
Obesity increases the risk of developing other health issues, including skeletal problems, grooming difficulties, and diabetes.
Pineapples are not high-fat, but with 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams of fruit, they can definitely be classified as high-sugar treats. Consequently, offering your rabbit pineapples too frequently or in excess amounts will eventually cause obesity.
Obesity increases the risk of developing other health issues, including skeletal problems, grooming difficulties, and diabetes. Diabetes is a reasonably rare diagnosis in rabbits. However, when it occurs, it occurs in rabbits with histories of eating high-sugar foods.
Gut stasis risk
Obesity and diabetes are not the only health problems that stem from the pineapple's high sugar content. Namely, foods that are rich in carbs and sugars have the potential to wreak havoc on the rabbit's digestive system and eventually cause gut stasis.
Gut stasis in rabbits is a life-threatening condition that develops when the digestion process slows down or ceases altogether. In such cases, the gases forming inside the digestive system build up and cause bloat. Given the fact that rabbits are not efficient in eliminating the gasses, they keep accumulating, making digestion even more impossible.
Symptoms of gut stasis in rabbits include:
- Loss of appetite
- No or few fecal pellets
Gut stasis is considered a medical emergency, and if you suspect your rabbit is developing gut stasis, contact a vet as soon as possible.
Too much water
In addition to being rich in sugar, pineapples are rich in water. Therefore, eating too much pineapple will likely cause diarrhea. Rabbits are very fragile, and a simple bout of diarrhea can quickly escalate into severe dehydration, which can have lethal consequences.
Again, if your rabbit is suffering from severe diarrhea, or you notice signs of dehydration such as lack of appetite, dark-colored urine, hard droppings, or sticky saliva, contact a vet as soon as possible for advice on your bunny's health.
Just like in us, sugar can cause tooth decay in rabbits. It should be noted that when it comes to their teeth, rabbits are pretty unique. Namely, the rabbit's teeth are constantly growing, and it takes a great deal of munching on hay, pellets, and rough-textured veggies to keep them well-trimmed.
If the rabbit's teeth start decaying because of too many sugary foods in their diet, the munching will be put in question.
If some teeth start to decay or overgrow, the rabbit will not be able to eat properly, leading to nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition.
Refusing regular food
Rabbits are notorious for their fondness for sweet foods. This means that if offered sweet, sugary food such as pineapple and regular hay or pellets, most rabbits will go for the pineapple. Plus, sugar can be addictive – the more your rabbits eat, the more it craves.
However, rabbits cannot thrive on pineapples alone. If your rabbit keeps choosing sweet-tasting fruits over the essential hay and pellets, it will become malnourished. The avoidance of regular food is a potentially life-threatening issue. This is especially true for rabbits, in which health issues can go south in extremely short timeframes.
So never let your rabbit fill its stomach with treats like pineapple, and ensure they are getting a balanced diet that is mostly hay.
Not a gut stasis remedy
There is a widespread misbelief that rabbits with gut stasis should be fed pineapple (even forcefully if needed). This is simply an old wives' tale solution, and it can actually do more harm than good.
Notably, a rabbit with gut stasis should avoid sugars and starches as they are often the root of the problem in the first place. Simply put, the "bad" bacteria that promote gut stasis feed on sugars and starches. Therefore, by feeding pineapple, you provide the "bad" bacteria food, thus contributing to the problem.
Feeding Guidelines: Pineapple For Rabbits
As you can see, feeding your rabbit pineapples can be either beneficial or a risky challenge – it all depends on how much and how often you make pineapple available. It also depends on how you prepare and serve this juicy tropical treat.
How much pineapple can a rabbit eat?
The serving size of pineapple for adult rabbits varies between one teaspoon and one tablespoon, depending on your pet's size. Bunnies, as already mentioned, are not allowed to enjoy the pineapple's sugary taste.
When offering pineapples to your rabbits, the key to safety is in moderation.
Keep in mind that if feeding for the first time, you should start with a significantly smaller amount and then observe your rabbit for signs of digestive discomfort. If there are no signs, you can gradually increase the serving portion.
How often can a rabbit eat pineapple?
In general, rabbits can eat pineapple once or twice per week. However, there is another catch – you should avoid serving pineapple the same day as other fruits, especially sugary ones like mangoes, grapes, cherries, and oranges. Alternatively, if you want to offer a fruit salad, downsize on the serving portion.
How to prepare pineapple for rabbits?
Everything starts by visiting the fruit section at your local grocery store or the farmer's market.
1. Always choose a fresh and ripe pineapple – the right one should be squeezable yet firm enough. If possible, always purchase organic to avoid harmful chemicals and pesticides.
2. Once you have the pineapple, you will need to remove the non-edible parts – skin, leaves, and core. This is a bit more challenging than it seems, but you can become an expert with proper guidance and a little bit of practice.
3. Start by cutting the bottom and the crown and then trim the sides. Make sure you do not leave any eyes.
4. Then cut the fruit in half and each half into lengthwise slices. Finally, remove the core from each piece and cut it into bite-sized chunks.
5. To prevent spoiling and molding, always keep the pineapple in the refrigerator.
6. If you serve the pineapple and your rabbit does not consume all of it within an hour (which is highly unlikely), remove the uneaten pieces as they can quickly spoil and rot.
What about pineapple juice, canned pineapple, or dried pineapple?
Sadly, none of these pineapple products is safe for rabbits – they are packed with added sugars and additives. Plus, they are processed foods, and rabbits are not capable of digesting processed foods. Not to mention that the processing part removes most of the healthy nutrients.
These are the nutrients you can find in 100g of pineapple:
- 50 calories
- 0.5g protein
- 13g total carbs
- 10g sugar
- 0.1g fat
- 0mg cholesterol
- 1mg sodium
- 109mg potassium
Pineapples also offer the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
From this short analysis of the pineapple's nutritional value, we can conclude that pineapples are packed with healthy nutrients. However, we can also see that this tropical fruit is loaded with sugar and too much sugar is not good for rabbits.
If you want to treat your rabbit with something juicy, tasty, and exciting, pineapple is your fruit of choice. That is as long as you use it in moderation and on special occasions.
Pineapples offer an array of health benefits. However, if used too frequently and in excess amounts, pineapples can do more harm than good. Plus, they can make your rabbit a sugar addict.
Basically, as with any other food labeled as non-staple, moderation and rational implementation are essential for safety.
Contrary to popular belief, pineapples are not the secret weapon in the battle against life-threatening gut stasis. However, that does not mean they do not come with their fair share of health benefits. Plus, they are so tasty, rabbits can easily get addicted to these tropical fruits. Well, at least my rabbit is.
However, when offering pineapples to your rabbits, the key to safety is in moderation – once every now and then and no more than few bite-sized pieces. Anything more than this and the cons outweigh the pros of serving pineapples to your rabbit.
- Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM
Ivana Crnec is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine specialized in domestic carnivores. She graduated from the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. Ivana is a certified canine nutritionist and also certified in HAACP food safety system implementation. She currently works as a veterinarian while completing her postgraduate studies. Her research has been published in international journals.
NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your rabbit’s specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.