Oranges are one of the most popular fruits among people due to the remarkable health benefits provided by them. But can rabbits eat oranges?
Oranges are naturally very healthy. They have low calorie content and no bad cholesterol. The high fiber content known as pectin is found in high quantities. Pectin has strong laxative qualities and this helps in eliminating the food content in the colon very quickly. This results in minimal exposure to toxins which may result in serious diseases. As it prevents reabsorption of cholesterol in the blood, it acts towards decreased cholesterol levels.
Orange has high levels of Vitamin C, which being an antioxidant, reduces the possibility of acquiring harmful and infectious illnesses. The Vitamin A content helps in maintaining good vision. Additionally, oranges are also a good source of minerals like potassium, which regulate blood pressure and heart rate, and calcium which leads to the strengthening of bones.
Can rabbits eat oranges?
Rabbits generally love oranges. If you haven’t offered your rabbit oranges so far, you should try by giving a small piece first. It will probably play around with it for a while before tasting it. Feeding your rabbit oranges is okay as long as you do not do so too frequently. There is no specific rule for how much and how frequently a rabbit should eat oranges, but a safe portion is one-fourth of the fruit given after a few days, probably once in a week or ten days.
The nutritional benefits that oranges carry for people will also benefit your pet rabbit. They will be a good source of minerals, vitamins, fiber and water content, all elements being very beneficial for rabbits. One very useful advantage is that oranges prevent the formation of hairballs in the rabbit’s stomach.
Can oranges be harmful for the rabbit?
There are some disadvantages of feeding oranges to your rabbits and you should not use it as a regular part of their meals. The nutritional value of an orange may be too much for a rabbit’s digestive system to handle in large quantities or if given frequently. Another reason is the high acid content found in oranges.
Feeding oranges to your rabbit too often may cause damage to its stomach. There is also the possibility of ulcers in its mouth. Additionally, because oranges have high sugar content, rabbits are likely to become very excited. It may become addicted to the sugar content and may stop eating its regular foods. Another thing you must be careful while offering your rabbit oranges is to remove the seeds. This is because orange seeds can be the reason for a blockage in the respiratory tract which can lead to serious and life threatening situations.
Pulp or peels?
While you’ll rarely find people eating orange peels, rabbits often love them. You may be surprised to know that the peels are actually more preferable to the pulp for rabbits. The nutrients found in the orange peel make it a healthier option.
One-fourth of an orange’s peel is a suitable quantity to give at one time and contains sufficient nutritional value for the rabbit. Orange peel has four times more fiber than pulp. It also has greater quantities of tangeretin, nobiletin, flavonoids and anti-inflammation properties.
Research studies have shown that orange peel contains nutrients that are better for reducing bad cholesterol in comparison to some drugs. In another study, the water intake of the rabbits was replaced with orange juice for a period of eight weeks. The outcome was that the cholesterol level of these rabbits went down by 44%. These were no other impacts noted on the improvement of the general health conditions of the rabbits. However, it is not advisable for you to implement this as there might be other negative effects that are yet unexplored.
What should you feed your rabbit?
Veterinarians and breeders agree that rabbits should eat foods with high fiber and low protein content. Ideally, your rabbit should get fresh vegetables, hay, grass and lots of clean water daily. All these should be clean and fresh as stale foods can cause irreparable damage to your rabbit’s health. You may also add fruit occasionally for further nutritional value.
Another very important food for your pet rabbit are rabbit pellets. These often have to be age appropriate, so make sure you select the right ones. The proposed quantity that should be given to the rabbit daily would be written on the box or bag and you should follow that diligently. Too less may result in insufficient nutrients and poor health for the rabbit, while too much is likely to cause obesity.
You should also be aware of the fact that cat and dog pellets are not suitable for rabbits at all. These animals are carnivorous and the foods designed for them are not at all suitable for rabbits. Although the availability of rabbit pellets used to be an issue in the past, these are available at most pet stores now.
The most important food for rabbits is hay. Large quantities of fresh hay should be available to your rabbits all the time. If you have baby rabbits, you should introduce them to hay as early as possible. In comparison to alfalfa, a mixture of Timothy hay and mixed grass is better as this combination has lower calcium and calories.
Choose your rabbits’ food wisely
How long your pet rabbit lives depends on what it eats. As the responsibility to make the decision regarding this falls on you, make sure that you choose wisely. Offering treats occasionally is okay, but most of the times, you have to make sure that your rabbit eats foods that will contribute towards a long and healthy life.
You should know that any unusual foods or things should not be placed in your rabbit’s pen as it is likely to nibble on them instinctively.
Apart from oranges, you can also use other fruits as treats for your rabbits. There are however a few things that you must never give your rabbit. These include cereals, crackers, cookies, yogurt, pasta, bread, and chocolate. They can cause serious and even life-threatening conditions for rabbits. If your pet rabbit does eat any of these foods accidentally, you must visit the veterinarian right away.
Can rabbits eat oranges? Yes, they can, but only occasionally and as a treat.
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