Bunnies are one of the cutest animals on the planet and make excellent pets. Socialized and confident rabbits will interact peacefully with their human companions and other house pets as easily as any cat or dog. Healthy bunnies are always the best companions because good health improves the mood and personality of the animals. Ensuring they grow strong and stay healthy through life requires rabbit owners to provide their friendly balls of fluff with nutritious food choices.
Include Some Pellets
Pellets should never make up the entire diet of a rabbit. Most bunnies should have only a small amount of pelleted food each day. The compact food option is vital for many rabbit owners because it provides a shelf-stable food option that keeps the bunny nourished while the owner works. Pellets can also help underweight bunnies to gain a few ounces because they are a high-calorie option. To provide a bunny with the best, choose a brand made from Timothy hay that does not contain fillers like these food pellets.
Focus on Hay
Hay, especially Timothy hay, should make up most of their diet. Rabbits need this for nutritional and digestive purposes and to keep their teeth whittled down. Bunnies should eat hay as soon as they become old enough to chew and digest the food. Alfalfa is acceptable, but Timothy hay has fewer calories and calcium. All bunnies need calcium, but too much can cause bladder and kidney problems.
Add Some Vegetables
Bunnies love veggies, and fresh vegetables can provide a nutritious add-on to their diet. Natural foods may seem safe, but not every vegetable is best for bunnies. Keep their options limited to what they have previously managed to enjoy without any digestive upset, and make sure the vegetables they eat are fresh (not wilted) and pesticide-free. Some good options include dark leafy greens like kohlrabi and romaine lettuce. Use caution with greens high in calcium, like dandelion greens and Swiss chard. Rabbits do like carrots, but they are high in carbohydrates. Save these as a treat.
Reward with Fruit
Bunnies enjoy sweets. Adoring pet owners will find it tempting to provide their rabbits with as many sugary foods as they like. If allowed, a rabbit will ignore other foods in favor of the sweetest options available. Allowing this behavior can cause them to gain weight and not get the nutrition they need. Overweight bunnies experience many health concerns. Avoid unnecessary weight gain by limiting fruit treats to a small spoonful a few times per week. Safe fruits for bunnies include apples, berries, oranges, and papaya.
Avoid Certain Foods
Some foods are dangerous to rabbits, so research the safety of new food choices before offering them to a bunny. Some foods that owners should never give their rabbits include onions, garlic, and avocado. Also on the forbidden list are apple seeds, rhubarb, and chocolate. Processed human foods like cereal, bread, cookies, and other items can cause digestive issues and nutritional deficiencies.
Some domestic rabbits can live up to 12 years, with the current record-holder reaching 18. Anyone who chooses to share their home with a bunny should want to have it live a long and healthy life. Understanding its health needs and providing a balanced diet is the trait of a responsible bunny owner.