What should I feed my rabbit?
If you have visited Reservoir Veterinary Clinic recently, you may have noticed our range of rabbit foods and treats. Many people ask us what are the best food to feed their rabbits so here are some of our recommendations.
The majority of a rabbit's diet should consist of hay and/ or grass. This is the food their digestive system is best adapted to process. The action of chewing long strands of hay also helps them to grind their teeth down. A rabbit's teeth grow continuously so they always need something to chew on.
Pellets are better for your rabbit than rabbit mixes as rabbits often will only eat the bits they like the most when offered a mix. With pelleted food, all of the ingredients are in each pellet so your rabbit is getting all the nutrients he/ she needs. We recommend and sell Oxbow rabbit pellets as these are specially formulated to meet a rabbit's nutritional requirements. Some store-bought pellets are too high in sugar and carbohydrates, which can cause gut stasis in rabbits and can become life threatening. Contact us for advice if you are not sure on the brands to purchase.
Your rabbit will enjoy a variety of fresh vegetables every day. Good vegetables to feed include basil, beet tops, broccoli leaves, brussel sprouts, cabbage, chickweed, clover, dandelion flowers, endive, radicchio, radish tops, raspberry leaves, strawberry leaves, mint, parsley, peppermint leaves, spinach, swiss-chard, watercress and wheat grass. Asian greens such as bok choy and choy sum are highly recommended. NEVER feed your rabbit rhubarb or potatoes as these can be toxic. Lettuce is not suitable due to its low nutrient content.
Your rabbit is meant to eat 1.5 cups of vegetables everyday per kilogram of body weight. So the little black bunny in the picture who weights approximately 2kg will need THREE cups of vegetables each day.
The following can be fed in small amounts as a special treat: Apple, banana, blueberries, carrots, grapes, mango, peach, pear, strawberries and raspberries.
Introduce any new food slowly and in small amounts to avoid your rabbit from getting an upset stomach ache. NEVER feed any fruit or vegetables that you are unsure of. To learn more about feeding your rabbit, click here.
What happens if my rabbit stops eating?
If you notice your rabbit has not been eating or stop producing faeces, seek veterinary attention immediately as it is possible your rabbit may have Gut Stasis (Gastrointestinal Stasis or ileus).
There are a number of causes for gut stasis in rabbits and they include:
- dental problems
- diet (low in fibre, high in carbohydrates or protein)
- heat stroke
- moulting (excess fur ingested)