Though rabbits require some special care, they are well worth the extra effort, whether they’re a pet, 4-H project, or a working animal. It’s crucial to feed them correctly and to be aware of their unique problems so you can get treatment quickly.

1. MAINTAIN APPROPRIATE WEIGHT

An unsuitable diet is among the biggest health concerns with pet rabbits, according to veterinarians. For example, a diet consisting only of alfalfa – in either hay or pellet form – has way too much protein, which can lead to obesity and all the health problems caused by that, including:

  • Gastrointestinal stasis, a slowdown of food in animal’s intestines. GI stasis can cause ingested hair and food to get blocked, allowing harmful bacteria to multiply. It is the most common problem in pet rabbits. GI stasis symptoms, which are very painful, include very small – or no – fecal pellets, very loud, gassy intestinal gurgles, lethargy, not eating for 12 hours or more, and hunching over, crunching teeth. If you think your rabbit has it, get him to a vet quickly.
  • Pododermatitis, also known as bumblefoot, or sore hocks. Rabbits that are obese or lack exercise from living in a cage can get bumblefoot from pressure on the hock and feet. Limping is usually the first sign of this painful condition.
  • Myiasis, more commonly referred to as maggot infestation. Obese rabbits are unable to completely clean themselves, particularly around the rectum, so they are more prone to attract flies that lay eggs, which hatch into maggots. Gone unnoticed, these tiny parasites can cause serious wounds and infection.

 

2. OFFER HEALTHY TREATS

RaisingHealthyRabbits While it’s tempting to offer your rabbit treats such as grapes, bananas, cereal, peanut butter, or bread, these often contribute to obesity. Instead, offer leafy greens, such as collard greens or kale, as an occasional treat to your rabbit’s regular diet.

 

3. PROVIDE DENTAL CARE

Rabbits have unique teeth that continue to grow throughout their life. Without appropriate dental care, they can suffer from malocclusion – a condition occurring when upper and lower teeth don’t align correctly when the rabbit’s mouth is closed.

This misalignment prevents rabbits from keeping their teeth ground down through normal chewing. Teeth, in turn, grow too long, which causes “slobbers,” in which food dribbles out of the rabbit’s mouth because he can’t swallow; mouth sores; and weight loss.

Malocclusion may require your veterinarian to file or extract particular teeth to allow the rabbit to properly eat again.

 

4. BE A GOOD PET PARENT

The key to flourishing, hearty rabbits is plenty of attention, care, and a healthy diet. Only then can they live their best life.

Healthier Feed, Healthier Rabbits

The key to healthy growth is superior nutrition, New Heritage Feed Co. Rabbit Pellets provides premium ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. No antibiotics. No medications. Just earth-given ingredients.