Do you, as a rabbit owner want to know: Can rabbits eat cranberries? Or if rabbits eat dried cranberries? Do they have the same effect on our furry friends?
Cranberries are the type of popular fruit that is best utilized to make a delicious sauce and a refreshing juice. And due to its sweetness and high sugar content, it is usually made as a side dish or a condiment when special holidays approach, like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It has become a staple for these occasions, and people look forward to eating it.
But can you feed it to rabbits and include it as part of the daily diet? Do fresh cranberries or dried cranberries have health benefits?
What are the basic functionalities of cranberries?
Their physical traits
Cranberries are evergreen shrubs or vines with the scientific name Vaccinium macrocarpon for the North Americans and Vaccinium oxycoccos for the British.
The Britannic variety is mainly cultivated in central and northern European regions, while the American kind is grown throughout the USA, Chile, and Canada.
Cranberries can grow up to two meters long and five to twenty centimeters high. They are creeping bushes that have thin and stringy stems and smallish evergreen foliage.
Cranberries grow pinkish flowers that have unique petals, with the stamen and style pointing up for all to see. Bees are the main pollinators.
The cranberry fruits are bigger than the foliage and are green at first, then turn crimson red upon ripening,
The taste of cranberries is both sweet and acidic but delicious nonetheless.
A brief history
Cranberries originated in North America from the Algonquian American Indian tribe called Narragansett. They lived in New England, specifically in Rhode Island.
Cranberries were utilized for dying purposes and for a type of foodstuff called pemmican, which is a mixture of animal oil, dried meat, and cranberries.
They soon brought cranberries to the settlers in Massachusetts.
Cranberries were referenced by North American authors like James Rosier, Roger Williams, Thomas Shepard, and many more. It was even featured as a delicious recipe for cranberry sauce in a Pilgrim cookbook.
Cranberries were made as a bargaining tool sent to King Charles by New England patriots to appease him of a perceived slight.
Cranberries were present in the American Revolutionary War. It was cultured by one of its veterans and shipped to Boston and New York and also Europe.
When the twentieth century arrived, cranberries continued to flourish in New England. And currently, Wisconsin is the biggest cranberry producer, with Massachusetts as the second.
Can rabbits eat cranberries? Nutritional value of cranberries
Here is the complete nutrition amount of 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of fresh cranberries:
- Water- 87.13 grams
- Energy- 46 kilocalorie
- Carbohydrates- 12.2 grams
- Protein- 0.39 grams
- Sugar content- 4.04 grams
- Fats- 0.13 grams
- Dietary fibers- 3.6 grams
- Calcium- 8 milligrams
- Iron- 0.25 milligrams
- Zinc- 0.1 grams
- Sodium- 2 milligrams
- Potassium- 85 milligrams
- Phosphorus- 13 milligrams
- Magnesium- 6 milligrams
- Manganese- 0.36 milligrams
- Vit. A- 3 micrograms
- Lutein zeaxanthin- 91 micrograms
- Vit. B6- 0.057 milligrams
- Vit. B3- 0.101 milligrams
- Vit. B1- 0.012 milligrams
- Vit. B5- 0.295 milligrams
- Vit. B2- 0.02 milligrams
- Vit. B9- 1 microgram
- Vit. C- 13.3 milligrams
- Vit. E- 1.2 milligrams
- Vitamin K- 5.1 micrograms
Can rabbits eat cranberries? Its health benefits and security features in a bunny’s diet
Your rabbit has different tastes in food compared to other pets like cats and dogs. Rabbits are herbivores, which means they only eat plants in their daily diet.
As you have seen above, cranberries have healthy nutrients that young rabbits and even older bunnies need. It is both sweet and tart, excellent nourishment for rabbits as well as people. And it is perfectly safe in feeding it to them.
Various kinds of products, including cranberries, are not toxic and can be eaten by your rabbit as extra treats but not overfed. It is also more nutritious than other rabbit goodies that you can find in the pet food section at your local grocery store.
Rabbit owners now prefer fresh produce for their pet rabbits instead of store-bought bunny foods because of the general doubt about all processed food.
Low calories and sugar content
Cranberries have fewer calories compared to other products like bananas, avocados, and mangoes. It makes a better and healthier alternative for pet rabbits.
Another reason why cranberries are a healthier alternative for your rabbit is their antioxidants, which research suggests have about the same amount as blueberries.
The antioxidants in cranberries will protect your rabbit from various illnesses like arthritis, digestive issues, cognition problems, and even cancers.
Researchers have discovered that antioxidants in food eliminate metabolic waste called free radicals that damages cells in the body.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and here are its benefits to rabbits:
- It aids in boosting the immune system of bunnies
- It helps to produce collagen to heal wounds faster
- Assists in absorbing iron from plants
It is another antioxidant that can dissolve fat and aids the immune system of rabbits. It also helps in reducing the chances of other illnesses that bunnies may have and make them function properly.
