Rabbit's Diet


Rabbits need access to fresh drinking water. Water drinking bottles are normally used but some rabbits prefer drinking from a bowl.   Rabbits need a high fibre diet. The best sources of fibre are good quality  hay and freshly picked grass. 80% of a rabbit’s diet should consist of good quality hay and fresh grass. The hay should be fresh, smell sweet and be dust free. In addition to this a small amount of pelleted diet can be given once a day. Rabbits fed commercial muesli mixtures tend to selectively feed, leaving the most nutritious but least palatable pieces behind. This unbalanced food source can lead to nutritional deficiencies, obesity and dental problems. A complete pelleted diet is recommended to prevent this. Vegetables and fruits such as carrot, sweetcorn, celery, apple and greens should only be provided as a treat twice a week. Some fresh foods such as dandelions and cabbage may cause the rabbit to produce red urine. Commercially produced rabbit treats are usually very high in calories and should be avoided. A diet high in commercial foods, fruit and
vegetables will reduce the rabbit’s intake of hay and grass which is essential to their health. Any changes to a rabbit’s pelleted diet should be made gradually over 2-4 weeks. Sudden changes can lead to loss of appetite but also liver disease and digestive orders.

A good quality prepared rabbit food with a constant supply of clean water and grass or fresh hay together with a varied selection of fresh fruit and vegetables is all that a rabbit needs. Anything extra is a treat and should be given in moderation to avoid any harmful effects on bunny.


1. Complementary food

This can come either in pelleted form or a cereal mix which looks not unlike muesli. This is what is normally sold in pet shops as ‘Rabbit food‘ but is not a complete food and is designed to be given in conjunction with hay or grass. These foods are nutritionally balanced but if your rabbit does not eat all the mix or picks and chooses what it eats from it, problems can occur. Therefore we advise that only the pelleted rabbit diets are offered.

2. Grass and Hay

Grass is an ideal food for rabbits and would be what they would eat in the wild. A portable run moved around the lawn is an ideal way to provide your rabbit with a fresh supply of grass. Make sure that the lawn is free from chemicals and pesticides. This is important.   Good quality hay should be offered alongside the grass. Fresh hay smells sweet and is full of the calcium a rabbit needs.

3. Vegetables

Generally speaking vegetables with high amounts of roughage are best — such as root vegetables, broccoli, sweetcorn, cauliflower leaves, apples, celery and many more. Don't forget garden weeds provided they haven't been sprayed — even bramble clippings make a tasty chew.  Check this list of foods to make sure you are not giving plants that are poisonous to rabbits, click here.

4. Treats

The best treat you can give your rabbit is an extra big carrot or a piece of sweetcorn. Commercial rabbit treats are OK once in a while but remember they are rich in sugar and fat — things that rabbits only need in very small quantities.

5. Water

Your rabbit should have access to fresh water at all times. Make sure it doesn't freeze in winter or evaporate in the summer! If you are using a water bottle, check the tip is working properly,


Changing any animal's diet too quickly can cause diarrhoea so always introduce new foods gradually. Sometimes soft stools are normal especially in a young rabbit whose gut may not be fully active yet. This should clear up in a day or so with no change of diet or you could try feeding only hay for a few days. If the problem persists please ring us for advice.   A visit to the practice may be necessary.

Some fresh foods such as dandelions and cabbage may cause the rabbit to produce red urine. This is normal and not a problem.   If you suspect that there is blood in the urine you need to get your rabbit examined by a vet the same day.

Soiling around the back end may be an indicator of disease or your rabbit may simply be overweight. If you notice any soiling you need to get your rabbit examined the next day.

A rabbit that refuses to eat may have mouth problems or some other disease and again this needs to be checked by a vet.

Feeding your rabbit correctly is one of the keys to a long and healthy life. Remember, hay and grass (high fibre) should make up 80% of you rabbit's diet. Since most rabbits choose other foods in preference, the best way to achieve the balance is to offer only small amounts of commercial diet and vegetables. Once that has been consumed, your rabbit will spend the rest of the day happily eating his or her healthy fibre!

If you have any further questions on diet or any aspects of your rabbit's health do not hesitate to contact our practice.

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