Feeding your rabbit - the importance of a healthy diet

Did you know that rabbits should be chewing hay or grass for 6 to 8 hours a day? We look at how to give your pet a healthy diet

RSPCADid you know that....

  • Hay and/or grass should form a significant part of your rabbit’s diet. This is because hay and grass wear down your rabbit’s teeth, which grow continually at a rate of 2mm to 3mm a week. The RSPCA recommends that rabbits should chew on hay or grass for 6 to 8 hours a day.
  • The Pet Food Manufacturer's Association (PFMA) says that hay and grass contain plenty of fibre, which encourage the chewing action. The fibre also helps to maintain a healthy gut.
  • If your rabbit’s teeth do overgrow, it can cause malocclusions (misalignment of the teeth). The RSPCA says that dental problems can lead to mouth ulcers, which are painful for your rabbit.
  • Eating hay and grass is better than eating dried food because of the way your rabbit chews. Rabbits grind hay or grass between their back teeth but they crush dried food between their teeth.
  • The PFMA advises that other good foods include leafy vegetables and specialist rabbit food.
  • However, specialist rabbit food should make up no more than 10% of you’re a rabbit’s calorie intake and it should be high in fibre, according to the Vets4Pets website. Hay, grass or greens should make up the majority of your rabbit’s diet.  Clean, fresh water should always be available for your rabbit.
  • Food can be fun! Rabbits are natural foragers so the PFMA suggests turning food time into a fun activity by scattering it or concealing it in an empty toilet roll or feed toy.
  • The Blue Cross says you shouldn’t feed rabbits grass cuttings because these can cause serious health problems.
  • The RSPCA advises against feeding your rabbit some lettuces such as iceberg because they contain high doses of laudanum, which is harmful.
  • We all love treats, and so do rabbits, but the PFMA says you shouldn't give your rabbit too many sweet things, such as carrots. They are high in sugar, which can be unhealthy for your rabbit.

Your rabbit is an important part of your life. And with the correct diet, care and attention, he should live a long and happy life.

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