Can Rabbits Eat Cherries?

Cherries are a beloved summer treat, but can our rabbit companions enjoy them too? This sweet, juicy fruit contains beneficial nutrients, but also potential risks. As a loving rabbit owner, you likely have questions. How many cherries can I safely give? What part of the cherry can rabbits eat? Do dried or canned cherries work too? Will cherries upset my rabbit’s stomach? Relax and keep reading to get the answers you need to make informed decisions about feeding cherries. Delve into the details on cherry nutrition, prep, portion sizes, health impacts and more. Get equipped with the facts so you can confidently incorporate nature’s candy into your rabbit’s diet in a balanced way.

Can Rabbits Eat Cherries?

Cherries are a tasty summer fruit that many people enjoy eating. As a rabbit owner, you may wonder if it's safe to share a few cherries with your bunny. The short answer is yes, rabbits can eat cherries in moderation as an occasional treat.

Cherries contain nutrients like vitamins C and A, calcium, potassium and antioxidants that can benefit your rabbit's health. The fleshy part of the cherry fruit provides necessary water content as well. However, the pits and stems of cherries contain cyanide, which is toxic to rabbits. So it's essential to properly prepare cherries before feeding them to your pet.

When introducing any new food, start slowly with just a bite or two. Monitor your rabbit closely for any signs of an upset stomach or diarrhea, which may indicate food sensitivity. If your rabbit seems to enjoy cherries and digests them well, you can safely offer a few cherry treats per week. But cherries should always make up a tiny portion of a balanced rabbit diet based on hay, vegetables and pellets.

Cherries Nutritional Value to Rabbits

Cherries provide a range of vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that can support your rabbit's health when consumed in moderation. Here are some of the top nutrients found in cherries:

  • Vitamin C – Cherries contain about 10mg of vitamin C per 100g. This vital antioxidant helps support a healthy immune system in rabbits.

  • Vitamin A – There's about 127 IU of vitamin A in 100g cherries. Vitamin A maintains eye health, aids growth and development and helps keep skin and mucous membranes in good condition.

  • Potassium – Cherries provide around 222mg potassium per 100g. This mineral supports proper muscle function and nerve signaling in rabbits.

  • Calcium – 100g of cherries has around 13mg calcium. Calcium is essential for building strong bones and teeth in rabbits.

  • Anthocyanins – These antioxidant compounds give cherries their red color. Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit your rabbit's health.

  • Carotenoids – Cherries contain the carotenoids beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help maintain vision and promote overall wellness.

  • Fiber – There's around 2g of fiber in 100g cherries. Fiber aids healthy digestion and gut function in rabbits.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, cherries are made up of over 90% water. This provides extra hydration to support your rabbit's skin, joints and overall water balance.

So while cherries shouldn't be a staple food, their unique nutritional profile makes them a healthy occasional treat when fed in moderation. The fiber, antioxidants and electrolytes they provide can give your rabbit an extra health boost.

How Many Cherries Should Your Rabbit Eat?

Cherries can be a tasty, nutritious treat for rabbits when fed in small quantities. But it's important not to overdo it on cherries, as too much can lead to digestive upset and diarrhea. Here are some guidelines on safe portion sizes:

  • For a typical medium rabbit (4-6 lbs), limit cherry treats to 1-2 cherries, 2-3 times per week.

  • Very small rabbits under 3 lbs should only have 1 cherry, 1-2 times weekly at most.

  • Larger rabbit breeds over 6 lbs can have 2-3 cherries, 2-3 times per week.

  • Only introduce one new cherry at a time to watch for any signs of sensitivity.

  • Always remove pits and stems before feeding cherries to rabbits, as these parts are toxic.

  • Offer cherries as part of a varied diet with lots of hay, leafy greens and a limited amount of pellets. Cherries should never make up more than 5-10% of total food intake.

  • If diarrhea occurs, discontinue cherries immediately.

Cherries contain natural sugar, so they are best reserved as the occasional treat. Be sure to account for any cherry treats within your rabbit's daily carbohydrate and calorie limits to prevent obesity. Monitoring portions and your rabbit's reactions will allow you to find the right cherry feeding frequency and amount.

What Happens When a Rabbit Eats Too Many Cherries?