Cranberries have an excellent source of fiber, which aids rabbits in digestion and also helps in reducing:
- Coronary heart disease
- Gastrointestinal ailments
Reduces the danger of cardiovascular diseases
Cranberries have polyphenols that can lower the risk of heart conditions in pet rabbits, like high blood pressure, heightened blood sugar levels, inflammation, high cholesterol, obesity, etc.
Your rabbit is a gnawer and needs its teeth for chewing and gnawing.
Cranberries can keep any bacteria forming in their choppers and also prevent gum disease.
Foods that should not be included in a rabbit’s diet
Rabbits have a digestive system that is distinctly particular compared to other animals. Its processing ability of nutrients and fibers makes them capable of adapting to various environments.
While their hyper-developed digestion is an advantage for them, it means that bunny owners should be extra careful in feeding them.
There are various foods that rabbits should not consume that will cause damage to their health. There are even a few that are toxic to rabbits.
Here are some that you should never let your pet bunny eat:
Any foods that yogurt is a part of, especially yogurt drops, will lead to enterotoxemia, which is excessive growth of undesirable bacteria in the intestinal tracts of rabbits.
Instead of yogurt and its by-products, feed your pet bunny healthier alternatives like Brussels sprouts or green peppers.
High-carb and sugary goodies
These include cookies, crackers, bread, and many more. These contain lots of sugar and carbohydrates, and if eaten too much by your pet bunny, it will lead to digestive problems.
Do not feed your pet rabbit a lot of processed foodstuff that has too much sugar and artificial flavorings.
When you are considering what to give your pet rabbit as a healthy treat, you will most likely give any fruit or vegetable at your disposal. But an avocado, while a delicious fruit for humans, can be lethal to any rabbit that eats it too much.
Any kind of cereal brand should not be fed to rabbits. It is similar to muesli, which is a processed food consisting of pellets, seeds, maize, peas, and grains. Too much of it can lead to digestive problems and teeth issues.
It is a surprise addition to this list. Do not let your pet rabbit eat lettuce that has a light color. It is because these varieties of lettuce have lactucarium, which is a chemical causing harm to rabbits if ingested.
Iceberg lettuces have very little nutrients and comprise largely of water only.
This green and leafy vegetable have the same faults as iceberg lettuce. And if your pet bunny consumes it, it will induce acute stomach pain and bloating.
Instead of feeding it to your rabbit, give it other produce like alfalfa, rosemary, etc.
It is a given since rabbits are herbivores and do not eat meat. It is also the same as their undomesticated cousins, the wild bunnies. Eating meat will make them not function properly.
This plant is eaten in its raw form is deadly for your pet bunny. But based on research, this occurs rarely to rabbits.
This vegetable is another surprise inclusion in this list, even though it has nutrients that are healthy for your rabbit, like fiber.
However, it has been discovered cauliflowers make rabbits have gas and become bloated. You can give your pet bunny other veggies to eat as a healthy snack, like radishes or green peppers.
Potatoes are not toxic to rabbits, but since it has loads of starch and carbs, it has a nasty effect on the digestive system of your per bunny.
While walnuts are an excellent snack for humans, they are bad for rabbits. It is highly fatty, which leads to rabbits getting digestive problems.
Look for other veggies or fruits to give to your rabbit instead of walnuts.
Peanuts and peanut butter are the same as walnuts, which have loads of fat. In small amounts, your rabbit will be alright. But when fed more than a teaspoonful will induce digestive problems and enable them to not function properly.
This sweet goodie might be delicious to humans but should not be fed to rabbits.
It is poisonous if eaten by other pets like dogs, and the same thing will happen to rabbits. If your rabbit eats it, take it to the vet immediately.
Even though oatmeal is not toxic to rabbits, it is not a meal recommended for our furry friends.
It is not a good source of any necessary nutrients for your rabbit. A better alternative to this is Timothy hay.
You might think that rabbits and hamsters are both herbivores and eat the same kind of plant substances.
However, rabbits need a diet high in fiber, which Timothy hay and some choicest veggies and fruits can provide.
What can rabbits eat besides cranberries? A typical rabbit’s diet
It is an absolutely essential component in a typical rabbit’s diet. Hay comprises about eighty to ninety percent of its daily diet. Rabbits are similar to cows and other grazing animals since they need to have a constant supply of hay every day.
Grass hays are low in protein but high in fiber that rabbits need for their health. The best kind of bunny hays is oat, timothy, brome, and orchard grass.
You can either give your rabbit one kind or a mix of various hays. However, the best hays are the freshest ones, so be sure to get them fresh. Also, check for dust or mold present upon purchase that can make your bunny ill.
Alfalfa is not grass but a legume and not a good alternative for adult rabbits. It is because it is too rich to be eaten every day. It can be fed once in a while as a treat.
