Pet Consider

Can Rabbits Eat Pineapples?

Can Rabbits Have Pineapple?

The 1990s and early 2000s were filled with a wide variety of artificially colored, artificially flavored snack foods of all shapes and sizes. We satisfied our sweet teeth by eating fluorescent blue and green snacks shaped like our favorite cartoon characters, we quenched our thirst with highlighter yellow juice drinks that contained corn syrup as the first ingredient, and we never spared a thought to whether or not this was good for our health. Somewhere in the mid-2000s, however, we flipped a switch, and all things processed became the enemy. Today, anyone remotely interested in health praises the ‘natural’ and rejects the ‘unnatural’. This leads us to opt for whole fruits like pineapple, rather than fruit snacks, when we want a sweet treat. For health-conscious bunny parents, these same standards often apply to their pets’ food.

In general, whole foods are healthier than processed foods, but ‘natural’ does not always mean ‘safe’—especially where rabbits are concerned. We know that rabbits are herbivores, but is it okay to give them juicy, acidic fruits like pineapple? Will it upset their stomach? Is it poisonous?
Can you give your rabbit pineapple? 

The answer is technically yes, rabbits can safely eat small quantities of pineapple. Contrary to what your intuition may tell you, however, pineapple and other fruits are not healthy for bunnies, and they should not play a large role in their diet. Though some sources on the Internet claim that pineapple has powerful health benefits for sick bunnies, there is no real science behind these claims, and pineapple should not be used to treat any medical condition. Fruit is considered junk food for rabbits, so, if your bun is sick, pineapple is probably the last thing they need. So, if your furry friend has a sweet tooth, feeding them pineapple is acceptable as a rare treat, but it should not become a habit.

Health Benefits?

PineappleThough pineapple is high and sugar and should only be used as a treat, it is much healthier than many other popular dessert options for rabbits. Most of the products that are sold as rabbit treats contain high amounts of starch, low amounts of fiber, and a bunch of artificial colors and flavors that offer no real nutrition for your pet. Your rabbit does not need pineapple to be healthy—and, indeed, they should not eat enough of this fruit to meet any of their daily dietary needs—but there are a few nutrients in pineapple that may offer some small benefit for your bun.

Pineapple is high in Vitamin C, which can boost immunity and lower the risk of both short-term infections like colds and chronic diseases like arthritis and cancer. This is because Vitamin C, as an antioxidant, fights off free radicals. Free radicals are natural metabolic waste products that carry a high charge, which makes them highly reactive. They react with most of the other particles that they come into contact with—which, unfortunately, are usually your bun’s body cells! Some of these reactions are relatively harmless, but other ones may lead to genetic mutations that can result in cancer and other diseases.

Antioxidants like Vitamin C have the unique ability to neutralize free radicals without becoming free radicals themselves. This means that antioxidants can ‘disarm’ the highly charged particles in your bun’s body before they have a chance to cause cell damage.

The Vitamin C in pineapple is definitely a plus, but there are much better, more rabbit-friendly sources of Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Vegetables like bell peppers, leafy greens, and even broccoli contain Vitamin C—and, of course, your rabbit can meet almost all of their nutritional needs by eating high quality hay.

Things to Consider

Pineapple is safe as an occasional treat, but it can cause some serious health problems if it becomes a staple. Rabbits who eat large amounts of fruit, which is high in sugar and calories, often gain weight and become overweight or obese. Obese rabbits are more likely to suffer from skeletal problems, difficulty grooming, and a shortened lifespan. Feeding your rabbit too much pineapple and too little hay can also contribute to digestive problems, including slowed gastrointestinal motility.

Some online sources claim that the enzymes in pineapple are helpful in treating poor gastrointestinal motility, but there is no real science behind these claims. If you suspect that your rabbit has a hairball or another gastrointestinal blockage, do not give them pineapple to try to dissolve it—instead, take them to see a veterinarian. Most gastrointestinal motility problems are not solved with the addition of sugary, low-fiber fruits!

Final Thoughts

Pineapple is a sweet treat for both humans and bunnies, but we have to be careful to practice portion control when we share this food with our rabbits. Fruits are generally considered safe desserts for healthy rabbits, but they should not become dietary staples. Pineapple is not a health food, and it should not be used to treat or prevent any ailment.

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