Rabbit diets are incredibly important to ensuring your rabbit lives a long, comfortable life. There are many foods that are great supplements to a rabbit diet and serve many different purposes.
Here are the foods your rabbit should and should not eat.
Why is Your Rabbit’s Diet Important?
You have to be very careful with rabbit diets. They have a unique digestive system classified as hind gut fermentation.
They have a special organ called a cecum positioned near the end of their digestive tract. It contains a biome of unique microflora that help break down indigestible materials, similarly to a rumen in a cow or sheep. These microbes can be easily disturbed, causing digestive upset.
A poor diet can even cause deadly toxin-forming bacteria to grow, which can kill your bunny.
What Should You Feed Your Rabbit?
Contrary to what you see available in a pet store, pellet food is not the main component of a rabbit’s diet. Bunnies need to have constant access to hay. This is essential to their digestion, as well as the health of their teeth.
A rabbit’s diet needs to be mostly fiber, but a very high quality fiber, which is why Timothy hay is essential for them to thrive. They are also grazers, meaning they tend to eat constantly throughout the day. A few other hay varieties are also good options, such as orchard and brome hay, but alfalfa is not recommended for adult rabbits.
Pellets, however, are still a necessary supplement to a rabbit’s diet. They provide a healthy dose of carbohydrates but are low in fiber, so feeding too much is a common cause of rabbit obesity.
There are different brands out there, but typically the amount remains the same: ⅛ to ¼ cup of pellets per 5 pounds of body weight.
Talk to your vet about your rabbit’s exact needs when it comes to the type of hay and how much pellet food your bunny should receive.
Human Foods You Should Feed Your Rabbit
Rabbits need a regular supply of fresh vegetables, specifically leafy greens. They can and should have a variety of these, including romaine lettuce, carrot tops, broccoli greens, bok choy, and herbs like basil and cilantros.
Other vegetables like carrots are a great treat and are high in healthy vitamins, but they are also high in carbs, which can upset your rabbit’s digestive biome as well as lead to obesity.
Leafy greens that are high in calcium should be fed in limited amounts and include dandelion greens, chard, parsley, and kale. Some lettuces that are mostly water should be avoided altogether, namely iceberg lettuce.
Fruit should be given as a treat every couple of days, and you should stick to high fiber fruits like apples. The high sugar content poses a threat to their delicate microbiota.
Human Foods that are Toxic to Your Rabbit
Some foods are unhealthy or even toxic and potentially deadly to your rabbit and should not ever be given to them. These foods include:
- Fruit seeds/pits
- Raw onions, leeks, garlic
- Meat, eggs, dairy
- Broad beans and kidney beans
- Iceberg lettuce
- House plants
- Processed foods (bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, chips, etc.)
- Raw potatoes
What is the Right Diet for Your Rabbit?
Feeding your rabbit the right diet is crucial to their health and happiness. The best way to learn what diet is right for your bunny is to chat with a veterinarian. They can answer your specific nutrition questions and give you advice that’s tailored to your rabbit’s specific needs.
If you have questions on how to provide the best nutrition for your bunny, Hello Ralphie has veterinarians who will be happy to answer those for you. Schedule an appointment with one of our expert veterinarians today.