Having your very own pet rabbit is a very rewarding experience. These cute little animals run around your backyard and create lots of entertainment for you and your family. They tend to be very friendly and curious, and will let you easily pet them. Many believe that rabbits are actually the best animals to have at home. They are safe to have around children, and they even get along perfectly well with other pets like cats and dogs.
That being said, taking care of these little creatures is not as easy as it may sound. There are many things to consider when bringing home a new rabbit for the first time. This includes getting a good sized cage, quality food, and giving it lots of love and attention without smothering it. Bunnies are very fragile animals, and have sensitive digestive systems and teeth, which is why you’ll also need to take your bunny to the vet often to have it checked.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Our Selection: The Best Rabbit Foods on the U.S. Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Rabbit Food
- 3.1 What is Rabbit Food and What Are its Advantages?
- 3.2 What is Hay and What Role Does it Play in a Rabbit’s Diet?
- 3.3 What is fescue hay?
- 3.4 What is oat hay and what are its properties?
- 3.5 Is Alfalfa Hay Good for my Rabbit?
- 3.6 Which food is best suited for my rabbit?
- 3.7 Your Pet Needs More than Quality Rabbit Food
- 3.8 What Types of Rabbit Foods Should I Feed My Pet?
- 3.9 Do Certain Types of Food Help them Live Longer?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Rabbits are small mammals that mainly eat grass and vegetables, so you need to be very careful with what you feed them. The wrong diet can upset their very delicate digestive system, and you’ll end up needing to run back and forth to the vet to detox their stomach if this happens.
- Rabbits also eat hay, and they need to chew it constantly. This is because their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives and they need to chew to wear them down. For this reason, you should always keep fescue hay in its cage. Sun-dried hay is often preferred over dehydrated hay, as it better retains its consistency.
- Your rabbit cannot gain or lose too much weight, and you’ll need to weigh it regularly to keep an eye on this. Lower the intake of certain fruits such as pineapple, mango, papaya or pear if you notice your rabbit is starting to become overweight. Luckily for you, these are the foods that you probably won’t be giving to your bunny very often in the first place.
Our Selection: The Best Rabbit Foods on the U.S. Market
As we have mentioned above, food is a fundamental part of the breeding and care of these animals. You want to be very particular about your rabbit’s diet so you can enjoy your pet’s company for years to come. In the following section, we’ve created a selection of the very best rabbit foods available on the U.S. market right now.
- Kaytee Fiesta Rabbit Food
- Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets
- Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack
- Tropical Carnival F.M. Brown’s Gourmet Pet Rabbit Food
- Oxbow Animal Health Bunny Basics Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food
Kaytee Fiesta Rabbit Food
Kaytee Fiesta Rabbit food is perfect for rabbit owners looking for healthy variety in their pet’s diet. With its premium blend of fruits, vegetables, seeds and grains, this gourmet rabbit food is excellent for small animals. Your pet will also love chewing on the unique shapes and textures in each blend.
With over 150 years of experience, Kaytee’s mission is to ensure your rabbit lives a long and healthy life. Each blend is not only enjoyable for your pet, but also contains prebiotics and probiotics to help support their very delicate digestive system. And with their convenient resealable packaging, your rabbit’s food will always be fresh!
Small Pet Select Rabbit Food Pellets
Small Pet Select rabbit food is an excellent option to keep your adult rabbit strong and healthy. The small pellets are “timothy hay based” meaning they are high in fiber and low in calories and calcium. These pellets are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals and are perfect for your adult rabbit’s dental health.
Small Pet Select guarantees your rabbit’s food will arrive fresh. According to the company, the hay based pellets are made with hay from the current crop year, ensuring the highest quality. This small company is a favorite among rabbit owners and veterinarians! Available from 5lb to 25lb bags.
Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Variety Pack
Did you know that 75% of a small animals diet should consist of hay? Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus is a great option for rabbits over 7 months of age, as it is high in fiber to support their digestive health. Compared to alfalfa hay, it is also lower in protein and calcium to support your pet’s urinary health.
