As exotic pets, rabbits require a special diet to help make sure they are thriving. Read our top bunny diet tips to make sure your furry friend is getting the nutrition they need.
Rabbits are herbivores, and these nibblers have a specialized digestive system that allows them to efficiently process food. This means that they can't eat everything, and if a rabbit consumes something they shouldn't or overeats a new food, they can become very sick and possibly die. As a result, guardians should exercise caution when it comes to what their pet rabbits eat.
Contrary to common belief, rabbits require more than just carrots and lettuce. They require a well-balanced diet of hay, fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as a few pellets; and because their digestive tracts are extremely sensitive, the transition to hay or pellets, or the introduction of new fruits and vegetables, must be done gradually to allow the rabbit's system to adjust.
Read on to find out what to feed your bunny.
What Food Does A Rabbit Need?
The majority of your rabbits' diet should consist of fresh, clean drinking water as well as high-quality hay and grass. A rabbit's digestive system requires these in order to function properly, therefore maintaining a healthy supply is absolutely essential.
Fresh hay should comprise the majority of your rabbit's diet and should be readily available at all times. Adult rabbits can consume timothy, grass, and oat hays, whereas younger rabbits should consume alfalfa. Adult rabbits should not be given alfalfa due to its high protein and sugar content. Hay is beneficial to rabbits because it provides the essential fiber required for good digestive health as well as in assisting wearing down a rabbit's teeth, which is necessary for good dental health.
Ensure that the hay you select is clean and smells good. Do not choose hay that is brown, moldy, or no longer smells like freshly cut grass. Hay should be stored in a dry place in an airtight container to avoid mold growth.
- Leafy Greens
Rabbits' favorite foods include vegetables and herbs. With a few exceptions and limitations, most supermarket greens are safe for rabbits. Adult rabbits should not be given more than two cups of fresh vegetables per day and dwarf breeds and rabbits weighing less than five pounds should only consume one cup of fresh greens per day. A mixture of two or three greens is best.
Leafy greens include the following:
- Mustard greens
- Beet greens
- Swiss chard
- Radish tops
Bunnies can be given Timothy hay pellets in small amounts. An adult rabbit of average size (6-10 pounds) requires a quarter cup of pellets per day. If your rabbit weighs less than five pounds, feed only one-eighth of a cup. Rabbits weighing more than 10 pounds require no more than a quarter of a cup, as it is not an essential part of their diet.
Bunnies can recognize stale pellets, so make sure you get them fresh. Look for pellets that are rich in fiber and low in protein. As your rabbit grows older, you will need to reduce its pellet consumption. Protein-rich pellets can cause obesity and other health problems in rabbits.
Rabbits must stay hydrated, so they must have an unlimited supply of freshwater that changes daily. Every few days, the water container should be washed with soap and water. On hot days, put an ice cube or two in your rabbit's water dish. If your rabbit does not appear to be drinking enough water, you can serve the vegetables slightly wet.
What To Avoid Feeding Your Rabbit
Rabbits are herbivores, but that does not mean that they are able to eat just about any type of plant. There are many things you should not feed your rabbit that appear to be perfectly healthy.
While avocados are an excellent and healthy snack for humans, they contain a compound called per sin, which is toxic to rabbits. This compound can be found in all parts of the avocado, including the skin, pit, leaves, and flesh. If a rabbit consumes toxic levels of a person, it can cause behavioral abnormalities and difficulty breathing, and if not treated properly, it can lead to fatal congestive heart failure.
Chocolate is extremely toxic to rabbits as it contains theobromine and caffeine. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Diarrhea, restlessness or hyperactivity, trembling, panting, squirming or difficulty getting comfortable, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), and hyperthermia are all symptoms of chocolate toxicity.
Mushrooms can contain a variety of mycotoxins, which remain present in the fungi either raw or cooked and can be harmful to rabbits if consumed in large quantities. Diarrhea, gastrointestinal discomfort, organ damage, and neurological deficits are all possible side effects of mushroom toxicity.
How To Know What Treats To Purchase?
Dried hay-based treats are the healthiest treats for rabbits. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also healthy if consumed in moderation. In a single day, you should only give your rabbit about 1 tablespoon of treats. Rabbits have a huge, sweet tooth and will absolutely love you forgiving them some flavorful treats, but be careful not to give them too many.
Baked hay treats are also very nutritious for rabbits. They are primarily made of timothy or alfalfa hay and have just a hint of sweet flavoring to make them appealing, and these hay treats are available from a variety of manufacturers. You can find them on the Dubai Pet Food online store, but make sure to read the ingredient list to ensure that the brand you choose is healthy. If you don't see timothy hay, alfalfa hay, or another type of hay listed as the first ingredient, it's best to choose a different brand.
Monitoring Your Rabbit’s Health
By giving your bunny a check-up once a month, you will learn what is normal for your rabbit and will be able to spot any signs of a condition that requires veterinary care. Remember to perform the check-up in a familiar location for your rabbit and to ensure that your rabbit appears at ease before you begin.
Rabbits are susceptible to eye problems such as conjunctivitis and blocked tear ducts. Begin your examination by ensuring that your rabbit's eyes are clean and bright, with equally sized pupils. Redness, squinting, and discharge are all signs that something is wrong with the rabbit's eyes.
A bump or bulge under your rabbit's eye could be an abscess, which is often caused by concurrent dental disease. Since abscesses can be incredibly painful for rabbits, it is critical to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible.
Rabbit teeth grow at a constant rate, with the top front teeth growing by up to 3mm per week. To avoid dental problems, they need to be fed a healthy, high-fiber diet that promotes tooth wear. Only the front teeth, known as incisors, will be visible when inspecting your rabbit's teeth.
However, if these are abnormal, the less visible cheek teeth, or molars, are often affected. Overgrown incisors can cause injury and infection in the mouth, as well as prevent normal feeding and grooming. These are frequently misaligned and may require trimming or removal by a veterinarian.
- Fur and Ski
The skin and fur of rabbits can be a good indicator of their overall health. Examine your rabbit's fur for fur loss, scabs, and dandruff with your fingers. These are all symptoms of a mite or flea infestation. You should also keep an eye out for any lumps or bumps that could be caused by an abscess and indicate dental disease.
Rabbits' ears are susceptible to ear problems such as parasites and infections. This is because of the size and number of folds within their ears, where dirt can accumulate and cause secondary infections. Examine your rabbit's outer ears for discharge and lumps around the base of the ear. You should also keep an eye out for a head tilt, which could indicate an inner ear infection.
One of the most important aspects of keeping a healthy rabbit is providing them with the right diet. Rabbits should be fed the foods to which they have been adapted to as their entire digestive tract, from their teeth to the end of their gastrointestinal tract are accustomed to this diet and eating pattern.