Contrary to what the cartoons imply, rabbits can’t live off of carrots. In fact, carrots are similar to chocolate for humans; although they make a delicious snack, their sugar content causes unwanted problems when consumed in excess.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect rabbit food for your bunny.
Hop to it and make the choice easy with our guide on finding the delectables your pet will love. By the time we’re done, your bunny will bink with joy.
1. Understand What Makes a Healthy Diet
A rabbit’s diet should consist of a variety of foods: dry food, vegetables, grass, and fruits.
But how much of each should you incorporate into your pet’s diet? Understanding this is the first step to find the right food for your long-eared friend.
The ideal diet consists of:
- 75-80 percent grass and/or hay
- 20 percent high-fiber pellets
- 5-15 percent green vegetables
It surprises many pet owners that pellets make up such a small portion of the daily diet. However, grass is a staple food in an outside rabbit’s natural habitat, and it should be for inside rabbits as well.
2. Consider Your Rabbit’s Situation
Several factors impact what and how much humans should feed their rabbits.
Don’t give nursing rabbits (called “kittens”) pellets until they are about a month old.
It’s recommended that owners supply foods containing at least 16 percent crude protein and 15 percent fiber to nursing rabbits. Adults and growing bunnies, however, need less protein (about 12 percent to 15 percent) and more fiber (about 20 percent to 27 percent).
Adults do better eating a mixture of hays, including Timothy and meadow grasses. However, youngsters need to eat more alfalfa hay, which is rich in nutrients that benefit growing rabbits.
Always take your rabbit’s age and condition into account before deciding on a diet.
In addition to your rabbit’s age, consider where you live. Is fresh grass easily within reach? If not, your best option is grass hay.
Grass hay is not made equally. Different types have different nutrient values, so it’s important to research the qualities of each variety.
Thankfully, regardless of where you live, grass hays can be ordered and sent via the Internet.
Finally, keep in mind any health issues your fuzzy friend has. New bunny parents should especially be aware of overgrown teeth.
Rabbits’ teeth continue to grow as they live. It is only with the help of fibrous foods, particularly oaten or grass hays, that the teeth remain healthy.
Unfortunately, some medical issues might affect your furry friend. Hairballs are a common problem and may disrupt a rabbit’s digestion. Again, fiber-filled foods are the best preventative measure.
While you can fix most health issues by correcting his diet and giving medication, it’s advisable to speak with a vet. He or she will ensure that your rabbit has the best diet for his condition.
2. Know about Mixed vs. Pellet Food
There is one question you’re sure to run into: should I use mixed or pellet dry food?
Mixed rabbit food is cereal-based and includes corn, beans, and other vegetables. It’s easy to find and looks appealing due to its many colors.
Pellet food is made mostly of grasses, which are formed into brown-colored pellets.
Although either is acceptable, most bunny experts suggest pellets. Not only does it prevent your rabbit from picking and choosing what it wants to eat, but most brands are higher in fiber and better for his teeth.
3. Know What to Look for
When searching for dry foods, always check the nutritional values on the back. Search for foods that have at least 14 percent fiber and 16 percent protein. In addition, ensure that “grass” is listed before other filler ingredients, such as cereal.
Some popular brands include:
Of course, dry food isn’t all you need.
In the vegetable department, add leafy greens to your list. Your bunny will love:
- Brussel sprouts
- Green peppers
Avoid foods high in oxalates and throw in some herbs for good measure, such as cilantro and basil. Make sure you always have at least one vegetable with vitamin A handy.
In terms of fruit, make sure you de-seed and de-skin anything you give to your bunny. Most rabbits love blueberries, strawberries, pears, and pineapples.
Always double check that whatever you purchase is safe for your rabbit.
5. Comprehend Quantities
Price is certainly a factor that encourages rabbit owners to purchase more dry food than they should. Rather than giving their rabbit leafy vegetables, many people see pellets as cheaper substitutes.
Unfortunately, a pellet-filled diet is awful for your rabbit, much worse than dehydrated-only food for dogs.
But that doesn’t mean your bunny’s diet has to wreak havoc on your wallet. They truly aren’t expensive creatures. In a day, a typical adult rabbit has:
- Unlimited Timothy hay
- 1/4 bowl of pellets
- 3/4 cup of mixed fresh vegetables, one of which has Vitamin A
- An unlimited water supply
Fruit is supplied only two to three times a week.
Don’t feed your rabbit solely with pellets; doing so leads to ample health problems. Instead, find a healthy and inexpensive way to satisfy your bunny’s needs.
6. Consider the Costs
To keep costs down, consider making a chart detailing the nutrient values of possible foods so that you can see what would be best for your location and pet.
Since your rabbit should have a constant supply of grass, save the big bucks for this genre and for the pellets. Then, save elsewhere by purchasing healthy but low-cost fruits and vegetables.
Don’t forget — if you live in the right area, grass is abundant.
Finally, don’t ever give a rabbit spoiled food. Pellets must be discarded after six months, so be sure to avoid large bags.
Get the Best Rabbit Food for Your Buck
Finding the best rabbit food requires some research. We know that responsible parents like yourself want what’s best for their furry friends.
By understanding what your bunny needs, you’ll be prepared to create a delicious diet for your cotton-tailed pet.
Unfortunately, even the most loving pet owners have to say goodbye to their best friends one day. If you’re dealing with the recent loss of a pet, read our article.
Losing a furry family member is difficult, so let’s fill our rabbits’, dogs’ and cats’ days with healthy diets so they live a long life.