With a variety of flavors and textures, your rabbit will love chewing on Kaytee Timothy Hay! The company ensures that it is stored in a protected environment, so it has the highest quality and nutritional value. This type of hay is also ideal for guinea pigs and chinchillas, so all of your furry friends can enjoy the taste and texture of Kaytee Timothy hay!
Tropical Carnival F.M. Brown’s Gourmet Pet Rabbit Food
Feeding time is a very important part of your pet’s day, and Brown’s Tropical Carnival Gourmet Pet Rabbit Food is an excellent choice for your rabbit’s routine. This blend of 30 unique ingredients includes hay, fruits, veggies, and seeds to ensure your pet enjoys every bite. The Tropical Carnival mix is ideal for active rabbits, and is packed with carbs, vitamins, minerals, and fiber your pet needs to keep it energized and healthy.
This family owned business has been around for nearly 6 generations, and is rated highly by customers for keeping rabbit’s health and wellbeing in mind. They understand that although proper nutrition comes first, a pleasant taste is also essential! Their Tropical Carnival mix is a great blend of delicious and nutritious, your pet will not be able to get enough!
Oxbow Animal Health Bunny Basics Essentials Adult Rabbit Pet Food
Last but not least, this pack of rabbit pellets by Oxbow is very similar to the second product in our ranking, but there are some essential differences. Though both contain soy ingredients and are Timothy hay based, the Oxbow pellets are higher in fiber – with a minimum of 29%. The high fiber count makes this product ideal for growing adult rabbits, as they need lots of fiber to ensure healthy digestion.
Pellets are very convenient to have in your pet’s cage, as they are less likely to create a mess. With no seeds or fruits, the pellets also prevent selective eating so your pet enjoys every bite. Past customers have praised this product for being ideal for picky rabbits who have trouble with other food products.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Rabbit Food
What is Rabbit Food and What Are its Advantages?
Not all rabbits require the same diet, and you will need to find the right food that will most fit your bunny’s specific needs. Our ranking above is meant to be a guide to help you choose the highest quality products, but you’ll come to realize that a rabbit cannot solely live off the different products we’ve listed. They need plenty of variety in their diet, including plenty of water and hay – and not only alfalfa.
To help understand this, we have created a comparison table that explains the pros and cons of different types of rabbit food. You’ll notice that one of the cons is that your bunny will never have enough pellets and hay. This is because a rabbit’s mouth is designed to be constantly chewing on something.
What is Hay and What Role Does it Play in a Rabbit’s Diet?
The most common type of hay is alfalfa hay, but in reality, there are actually many different types of hay out there. We’ve designed the following table to make it easy to understand the alternatives you have. You can also vary it often so your pet does not get bored of eating the same thing.
|Type of hay||Recommended for:||Advantages|
|Fescue hay||Rabbits over 3 or 4 weeks of age||Good digestion|
|Oat hay||Rabbits over 3 or 4 weeks of age||Coarse texture with antioxidants, and good for tooth health|
|Alfalfa hay||Rabbits younger than 6 months and thin adults||Caloric and satiating power|
What is fescue hay?
This is incredibly important because when we choose our rabbits food, we need to make sure the focus is on maintaining a healthy stomach and intestine. Rabbits also love the taste of fescue hay, which means that your pet will enjoy every minute it chews on it. Also, be sure to seal the packaging of your hay every time you use it to avoid dust from entering.
Benefits of fescue hay
- Good for tooth wear
- High in fiber
- Contains powerful antioxidants, which helps to strengthen the immune system
- Can be used as bedding in the cage because of its soft texture
What is oat hay and what are its properties?
Oat hay also helps aid your rabbit’s tooth development, and is especially beneficial for the babies. This is because oat hay have a different consistency and offers greater resistance than alfalfa hay, making it great for chewing. While contributing to growth, it also prevents dental malocclusion, a phenomenon that is unfortunately very common in many rabbit species.
Benefits of oat hay
- Aids tooth development
- Promotes healthy bowel function
- Creates an appearance of shiny fur
- Loaded with antioxidants
Is Alfalfa Hay Good for my Rabbit?
