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When choosing a food bowl for your rabbit it is important first to consider how your rabbit is housed. If your rabbit’s cage has more than one level it may be best that you use a plastic bowl or a metallic bowl which attaches to the side of the cage such as a Coop Cup. As rabbits are prone to throwing their dishes around, a plastic bowl won’t break when it is inevitably tossed down a ramp and the Coop Cup can’t be pulled off the side by your rabbit either.
It is important to consider that bowls make eating easy for your rabbit so they can become bored easily. Rabbits are designed to forage and in the wild, they would spend hours searching for the tastiest grass and shoots. Using a bowl can inhibit these behaviours, so make sure you also provide opportunities for your rabbit to eat naturally by scattering herbs and greens through their hay. Rabbit food bowls do have the added bonus of giving you peace of mind, especially if your rabbit is elderly or has an underlying medical issue, by allowing you to check how much they are eating a day.
As we all know, water is vital and your rabbit needs access to fresh water at all times. Water helps to keep your rabbit’s complex digestive system moving properly. The food your rabbit eats must remain moist so it can move freely through the system and if it gets too dry, it can block the guts - a life-threatening issue. Water is also essential in flushing out the excess calcium your rabbit absorbs from their food. Too much calcium from not drinking enough water can impact the kidneys and cause bladder stones to form.
Rabbit food bowls come in three types of materials, stainless steel, plastic and ceramic. All have their advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, the food dish you select should be easy to clean, hard to tip over and can withstand your rabbit throwing it around!
Ceramic or stoneware dishes are typically the first choices by rabbit owners. They are heavy, making them hard to flip over by your rabbit and are resistant to being bitten and chewed.
The downside to these dishes is that they hold several times the number of pellets that a rabbit should be fed which can lead to your bunny becoming overweight. Also, if your bowl does break, it must be replaced immediately as cracks will begin to harbour bacteria.
These types of dishes are ideal for messy bunnies. Stainless steel is very easy to clean mushed food from - great for rabbits that like to kick pellets and poop into their food and water! Stainless steel is also very hygienic, will not rust and is durable.
The only real downside to these types of materials is that if your rabbit is timid, they might be alarmed by seeing their own reflection in the dish.
Plastic bowls are typically the most inexpensive option for your rabbit. However, they will be chewed and tipped over so you will need to refill them quite often! Plastic will also taint water so doesn’t make a good water dish.
Water bottles that hang on the side of your rabbit’s cage are a great way to provide clean drinking water without the risk of it being spilt. Bottles also waste less water and hold the temperature of the water better compared with a water bowl. They can be a little tricky to clean but using a special bottle brush can overcome this. Always check the spout of the water bottle, especially in the colder months, as the ball inside can become stuck.
Providing your rabbit with clean, fresh food and water is so important. This is why the FirstVet shop has such a great range of rabbit accessories - to help you do so!