While the nutrients in cherries provide benefits when consumed in moderation, eating too many cherries can cause problems for rabbits. Here's what may happen if your rabbit overindulges in cherries:

  • Digestive Upset – The high sugar content in cherries could lead to diarrhea, gas or other forms of GI distress when overfed to rabbits. Any abrupt diet change can disrupt sensitive rabbit digestion.

  • Dehydration – Excess cherries act as a natural diuretic, causing increased urination which can potentially dehydrate your rabbit if fluid intake is not increased.

  • Weight Gain – Cherries are relatively high in natural sugars. Overfeeding cherries can promote obesity, which puts rabbits at risk for serious health issues.

  • Nutrient Imbalances – If too many cherries make up your rabbit's diet, it can create imbalances in important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Cherries lack these vital nutrients.

  • Tooth Decay – The sugar in cherries could theoretically contribute to dental disease in cases of overconsumption, though there is limited evidence for this effect in rabbits.

If your rabbit does experience any adverse effects from too many cherries, stop feeding them immediately. Withhold cherries for a few weeks and focus on providing plenty of hydration, hay and healthy greens until your rabbit's digestion improves. Then reintroduce them in smaller amounts if desired. Monitoring your rabbit's cherry intake and reactions will help prevent overfeeding.

Can a Rabbit Eat Any Other Part of a Cherry Tree?

In addition to the cherry fruit, you may wonder whether rabbits can eat other parts of the cherry tree, such as leaves, branches or bark. Here are the safety guidelines for each:

  • Cherry Leaves – Cherry tree leaves contain cyanide and are toxic to rabbits. Never feed leaves from a cherry tree.

  • Cherry Branches/Bark – The bark and woody branches also contain toxic compounds. Do not give rabbits any woody parts of the cherry tree.

  • Cherry Pits – The cherry pit inside the fruit contains amygdalin, which releases deadly cyanide when ingested. Be sure to pit cherries before feeding.

  • Cherry Stems – Cherry stems can be a choking hazard and offer little nutritional value, so it's best to remove them before feeding cherries.

The takeaway is that rabbits should only eat the fleshy part of the cherry fruit itself. All other parts of the cherry tree or plant contain toxins and pose safety risks if consumed by rabbits. Always pit and stem cherries before giving them to your rabbit. No other part of the cherry plant should be fed.

Can You Feed Dried Cherries to Rabbits?

Commercially dried cherries are a popular human snack food. But are these sweet, chewy dried cherries safe for rabbits to eat? Here are some key considerations around dried cherries for rabbits:

  • Higher Sugar Content – Dried cherries are much more concentrated in natural sugar than fresh cherries. Too much sugar can cause digestive issues.

  • Low Fiber – The drying process removes most of the cherry's fiber, an important nutrient for rabbit digestion. Fresh cherries have more nutrition.

  • Possible Added Sugars – Some brands add extra sugar like sucrose or corn syrup as preservatives in dried cherries, making them too high in carbs for rabbits.

  • Higher Calorie – Dried cherries pack over 3 times as many calories per serving as fresh cherries. This makes them more fattening for rabbits when overfed.

  • Tooth Sticking – The chewy, sticky texture of dried cherries could potentially adhere to rabbit teeth and promote tooth issues.

While dried cherries aren't toxic to rabbits, their low fiber, high sugar content means they may be best limited or avoided completely. For a healthier treat, choose fresh cherries and feed only 1-2 small pieces in moderation, providing needed chewing time for dental health. Always monitor your rabbit's reactions closely when introducing new foods.

Can You Feed Canned Cherries to Rabbits?

In moderation, unsweetened canned cherries can make an appropriate occasional treat for rabbits. Here are some tips on choosing and feeding canned cherries safely:

  • Read Labels – Select plain canned cherries packed in water or juice, without added sugars or heavy syrups. Added sugars can cause digestive upset.

  • Rinse First – Drain and thoroughly rinse canned cherries to remove excess juices and reduce the sugar content.

  • Limit Portions – Since canned cherries are wet and concentrated, offer just 1-2 cherries 2-3 times weekly for a medium rabbit.

  • Improves Hydration – The high water content in canned cherries can help boost hydration for rabbits, which is beneficial.

