Pet Consider

Can Rabbits Eat Kiwi?

Can Rabbits Have Kiwi?

We generally associate the color green with the vegetables that our parents had to force us to eat as children, but there are a handful of sweet treats that share this otherwise-distasteful color. Fruits like granny smith apples, green grapes, and even pears allow us to technically eat all the colors of the rainbow without needing to rely on the leafy greens our parents and our doctors so desperately want us to eat. Undoubtedly the most exciting green fruit, however, is kiwi. Along with pineapple, watermelon, and mango, kiwi is one of the festive fruits of summer. Topping anything with a sliced kiwifruit immediately makes it feel decadent and summery.

But is this fun summer fruit a safe food to share with our beloved bunnies? By now, most of us have grown comfortable feeding our dogs just about anything (they have black holes, not stomachs), but we know we have to be cautious about what goes into our rabbits’ mouths. So, what’s the verdict? 
 
Can you give your rabbit kiwi?

The answer is yes, rabbits can eat small amounts of kiwi as a treat. Like many of our favorite fruits, kiwi is nontoxic—this means that we can experiment with this sweet treat without having to worry about symptoms of toxicity or organ failure. It is important, however, to stress that kiwi should only be given to rabbits in fairly small amounts. Though this food is not technically toxic and will not cause kidney or liver failure, it can cause serious problems for your rabbit’s fragile gastrointestinal tract. So, if you’ve already dropped half a kiwi into your rabbit’s bowl, do not panic, but know that you need to practice moderation in the future.

Health Benefits of Feeding Your Rabbit Kiwi

kiwiBut isn’t kiwi a superfood? It may be an excellent food for those of us humans who have access to large amounts of kiwi, but it offers relatively few health benefits for our bunnies. This is not because it is lacking in nutrients—not at all! Kiwi is absolutely loaded with many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help support rabbit health. This fruit is chock full of Vitamin C, which boosts immunity, Vitamin K, which plays an important role in blood clotting, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, potassium, and even copper.

Like many juicy fruits, kiwi’s high antioxidant content can have powerful effects on overall health, too. Antioxidants appear to protect against a wide variety of afflictions, ranging from cancer and diabetes all the way to heart disease and arthritis. This may be because antioxidants neutralize dangerous metabolic waste products called free radicals, which can cause mutations within body cells that may lead to these diseases. Kiwi also appears to reduce inflammation in humans, which can alleviate symptoms of arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and respiratory illnesses.

However, it is unlikely that your rabbit would be able to consume enough kiwi fruit to reap many of these health benefits. Though kiwi is full of nutrients and phytochemicals, it is also much higher in sugar than ideal rabbit foods—the sugar content of a single kiwi will cause far more health problems than are worth the potential health benefits. For this reason, kiwi should be fed sparingly to rabbits. Kiwi and all other fruit should serve as desserts in the rabbit diet, not as dietary staples or even side dishes. Most sources agree that your rabbit should eat two tablespoons of fruit per day—tops.

Things to Consider

Giving your rabbit too much kiwi can cause digestive and nutritional problems. Too much sugar and too little fiber can cause diarrhea, constipation, and cecal motility disorders that can be serious. Your rabbit, unlike fruit-eating herbivores like fruit bats, evolved to meet all of their nutritional needs by eating high-fiber, low-sugar plant matter. This is why most of their diet should consist of fresh hay rather than sweet fruits. In the wild, bunnies would survive by grazing on fresh grasses and hay, not by chowing down on kiwi fruit!

Even if your rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract continues to run smoothly, eating an excess of kiwi can cause other problems. Compared to hay and other rabbit staples, kiwi is quite high in sugar and calories. If you make a habit of feeding your rabbit too much kiwi, they may start to gain weight. If you’re not careful, this can quickly lead to obesity, which can lead to heart problems, foot pain, fatty liver disease, arthritis, respiratory problems, and early death. If your rabbit is already overweight, they should not be eating any fruit at all.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, kiwi fruit is a safe treat option for healthy rabbits who need to satisfy their sweet tooth. It is nontoxic, full of vitamins and minerals, and usually easy to digest in small quantities. Kiwi should not, however, make up a large portion of any rabbit’s diet—eating too much fruit can result in weight gain and digestive problems.

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