Can rabbits eat pine cones? Technically no, rabbits can’t eat pine cones, and these shouldn’t be part of their diet. But whether a rabbit can eat or do they eat a pine cone are entirely different things. They should not eat these, but they will probably chew these as soon as you give these to them.
Rabbits love to chew just anything offered to them, and pine cones are among them. In this article, we will be discussing why rabbits need a toy and why pine cones are among the economical chew toys out there.
Much more, you are about to know how to prepare the pine cones so that it will be safe for your bunnies to chew. Just read on to find out!
Pine Cones As Chew Toys
Pine cones are some of the most cost-effective toys that your bunnies can play with. Instead of buying toys at the pet stores, you can just gather pine cones outside your house.
A single cone can result in a few hours of happiness. But take note, you have to prepare and dry the pine cones before offering them to your pet to ensure that it will be safe for chewing.
Can rabbits eat pine cones? So again, rabbits can’t eat pine cones, but you can give these to them as a chew toy; it’s amazing how these can bring about several benefits.
Why Do Rabbits Need Toys?
Mental stimulation is essential for the overall well-being of rabbits, especially those kept as pets. They needed more happiness so that they will not become destructive. Specifically, it will enhance and improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
One way to keep rabbits healthy is by providing them toys or something hard enough to chew. This will also help prevent their teeth from overgrowing. This process is a natural way of wearing down their teeth that is growing continually.
In the wild, rabbits wear down their teeth by chewing hard surfaces such as branches. As I have said earlier, rabbits become destructive if they don’t get enough mental stimulation. They might start chewing baseboards, furniture, or other objects at your house. Of course, you wouldn’t like that. Right?
As such, you must give them toys that they can chew and something that you can just find somewhere near your home. Doing so is an economical way of providing physical exercise and mental stimulation that your pet rabbit needs.
You can gather stick of woods safe for rabbits like Willow, Pear, Alder, and Maple. You can also just pick small branches of an apple tree as it can be a tasty treat that rabbits will surely love. Avoid branches of apricot, peach, plum, and cherry trees as they can be toxic for rabbits.
If you decide to use pine cones as rabbit treats, you must remember that they should be prepared and dried well.
Why Pine Cones?
Why not pine cones anyway? I know I already mentioned this somewhere in this article, but why would you need to buy chew toys available in the pet shop if you can just gather pine cones from your backyard. You can definitely save your money to buy rabbit pellets instead.
However, not all have pine cones somewhere near their area. You may also buy them. But it won’t be economical anymore this way. But I think it is still less expensive than other chew toys.
Preparing The Pine Cones
It takes a little effort to prepare your pet’s chew toys. Believe me, done that before for Thumper. It’s as easy as the followings steps:
Step #1. Gather the pine cones
In preparing pine cones for your rabbits, you have to gather those that have not been treated with chemicals or pesticides, as these will be harmful to them.
Step #2. Wash the pine cones
After gathering the pine cones, you have to wash them in a full of warm water mixed with a cup of vinegar. Use your hands to scrub off bugs, sap, and dirt from the cones.
Step #3. Soak and leave pine cones in the water for 30 minutes
It is also ideal for letting the pine cones soak in the water for about 30 minutes to ensure that all the remaining bugs or sap stuck in the cones will be removed. After doing so, make sure to rinse the cones with fresh water thoroughly.
Step #4. Dry the pine cones
Next, place the pine cones on paper towels and air dry for three up to four days. But if you want to dry them faster, you may also bake them in an oven for two hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. Make sure to line these with a cookie sheet and a single layer of aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Step #5. Cool down before giving pine cones to your pet
After 2 hours, remove them from the oven. But before giving these to your rabbits, it should be thoroughly cooled. For sure, your little friends will love this new toy as much as my pet rabbit Thunder loves it too. Every time I give it to him, he immediately grabs it like it was a piece of gold.
Why fully dry the pine cones?
Drying the pine cones is very important because even if your bunny will directly eat them, it would be acceptable instead of just playing with them. As long as you followed the proper way of preparing and drying the pine cones, it would be safe for the rabbit to chew.
But some pet owners still choose to keep an eye while their pets are playing with it to ensure that they will not swallow them. Well, I do the same with my pet rabbit. I always remove it after a while because I don’t want my pet to consume it.
Is Pine Wood Safe Or Toxic For Rabbits?
Untreated pine wood can be harmful to rabbits since it is high in phenols. Some pine woods are kiln-dried so that it will be safe for rabbits to chew. This drying process can remove the majority of its phenols content. However, a lot of experts still do not recommend this.
Can rabbits eat pine cones? Although some would answer yes to this question, rabbits can’t eat pine cones. But if you ask whether rabbits do eat pine cones, then it will be yes. They can eat just anything given to them if they feel like it.
However, pine cones are supposed to serve as chew toys that your pet rabbit can just play with, which will help its mental stimulation. You have to remove pine cones after a while to ensure that it will not eat them.
But some rabbits would just eat them right away, which we cannot control. That is why it is essential to prepare and thoroughly dry the pine cones to ensure that all the dirt and other elements will be removed.
In my case, I put the pine cones in the oven for two hours to quicken the drying process. My pet rabbit loves to play with them, but I still ensure that he won’t swallow them. How about you? Why not try making one for your furry friend?