What do rabbits eat? Proper feeding tips for your pet rabbit

The question of what do rabbits eat? is a topic raised by most new owners of these pets. Ideally any prospective new owners should do a little homework and preparation before actually buying a pet rabbit. It’s a bit like buying a car before learning to drive. However, it pretty basic information. As an animal, a rabbit’s food requirements are like any other herbivore or plant eater. Therefore the obvious plan is to feed your bunny pal as close to their natural diet as possible. That means to provide the kinds of plants and foods it would normally find in the wild.

Rabbits are foragers. They will hunt around for whatever plants herbs and fruits that grow in and around their natural habitat and this is precisely what you should provide. While most people are sensible some pet owners  become too orientated on treating their pet like a member of the family. This is especially true of dog and cats owners. While there is nothing wrong with loving your pet, that is actually quite correct, going overboard and giving an animal a lot of human food and treats is mainly wrong. The occasional treat of the right kind for your pet is fine but not over indulging.

The correct kinds of food regarding what rabbits eat are as follows. Grass and especially hay are the main bulk of a healthy diet for a rabbit. This is mostly what they will eat in the wild and should be 70% of what you provide.  Hay provides fibre and roughage for good digestion and chewing it gives the rabbit necessary grinding action to keep their teeth from overgrowing.

Our pets also requires vitamins and minerals to maintain their health.  In the wild certain herbs and plants would be consumed for this. The kind of herbs you can use are such as: mint, parsley, coriander, basil and dill.

Certain fruits are beneficial too and rabbits love them. Apples, bananas, peach, pears, grapes, most soft fruits and berries are fine. For larger types of fruit like melon etc., ensure the pips or stones are removed to avoid choking hazards. While fruit to an extent is beloved by rabbits and eaten in the wild too much of some kinds may cause diarrhoea so caution should be observed. It should also be noted that fruit contains natural sugars so over indulging your pets can lead to weight gain too.

Many of us are familiar with the cartoon character of Bugs Bunny munching on a carrot. Naturally that is normal and rabbits do love carrots which are loaded with goodness. The majority of green veg is acceptable when wondering what do rabbits eat, but some kinds like iceberg lettuce are not recommended as they don’t give nutritional value and may cause diarrhoea. Most other forms of lettuce however are fine. Roots vegetables are generally avoided for pet rabbits as they are loaded with starch which again leads to weight gain and would unlikely be on the rabbits normal meal plan.

Dried rabbit food and pellets are widely available at pet food stores and many supermarkets. These are specially developed for rabbits to provide a good range of nutrition and many of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for health. There is nothing wrong with feeding your pet exclusively on this food however it would be pretty boring day after day and assuming you are devoted to the fella you would be inclined I’m sure to give him some variety and add in any of the previously mention foodstuffs.

Finally there are the specially treats. Don’t give your pets the kind of treats meant for the owner such and sweets, chocolate and the like. Your pet cannot digests that sort of food and is at least likely to cause upset stomachs for them. Stick to the specially manufactured treats that can be bought from pet shops which are formulated especially for pets.

What to feed your dwarf rabbits

Have you ever wondered what you should be feeding your dwarf rabbit?

Timothy hay or another grass hay must be made available at all times as rabbit needs an unlimited amount of hay. It keeps their teeth worn down and is really important for their digestion. You can never give them too much hay.

A common mistake that rabbit owner make is to feed their rabbit with too much pellets. Rabbits can get fat if they are fed too many pellets -this is junk food for rabbits! Pellets should not be the main part of their diet only about 10%. The pellet should not have nothing extra like seeds and other cereals and should be high in fiber – 18% or higher and timothy hay based.

Veggies are very important and you should feed your rabbit at least three different veggies daily. Example of such veggies are:

Alfalfa, radish & clover sprouts
Basil
Beet greens (tops)
Bok choy
Broccoli (mostly leaves/stems)
Brussels sprouts
Carrot & carrot tops
Celery
Cilantro
Clover
Collard greens
Dandelion greens and flowers (no pesticides)
Endive
Escarole
Green peppers
Kale
Mint
Mustard greens
Parsley (both varieties)
Pea pods (the flat edible kind)
Peppermint leaves
Radicchio
Radish tops
Raspberry leaves
Romaine lettuce (no iceberg or light colored leaf)
Spinach
Watercress
Wheat grass

You should also give your rabbit a small treat/ fruit everyday such as small carrots, grapes, strawberries or slice of banana.

However, avoid giving too many treats for your rabbits especially if they are too high in sugar. Rabbits with a sweet tooth and too much sugar is bad for their teeth, just like us.

WATER!

This is one of THE most vital things you must provide for your pet. Make sure your bunny pal has fresh clean water to drink everyday. Using a gravity-feed water bottle that attaches to the rabbit cage is normally the best way to ensure a regular supply of drnking water.