Whether you’re a first-time rabbit owner or an experienced rabbit sitter, it’s easier than you think to let your guard down with how much kibble they can eat. If you run out of rabbit food for this reason or another, be careful: there are healthy alternatives that can keep your rabbit happy until more dry food arrives.
While there is no need for rabbits for hay, running out of dry rabbit food is not a major barrier to their health. Stay tuned for this article, and we’ll introduce you to the many fruits and vegetables that can act as useful supplements to your rabbit’s diet. From high fiber to abundant vitamins, you’ll be left with endless options to pamper your rabbit.
Rabbit Food Alternatives and Supplements
Keeping your rabbit’s nutritional needs in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best fruits and vegetables you can give your rabbit when it runs out of rabbit food.
1. Dandelion Leaves
A lesser known green vegetable that is also delicious in salads for humans, dandelion leaves are widely available in the spring and summer. You can pick it up from outdoors in areas with poor road access, but be careful not to pick it up from where it may have been sprayed with chemicals. Always wash all freshly picked vegetables thoroughly before giving them to your rabbit.
Feeded in moderation, broccoli’s high fiber content and dense nutritional profile can make it an excellent supplement to your rabbit’s diet, stems and all. However, be careful not to overdo it, as this vegetable of the brassica family can be stressful for some rabbits’ digestive systems.
3. A type of mustard
Having a healthy mix of protein and fiber with minimal sugar, collard greens are a great addition to any rabbit’s diet. There are no contraindications to feeding, so feel free to feed your rabbit collard greens daily.
4. green beet
High in iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber, these leafy greens that are usually tossed off the top of beets are a great supplement for your pet’s nutrition. Rabbits can also eat small amounts of beets, but leafy greens are much better for their health.
5. Romaine Lettuce
Tougher and with a much better nutritional profile than iceberg lettuce, Romaine (as well as red and green lettuce varieties) are useful additions to your rabbit’s diet. You should feed them in moderation, as their abundant water content can cause diarrhea if consumed in excess. Avoid iceberg lettuce completely, as it provides almost no nutritional value.
Very healthy thanks to a variety of vitamins and minerals, spinach is also rich in fiber and will help regulate your rabbit’s digestion naturally.
Other brass A family vegetable that is better served in small amounts, kale can be a helpful addition to your rabbit’s diet thanks to its very high fiber content. Try rotating it with other leafy greens to keep your rabbit’s tummy healthy and happy.
8. mint leaves
Aromatic but not stinging your rabbit’s nose, common mint is a wonderful herb to grow indoors or in your yard. It grows quickly and quickly establishes itself, providing a sustainable (and free!) source of fiber in your rabbit’s diet.
Popular in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, basil of all kinds makes a great treat for your rabbit. However, not all rabbits like the smell, so let your rabbit decide before buying extra for them.
Another fast-growing herb that does well in the indoor garden, cilantro, is a much favorite food of rabbits. It is high in fiber and has a moderate vitamin and mineral profile, making it a good daily addition to your rabbit’s diet.
Understanding Your Rabbit’s Food Needs
It’s important to understand that while your rabbit can survive without a constant source of dry kibble, they really are should have fresh timothy hay to stay healthy and fit.
In addition to the importance of timothy hay in regulating your rabbit’s digestive health and gut bacteria, it provides a rough texture that grinds your rabbit’s ever-growing teeth. Without hay, your rabbit friend is likely to suffer from indigestion in the short term, and serious dental problems in the long term.
Your rabbit can get along well with just an abundant source of hay and fresh water, but fruits and vegetables will provide for vitamins and minerals that hay may otherwise miss. You should be careful not to overfeed this nutrient-dense alternative for your rabbit, limiting vegetables to daily meals and higher-sugar fruits for occasional meals.
If you have plenty of hay and water for your rabbit, dry rabbit food is really more of a luxury than a necessity. If you find that you’ve run out of kibble prematurely, don’t worry – give them a little extra of any of the vegetables on this list, and they’ll stay satisfied until more dry treats come along.
Featured Image: Photo of Ashley Hanawalt, Shutterstock