Alfalfa hay is also a favorite among rabbits because of its taste. Many pet owners actually use this type of hay as a treat for their bunny. This is a great alternative for when they grow tired of those wooden sticks they love to chew for their teeth. Remember to keep your pet active and play with it regularly!
Benefits of Alfalfa hay
- Promotes the healthy growth of bones and teeth
- Blood coagulation
- Acts as a blood tonic, antioxidant, and diuretic
- High in protein, minerals, and fiber
Which food is best suited for my rabbit?
The breed of the rabbit will also help to determine its diet. Because different breeds have different physical attributes, you’ll have to adapt the diet to your bunny’s personality. This is also because some breeds are more active than others, and use more energy.
|Stage of life||Age||Diet|
|Days||Mixture of milk (the same given to cats), goat milk and dairy formula. Use a needle-free syringe, three times per day.|
|Young||Up to 3 months of age||Regardless of breed: it needs plenty of water and food. It will continue to drink milk. Introduce solid foods such as oats.|
|Adult||From 7 months of age||Quantities are important due to the risk of obesity. 1 ounce of feed. Constant provision of hay. One piece of fruit. Small portion of vegetables.|
|Elderly||Older than 6 years||There is a high chance of weight loss during this stage. If this happens, you are recommended to increase its food intake until it regains weight.|
Your Pet Needs More than Quality Rabbit Food
Firstly, your rabbit will need a cage where it can comfortably eat, play, and sleep. It is not smart to let it loose around the house, as you may lose it or it can escape. Next on your list should be its food. You will need good quality hay, rabbit food, and containers to store everything. Remember that hay can also double as bedding for the cage.
What Types of Rabbit Foods Should I Feed My Pet?
Too make it easier for you, we’ve created a list of the various breeds of rabbits with a brief description of each. They vary by name and size with the smallest breeds only weighing up to 3 lbs, and the larger breeds growing up to 18 lbs.
|Blanc de Hotot rabbit||White fur. Black eyes. Round body. Long lifespan (up to 16 years). Friendly and energetic.||Needs a high fiber diet because their teeth can be very problematic.|
|Dwarf rabbit||Small size (3 lbs). Timid and anxious. Loving. Long and droopy ears. Quiet, need lots of exercise.||Alfalfa, tomato, cabbage leaves and endives, among others.|
|Lop rabbit||They need malt to expel hairballs. There are several types: French, English, Mini Lion, Miniature Cashmere and many others.||Fresh hay, spinach and Swiss chard, in addition to its feed.|
|Rex rabbit||Curious and affectionate. Large (between 7 and 11 lbs). Suitable for children. They need to be brushed once a week. They have a life expectancy of 8 to 11 years.||Polyphyletic hay (composed of various types) or alfalfa. Also fresh vegetables, such as carrots, thistle, or lettuce.|
|Lionhead rabbit||Long fur on and around the head, requiring a lot of brushing and malt. Docile and affectionate breed. Enjoys being petted. They weigh less than 4 lbs.||Food rich in proteins, hay, fruits and vegetables (not too much, because they cause digestion problems).|
|Angora rabbit||Quiet and shy. Long, silky fur. Risk of tangled fur due to excess dead hair. Very shy. Different types: English, Giant, French and Satin.||Vegetables (tomato and carrot), as well as fresh hay. Fruits in very small amounts.|
|Harlequin rabbit||Tri-colored fur. Long ears with rounded tips. Weekly brushing is necessary to maintain the shine of their coat. They also need constant exercise. Not able to be bathed because of a protective layer on their skin.||Fresh hay, mixed with their favorite feed. You can offer them fresh fruit twice a week.|
|Californian rabbit||All white except nose, ears, tail and legs, which are black or brown. Large, upright ears. Red eyes. Fearful, can be aggressive at times.||Fruits (a couple of times a week), vegetables and hay.|
|Flemish Giant rabbit||One of the largest breeds (adults can weigh up to 40 lbs). Large, straight ears. Very lazy: they often spend their day in the cage chewing on hay or jelly beans. They also need a lot of space to avoid making them feel restricted.||Their size requires them to eat much more than other breeds. It is important they do not overeat to avoid overweight issues. Lots of hay for their digestive system to work properly.|
|European rabbit||The most commonly found in pet shops. Large size (approximately 9 lbs). Very territorial, yet quiet. They are timid, so you have to be patient with them at first. They generally feed at night and don”t need any special food.||Legumes and grass, as well as rose bush stems and barks.|
Do Certain Types of Food Help them Live Longer?