  • May Lack Fiber – Canning and pitting cherries removes much of their natural fiber, so rely on other foods to provide sufficient fiber.

  • Monitor Stool – As with any new food, watch for changes in your rabbit's fecal output when first feeding canned cherries.

Always gradually introduce new treats like canned cherries to ensure your rabbit tolerates them. Unsweetened, rinsed canned cherries can add variety when fed carefully in conservative amounts. But be sure to still provide plenty of fresh hay and greens too for balanced nutrition.

Preparing Cherries for Your Rabbit

Before you can safely feed cherries to your rabbit, it's important to properly prepare them by:

  • Rinsing thoroughly – Give cherries a gentle wash in cool water to remove any dirt or residues. Pat dry.

  • Pitting – Use a cherry pitter or knife to carefully remove the pit, which contains toxic compounds. Discard pits.

  • Stemming – Remove and discard the stems and leaves, as these can pose a choking risk.

  • Chopping – Dice cherries into small, bite-sized pieces your rabbit can manage. Avoid whole cherries which could possibly get stuck in your rabbit's throat.

  • Limiting portions – Stick to the recommended serving sizes of just 1-3 cherries at a time, 2-3x per week. Too many may cause diarrhea.

Proper prep removes toxic parts of cherries and creates safe, manageable pieces for your rabbit. Introduce prepared cherries gradually and be diligent about portion control to keep your rabbit healthy while enjoying this sweet treat.

Choosing the Best Cherries for Rabbits

When selecting cherries to feed your rabbit, look for varieties that are:

  • Fresh – Choose plump, firm cherries free from mold or bruising. Avoid mushy cherries.

  • Unsweetened – Pick plain cherries without added sugars or syrups if buying canned or frozen varieties.

  • Organic – Organic cherries are ideal since they are grown without pesticides that could be toxic to rabbits. Wash all cherries thoroughly.

  • Dark Varieties – Black, Bing and other dark cherries tend to be higher in antioxidants than yellow or pink cherries.

  • Low Acid – Mild flavored sweet cherry varieties like Rainiers may be best tolerated by sensitive rabbits.

  • Local – Check farmers markets for fresh, local cherries in season for best flavor and nutrition.

  • Whole – If buying frozen cherries, choose whole cherries instead of presliced. Slicing can expose more surface area to contamination during processing.

No matter which type you pick, always start by introducing just a bite or two of new cherry varieties to observe your rabbit’s reaction. Focus on great quality cherries and proper serving sizes for a healthy, well-tolerated treat.

Are There Healthy Alternatives to Cherries?

While cherries can be a fine occasional treat, there are many other fruits and veggies that make great alternatives if you want more variety. Here are some healthy rabbit-safe options:

  • Bananas – A favorite treat, best fed in moderation. Offer a 1-inch slice a few times per week.

  • Blueberries – Loaded with antioxidants. Give 1-2 per 2 lbs body weight, 2-3x weekly.

  • Papaya – Provides vitamin C and digestive enzymes. Feed a few small cubes at a time.

  • Melons – Refreshing, hydrating treat. Give a 1-inch cube of watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew a few times a week.

  • Pineapple – Contains vitamin C and bromelain. Offer a few small chunks, watching stool for changes.

  • Apples – A classic bunny treat. Core and cut into thin slices, limit to 1-2 per 3 lbs body weight.

  • Pears – A good source of fiber. Chop and feed half or 1 whole pear slice every few days.

  • Carrots – Provide vitamins A and K. Feed baby carrots or thin slices in moderation, no more than 2-inch piece per day.

  • Celery – Crunchy texture promotes healthy teeth. Cut small sticks as a lower-calorie option.

When given properly in limited amounts, all of these fresh fruits make great additions to your rabbit’s diet. Rotate different options for variety and monitor your rabbit’s preferences and stool to avoid overfeeding.


To safely enjoy cherries as an occasional treat, rabbits should be fed 1-3 pitted, stemmed pieces 2-3 times per week at most. Cherries offer key nutrients like vitamins C and A, potassium and antioxidants that support rabbit health when consumed in moderation. But be sure to limit portions and watch for signs of diarrhea or other sensitivity. With proper preparation and constraints, cherries can be a fun, healthy snack bunnies find hard to resist.


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