how to feed a rabbit

Dogs and cats get most of the glory on the Banfield blog. But we love rabbits, too, and we know a lot of you are bun fans. So a while back, we wrote about our friend Lane’s cute rabbits, and then we shared a story on rabbit housing and litter.

Now we’re going to jump into a very yummy topic: What do rabbits eat?

Bunnies eat carrots, right?

Rabbits are so cute that they’ve become a big part of popular culture. You’ve seen them on TV a lot and they even show up in marshmallow form on a certain spring holiday. A lot of times, the rabbit you see is chomping on a humble, crunchy carrot.

Do rabbits really eat carrots, though? And should they?

Actually, carrots are relatively high in calories, so if you give a rabbit too many, you run the risk of overfeeding your fluffy friend. Same deal with fruit – it’s OK to mix into their diet, but should be viewed as a treat. A slice or two per day is about the max.

What’s better than carrots?

Rabbits love to eat and chew. But because they’re small, they don’t eat all that much, which helps make them affordable pets.

In general, a rabbit’s diet should include 70% hay – which you should always make available – plus 20% rabbit food (fortified, high in fiber pellets), 8% leafy greens, and only about 2% treats. By the way, not all hay is created equal. Some types of hay are not balanced enough for long term feeding, so try to find timothy, meadow, or orchard hay.

Rabbits are at risk for overeating, so you need be careful about food. Overweight rabbits will not only struggle to get the exercise they need, which can lead to other health issues, they will also struggle to groom themselves, creating additional risks.

How can you know if your rabbit is overeating? Warning signs are easy to see: If your bunny is sluggish, acting odd, bouncing around less, and starting to look overweight, you’re probably giving them too much food, especially pellets or treats.

You can learn more about rabbit food and get great tips and info at House Rabbit Society. Also, please remember that rabbits are exotic pets and therefore require unique veterinary expertise. Veterinary care for rabbits is available at some Banfield Pet Hospital locations, but not all. Please check with your local Banfield to learn if their team can offer care or refer you to another veterinarian.

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