That being said, the breed of rabbit will also help to determine its lifespan. For instance, wild rabbits do not usually live more than 4 years. A dwarf rabbit can live between 8 and 12 years, and a lionhead between 7 and 10 years. You should always consult your veterinarian for more information on your specific breed of rabbit.
As you can see, there is a lot more to buying rabbit than just grabbing the first pack of pellets you see or purchasing just any random product online. Actually, there are several key elements you need to think about. To make it easy, we have outlined them in the following section for you to make the most informed decision for your pet.
- Pellet Quality
- Size and Consistency of the Pellets
- Age of the Rabbit
- Breed of the Rabbit
A quality pellet should include several different nutrients. You should look carefully at the package of any food product to see its composition. All pellets must be the same and should not vary in size and shape.
The pellets should include the following nutrients: fiber (necessary in pellets but also found in hay) protein (adults need between 12 and 13% of daily intake); as very little fat, because they gain weight very easily; and vitamins A, D and E, as well as calcium. Due to their great dental development, calcium should be given in small doses.
Size and Consistency of the Pellets
The right pellet size can also be determined by the type of rabbit you have. Keep in mind that a kitten does not bite with as much strength as an adult. This means that you should also consider the texture of the pellets and how fast they break down.
You can generally see the size of the pellets through the food packaging. Some will feature clear wrapping for you to be able to see what the pellets look like before you open the pack. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to return the product if it has been opened. So you want to make sure to purchase the right pellets and not waste money!
A rough guide to determine how much food your rabbit should eat is one tablespoon per 2 pounds of weight. Keep in mind that this advice not consistent for every breed , and there will be other specific needs and requirements that you’ll have to take into consideration with your own rabbit. In any case, you should always consult your veterinarian. This is particularly important if your rabbit is having experiencing difficulties.
These animals are extremely delicate, and it is important to treat them with care. Getting the dosage wrong from time to time usually isn’t a major issue with other common pets such as dogs and cats. However, rabbits are very different, and getting the dosage wrong will be an issue. Remember that the recommendations located on food packages aren’t always the most accurate.
Age of the Rabbit
This is very important. Rabbit offspring – kittens – are very delicate when they are first born, and you cannot feed them the same food as adults. This could harm your pet, as they may have difficulties chewing it. You will need to use common sense when shopping for its food.
Very small kittens will continue drinking milk and will need less dry food. For this reason, choose products containing ingredients such as broccoli, lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, Swiss chard, spinach, celery, radish and tomato. You basically want vegetables with a high percentage of water.
Breed of the Rabbit
We explained earlier on in this article that rabbit breeds vary in size and personality, which is why you need to determine their diet based on the characteristics of your pet. For example, more active rabbits will require different food than less active ones. This, as well as your veterinarian’s advice, will help you choose wisely.
All rabbits generally require feed, hay, and water. That being said, it is important to adapt the type of food you feed your bunny to avoid risks of digestive, oral or morphological problems. Some feeds, for instance, contain more fat and are therefore ideal for rabbits that are very active.
|If your rabbit is:||It needs:|
|Active or very thin||More hay|
|Passive, chubby or old||Less hay|
Determining the right type of food for your bunny can be a challenging, given the number of breeds, different stages of life and personalities of these animals. As you have gathered from this article, each rabbit has its own tastes and needs. Pay attention to your pet’s physical appearance and try to get it stay active and play frequently.
That last part is particularly important, because rabbits gain weight very easily. They can also easily contract various teeth conditions including dental malocclusion, infections by bad bite and dislocation, and among many others. Rabbits are also very much exposed to congenital defects. This is why it is important to perform regular check-ups with your veterinarian.
We hope you enjoyed our shopping guide on rabbit food! If so, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below, and don’t forget to share our article on your social media.
(Source of featured image: Byrdyak: 37847310/ 123rf.com)