As a rabbit guardian, you would probably know by now how much hard work goes into raising a rabbit. One major chunk of being a rabbit, or any pet owner for that matter, is knowing exactly what is good for them and what isn’t especially when it comes to their diet.
A healthy rabbit can live up to 12 years and if you as their guardian are properly informed about their needs, especially their dietary needs, then this can easily be achieved. However, we are human after all and can make mistakes. Often most of these mistakes involve assuming that what is healthy for us humans is healthy for our rabbits and thus we end up feeding them food that we eat and enjoy.
However, that is not always the case. Humans and rabbits are two vastly different species and the nutrients they need to thrive also vary a great deal. It might sound strange but not all vegetables and fruits are good for our bunnies! You’re probably wondering how on earth can that be the case and the answer is simple. A rabbit’s diet should mostly be of fiber. That and water is their utmost need. Proteins and sugars are also needed but in a limited quantity and that depends on the fruit or vegetable make-up.
A common household fruit that is often asked about is lemon and not just lemon but lemon water as well. We give our rabbits water but wonder if we can switch water up with a refreshing drink of lemon water.
It is a good thing that you asked because as far as lemon is concerned, there is quite a bit you should know.
Are Lemons Safe For Rabbits?
Rabbits are herbivores which means that their diet consists mostly of plants and hay. Plants include vegetables and fruits. Now the thing about fruits is that they are rich in sugar and thus aren’t something to be given as a staple food. Too much sugar can lead to obesity and heart problems amongst other health issues and thus is only to be given as a treat and in limited amounts.
As far as lemons are concerned they aren’t a recommended fruit for rabbits since they are rich in citric acid and that can cause problems to your rabbit’s tummy. They can get by with eating a tiny amount but too much lemon is a problem. The acidity can also cause weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your rabbit eats the peel or the seeds of a lemon, it can cause them to choke and cause internal blockages.
However, lemon isn’t toxic for them. Eating lemons won’t kill your rabbit but it should generally be kept out of their diet.
Rabbits and Lemon Water
Now you’re probably thinking lemon water isn’t the same as raw lemon since it has been diluted in water.
While there is no harm in giving your rabbit lemon water, there is also no proof that there is any benefit to them either.
Chances are that your rabbit won’t even enjoy the taste since they don’t particularly like citric fruit.
The same applies to lemonade. Arguably lemonade poses an actual threat to rabbits considering that it has a lot of sugar in it.
Thus lemon water, as tempting as it may be, should be avoided.
However, on the off chance that your rabbit does seem to like the taste of lemon, there might be a rare occasion when you can give your rabbit lemon water. Regular water is essential for rabbits and if for some reason your rabbit isn’t drinking water despite all your efforts, the vet may suggest adding a dash of lemon water in their water bowls. Usually, vets recommend adding a bit of apple juice, but it really depends on the fruit your rabbit likes.
In this situation, you have to ensure that it is 100% lemon water with no additives whatsoever.
Rabbits and Water
You probably were entertaining the thought of lemon water for your rabbit for two reasons. Firstly, because you thought your rabbit might want a change from their regular water drink. Secondly, because you thought it would be a nice healthy refreshing drink for your rabbit.
The following information applies to both reasons. Rabbits and water go hand in hand. Water is essential for a rabbit’s life and without it, they will not survive. Rabbits are made up of two-thirds of water like most other mammals. They consume a lot of water because they also lose water from their system rapidly. The simple act of breathing makes them lose water and they need a constant source to regain what they lost. Rabbits can go without eating and can also go on even if they lose protein from their systems. If they lose even 10% water, it can prove to be fatal and they can and most probably die.
So they don’t tire of drinking water every day. And they don’t need a change of liquid in their diet. Moreover, water also is enough of a refresher for them to stay happy on a hot summer’s day.
Since our rabbits are like family for us, we tend to forget that they are animals and their needs differ vastly from ours. We judge what their needs are in relation to ours without realizing that isn’t necessarily the case. Rabbits have a fixed set of dietary needs and if those needs are met, they are content and happy munching away. You do not have to change up their diet to keep them happy, unless of course necessary. It is best to avoid giving your rabbit human food and drinks as they aren’t made for rabbit consumption. What we think is healthy for them since it is healthy for us might not be the case. There are numerous rabbit centric treats available that you can buy for your rabbit.
Thus resist the urge to give your bunny lemon water. They’ll be quite happy with just regular water!