• The Right Diet For Your Rabbit

The Right Diet For Your Rabbit

Are you unsure what to feed your rabbit to ensure they live a healthy lifestyle?

Our vet, Lizzie Kwint, from Medivet Canvey Island, offers some great advice on what makes a suitable diet for your pet bunny…

A good diet for your rabbit will help prevent gut stasis (a potentially life-threatening condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely), keep their teeth in good health, and provide the vitamin and minerals that they need.

Their diet should be made up of different types of fibre (at least 70–80%), including free access to good quality hay, straw and/or picked grass (you must remember not to give your rabbits lawn clippings as these can be contaminated with foreign material), and other roughage such as apple or pear tree branches to chew on. A small portion of this fibre should be made of good quality high fibre pellet containing 20–25% fibre. 

As a rule of thumb, we generally advise one to two tablespoons of dry food daily per kg of weight. If the dry food is made up of a mixture, then they need to finish the bowl before any further mix is added (this will prevent selective feeding).

The best hay to use is meadow or timothy hay, which should be fresh. This hay is separate from their bedding and should be supplied in a hay net or manger. Alfalfa hay is okay but it is high in calcium, so it should not be used exclusively, and it should definitely be avoided if your rabbit suffers from stones or calcium sediment in the urine.

The other 10–20% of your rabbit’s diet can be made up of a variety of vegetables, fruit and herbs.

Safe foods such as those listed below can be given to vary the diet a little and if you ask your veterinary surgeon they will be able to give a more comprehensive list of safe foods.

  • Alfalfa
  • Radish
  • Carrot tops
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Beetroot tops
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Peas and pea shoots
  • Peppermint and dandelions
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Apples and pears (in small amounts)

Unsafe foods that should never be fed are listed below. If you think your rabbit has eaten any of these, please contact your veterinary surgeon straight away.

  • Bindweed
  • Garlic
  • Bread
  • Potato
  • Leek
  • Ragwort
  • Rhubarb
  • Bracken
  • Amaryllis

Remember to introduce new food one at a time and if they cause any loosening of the stools, withdraw this food from their diet and contact your veterinary surgeon if it persists for more than 24 hours.

If your rabbit goes off his or her food at all or you see them passing less stools than before, this can be an emergency and we advise to have them seen by a vet as soon as possible to make sure they are okay.

For further information and advice about caring for your pet rabbit, contact your local Medivet practice today.

To make an enquiry click here or find your local practice