Did you know that your pet rabbit is a herbivore? This means that they are plant eaters, and they are also considered grazers, meaning that they eat continuously.
That being said, your pet rabbit has a complex digestive system, and has very specific dietary needs.
While rabbits can be very efficient at processing food, if you introduce new foods too quickly, then there could be dire consequences.
Additionally, there are specific foods that you should not feed your pet rabbit.
If you have a new pet rabbit, you may be wondering what to feed and what not to feed it. Read on for more information.
What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit?
The majority of your pet rabbits’ diet will be fresh hay, followed by a smaller amount of fresh vegetables that is served daily, as well as a limited number of pellets.
The most important part of a rabbit’s diet is hay, and your pet rabbits should have unlimited access to high-quality grass hay.
Some good brands include Timothy, Orchard, or Brome. Grass hay is not only high in fiber, which maintains your rabbit’s digestive tract, but it also contains many nutrients that your rabbit needs to stay healthy.
Help Them Get Green Vegetables Daily
A pet rabbit should have access to a wide variety of leafy green vegetables on a daily basis.
Stay away from vegetables that contain a high amount of carbohydrates, such as potatoes or carrots.
When you introduce a new vegetable to your pet rabbit, make sure you do it in small quantities and watch for signs of soft feces, signs of gas or pain, and diarrhea.
The amount of pellets you should give your pet rabbit on a daily basis is about ¼ or a cup per 5lbs of body weight.
If your pet rabbit gets too many pellets, it can cause obesity and diarrhea.
In general pellets contain a high number of carbohydrates and generally low in fiber.
Some great vegetables that your pet rabbit can enjoy are:
- Romaine lettuce
- Bok Choy
- Mustard Greens
- Carrot Tops
- Beet greens
- Broccoli Greens
- Green Peppers
- Brussel Sprouts
Some vegetables that can be safe in limited and smaller quantities are:
- Collard and Dandelion Greens
- Swiss Chard
Young Rabbit Diets Vs. Adult Rabbit Diets
If your pet rabbit is under 7 months old, their diet should include alfalfa pellets, or some alfalfa hay.
There is extra protein and calcium in the alfalfa that helps the young rabbits as they grow.
Younger rabbits can also have a large variety of vegetables.
It is better to have a small amount of many variations of vegetables than it is to have a large quantity of a single vegetable.
After 7 months, your young pet rabbit should be weaned onto an adult diet, receiving less alfalfa each day until they are completely weaned off of it.
What Not To Feed Your Pet Rabbit:
If you see your pet rabbit eating their own feces, you may be concerned, however, surprisingly this habit is normal and important for the health of your rabbit.
Usually this habit occurs at night, or the early hours of the morning.
There are certain foods though, that your rabbit should not eat. These contain any vegetation that is made up of mainly water and contains little nutrients.
An example of this might be iceberg lettuce or head lettuce. Other things you should not feed your pet rabbit include:
Other important things to know about a pet rabbit’s diet:
Make sure your pet rabbit has hay, vegetables, and pellets provided to them daily.
They should never run out of hay.
Their water should also be replaced daily and put in water feeders instead of bowls.
Rabbits don’t usually require extra vitamins, unless prescribed by a veterinarian. Your rabbit may have the occasional treat, as long as they are not high-calorie treats.
These high-calorie treats can lead to obesity.
Fruits should be fed to your pet rabbit in very small quantities, no more than 1 tablespoon of fresh fruit every other day.
Rabbits also need to chew on cardboard or wood to maintain the health of their teeth, so chew toys are important and should always be available.
At the end of the day, ensure that your pet rabbit has plenty of plants to munch on, since they will be constantly grazing on whatever is available.
Don’t Let Them Chew On Non-food!
If your pet rabbit is free roaming there are other things that your pet rabbit can accidentally chew on that can cause them harm.
Protect your pet rabbit from electrical wires that are on the floor, as well as any other animal toys that they may find and chew on.
If your cat or dog has plastic toys that are left laying around, you may want to keep them picked up so that your pet bunny doesn’t accidentally snack on them.
Otherwise, if you stick to the advice that you found in this guide regarding what to feed and what not to feed your pet rabbit, you will have a friend for life that is happy and well cared for.