Grapes are berry fruits harvested from grapevines which are woody, deciduous flowering plants which belong to the genus Vitis. There are many types of grapes including the red and white ones. Some have seeds while others are seedless such as the sultanas.
These antioxidants loaded fruits contain carbs, proteins, vitamin C, K, Thiamine, Riboflavin, vitamin B6, potassium, copper among others. They are known to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, slow aging, treat some cancer types, boost attention, mood, memory among many other benefits.
As a rabbit owner, you deserve to know if it is ok to give your bunnies these fruits, i.e., whether they are harmful and poisonous or not as well as the amount to provide to them.
Can I give my bunnies grapes?
Yes, rabbits can eat grapes. They are among the safe fruits that rabbits can eat. Also, bunnies can eat raisins, which are dried grapes. However, being highly calorific and having high sugar levels, it is recommended that rabbits only eat sparingly small amounts of these fruits and as occasional treats.
Having stated they are not harmful or poisonous. It is good to clarify that the recommended rabbit’s diet should constitute about 80 % fresh hay, 10-15% fresh foods, about 5% high fiber pellets as well as unlimited clean drinking water.
The 10-15% fresh foods should have mainly green leafy including vegetables with occasional fruits and non-leafy vegetables. Remember, rabbits are herbivores, and they require high fiber foods.
If you intend to be giving your bunnies grapes, ensure they are occasional treats, and you give them a few like one, two or three depending on their sizes. Usually, you need to provide bunnies about one teaspoon of fruits per 2 pounds of their weight.
Treats are essential when training your furry friends such as litter training them (teaching them to use their littering boxes or tray), or they can be incorporated into bunny logic toys to keep them enhanced while enhancing their intelligence. They should not substitute normal diets.
Whereas we have emphasized not to feed your furry friends with a lot of these fruits, it does not mean they are not valuable. According to sciencedaily.com, they help lower blood pressure and heart damage in animals, i.e., hearts of grape-fed animals functioned better and had less damage.
Risks of feeding them too many grapes and other fruits
Their high calorific value means that your bunny will be consuming a lot of calories. This is likely to cause weight gain and increase the chances of your furry friends being obese.
Besides obesity, the high sugar amounts may affect your rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract flora, cause digestive issues, as well as cause other health conditions if you give them so many grapes and you do not couple them with their usual foods that are high in fibers.
How does excess sugar affect their digestive system? Being herbivores, bunnies cannot digest sugars. Therefore, as rabbitsafety.com notes, “the sugar travels to the intestines, and once it’s in the caecum, the gut’s bad bacteria (which thrives in sugar) rapidly break the sugar down. This causes painful gas, bloating, and diarrhea”.
You do not want your rabbit’s gut to be taken over by bad bacteria since they will also affect their gut’s pH, reduce the efficiency of digestion and nutrients absorption. Therefore, give them as treats to provide some of the nutrients they have without harming your bunny’s gut.
Giving your bunnies grapes
On whether to give your bunnies grapes with seeds or seedless ones. The best practice is to ensure they are seedless and cut into sizes that your furry friends can much to avoid choking.
Also, you need to ensure they are free of any pesticides. Begin by washing them thoroughly to get rid of any pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. Going for ones without these chemicals is a big plus (organically grown ones).
Finally, according to Rabbit.life, consider removing “the skin of the grapes. While they are edible, too much of that can lead to kidney failure or accumulation of kidney stones in your rabbits.”
Grapes can be part of an occasional tasty delight to your furry friends. Like humans, bunnies have a tooth for sweet foods and may tend to want more, or they may refuse to eat their regular diets.
However, as we have seen, you must limit the amount given to a few in a week and give them only as treats and not a substitute for their healthy diets.