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Nutrition is a vital part of caring for your rabbit and is a pinnacle in supporting their health, particularly dental health, gastrointestinal health and maintaining an ideal weight. Rabbits are fundamentally the same as wild rabbits, so when feeding your rabbit, it’s important to mimic the food they would have eaten in the wild. The good news is that this is easy to do!
Like dogs and cats (and humans!), it’s nice to give your rabbit a treat, but this should only be done sparingly. There’s a wide range of treats your rabbit will enjoy, but there are some we should avoid too.
Rabbits enjoy treats as much as we do, but another similarity to us is that too many treats can potentially result in health problems. Feeding unhealthy treats that are high in sugar and starch can lead to obesity and subsequent mobility/joint issues, digestive issues and dental disease.
It’s best to keep rabbits' treats varied but to a minimum.
It’s no secret that Bugs Bunny loved a carrot, but the truth is that carrots aren’t a healthy treat for your rabbit, because they’re high in sugar. Whilst they aren’t a strict no-no, you should only feed a small amount of carrot every once in a while. Instead, you can also feed them the carrot tops as a treat on a more regular basis.
Providing them with a variety of vegetables as part of their normal diet is a form of a treat in itself! Along with the greens mentioned earlier, they will also enjoy courgette, mange tout, cucumber and roses as treats.
Fruits are higher in sugar than vegetables, therefore they should only be a small complement to their normal diet. Fruits that are safe to give to your rabbit include apples, bananas, melons and mangos. It’s also safe to give them the leaves from apples, pears and raspberries.
You can hide some fruit in amongst their hay or grass, to encourage foraging behaviour – they will love digging it out!
Fruit and vegetables are good all year round, but in the summer months when we need to help our rabbits keep cool, we can soak them in cool/icy water, or feed them fresh out of the fridge!
There are lots of rabbit chews on the market which are perfect rabbit snacks. They are available in a multitude of forms, such as mobile hangers and in the shapes of pretzels, balls and twists. Such chews are commonly made up of hay and alongside providing your rabbit with a treat, also provides them with enrichment to keep them occupied!
There’s a wide range of vegetables and fruit which are good for our rabbits, but a few things we shouldn’t feed them:
Milk-based yoghurt drops due to the dairy content
Meat, as rabbits are strict herbivores
It’s super important to ensure our rabbits get a healthy, nutritious diet that is perfectly suited to their needs. We hope you’ll now also feel equipped with how to complement their diet with some scrumptious snacks to keep them happy and binkying!