Can Rabbits Have Peaches?
Even those of us who struggle to eat enough leafy greens often have few problems eating fresh, seasonal fruit when it is offered to us. One of the most beloved summer fruits is the soft, juicy, delicious-in-every-baked-good stone fruit known as the peach. We enjoy many staple fruits like apples and bananas, but few fruits feel quite so decadent as peaches. When we eat fresh peaches, we often feel like we are indulging in dessert—even though our bodies love them just as much as we do!
Humans have long used fruits such as peaches as healthy dessert options. Today, when more people struggle with maintaining a healthy diet than ever before, eating fruit for dessert seems even more brilliant. But, of course, we aren’t just worried about our own health. Those of us who share our homes with animal companions are constantly on the lookout for safe ways to treat our pets. Cats and dogs are pretty resilient, but rabbits have bodies that are strange and vastly different from our own. So, what’s the verdict on peaches? Can you give your rabbit peaches?
The answer is yes, rabbits can eat peaches in small quantities. Peaches are one of the fruits that have not been associated with poisoning, so there is no reason to fear if your rabbit has eaten a fresh peach slice. Both the skin and the flesh make perfectly safe rabbit treats. However, as with all treats, moderation is the key to keeping your bunny healthy—overindulging can result in weight gain, digestive problems, and nutritional imbalances.
Like most fruits, peaches contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals that may benefit your rabbit’s health in the long term. Peaches and other stone fruits offer micronutrients like selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and disease-fighting antioxidants. All of these micronutrients can help support a healthy bunny by boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, protecting vision, and keeping skin and fur soft and healthy.
Peaches are also loaded with phenols and carotenoids, which are thought to fight cancer. There has not been a lot of research on the effect of peaches on cancer in rabbits, but it may be possible to extrapolate from studies performed on humans and other animals.
The compounds found in these sweet stone fruits have been found to fight human lung, colon, and breast cancers. Some studies suggested that certain chemicals present in peaches may be able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells without affecting normal body cells—unlike chemotherapy, which is highly effective but unable to discriminate between healthy cells and cancer. Peaches, of course, cannot be used to prevent or treat cancer, but they and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables may lower your bunny’s chances of getting sick.
Peaches and other fruits make excellent rabbit treats. It probably comes as no surprise that most experts do not recommend using typical human desserts to treat our bunnies. The high fat, calorie, or salt content in many of our favorite snacks can have disastrous consequences on rabbit health. Fruits like peaches, on the other hand, are much lower in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. As whole, unprocessed foods, they are also unlikely to contain hidden ingredients that may be toxic to our pets.
Most rabbits love fruit. Like us, they have sweet teeth, and peaches are a great way to satisfy your rabbit’s sweet tooth without endangering their health. Unlike us, however, regular fruit consumption is not considered healthy for rabbits—your rabbit’s diet should consist mostly of extremely fibrous foods like hay. Whereas humans only need small amounts of dietary fiber to survive, rabbits absolutely must eat large quantities of high-fiber foods in order to keep their digestive systems running.
Things to Consider
If a rabbit does not eat enough dietary fiber, the consequences can be fatal. Rabbits have a special organ, called the cecum, that is designed to ferment fiber. The presence of fiber is what keeps food flowing through the gastrointestinal tract. If your rabbit does not eat enough high-fiber foods like hay, digestion slows down, which means that food does not empty from the cecum in a timely manner.
Over time, your rabbit will lose their appetite, which can cause them to stop eating and drinking altogether. This only worsens their condition—without water, the matter inside the cecum can dry out and become impacted, which can form a blockage inside the gastrointestinal tract. If your rabbit is not producing as many fecal pellets as usual, stop feeding them fruit and instead increase their hay intake.
In the end, peaches are great treats for rabbits. They are high in vitamins and minerals, much healthier than processed treats and junk foods, and generally well-tolerated in moderation. However, it is important to limit your rabbit’s portions. Most rabbits should only eat 2 tablespoons of fruit, including peaches, per day.