Younger rabbits below one year old can eat alfalfa every day, but once they become adults, they have to switch to regular grass hays.
Grass hay pellets should only be fed in small amounts to your rabbit. An adult bunny of average size weighing six to ten pounds requires a one-fourth cup of pellets every day.
If your bet bunny is below five pounds, give it one-eighth only. Bigger rabbits weighing more than ten pounds also need only one-fourth cup of pellets, since it is not an essential component in their diet.
Alfalfa pellets should be given for young rabbits below one year old. Also, feed your pet bunny real grass has along with the pellets. The best pellets are the ones with a higher amount of fiber.
Pellets that have nuts, corn, and seeds should not be given to pet rabbits to eat because these are not healthy and has the potential to cause harm.
Veggies are delectable goodies for rabbits everywhere, either wild or tame. They seem like treats but can be fed every day and in moderate amounts only. The most you can give to your pet bunny is two cups daily, with two to three different kinds sliced in bite-sized pieces.
Almost all veggie types can be fed to your rabbit but with a couple of exceptions (as mentioned in the list above). And yes, they like to eat carrots.
Smaller and younger rabbits under five pounds should be fed one cup every day. If you want to introduce new veggies, do it one at a time and observe any diarrhea symptoms.
Some vegetables you can feed daily, but some only a few times per week.
Here are veggie rations you can give to your pet bunny every day:
- Okra leaves
- Bell pepper
- Radish tops
- Bok choy
- Carrot tops
- Brussels sprout
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Clover sprouts
- Radish sprouts
- Herbs like: mint, cilantro, basil, dill, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage
- Lettuce like: arugula, Boston bibb, butter, romaine, green and red leaf
Here are vegetables that you can feed your rabbit in moderation, not in large quantities, once or twice a week:
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Flowers like: marigold, rose, pansy, calendula, daylily, dianthus, hibiscus, chamomile, English daisy, nasturtium
You can give fruits to your rabbit once or twice a week. Feed it one or two spoonfuls of fruits, either one kind or mixed. Similar to veggies, if you want to introduce new fruits to your pet bunny, do it one at a time.
Here are various fruits you can give once or twice per week:
- Berries like: cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries
Occasional treat in small quantities
Rabbits adore treats, maybe because they like sweets. However, like some foods above, these should be fed in moderation only and small quantities.
A typical bunny’s preferred goodies include some veggies, flowers, and fruits mentioned above and some store-bought rabbit treats.
When thinking about giving commercial bunny treats, make it a habit to read the labels and makes sure they are safe for your rabbit.
Do not give treats rich in sugar, artificial flavorings, and preservatives.
Give fresh water
Have constant clean water in the cage at all times.
FAQ or frequently asked questions
Can rabbits eat dried cranberries? Is there a difference between dried and fresh cranberries?
Can rabbits eat cranberries? Or can rabbits at dried cranberries? Both are perfectly fine for bunnies everywhere.
There is little difference between the two. Dried cranberries are merely cranberries with water taken out. You can feed your rabbit either of the two as treats once a week or two times per week, which makes no difference.
Do rabbits even like to eat cranberries?
Yes, bunnies love eating cranberries due to their sweet and tart taste. And as mentioned before, give it moderately only.
Frozen ones need to be unthawed first before being fed.
How many cranberries can rabbits eat?
The proper measurement of quantity will depend on the weight and age of a rabbit.
Here is a list of different weights of bunny breeds and the amount of cranberries to give:
- Dwarf rabbit breeds weighing one to four pounds- One teaspoon
- Medium breeds weighing six to ten pounds- one to two tablespoons
- Large breeds weighing nine to twelve pounds- two to three tablespoons
When can bunnies begin to eat cranberries?
Here is another list of the number of cranberries you can give based on the ages of rabbits:
- Seven weeks to seven months- None
- Seven months to one year- One to two ounces or thirty to sixty grams
- Adult bunny, one to five years- two tablespoons per six pounds or 2.7 kilograms.
- Elderly rabbit, six years and onwards- Ask your vet for an appropriate diet
When should you not let your rabbit eat cranberries?
Do not let your pet bunny eat cranberries if you see that there is something wrong with it, like digestive problems.
If that is the case, remove all the food in its cage excluding hay. It will make sure your rabbit will eat the hay and get the fiber it needs.
Can bunnies drink cranberry juice?
Cranberry juice, like all juices, has too much sugar. So do not let your rabbit drink it. It will lead to health issues.
In conclusion: rabbits can eat cranberries
Can rabbits eat cranberries?
Cranberries are delicious treats for humans as well as rabbits. It does not have any toxic elements and has nutrients that all bunnies need. Only be aware of their portions and how many times to give them per week. Too much of it will induce weight gain. This way, your pet bunny will live a long and happy life because of it.