As an owner of a rabbit, you may be curious about types of food your bunny can eat – especially if you see them peering and sniffing around food you’re enjoying!
Technically, rabbits can eat lemons but they won’t be enjoyable and there are definitely more risks than there are benefits to them eating lemons. In fact, it’s best for your rabbit to avoid lemons and citrus fruits altogether.
Lemons are not poisonous to rabbits, but there are contents in lemons that are dangerous and therefore rabbits should not eat them.
Lemons are also known for their sour taste that rabbits will not like. Trust us, their displeasure will be written all over their face! But why should lemons be avoided? It’s mainly due to the amount of citric acid in the fruit, which can be harmful when ingested in large amounts.
We’ll go into more detail below, as well as take a quick look at what other citrus fruits should be avoided.
What are lemons?
Lemons are an incredibly popular fruit and are an excellent source of vitamin C. They are a zesty fruit, with a sour taste and a bitter peel. They’re also a juicy fruit that can be made into delicious lemonade and often comes on the side of dishes. A little drizzle of lemon can add a touch more flavor to a dish!
Lemon also has a lot of health benefits and the juice, peel, and fruit can be used medicinally. Because of its high vitamin C content, lemons are famous for treating scurvy. It also contains a huge amount of antioxidants. Eating lemons can support good heart health as well as your digestive system.
Eating lemons also reduces your chance of kidney stones, thanks to the citric acid that promotes more frequent urination.
However, this fruit has been found to only be beneficial for humans, not rabbits. A small amount of lemon juice won’t hurt them, but it is best to avoid the fruit altogether.
Are lemons toxic to rabbits?
While lemons are not toxic to rabbits, they can upset their stomachs and give them diarrhea. A small amount of zest or juice isn’t harmful, but lemons are harmful when consumed in large and excessive amounts.
It’s of course so important to monitor what your pets are eating, and their health should be your number one priority to ensure they have a long, happy life. Before you think of mixing up your rabbit’s diet or letting them try the foods you enjoy, make sure you do your research on the foods you plan to serve to them.
Risks of giving lemons to rabbits
While lemons have numerous health benefits to human beings, the same cannot be said for rabbits. Let’s take a look at some of the risks of feeding your rabbit lemons.
Stomach pains caused by citric acid: It’s alright for your rabbit to consume a small amount of citric acid, but when consumed in large amounts this can cause a problem.
Too much citric acid can be harmful to your pet’s digestive system and cause them to have stomach pains. You should always consider the citric acid content in citrus fruits when deciding whether or not to feed them to your pets. While some citrus fruits are okay for rabbits to eat, lemons are high in citric acid so they should be avoided.
Upset stomach: Rabbits will most likely be uninterested in lemons if you present the fruit to them, so it’s a good idea not to offer them one.
Eating lemons in excessive amounts can lead to them having an upset stomach. Just like in humans, this is very uncomfortable for rabbits, making them less active and will affect their overall health.
Plus, the tart and sour flavor of lemons is not something rabbits will enjoy.
Choking: The peel and seeds of a lemon may be a choking hazard for your rabbit. If they swallow a considerably large amount of peel, it may cause a blockage and negatively affect their digestive system.
Some people may think that if the fruit or the peel is harmful to rabbits, then the seeds are safe but this is not the case. If you decide to give your rabbit a little bit of lemon (or any fruit for that matter), be wary of giving them the seeds, and make sure they’re out of your rabbits reach to decrease the chances of choking.
Vomiting and nausea: It’s a universal truth that everything is okay in moderation, and excessively consuming anything is bad. While rabbits can enjoy tiny amounts of lemon, too much juice and zest will make them nauseous and cause them to vomit.
If you notice your rabbit is poorly or not acting like themselves, take them to the vet immediately.
If your rabbit becomes unresponsive or seriously ill, do not attempt any first aid yourself if you have no experience. If you do not know what you’re doing it could make the situation worse. Take them to the vet to avoid further issues and so they can receive the appropriate care.
Are other citrus fruits dangerous to rabbits?
So if lemons are out of the picture, are other citrus fruits too?
If you want to be on the safe side, they are. The least dangerous citrus fruit for your rabbit would probably be oranges. However, most citrus fruits are sour in a way that rabbits will not enjoy. The health risks associated with eating citrus fruit will also cause discomfort to your rabbit, and therefore citrus fruits – and lemons especially – should be avoided.
Grapefruit should also be avoided because it is high in citric acid, like lemons.
When deciding to give your rabbit new, tasty snacks, always do your research to make sure you’re not unwittingly feeding your rabbit something harmful. Lemons are alright for rabbits to eat in small amounts and when offered sparingly, but your rabbit will most likely not consider it to be a tasty snack so it’s best to avoid them altogether.