September 6, 2010

What Should I Feed My Pet Rabbit?

Filed under: rabbit diet — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:04 am

Many rabbit owners feel that the rabbit pellets that are available at the local pet store are a sufficient diet for their pet rabbit.  In fact, this is not the case.  Fiber is an essential nutrient for rabbits, without which they will not have a properly functioning digestive system.  As such, fresh hay and vegetables are a necessary part of a healthy rabbit diet.  While rabbit pellets are a normal part of your rabbit’s diet, feeding your pet rabbit these pellets exclusively may lead to obesity and other digestive problems.  Moreover, high fiber diets for rabbits can help ameliorate problems experienced with hair balls while stimulating intestinal functioning.

Hay provides rabbits with the majority of the fiber they need to remain healthy.  As such, rabbit owners should make hay available to their rabbits every day.  Unfortunately, rabbits that have been fed a steady pellet diet may not take to hay immediately.  Rabbit pellets are high in fat and are kind of like junk food to rabbits.  However, if you gradually wean your rabbits off pellets by offering more hay every day your rabbit will eventually make the switch to hay because they are hungry.  Young rabbits should be fed alfalfa hay but by around 6-7 months of age you should start introducing grass hay.  By the age of 1 year, rabbits should be eating grass hay exclusively.

Vegetables are another important part of your rabbit’s diet and depending on the size of your rabbit most veterinarians recommend 2 to 4 cups of fresh vegetables every day.  Carrots, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, turnips, collard greens, and dandelion greens are all great vegetables for your rabbit.  On the other hand, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes are not recommended for rabbits as these vegetables can cause digestive problems.  Other human foods should never be fed to rabbits as their digestive systems have not evolved to accept anything other than hay and vegetables.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.