Pet Consider

Can Rabbits Eat Pears?

Can Rabbits Have Pears?

Whether Bosc or Bartlett, it’s hard to turn down a bite of a fresh, juicy pear. Fruits such as pears are the sweet treats we are able to enjoy multiple times a day without damaging our weight loss efforts or our overall health—after all, no one ever developed heart disease or diabetes as a result of eating too many pears! Despite online claims about the purported dangers of fruit sugar, most of our doctors do not tell us to eat less fruit. Many of us keep a leash on our ravenous sweet teeth by snacking on healthy fruits such as pears. We need sweets to get through the day, and Mother Nature gave us fruit to keep our cravings at bay.

But what about our poor rabbits? We have the ability to run to the grocery store and pick out our favorite treats, but our furry friends are stuck with whatever we drop in their dish. To a sweet-loving human, the standard rabbit diet of hay and pellets can look pretty depressing. We want to find a safe way to spice up our buns’ diets, so we turn to the fruit bowl and spot a pile of pears. But is this a good idea? Which fruits are safe?
 
Can you give your rabbit pears?

The answer is yes, rabbits can eat small quantities of pear flesh for dessert. Your bun does not need to eat fruit on a regular basis—for rabbits, an apple a day definitely does not keep the doctor away—but fruits such as pears are excellent as treats. Pears are nontoxic, usually well-digested, and contain small amounts of micronutrients that, in the context of an overall healthy diet, may provide a healthy boost in immunity. That said, pears are still only considered healthy for rabbits when they are given as rare treats. Feeding your rabbit more than two tablespoons of pear per day may contribute to weight gain or gastrointestinal problems.

Health Benefits?

pearsRabbits, like people, love treats, and fruits such as pears are among the healthiest treat options available. Many of the products available in pet stores are heavily processed, high in starches, and low in nutritional value—they are designed more to appeal to pet parents than to nourish the pets who actually eat them. Though the package suggests that they are designed for rabbits, they are often little more than dyed corn, sweeteners, and preservatives. Fruits like pears are often lower in calories and starch. They are also much higher in nutrition, fiber, and water, which will help keep your rabbit’s body running properly.

Though pears make great treats, they are not suitable staples. Many herbivores thrive on high-fruit diets. Rabbits, who are grazing animals, do not—they must eat large quantities of fibrous foods such as hay in order to maintain health. Your bunny has evolved to meet all of their energy and nutrient needs by eating foods that are loaded with fiber, yet relatively low in starches and sugars.

Compared to standard rabbit fare, fruit is very high in sugar and calories. It is also lacking in fiber! Humans consider fruits such as pears to be excellent sources of fiber, but for rabbits, it is not enough. Fiber is what keeps food moving through the digestive system.

Things to Consider

If your bun does not get enough roughage (or if they eat too much sugary fruit), their digestion slows down—their stomach and cecum fail to empty in a timely manner, and they start to feel bloated and full. This fullness often causes them to refuse food and water, which can cause the contents of their gastrointestinal tract to dry out and become impacted. This can result in a condition called gastrointestinal stasis, where their digestion comes to a screeching halt. If your rabbit does not have a bowel movement for 12 hours, seek veterinary care. Some rabbits require emergency treatment to survive gastrointestinal motility disorders.

Fruit’s high sugar and low fiber content also puts rabbits at an increased risk of obesity. If your rabbit eats too many pears in the long term, they may start to pack on the pounds. Pudgy bunnies may look cute, but they are just as unhealthy as any other overweight animal. Rabbits who are carrying too much excess body fat may develop skin problems as a result of fat folds that make it difficult for them to groom themselves properly. In addition, obese rabbits may have a hard time eating their cecotropes, which can result in matted fur and nutritional deficiencies. Obese rabbits are also more likely to develop foot problems and cancer.

Final Thoughts

Pears are a fantastic substitute for processed rabbit treats, but they should not make up a large portion of your rabbit’s diet. Rabbits need hay in order to stay healthy. Feeding your rabbit too much of any fruit can contribute to obesity and gastrointestinal problems, so it is important to practice moderation. Give your bun a bit of pear if you would like, but not until dessert.

 

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