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Rabbit Diet - Healthy Foods for Your Rabbit

Rabbits have strange eating habits from the human point of view. They are herbivores which means that they eat exclusively plant material but they also eat soft droppings called cecotropes, often directly from their anus. It may seem gross seeing your pet literally eating his own feces but this is vital for his health. Rabbits do this because their diet contains large amounts of cellulose which is difficult to digest and because they cannot obtain sufficient amounts of nutrients the “normal“ way. Eating cecotropes is actually an alternative to chewing the cud. However, rabbits do not eat all their feces as you have probably noticed but only the soft ones.

An ideal rabbit diet should be low in calories and high in fiber content. Rabbits should be offered large amounts of hay, ideally from grasses such as timothy, oat and meadow. They, of course, also appreciate fresh vegetables such as cabbage, kale, watercress and spinach, radish, carrots, broccoli, beetroot, etc. as well as fruits which, however, should be offered in limited amounts because they can be high in sugar and calories which can disrupt your pet’s digestive system and lead to overweight which can be very problematic.

Overweight rabbits may have difficulties reaching the cecotropes. As a result, these soft droppings could accumulate on the fur around the anus causing your pet a great deal of discomfort as well as digestive problems because rabbits depend on eating these soft droppings due to the above mentioned reasons. Furthermore, these dried feces increase the risk of flystrike which can be fatal.

It is OK to give your rabbit commercial pellets specially made for rabbits. They provide your pet the right amount of vitamins and other essential nutrients but keep in mind that not all rabbit pellets are a good choice. Stay away from pellets which contain seeds, nuts, dried fruits and cereals because they can cause more harm than good. Choose quality pellets and be sure to offer you pet the above mentioned foods as well, especially hay which should make up as much as 80 percent of your rabbit’s diet.

The importance of unlimited access to clean water cannot be emphasized enough. Since rabbits predominantly eat dry foods, they need lots of water for the food to run “smoothly“ down the digestive system. Make sure to clean the water bowl often as rabbits do pay much attention where they drop their feces or use a drinking bottle if you do not want to clean the water dish several times a day.

Healthy diet will help your rabbit avoid many health problems as well as help him wear down his teeth which are by the way continuously growing. We all like to see out pets a bit fatter than slimmer (for some reason it is interpreted as a sign that the pet is loved and well cared for) but obesity is just as harmful for rabbits as it is for humans. So be sure to provide your rabbit enough space for exercise.