As any rabbit owner knows, rabbits have a voracious appetite for all things sweet and green! While it can be very entertaining to watch them devour lettuce leaves or happily munch on a haystack, it’s important to remember that nutrition is a major determinant of your rabbit’s health.
Learning what to feed your pet rabbit can be easy and painless. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of rabbit nutrition in three categories: Essential rabbit foods, things to feed them in moderation, and what’s best for an occasional snack.
By the end of the article, you’ll be ready to feed your rabbit what they need to stay happy, healthy, and active throughout their lives. Without further ado, let’s get into the details of rabbit nutrition!
Important Things: Clean Water and Various Hay
A consistent supply of fresh hay and clean water is essential for the health of any breed of rabbit. Both of these are so important to your rabbit’s health that you should try to keep them in several locations, making it as easy as possible for your rabbit to access them.
Timothy Hay is the standard hay that should make up most of your rabbit’s diet. Because rabbit teeth are constantly growing, they need the rough surface provided by the hay to help keep their teeth neat and growing properly.
Choose hay that still looks and smells fresh, never stale or moldy. You want to encourage your rabbit to consider hay as a delicacy, not a chore.
For water, consider a combination of a hanging water bottle in your rabbit’s cage as well as a water bowl elsewhere in the house. If your rabbit likes to push things (as many people do), it’s a good idea to use a water bowl with a heavy bottom to prevent it from falling apart.
If possible, offer your rabbit filtered water instead of the tap. While the chemicals in tap water are unlikely to cause long-term harm to humans, the rabbit’s sensitive constitution is more easily disturbed.
Great in Moderate: Best Pellets and Vegetables for Rabbits
High-fiber, low-protein pellets are recommended as a dietary supplement for your rabbit but should not make up the majority of their diet. Despite being nutrient dense, pellets are not as effective as hay for grinding rabbit teeth that are constantly growing.
Follow two main rules when choosing vegetables for your rabbit: Make sure they are free of pesticides and buy fresh vegetables! Vegetables are an important way for your pet rabbit to get a variety of nutrients and should be shared daily.
Before feeding your rabbit new vegetables, it’s important to make sure they can digest them properly; otherwise, you may unwittingly feed your rabbit something that can cause serious digestive problems.
For a complete list of what not to give your rabbit, visit this website on “bad plants” for rabbits. The following vegetables are examples of foods that are safe for any rabbit without any pre-existing health conditions:
- carrot top
- Bok Choy
- mint leaves
- Romaine Lettuce
Only Occasional: Snack and Fruit
Even though high-carbohydrate foods are certain no Important for a rabbit’s diet, anyone who has peeled a banana near their pet rabbit probably knows how much they love fruit! As an occasional pleasure or reward for good behavior, fruit will cause little or no harm to the rabbit; However, you have to be careful not to overdo it.
As with any vegetable you might feed your pet, make sure the fruit is organic and pesticide free. Some of our rabbit’s favorite fruits are:
Apple slices (seedless!)
A good rule of thumb is to give your rabbit small treats no more often than every other day. For older rabbits, this frequency should be reduced even further to perhaps once a week.
Once you understand the basic components of a rabbit’s diet, keeping them happy and healthy is as simple as providing plenty of water and hay, and providing them with daily servings of a variety of vegetables. Save treats for special occasions or training giveaways, and make sure to keep everything you give them fresh and pesticide-free. Thanks for reading, and we hope you and your bunny can share many happy years together!
- If you have a skinny rabbit, try: 7 Best Weight Gain Foods for Rabbits