All rabbit owners enjoy watching their beloved little furry friend munch away. While bunnies can chew on a wide variety of fruits, you can never be too sure as some aren’t recommended at all. This is why this guide aims to clear the air and ask ‘can rabbits have strawberry tops?’
Strawberries are a delectable juicy treat, especially for hot days, so it makes sense why your bun won’t hesitate to take a bite. The good news is that rabbits can digest the tops, too. However, just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.
Not only will you get the answer to this question, but stick around to find out the nitty-gritty of this snack. From nutritional benefits and disadvantages to how you should feed strawberry tops.
Can rabbits eat strawberries in general?
So by now, you should have picked up that rabbits can indeed eat strawberries as this fruit is non-toxic to them. However, it’s the quantity that determines whether it’s suitable for your pet rabbit or not. As long as you feed them in tiny quantities at a time, it should be just fine.
The reason why you don’t want to go overboard is because too much sugar can cause many health issues for rabbits. Strawberries and other berries are generally high in fiber with very little sugar compared to other fruit. In fact, there are about 0.3 ounces (eight grams) of sugar in eight medium-sized strawberries.
While it may seem little to us, remember that your pet bunny is much smaller and can only handle significantly smaller amounts. A six-pound (2,7 kg) rabbit should not consume more than two tablespoons of sugar daily.
The general rule of thumb is always to try and give your rabbit leafy greens and veggie treats rather than sweet treats. So, reaching for more bunny-friendly options will always be better when providing your bunny with their daily portion of fresh vegetables.
Psst: Did you know there are 51 rabbit breeds today? Find out more about each one before you adopt your new bunny.
Can rabbits eat strawberry tops?
Now onto the part, you’ve been waiting for: can rabbits eat strawberry tops? Yes, bunnies can totally eat strawberry leaves and stem. It might actually be better to feed your rabbit the tops rather than the flesh if you want to minimize their sugar intake.
You see, strawberry leaves are a herb part of the wild rabbit’s diet. They often nibble at fresh strawberry greens in early spring. So if you aim to provide the most authentic diet to your indoor rabbit, then strawberry leaves would make a quality addition.
Wild rabbits often eat the whole strawberry, but you can choose which part you’d like to feed your pet and mix up the ratio of fruit to tops for a healthier snack.
Can baby rabbits eat strawberries?
A kitten’s dietary needs differ significantly from adult rabbits. Fresh fruit contains far too much sugar for baby bunnies, so you should limit sugary treats to only once per week. And, of course, do not offer them any solid food until their eyes open or roughly ten days after birth.
When it comes to strawberry tops, specifically, do not feed them to kittens until they’re at least three months old. This is especially important if the mother rabbit hadn’t eaten any during nursing. Instead, steer clear if unsure and opt for hay or pellets.
Regardless, younger rabbits need a high-protein and calcium-rich diet as they grow with various veggies. So rather not waste your money by feeding them stuff like berries and bananas as they won’t really add any nutritional value to their diet.
Nutrition & benefits of strawberries and strawberry tops
Now it’s time to assess if strawberry tops are a worthy addition to your adult rabbit’s diet. Are there any health benefits to consider? What are the cons? Rest assured, all of these will be covered below.
Health benefits of strawberries and strawberry tops
Strawberry tops (and the whole fruit in general) have the following benefits to a rabbit’s health:
- Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C.
- They contain a moderate dietary fiber content.
- They contain high amounts of magnesium.
- They have low amounts of calcium.
- Strawberries are rich in antioxidants which help lower the levels of free radicals.
Overall, it’s a healthy food with a great source of vitamins and minerals, as you can see above. These are excellent for rabbits’ immune systems as they cannot make their own vitamins. Rabbits require vitamins from the food they ingest and from cecal bacteria or cecotropes.
Disadvantages of eating strawberries and strawberry tops
The high sugar content in this fruit can cause serious health problems, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even the tops of strawberries will harm your pet if given excessively. Here are some risks to consider:
- Eating too much sugar regularly can cause obesity in a bunny.
- Your rabbit’s dental health might be negatively impacted and even result in tooth decay.
- Canned or frozen strawberries can upset your rabbit’s digestive system due to all the additives and preservatives, plus they are often missing the nutritious tops.
- As mentioned before, strawberries and strawberry tops are excellent sources of vitamin C, but an extreme excess may cause kidney damage to a rabbit.
How to feed strawberry tops to your rabbit
Firstly, it’s essential only to feed your fuzzy companion fresh strawberries and tops. If it’s at a point where you wouldn’t eat the berries, it’s best not to feed them to your bunny, either. If you can, try getting your hands on organic strawberries, as these are better for both of you.
Make sure you give these sweet fruits a proper rinse before serving them to your furry friend. Whether organic, fresh from the market, or store-bought, it’s always best to give them a good wash.
Running cold water over your strawberries for about 10 to 20 seconds helps remove up to 80% of pesticide residue (which can be toxic to rabbits).
With that out of the way, you can now learn the best way to feed bunnies strawberry tops. As mentioned before, they’re best given in small amounts. You can sprinkle the green tops on fresh hay or provide them as is.
However, if you’re feeding them the whole berry, try to cut it into small pieces first. This will prevent your excited bunny from swallowing the fruit whole.
How frequently should I feed my rabbit strawberry tops?
You should only feed strawberries and their tops to your rabbit once a week to help your pet maintain a well-balanced diet. As seen above, anything more than this could result in a high sugar intake which causes many issues.
Experts recommend no more than one to three strawberries at a time — this counts for all the parts of the berry.
Strawberry top vs. whole strawberry
By now, you probably think that you might as well give your rabbit the entire strawberry every time, right? But the leaves are much healthier for your bunny than the fruit. Even though they share many vitamins and minerals, the tops are abundant in phytochemicals and micronutrients.
Moreover, the green tops are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C that may play a role in preventing chronic diseases and other life-threatening illnesses. So if you’re enjoying some yummy strawberries yourself, save the tops for your floppy-eared friend.
Can rabbits eat strawberry tops? | wrapped up
Strawberry tops can be a great occasional treat that your fluffy hopper will undoubtedly enjoy. As much as it may make them happy, too much of a good thing is bad. This also counts for almost all fruits. If you had to pick, then go with delicious veggie snacks rather.
Strawberry tops have some excellent nutritional value that can benefit your bunny. Remember to ensure they’re fresh and clean before feeding them to your pet. If you’re still unsure, you can always ask your vet for advice.
All in all, it’s safe to include strawberry tops as a part of a healthy bunny diet — in moderation, of course.
Now that you’re an expert on this topic, you might also want to know what rabbit poop looks like.
Steph Dyson is a travel journalist by trade but a lover of all small pets. She’s been a pet mum to everything from gerbils to guinea pigs, rabbits to hamsters, and fish to dogs of all shapes and sizes. She wants to share her years of experience with small pets and make Small Pet Guides the go-to website for pet owners seeking information and care advice.