As a caring and conscientious rabbit owner, one of your key responsibilities is to keep your bunny as healthy as possible. One of the best ways of doing this is to ensure that she is getting the right nutrition to support her growth and day to day activity levels.
Just like us, rabbits require certain vitamins and minerals to be healthy. They also enjoy eating a great deal, and meal time is a pleasurable experience for them. While there are many pre-made packs of rabbit food available from most pet stores and even some grocery stores across the country, you don’t need to rely on manufactured branded products to keep your bunny feeling fantastic.
So, what should you be feeding your beautiful bunny rabbit?
Contrary to popular belief, hay is not only for your rabbit to sleep on. Fresh hay is arguably the most important component in your pet’s diet and should make up the majority of their food source. There are different types of hay, so be careful to choose one that is not too high in protein and sugar unless you have a very young bunny.
Hay is packed full of fiber which helps aid your rabbit’s digestion, but it is also quite abrasive and will wear down her teeth, the one part of her anatomy that will grow continuously for the duration of her life. When storing hay, keep it somewhere cool and dry and in a container that enables air flow to prevent it from spoiling quickly.
There is nothing wrong with including pellets in your rabbit’s diet so long as she gets fresh hay and vegetables too. Try and always choose a variety of pellet that is high in fiber, but low in protein. If there is too much protein in her food, she may put on weight and develop a number of associated health problems. Make sure you avoid any pellets that are advertised as having “treats” mixed in with them, as these are rarely health for your bunny and some could cause her to develop digestive problems.
Just like humans, bunnies should also be getting a wide assortment of vegetables each day. Veggies that your rabbit can enjoy safely include:
Make sure that you choose vegetables that are free from pesticides and wash them thoroughly before serving them to your pet.
Even your rabbit deserves an occasional treat, just so long as it is just that – occasional! Most treat foods tend to be considered to be high in sugar and fat. Human foods such as pretzels, bread, cookies, chips and pasta should all be avoided at all costs. So too should chocolate which is highly toxic to bunnies.
Most veterinarians would agree that fruit is the safest treat choice but should only be given sparingly as they are high in natural sugars. Choose from apples (no seeds), banana, pineapple, raspberries and strawberries.
The only fluid that your bunny needs to consume is plenty of fresh water, which they should have accessible to them at all times. If the weather is particularly hot, you can add a couple of ice cubes to her water bottle or dish which will help keep her cool.
If you need further advice on how to provide your bunny with a healthy, nutritious diet, our veterinarian would be happy to help.