Can rabbits eat bananas? Are they safe for them? How much is too much? We’re answering all of these questions and more in today’s post, so keep on reading!
Are bananas safe for bunnies?
Most veterinarians agree that bananas are safe to feed to rabbits. However, they contain large amounts of sugar, so only small quantities are recommended for this species.
If you feed bananas to your bunny too often, you will increase the risk of your pet becoming obese. Unlike with other animals, obesity in rabbits is extremely dangerous and can potentially cause lethal conditions.
When introducing a new food into an animal’s diet, whether bunnies or other pets, it is always good to begin with minimal amounts.
No matter your rabbit size, you can risk causing digestive distress, especially if your bunny loves bananas and eats too much at a time.
Besides watching the quantity, you also have to make sure that a treat like a banana slice is never fed in quantities making up more than 5 to 10% of a rabbit’s weekly diet. The rest of the diet should be composed of hay or grass and specific rabbit food.
Baby bunnies should never be fed fruit, so therefore, bananas either. Ideally, you should wait until they get to the age of 4 months.
Try to assess your pet rabbit’s reaction to the new food. Just to be on the safe side of things, you could clean the hutch completely, add new bedding and hay, and then have the perfect environment for assessing whether the banana has upset your bunny’s tummy or not.
If your rabbit seems to love banana peel, too, you should wash the fruit in running water. However, we’d like to note that some bananas might have traces of pesticides on their peels or preservatives that were sprayed on them in order for them to withstand transportation.
Always avoid feeding banana products to your rabbit, particularly those that you get in stores – banana bread, banana chips, and others. These are usually rich in sodium, sugar, as well as fat and starch, things that rabbits are not supposed to have – ever.
Bananas have a number of nutrients that make them healthy for a very wide range of animal species. While they do not have a potentially life-threatening nutrient in them and they’re generally safe, they are treats and should be fed as such.
Here are some of the nutrients that your bunny might enjoy if you give him or her small amounts of this fruit every week.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin A
Bananas are seen as fruits that can offer heart health benefits, positively influence the nervous system thanks to vitamin B6, and also improve digestion given their high dietary fiber content. But bunnies already get enough fiber from hay, for example, so this benefit can just as well be ignored.
Another reason to occasionally feed this fruit to your pet rabbits would be that it contains vitamin A, which has been linked with maintaining good eye health in many studies over the years.
The moderate iron content in bananas can also improve an animal’s circulatory system in that it supports the blood transportation of oxygen and essential nutrients to and from important organs.
Other nutrients contained by this fruit are folate, which increases red blood cell production and ensures a good immune response, and phosphorus, which is essential for the development of a healthy osteo-skeletal system.
Potassium is also known for improving sleep, so if your bunny is stressed or anxious and you’d like to make sure that they’re getting some well-deserved rest, very small amounts of bananas can ensure this.
Can rabbits eat banana peels?
The peels themselves are not dangerous, and they pose no threat to your bunny’s health. However, as previously mentioned, they could contain traces of pesticides in some cases.
So, unless there are bananas growing in your garden (which can happen if you live in the subtropics) and you know for sure that you haven’t used anything besides organic and eco-friendly pesticides, we’d advise against feeding the peels to your pet rabbit.
Why overripe bananas are dangerous
There are two reasons why overripe bananas can cause serious health problems for rabbits. First off, the starch in bananas turns into free sugars as they ripen, so overripe bananas are dangerous for a bunny’s digestive tract – they can cause bloating, intestinal pain, digestive imbalances, and diarrhea.
The second reason is that as they get riper and riper, bananas begin to produce ethylene gas, which modifies the nutritional and caloric content of the fruit on the whole. Yellow bananas are considerably safer for rabbits than those that have turned brown or that have brown spots on their peel.